Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Study Indicates Low-Carb Lifestyle Is Here To Stay

An eye-opening new study released by Integras Restaurant Audit, an advanced analytical services division of a market research company called Claritas Inc., finds that people who are livin' la vida low-carb are still looking for foods with good nutritional value to continue the health improvements they have made while doing a low-carb program despite reports in the media that this lifestyle is in decline.


In an 18-page document entitled "Catering to the Carb-Conscious Consumer" (you can order a copy of this report by calling 312-583-5406 or by sending an e-mail to Ramona Spencer), the low-carb lifestyle is described as "a holistic, total-health" approach to nutrition.

I've been telling people this ever since I started doing low-carb for myself last year. While it started off as a method for losing weight, it has now become a healthy living lifestyle that I intend on doing for the rest of my life. There are millions upon millions of people just like me who are doing the same and this new study seems to confirm that.

There were two groups of people -- those who watched their carbs and those who did not -- who participated in this groundbreaking study. It examined the participant's eating habits at restaurants and inquired about their general concern for health, nutrition, convenience, price, variety and selection of the the foods they buy when they decide to go out to eat.

Interestingly, 82 percent of those who watched their carb intake were found to frequent restaurants that offered the nutritional content of the foods they buy when dining out and 77 percent are likely to visit fast food restaurants that cater to their needs. As a result, very few low-carbers in the study have been to McDonald's in the past thirty days.

I haven't been to McDonald's since I began my low-carb lifestyle. Especially since watching Super Size Me, my desire for ANYTHING from the Golden Arches has significantly diminished. I know a lot of low-carbers have the same feeling about this and refuse to get anything from McDonald's because they have not made any efforts to fulfill the needs of the low-carb consumer. I guess they think they don't need our business!

Conversely, a significant number of people following the low-carb approach have visited restaurants that actively advertise a low-carb menu, including Applebee's, Chili's, Cracker Barrel, and Ruby Tuesday. The fact that these restaurants actively sought the low-carb consumer factored into the decision they made to visit the restaurant, this study showed.

If a restaurant at least makes an attempt to offer foods that I can eat on my low-carb lifestyle or if they are willing to make key substitutions with their regular menu, then I am more likely to go to that restaurant. Most restaurants have been very good about getting on the bandwagon, but a few others still lag far behind. This new study should wake up the board of directors of some of these popular restaurant chains that think this "low-carb fad" will just blow over. That's not going to happen as long as people like me who have chosen to make this our lifestyle!

This survey of 30,000 U.S. households had participants from across all demographics.

At the end of this story, the editor of named Elliot Maras included some comments that ought to bring a smile to the face of anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb.

"In the last year, some market researchers have claimed that the low carb diet is fading. This study sheds some light on the issue. The popularity of the low carb diets may have in fact decline; every trend peaks and levels off. But as others have claimed, the lifestyle appears here to stay. This new study quantifies the extent to which low carb consumers differ in their consumption habits. This is an audience that no one in the foodservice industry can afford to ignore."

Yee hah! Mr. Maras, I've gotta hand it to you, sir. YOU GET IT! Your analysis of the low-carb consumer is exactly right and it is time for restaurants to make the necessary adjustments to their menu and/or their attitudes about people doing low-carb so they won't begin losing business. Give us what we want and we'll be loyal for life!


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