Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cutting Carbs Does Not Help You Lose Weight

When you visit a web site called, you expect there to be solid information on there regarding healthy living principles, right? Don't count on it, though!

This story from a lady by the name of Lia Huber shows yet again that some well-meaning people don't understand what livin' la vida low-carb is all about.

Outlining 5 diet myths in her article, Huber tells her readers that she will help them "outwit them" with her advice.

Guess what myth #1 one is on her list?

"Cutting carbohydrates helps you lose weight."

Before we get into what Huber has to say about this, let me offer my response to this alleged "myth."

Cutting carbohydrates in and of itself does not help you lose weight. If I was eating 750 carbs in a day and suddenly started eating "only" 500, then I technically have "cut" my carbs by one-third, right? But will it make a difference in my weight? Not hardly.

But the way a controlled-carb approach works is it gets your body to start burning stored fat for fuel when you enter ketosis through consciously being aware of the amount of carbohydrates you are putting in your body. If you just restrict your daily intake of carbs to between 20-100 carbs per day, depending on which phase of the plan you are in and your specific dietary needs, then most people WILL lose weight. That's how I lost 180 pounds and have kept it off for the past six months.

So simply cutting carbs is not enough. You must get on an organized low-carb plan and follow it as prescribed. Don't just sorta, kinda do low-carb and expect it to work!

Okay, let's see what Huber says is the "truth" about the "myth" that cutting carbs will help you lose weight.

"Doing it the wrong way can also make you feel rotten and unhealthy."

Wait a minute! If you do ANYTHING the "wrong way," especially a weight loss plan, then you are susceptible to these things. Why put this stigma on the low-carb lifestyle exclusively? The answer to this is to do it the RIGHT way by following an organized low-carb program that you feel you can do.

Might I suggest you get Jonny Bowden's Living The Low Carb Life for an overview of the top low-carb plans? He offers a brief summary of each low-carb approach and makes recommendations based on the ones that work the best. Check it out!

"Carbs are to this decade what fats were to the last: food demons. Truth is, though, you need them for energy."

Contrary to popular belief, those of us on a low-carb lifestyle are not afraid of carbohydrates. In fact, I tell people all the time that I eat lots of carbs every single day. GASP! You do, they ask? Of course! While I don't mindlessly put sugary foods and other such wasted carbs in my mouth anymore, it is almost impossible to completely avoid eating any carbs. Nor would you want to do that!

While Huber believes "fat" was the forbidden fruit of the 1990s, I would argue that it still is based on the advice we hear from health "experts" telling us how bad fat is for us to consume. That's why they hate (yes, I said hate) Atkins and other low-carb programs so much. They despise the fact that a DIET plan that contains lots of fat actually works for people. It makes them look foolish and they're not happy about that!

You don't need to eat a lot of carbs to have energy. I went a long time on my low-carb lifestyle eating between 20-30 net carbs per day and had more energy than I could handle. While the first two weeks of Atkins were the most difficult, I quickly overcame that phase and grew stronger and more vibrant because of it. Today I am as healthy and energetic as I have ever been and I "only" eat about 40-50 carbs per day. I do lots of cardio and weight lifting exercise and play basketball, volleyball and any other sport every chance I can get. So much for needing carbs for energy, eh?

"And, like with fats, some are better than others."

Absolutely some carbs and even some fats are better than others. That's why people shouldn't waste their time or carb allowance on foods with sugar or white flour in them. You just don't need those kind of carbs in your body. Eating foods rich in dietary fiber and protein will help you get the right kind of carbs you body needs to make the low-carb lifestyle work for you. It's not as hard as you might think.

"Experts suggest a minimum of 130 grams of carbs a day—a far cry from low-carb diets that start with 20 grams or less."

Don't get me started on "experts." What experts recommend that many carbs? Are these the same ones who came up with the flim-flam food pyramid that we've been forced to adhere to for the past two plus decades? Gee, that's really worked, hasn't it? I would argue that most people eat MUCH MORE than 130 grams of carbs per day because they are eating way too much sugar from soft drinks and junk food snacks. Most people consume more carbs in a single can of Coke or candy bar than I eat in an entire day! THAT is why we still have an obesity problem that keeps getting worse and worse.

"Short-term effects of such [low-carb] diets include fatigue, constipation and irritability; long term, you could be putting yourself at risk for heart disease and colon cancer."

Like I said, if you can allow your body to get through the Induction phase of doing low-carb, then you will be fine afterwards. It's a small price to pay for long-term, permanent weight loss. As for "long-term...risk for heart disease and colon cancer," there is not scientific evidence for this because studies on this have not been going on long enough for a conclusive answer to those concerns. The fact that Huber would state these so boldly in her article proves she has an agenda to discourage people away from low-carb for whatever reason. Why does the media continue to lie about Atkins and low-carb so much?

"Fad diets aside, what may matter most is how refined the carbohydrates are. The best idea is to cut back on refined carbs such as soda and foods made with white flour, while loading up on healthier carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Finally, some sanity from Huber in her story! I agree people could stand to cut back on soda and white flour (and I would add ANYTHING with sugar in it!) and eat healthy portions of berries, fresh green vegetables and low-carb multi-grain breads.

While she blasts low-carb for much of her article, at least Huber ends on a positive note that, whether she meant to do it or not, actually endorses livin' la vida low-carb. The healthy benefits of low-carb cannot be ignored, even by the media.


Blogger Levi said...

This is another one of the big beefs (no pun intended) I have with many critics of low-carb, such as nutritionists and dieticians. Aside from the issue of fat, they are pretty much in agreement (at least some of them) with how low-carb plans work. They just can't get over the fat aspect. They also have convinced themselves that everyone doing low-carb is doing it "the wrong way." In other words eating only meat, cheese, and maybe some low-carb candy! I think if they looked at the average low-carber at maybe their 6th to 12th month, or further, they would see someone who eats lots of veggies, maybe a few berries here and there, or some peach or melon, a moderate amount of chicken, beef, pork, or fish, some nuts, and occasionally some low-carb treat like low-carb chocolate. While this may still may not be some of their ideal of eating only chicken breast without the skin and similar low-fat protein, I can't understand how they could be so up in arms about it.

Well, I guess I could understand. Jimmy, I think you've added some good insight into this. There's the idea that some of these folks feel threatened. They see a diet working well which is in some ways the antithesis of what they've been recommending, so they must scare people by bad-mouthing it even if those accusations don't hold any water. I truly think, though, that these people have largely deluded themselves. Call me a believer in the good side of human nature, but I think these people still whole-heartedly believe that low-carb is wrong. It takes a huge leap of faith, so to speak, to ignore the big no-no that all the "authorities" have been drumming into us for the last 25 years - "fat is evil!" I was a big low-fat guy back in the 90's and when I initially heard about low-carbing, it sounded down right sacreligious! :) The other thing is that very few if any nutritionists are going to be rebels. They are taught a specific party line and if they vear from this, they aren't certified. Their training does not encourage honest questions about what is still a pretty inexact and hotly debated science of nutrition. Those on the cutting edge tend to be researchers or doctors who have seen how well low-carbing works where the rubber meets the road and so have a change of heart and start really pursueing the idea...

6/09/2005 8:33 PM  

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