Sunday, June 05, 2005

YMCA Official Claims Low-Carb Diets Worsen Your Health

I saw this Hernando Today article about what a local YMCA fitness coordinator in Hernando County, Florida thinks people should do to lose weight and keep it off.

This man named Tony Lalas believes diets such as low-carb only disappoint people because they do not work and can make the problem of obesity worse than it already is. He made this conclusion based on his observations of various YMCA members he has counseled, including one woman who went on Atkins to lose 30 pounds.

Her doctor said losing weight would help with her knee pain and she lost DOUBLE what she had intended on losing -- 60 pounds in all! But she claims her the pain still persisted and her body fat went up by 10 percent.

Lalas claimed livin' la vida low-carb was causing this woman to lose lean tissue mass in her joints, namely her knees, and replacing it with body fat. He recommended she immediately cease her low-carb program for a "healthier" one.

"She should have followed a moderate exercise program with a practical meal plan," Lalas said.

Incredibly, Lalas asserted that your weight is not an indicator of your health.

Okay, now wait just a minute here. While I am a HUGE fan of the YMCA and write about them positively in my upcoming book about my weight loss on low-carb, I cannot believe one of their representatives would so blatantly dismiss it as ineffective and harmful based on just this one person's experience on it. I wonder how many other people going to the YMCA have lost a lot of weight on Atkins and have been incredibly successful at improving their health! How dare he suggest it is not a part of a healthy lifestyle.

I don't know what his definition of a "practical meal plan" is, but I'm assuming he doesn't believe low-carb fits that definition. While I lost my 180 pounds in 2004, I was following a "moderate exercise program" at the YMCA on a daily basis along with my healthy low-carb foods. These contributed to my success and have helped millions more just like me. How do you explain that?!

If weight is not a clear sign of your health, then what is? I'm sure he'd say you need to see the harm you are doing to your body on the inside by eating low-carb, but I contend I have made my body BETTER by ridding it of unwanted pounds and my health indicators prove that is exactly what I was able to do. Don't tell me I'm not healthier at 230 pounds than I was at 410! That's just not possible and dishonest to say otherwise.

Advocating "balance" in nutrition and fitness, Lalas said it is the only way to lose weight and keep it off permanently.

WRONG! This so-called "balance" (read what Jonny Bowden wrote in his May 3, 2005 blog entry about this subject) is the biggest farce on the planet! Pushing the food pyramid on the public has been the answer these "experts" have suggested to solve the obesity problem. Guess what, people? It's not working!!!

Even with the new changes, people are not buying into it any more than they did previously. Dressing it up in a new package doesn't change the fact that the government-recommended dietary guidelines have failed us miserably and a new approach should be examined.

I couldn't help but laugh when I read in this story that "the USDA does not mention using MyPyramid as a way to lose weight" but that it will "help Americans make nutritional and healthy choices in an effort to live strong lives."

One of the so-called experts then makes this asinine statement: "If you're overweight and you start eating what the pyramid tells you, eventually you will get there."

EVENTUALLY?! Is this person for real?! Well, I guess if I cut out half of the food I was previously eating I'll "eventually" lose weight, too! Is that the answer?! Not hardly! When you are livin' la vida low-carb, you can keep eating all the food your body wants until you are satisfied. In fact, my wife commented to me yesterday that she is amazed by the amount of food I can still put away although I'm "skinny" now. It is one of the perks of the low-carb lifestyle that I enjoy!

A health "expert" in the story said people coming off a "fad diet" need to make a lifestyle change.

ABSOLUTELY! When you start low-carb, you keep doing it for your entire life. It really is the lifestyle change you've been looking for.

While I applaud the work of the YMCA regarding the way they help people get into shape, I am very disheartened by a representative of that great organization being so critical of the low-carb lifestyle. You can express your concern to the YMCA by sending an e-mail to Mandy Griffith who represents the YMCA of the Suncoast where Lalas works. Tell her that he needs to stick with advising members about fitness and to leave his opinions about nutrition to himself!


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