Saturday, July 30, 2005

Christian Dietitian Entertaining, But Not Giving Good Advice

Christian author and psychologist Dr. James Dobson had a guest on his "Focus on the Family" broadcast this past week named David Meinz. This man has a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Missouri and wrote a book entitled Eating By The Book: What The Bible Says About Food, Fat, Fitness, And Faith.

While Meinz is a highly entertaining and very humorous speaker, I believe his background and education as a dietitian has jaded his point of view regarding his belief regarding sound nutrition.

The three-part series from Meinz from Wednesday through Friday was heralded by Dr. Dobson as an eye-opening experience for him. Dr. Dobson, who had some heart health issues in the early 1990s, said he learned so much about healthy living from what Meinz shared with him that he just had to pass on the information to his audience.

But what his listeners heard from Meinz was just more of the same failed message we have heard time after time for too many years from yet another "expert." Throughout his talk, Meinz gave heavy emphasis on cutting back your fat intake to 50 grams or less per day without any regard for cutting back significantly on sugar or other carbohydrates. As you know, people who follow a low-carb prgram believe sugar is a much greater threat to your health than fat is. In fact, I have suggested that it is sugar, not fat that is responsible for the obesity problem in the United States. When you are livin' la vida low-carb, fat is not only recommended, but essential to weight loss and weight loss success.

Meinz gave good advice when he encouraged people to read nutrition labels very carefully. I even accentuate this point heavily in my upcoming book (called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" and set for release in just a few short months! WOO HOO!). However, Meinz tells people to look almost exclusively at fat grams while completely ignoring the carbohydrates. This is simply NOT good advice. In Meinz' world, someone could easily consume a whole case or two of sugary sodas (which are fat free, by the ay!) and still be eating right. We know that would not be good for your health, don't we?

Interestingly, Meinz also told people to not worry about calories because they will be eating less calories when they cut their fat. I agree that people should not count calories, but I think they need to cut their carbs instead. Meinz and I have a similar philosophy regarding nutrition, but he believes in cutting fat and I believe in cutting back on carbohydrates. So who is right?

Well, we both are. You can successfully lose weight by either cutting your fat or cutting your carbs following a specific diet plan. Just don't do both at the same time! The real key to weight loss success is what happens once the weight loss is complete. Can you stick with your respective weight loss plan? If so, then you have found the key to sustaining and maintaining your weight. If not, then you probably need to get on a plan that allows you to eat the way you can feel comfortable eating for the rest of your life.

Dr. Dobson said on his program that he couldn't bear the thought of giving up sugar. But with all the excellent artificial sweeteners out there today, especially Splenda, ACE-K and stevia, eliminating sugar has never been better. It is a MUST if we are going to get this obesity monster under control in America.

I am sure Meinz is a good man advocating something that he earnestly believes will help people overcome their addiction to food. I appreciate anyone who is willing to stick their neck out to try to help people get healthy. As a former 410-pounder, I only have admiration for those who are paving the path to better health for those of us who have suffered with being overweight or obese.

However, it is my prayer that as more research and information becomes available about the incredible health benefits of the low-carb lifestyle, these dietitians and other health experts who so heavily push the low-fat/low-calorie/portion-control diets will give equal promotion and education about the low-carb weight loss alternative as well. It took me over 30 years to find the low-carb answer and lose 180 pounds in the process. But there's a whole world full of people who could and should benefit from it as well.


Blogger Charles said...

Interesting perspective.

I am glad to here of your fantastic weight loss. I was lucky enought to attent a seminar by Dr. David Meinz and I thing your understanding of his views are a bit off. Yes he does advicate a low fat diet, something that very few americans are close to in our current fast food socity. He does however talk also about reducing the "refined" suger in our diet as well. He pointed out the insane amout of sugar in our diets and gave us a formula to help us make good decisions about the sugar in our diet. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. He then used this equation to show us the HUGE amount of sugar in soda and most kids breakfast cereal. Does he advicate lowering our Fat intake? Yes, for prevention of heart problems BUT he also advicates the lowering of our sugar intake as well. Good luck on the new book!!

9/16/2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger The Menu Coach said...

I agree with decreasing sugar intake but don't overdo the sugar subs.

7/02/2007 4:54 PM  

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