Thursday, September 22, 2005

'Diet Code' Author Claims Da Vinci Would Oppose Low-Carb Lifestyle

Is this man just trying to capitalize on Dan Brown's runaway bestseller?

After signing a six-figure advance book deal (couldn't we all be that lucky!) with the new Warner Wellness imprint from Time Warner Books in March 2005, an opportunistic Portland, Oregon-based bakery store owner named Stephen Lanzalotta is now busy finishing up the final details of his new diet book that focuses on the importance of bread as part of a healthy lifestyle and is creating some controversy by tying it in with one of the bestselling books over the past few years.

Tentatively set for release in April 2006 with a first-run print of 150,000, Lanzalotta's book will be called "The Diet Code: Revolutionary Weight-Loss Secrets From Da Vinci and The Golden Ratio." It is an obvious attempt to take advantage of the wildly popular book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (which is currently #26 on the bestseller list despite the fact it has been out for over 2 1/2 years!).

After losing half of his customers when they stopped buying his bread products to start livin' la vida low-carb in the past couple of years (and bread companies are STILL feeling the sting of us low-carbers today!), the 160-pound Lanzalotta thought he had to do something to stop the mass exodus that had happened to the business he started in 2000. Sales of bread at his store dropped from 80 percent of his business when he first opened down to a low of 20 percent in 2003.

Lanzalotta literally spent hours upon hours researching food and looking into various way to experiment with nutritional combinations that included bread in them. It makes you wonder if that's what Kangaroo Brands did when they created "The Pocket Diet" recently to help with sluggish sales of their pita breads. I'm not being critical of them for doing that because it makes good business sense, but it should make people give pause as to whether the diet program advocated is something they can do and enjoy or will it only be used to boost the profits of a certain kind of business. That's something to think about when you see any "diet" book out there. Follow the money!

Taking the mathematical principles of The Golden Ratio developed by Leonardo Da Vinci, this new diet supposedly figures out the perfect amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates that your body allegedly needs to maintain your weight. This ancient code, called phi, was what was used to build the Pyramids centuries ago and is still used today.

According to Lanzalotta's figures, here is what "The Diet Code" should consist of for a healthy eating plan:

- 52% carbohydrates
- 20% protein
- 28% fat

WOW, over half of your food intake should consist of carbohydrates? I think my body would go into shock if I did that! Obviously, this ratio is not compatible with LOW-CARB programs where the ratio would more likely be something along the lines of 20% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 50% fat. This is a plan of action for controlling your weight that has been shown to be effective by so many people who are livin' la vida low-carb.

Lanzalotta first began going around lecturing in the Summer 2004 about his "new" way to lose weight to try to drum up support for a publisher to agree to publish it as a book (and that's exactly what happened). But a closer look at this diet program reveals it to be very similar in nature to The Mediterranean diet with foods such as bread, fish, cheese, vegetables, meat, nuts and wine encouraged. So much for originality!

He claims that since bread has been consumed for thousands of years with little effect on people's weight, eating it does not explain the unprecedented number of overweight and obese people that exist today.

"Human civilization and grain have ties that go way back. No municipal society evolved without grain, no matter what it was," said Lanzalotta. "Not that I believe bread is one of the most sacred foods, but it is one of the most important things we can eat."

I will agree with Lanzalotta to a certain degree on this point. While bread alone is not to blame for obesity rates continuing to skyrocket, I think the overconsumption of sugar and the general lack of physical activity have just as much to do with the obesity problem we are seeing today.

But bread also plays a role in this. The carbs consumed when you eat a slice of bread (or up to 16 slices in one day when you do this crazy diet!) are quickly converted into sugar that your body must use for energy. Whatever is not used for energy then starts to store (mostly in your midsection) as fat. Plus, the rapid spike in your blood sugar after eating bread will give you a burst of energy followed by the horrendous crash that carb addiction causes people all the time. I for one am glad to be off that miserable way of living once and for all!

Interestingly, Lanzalotta claims he is not opposed to people doing the low-carb lifestyle if it works for them.

"I'm not suggesting that we eat more bread," Lanzalotta said. "I'm just trying to look at the problems with eating only meat."

Well, that's the problem, Mr. Lanzalotta. Eating low-carb does not mean "eating only meat." That is one of the biggest myths about this incredible lifestyle that millions of Americans enjoy. We eat a great selection of vegetables, fruits, and even whole grain breads (GASP! What a shock!). While people like Lanzalotta want to point the finger at people who do low-carb to maintain their weight, I would suggest that he start providing the kind of products in his bakery that low-carb consumers want and need for their healthy lifestyle change. There are great low-carb breads out there made with lots of fiber, which is good for you regardless of your method for maintaining your weight.

Of course, with a six-figure advance for this book of his, something tells me Lanzalotta's not worried about kneading bread anymore because he's got a lot of "dough" elsewhere. Be on the lookout for "The Diet Code" come this Spring. I certainly expect a good dose of low-carb bashing to ensue as yet another diet book heavily promoting the consumption of bread hits the market attempting to be the next "big thing" in dieting.

Sigh. I wish this issue of weight loss wasn't such a competition about who's right and who's wrong all the time. As long as people are making changes that work for them to keep their weight under control, does it really matter how they do it? Giving people many viable options about how to lose weight and keep it off is a good thing. Can't we please stop running the Atkins diet and other low-carb programs through the proverbial mud every time an antithesis diet plan comes out?


Blogger Ronald said...

I can't wait for the Harry Potter diet.

9/22/2005 8:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That's too funny, Ronald. Would you need to have someone cast a spell on your stomach to make it shrink?! LOL!

9/22/2005 9:08 PM  
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9/23/2005 11:35 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

You know, I could care less if Da Vinci would oppose Atkins. It's not up to a dead guy anyways! :P

9/24/2005 1:59 AM  

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