Sunday, September 25, 2005

Eberstein Sets The Record Straight On Low-Carb

Jacqueline Eberstein says "lifestyle change" only way to lasting weight loss

An article appears in today's edition of the New Jersey-based Express-Times that asks the question, "Has low-carb had its day?"

Well, considering all the attention that is still being paid to it long after the media has declared it dead on arrival, I would have to say the answer to that question is apparently not. And statistics show that tens of millions of Americans are STILL on a low-carb lifestyle despite all the negative publicity it has been getting.

In fact, the latest Opinion Dynamics Corp survey from August 2005 states that 13 percent of the U.S. population is on some kind of controlled-carb approach to weight maintenance. THIRTEEN PERCENT! Where else are you hearing about this number? Much of the media likes to quote the NPD statistics that show low-carb's popularity is down to "just" two percent.

But whether it's 2, 5, 10, 13, or 20 is irrelevant. Regardless of whose numbers you believe are accurate, that's still a LOT of people livin' la vida low-carb today. Anywhere from a low of 6,000,000 to as high as 60,000,000 are enjoying the healthy benefits of the low-carb lifestyle today. No matter how you slice the numbers, that is a significant participation rate regardless of the numbers you use. In other words, it looks like low-carb is not dead or "had its day" after all.

This story written by a reporter named Kat Main points to those sales racks full of "low-carb" foods as evidence that "the low-carb diet going the way of the dinosaur, the grapefruit diet or the cabbage diet."

But thankfully Main interviewed the director of nutrition information for Atkins Medical & Health Information Services and co-author of Atkins Diabetes Revolution Jacqueline Eberstein. As a professional assistance to Dr. Robert Atkins for nearly three decades, Eberstein (who I recently named one of my top ten low-carb movers & shakers) arguably knows more about how the Atkins diet has worked and continues to work for people all these years after it was first introduced in the early 1970's.

Just as I have stated previously at this blog regarding these so-called "low-carb" foods that came out over the past few years, Eberstein proclaimed that there is no tie-in to the failure of those products and the low-carb lifestyle.

"Just because they're marked low-carb, doesn't mean they are. There really is no definition of low-carb," she said.

She is right. With no clear understanding of what "low-carb" means, too many companies went haywire pushing every product imaginable on the market to take advantage of a growing market trend. But the problem was these products were either too high in carbohydrates or were of such poor quality that genuine low-carbers shunned them. I know I did and I warn people in my book that they need to be very discerning when they purchase anything that purports to be "low-carb." READ THE LABELS!

Eberstein, who was kind enough to do a professional review of my book and provide a quote for the back cover, said too many people tried to do Atkins or some other low-carb program without really "doing their homework" about what this way of eating is all about.

I have run into this problem a lot. Someone who knows I have lost a lot of weight on the Atkins diet will come up to me and let me know they they started "Atkins" or "low-carb" for themselves. I congratulate them on making that important step towards improving their health and then I ask them, "So, which book did you read about how to do low-carb correctly?" I would dare say 9 out of ten of these people just stare back at me as if I had just spoken a foreign language they've never heard of before.

If people are just making up their own low-carb program based on what they have "heard" about low-carb, then that's a BIG problem. Why would you do that to yourself? You wouldn't go to work as a doctor unless you had properly studied and researched all the information you would need to begin practicing medicine. The same should go for your choice of diet. READ THE BOOK is what I tell people. Whether it is the Atkins New Diet Revolution or whatever plan you choose to do, make sure you are following a program that has already shown to work when adhered to as prescribed. If you are confused about which plan is right for you, then might I recommend Jonny Bowden's Living The Low-Carb Life which gives an overview of the various low-carb programs available and helps point you in the right direction to do the one that suits you best.

Eberstein adds that people who expect a quick-fix diet so they can get back to their "normal" lives are just kidding themselves.

"There is the idea that there is one magic diet, that's never going to happen. The important thing for people is to embrace this fact. You have to be committed to making a lifestyle change if you really want to lose weight," Eberstein says.

For me, it was the lifestyle change I had been looking for my entire life. When I weighed 410 pounds, I never thought I would ever be thin. That was part of my problem at the time. I didn't believe there was a way out of the mess I had allowed myself to get in. It wasn't until I stopped moaning and groaning about my situation and decided to take action that the positive momentum began shifting in the direction of not only doing something about my immediate weight problem, but also keeping that weight off for good. Livin' la vida low-carb gave me my life back when I was on a one-way ticket to an early death from health-related problems that would have resulted from my morbid obesity.

Besides weight loss, Eberstein said the low-carb approach can also help with migraine headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, premenstrual problems (TMI!), and other conditions. I even shared with you recently that it helps with indigestion, too.

"People don't realize how much diet can increase symptoms that we have day to day," she says.

One final thought that Eberstein shares with the reporter in this story that I am glad was printed is the subject of exercise. I will keep saying this until I'm blue in the face, but YOU MUST EXERCISE if you want to lose and maintain your weight. There are no cutting corners on this and actually you will learn to love it, too. Believe me, I would have thought that was crazy before I started livin' la vida low-carb, too, but now I crave exercise like I used to crave chocolate cake. Don't laugh, I REALLY do!

Eberstein explains why exercise is so crucial to your low-carb success.

"Exercise is essential as we age, you have to maintain body muscle, it's what keeps the metabolism cooking," she says.

An organized low-carb program such as Atkins combined with a purposeful exercise routine is the way to make livin' la vida low-carb work for you. SO WHAT YOU ARE WAITING FOR? Don't let the negative media attention towards this way of eating deter you from dealing with YOUR weight problem! Make today the first day of a lifetime commitment to the low-carb lifestyle.

Send your comments about this column to Kat Main at Express-Times by writing her an e-mail at


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