Thursday, September 29, 2005

Everyone Who Tried Low-Carb Didn't Fail

Do you want to know why the Atkins diet and other low-carb programs failed people who tried to lose weight on them but couldn't? Well, besides the fact that EVERYONE didn't FAIL to lose weight and keep it off on low-carb, that's the question this Medford, Massachusetts-based Tufts Daily article sought to explain and answer.

Staff writer Kelly Ferro said the popularity of low-carb hit college campuses in 2004 with a bang as many students tried livin' la vida low-carb to lose weight and get healthy. But now that low-carb has "fallen out of fashion" (do these people change diets like they change clothes?), low-carb products have begun to disappear and bread consumption is on the rise again.

Comparing the alleged demise of the low-carb lifestyle with previous fad diet trends, Ferro quoted several "experts" who sought to answer the question of why the low-carb lifestyle was such a dismal failure. We'll have to see what kind of excuses they came up with and respond accordingly.

1. Too restrictive to follow long-term

Does anybody know what they mean by "long-term?" Is it at least six months? Or a year? I've been livin' la vida low-carb for nearly two years. In 2004, I lost 180 pounds and this year I have maintained my weight, increased my muscle and dropped my body fat total. Yeah, I guess this is just too restrictive for me to follow for the rest of my life. In a word, PUHLEEZE!

Here's what the "expert" said:

"People tire very quickly of being told what they can and can't do, like being told you can't have bread, pasta and pizza," Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior marketing analyst at Mintel International, told the Monterey Herald.

Why can't you have bread, pasta, and pizza? There are some excellent low-carb versions of each of these products for people to enjoy who want them. Livin' la vida low-carb is not about being told what you can and can't have. It's about freeing you up to make better choices so your weight and health will improve. It's the only "diet" I have felt this way on while other diets kept me locked up in a 4-foot cage with no room to move. Low-carb is ANYTHING but restrictive and you can make it your permanent lifestyle change.

2. Not a clear definition about what constitutes low-carb

This is a major problem in the low-carb industry that must be addressed. I wrote about this subject in my book and believe it will need to come to light very soon to prevent the continuation of what happened with "low-carb" products last year. There are no standards in place to define exactly what the term "low-carb" means. It's frustrating to me for people who try low-carb for weight loss and want to know why they're not losing weight eating some of these low-carb imposters. I urge people to read nutritional labels very carefully.

Here's what the "expert" said:

"This industry has a lot of misleading and misinforming tactics which makes it difficult to have a brand with any credibility," said Tufts Economics Professor Lynne Pepall, who has studied branding. She cited a recent lawsuit against Kentucky Fried Chicken for marketing their products as "low-carb" as an example.

I wouldn't say the low-carb industry has a credibility problem for those companies who are in it to truly serve the low-carb community. But it is those companies that tried to make a quick buck off of a hot trend by producing "a cheaper product" that may not have necessarily been considered low-carb that created the glut of poor products that hit supermarket shelves last year. Pepall said this direct competition is what led Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. to file for bankruptcy in August.

3. You can't eat all you want and still lose weight

When I used to weight 410 pounds, I could put away some food (see how much food I recently ate on a Sunday after church in this blog post). But now that I'm in the 220's, I can still put away a lot of food when I want to. This notion that you must watch your calories and portions is archaic-thinking in my opinion. Does this mean I gorge myself on all kinds of low-carb foods day after day? Don't be ridiculous. But if I feel like eating a larger meal or even more of the 6-8 smaller meals I eat in a day, then that is my prerogative while I'm livin' la vida low-carb. The miracle and beauty of this way of eating is you can eat more and still lose weight.

Here's what the "expert" said:

"It sounded great! People could eat all the forbidden foods and lose weight," said Tufts' Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging Alice Lichtenstein, who added that Atkins Diet allowed large meat portions that would supposedly help the body burn fat.

If by "forbidden foods" she means butter, meat, cheese, eggs, etc., then YES you can eat all those foods and still lose weight. This goes against everything we have always heard nutritionally. And why are these foods considered "forbidden?" It is most likely because of their fat content which drives low-fatties insane when they see us low-carbers eating these foods.

One student followed the popular South Beach Diet, which was described as "similar to Atkins" in this story. Uh, no it's not. There are some major differences in the nutritional philosophy of these two programs. Anywho.

The student said she was "moody and hungry" during the first two weeks of Induction on South Beach. Well, I guess she was since you can't have ANY carbs at all during that time. At least with the Atkins diet you can eat 20g net carbs daily. You are not "cutting out entire food categories" as this story suggests. After three months, this student said she fell off the bandwagon and "decided it wasn't worth it."

Check out what she ate in a typical day and you'll see why she gave up:

A typical day in the life of Helms' diet plan looked like this: breakfast was eggs with vegetables and Canadian bacon. A mid-morning snack followed, which usually consisted of celery and low-fat Laughing Cow cheese. Lunch was often a lettuce wrap filled with tomato, cheese and dipping sauces. Apples and peanut butter were common afternoon snacks, and a chicken breast or pork chop with vegetables was a usual dinner.

For the most part, the food choices were good except for the low-fat cheese and the apples with peanut butter. I'd love to know what vegetables she ate and whether the "dipping sauces" contained any hidden sugars.

She added that she "was always hungry" on this plan because the portion sizes were too small.

Uh, yeah. So eat MORE! More food, more often, more satisfied. That's been my take on low-carb. If you are hungry, then eat. Don't allow yourself to starve just because you think that will make you lose weight faster. EAT, EAT, EAT! This notion that you could ever get hungry on a low-carb lifestyle is laughable to me. If I even feel the inkling of my stomach starting to growl, then I will eat something low-carb to satisfy me. It has worked and I haven't had to portion control one thing...EVER!

Of course, in a story about how awful low-carb is, you knew they were going to quote some "expert" who said the secret to losing weight is "cutting calories." Gee, what a surprise that I didn't see that one coming!

This same "expert" said people were too easily "snookered" by the low-carb lifestyle because they saw an "easy fix."

It was easy once you got into it and I am so glad I was personally "snookered" into doing it. My life will never be the same again thanks to the wonderfully delicious feast of foods I can enjoy while I'm livin' la vida low-carb. This is the life, baby!


Blogger lowcarbergal said...

Jimmy, great remarks to a stupid article.

I too agree that low carb is far from starvation. First of all South Beach is NOT a low carb diet. It's a lower fat, good carb diet, and when I tried it, I too was starving on it.

Truly low carb lets you eat higher amounts of satisfying fats and proteins. The majority of my carbs come from low starch veggies which I love, and low carb baked goods which I make myself, since I love to bake.

I am never deprived. You got it right...there are substitutes for EVERYTHING.

Keep up the great blog!

9/29/2005 11:12 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Hi Jimmy!
Great comments on low carb in general.

As for me, after years and years of reading everything on all kinds of diets, I have come to the conclusion that for many who advocate high carb, low fat, portion control, it's an emotional issue, not a factual one. After all, how can one keep advocating a plan that keeps failing, as obesity increases in this country ?

I know, I know, some of it is political, BUT IT KEEPS FAILING ! Is everyone blind and numb?

After reading the first chapter of Jonny Bowden's book, "Living the Low Carb Life", which goes over the history of dieting in this country,it seems also to be a moral issue for some advocates, the way it was for the first doctor to use calorie counting and portion control. Dr Lulu, I believe, seemed to imply that it was a matter of control and will power, thereby making it the moral problem of the dieter, not a matter of the dieter's metabolic intolerance of carbs.

Heavens forfend that a dieter should make weight loss enjoyable the way one can on low carb, with all the protein foods they can safely handle -- no, no, the bad, bad, fat person must feel deprived on low fat, low calorie fare until they lose enough weight to be considered a "good" person.

I could go on, but really, low carb seems so counter-intuitive to people who seem to think you have to control eating with calorie counting, to LET GO.

9/29/2005 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been doing low carb for about a month - the first week I lost 4 lbs. Since then - NOTHING! What gives? I make sure I am between 30-40 carbs per day

10/07/2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

There are so many reasons for weight stalling and I've addressed them on my main blog at as well as my videos. Stick with the plan and it will work for you. NEVER GIVE UP!

10/07/2009 10:34 AM  

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