Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Low-Carb Backers Sock It To 'The Pocket Diet'

Promotes portion control, low-fat, and low-calorie for weight control

When I saw the press release for a new book entitled The Pocket Diet I should have known right off the bat I probably wouldn't like its message very much. The headline of the press release blared the words, "Now That Low-Carb Fad Is Over, 'Pocket Dieting' Poised to Be Next Big Trend."

My problems were with calling livin' la vida low-carb both a "fad" and "over" in the same sentence. Obviously neither one of those terms are true regarding the millions of us who are on a low-carb lifestyle and yet the marketers for this The Pocket Diet book deemed it necessary to include this verbage in their press release to attract attention to it.

Despite getting off on the wrong foot withThe Pocket Diet, I decided to delve deeper and to see if there was any merit to the book at all.

Not surprising, with a name like The Pocket Diet you knew that was to help portion control your food. In fact, that's exactly what the purpose of the pockets are. The slogan states, "Perfect Portion Control That Works." As someone who has been livin' la vida low-carb and used to weigh 410 pounds, I can't see how cutting back my portions would have helped me lose weight. But I kept reading.

There was a message that I agreed with in the front of the book about the "key elements for controlling your weight for the long term." I have listed them here verbatim from The Pocket Diet book:

1. Educating your self (sic) on proper nutrition.
2. Adopting new habits so you can eat healthy.

I try to convey these same principles regarding the low-carb lifestyle. It's a healthy and nutritious way to not only lose weight, but also keep it off forever.

But that's obviously not the message the authors of The Pocket Diet are trying to convey. This was especially made evident when on the first page of the Introduction they write, "remember that portion control is the key to successful weight control." Uh, no it isn't. Nevertheless, I read some more.

Written and developed by George Kashou, founder of the Kangaroo Brands, Inc. pita pocket breads used by the followers of The Pocket Diet, Caitlyn E. Lorenze, the registered dietitian who was responsible for the nutritional information in the book, and Scott Shully, the chef who created the delicious recipes that fill up the second half of the book. But I believe somebody really should have skimmed over the book a little closer during the editing phase because I found multiple spelling errors throughout the book, some of which were glaring (they spelled Foreword as "Foreward").

The Pocket Diet diet in a nutshell is this: Use the fat-free pita pocket breads to be stuffed with as much food as you can possibly get in them to help limit your portion size, fat, and calories to help you lose weight. If you get hungry in between your pocket meals, then you have several "free foods" to munch on, primarily fat-free.

I applaud the makers of The Pocket Diet for providing people who live a busy life a convenient way to eat on the go. I personally tried these pita breads and they are GREAT (only 12 net carbs, too!). I also appreciate that they contain a good amount of fiber which is also good for you when you are livin' la vida low-carb.

The book also promotes both water and exercise as part of a healthy weight control program which I would agree with. Additionally, their focus on limiting sugar, consuming enough protein, and eating the right kinds of fats was encouraging.

But I have to take issue with the book's seeming disdain for the low-carbohydrate method for losing weight. Espousing the USDA Food Pyramid as the example for people to follow nutritionally (red flags, red flags!), there is a section entitled "Are Low-Carb Diets Safe and Effective?" This one page about a third of the way in the book made me throw it against the wall in disgust. When will these low-fat/low-calorie/portion-control advocates even start to give the low-carb lifestyle a chance to be heard. The entire page talks about how all the so-called "experts" in the health industry agree this way of eating is bad for you.

Why? Because you all say it is? Have you even done any empirical studies and research into this fantastic lifestyle change that has helped millions upon millions restore their health and control their weight permanently. I lost 180 pounds by livin' la vida low-carb and I didn't need a pita pocket to help me get there either! There are many ways to consume nutritious whole grain breads with loads of fiber in them, so the lecture about not eating bread on low-carb on this same page is completely unnecessary. We don't think bread is bad, we just think too much white bread is bad.

Now that you've got my blood boiling (breathe, Jimmy, breathe - LOL!), let me just say that while the specifics of limiting your fat, calories and portions is something I strongly disagree with in principle because it goes against everything I did during my weight loss and weight maintenance phase on low-carb. With that said, though, I want to commend the chef for his great looking recipes with pictures in the second half of the book, many of which are low-carb (although I question the recipe that includes a 1/2 banana and allegedly only has 1 carbohydrate. That's impossible since a whole banana has nearly 30 carbs).

If you like the convenience of the pita pockets, then this might be something you can incorporate into your busy yet healthy low-carb lifestyle. Visit The Pocket Diet web site for more information about obtaining these pita pockets for yourself.

The Pocket Diet costs $10 and is 125 pages long, short enough that you can read it in one sitting.

9-15-05 UPDATE: One of the regular readers of this blog sent me the following e-mail today about my review:

Hi Jimmy,

That was a great review of "The Pocket Diet." You offered a balanced evalution of the book, praised the parts that were valid, and slammed the parts that were invalid. You didn't do what so many critics of the low-carb lifestyle do, which is to dismiss it out of hand when they haven't even examined its effectiveness. You came across as a superb spokeman for the low-carb lifestyle.

I wonder if the so-called experts, some of them doctors and nutritionists, realize how they sound when they make their often
preposterous arguments against our way of eating. They remind me of the small children who refuse to taste any new food, even though they have no idea of its taste or nutritional value. They have their opinion and they don't want to be bothered with the facts.

THANK YOU for that great feedback! Although I get my fair share of criticism for my staunch defense of the low-carb lifestyle, I always try to keep an open mind and give credit when it is appropriate. THANKS for noticing. I also appreciate your readership at my blog. Take care and thanks for writing.


Blogger Some Guy said...

Joseph brand pitas are 5 carbs a piece after fiber and don't have any creepy "we secretly replaced all the real food content with sawdust" flavor. They were a HUGE help during my induction period and I'm still eating them. Really, when you think about it, what goes in a sandwich that's high in carbs besides the bread? The pocket diet is actually taking advantage of a reduced carb strategy with healthy, moderate carb sandwiches. They're just avoiding the carb controversy by focusing on the more traditionally accepted diet concepts.

9/14/2005 9:48 AM  

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