Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nutritionist Says Low-Carb Provides 'Unhealthy Weight Loss'

As I have been responding to the media attacks against Atkins and other low-carb programs for the past five months, I think I've seen it all. But I do believe this story from WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina takes the cake for one of the most absurd charges against livin' la vida low-carb that I have heard.

The segment features nutrition "experts" who say they have had to help former low-carb dieters "pick up the pieces" from being on the popular weight loss program.

"Many people lost weight doing Atkins, but it was not always healthy weight loss," the story reads.

Can somebody please explain to me what an "unhealthy weight loss" is? Have you ever heard anything more intellectually insulting than this? The fact is that people lost weight on a low-carb lifestyle and are still losing a whole lot of weight on this way of eating.

I can only assume that their continued focus on the fat and protein content of the foods you can eat as part of a healthy low-carb plan have something to do with their jaded view of the Atkins diet. Is this what makes livin' la vida low-carb such an "unhealthy" way to lose weight? Could this explain why nutritionists believe they must help former low-carbers recover from being on the Atkins diet?

Might I remind you that scientists have shown that scientists have found following a low-carb lifestyle guarantees permanent weight loss and that low-carb provides people needing to lose weight and keep it off the metabolic advantage over other diet plans such as low-fat, low-calorie and portion-controlled diets. If people seriously make livin' la vida low-carb their lifestyle change, then weight loss and maintenance is sure to follow.

A couple in this story tried several diet programs, including Atkins (described in the story as "plenty of meat and dairy products with restrictions on rice, pasta, fruit, vegetables and whole grains"), and the woman said it made her "sluggish" and unsuccessful at losing weight. She was also concerned about her heart problems and her diabetes as she was on low-carb.

That description of Atkins is not how I would describe a low-carb diet. While you can indeed have meat (and there's nothing wrong with that), you don't necessarily have a whole lot of dairy other than cheese because milk is loaded with carbohydrates. In addition, you can eat many healthy portions of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains as well as low-carb versions of pasta (Have you tried Dreamfields? Oh my goodness!).

As for low-carb making her feel "sluggish," I'm sure she is referring to the first few days on the program when your body is ridding itself of toxins that have kept you unhealthy for far too long. Your addiction to sugar and other carbs needs to be broken and it can be a little rough at first. But that's no reason to give up on it! I wrote in my book that people need to endure through those first few weeks of livin' la vida low-carb so you can get on your way to a healthy weight and feeling better again. Believe me when I tell you it is all worth it in the end. Can I get a witness?!

The story then shifts to a self-professed health "expert" dietitian who makes the statement, "You never want to be on any type of diet that tells you to avoid certain food groups. Carbohydrates have a place. They are our energy yielding food."

Yes, doesn't everyone know that the Atkins diet strictly forbids any and every carbohydrate from ever entering your mouth! You laugh, but I betcha that's what many of these misinformed dietitians like this one are telling their clients. But that's a lie that frankly has never been true of low-carb. You get to eat plenty of carbs, but you stay away from unhealthy carbs such as sugar and white flour. There is a distinction between carbs and learning about which ones you should eat is part of the process of livin' la vida low-carb.

While carbs supposedly give you a burst of energy (and then a crash and burn soon thereafter), your body can fuel itself on the fat you eat as well. Before I go to workout, I make sure I eat a moderate meal consisting of protein, fat and very little carbs. This gives me all the energy I need to make it through my 45-60 minutes of intense cardio. I don't need carbs to energize me. Fat does that for me.

The story also laments that low-carbers skip supposedly healthy fruits which contain necessary ingredients, such as fiber. But if you are doing low-carb correctly, you should not have a problem with fiber. I take supplements as well as get lots of fiber in my body through products like GoLower bars or Miracle Muffins. This excuse about fiber is another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.

Following a low-fat diet, the couple featured in the story is also exercising and claims they are losing weight now without hunger. I wish them the best of luck on their weight loss plan and encourage people who need to lose weight to do something about it besides moan and complain. If you want to lose weight, then there are ways to do it. Whether you choose low-fat, low-carb, or whatever, make the all-important decision to get your health under control by lowering your weight.

One final note on this story: At the end they admit that a lot of people lose weight and lower their bad cholesterol while on the Atkins diet, but that this diet has the highest drop-out rates of all diet plans. Is that supposed to mean something about the efficacy of the diet itself? The fact that people stop doing it doesn't mean the diet is a failure. It is merely an indication that the person attempting to lose weight on that program did not choose to stick to it. You can't blame the low-carb lifestyle for that!

A person who wants to lose weight and commits to do it can and will lose weight by livin' la vida low-carb. Just look at me!


Blogger DietKing said...

Jimmy, my friend--

You wrote: "The fact that people stop doing it doesn't mean the diet is a failure. It is merely an indication that the person attempting to lose weight on that program did not choose to stick to it. You can't blame the low-carb lifestyle for that!"

I agree with you on that. Let me just add this: I think Benjamin Franklin once said, "You will observe with concern how long a useful truth may be known, and exist, before it is generally received and practiced on."

This is where the problem lies. Until it becomes widely known and accepted that excessive carbohydrate consumption causes weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease (and on and on and on) people will continue blaming animal fat (or any other fat for that matter)for their woes. It's going to be a long, drawn out struggle--that couple you speak of are a perfect example. Because society doesn't accept this notion, restaurants and food producers don't supply more low-carb choices, thus making Living La Vida Low-Carb an unecessarily harder than average plan to follow--but it's the right plan. It always has been. Always will be--it's simple human biology.

9/08/2005 12:12 PM  

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