Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bariatric Doctor Insists Low-Carb Is 'Dangerously Unhealthy'

An op-ed piece that ran on News Blaze this week asks the question regarding weight loss and healthy living, "What if it wasn’t about low-carb or low-fat, but it was about YOU?"

Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, a Naples, Florida-based medical doctor specializing in bariatics providing her patients with lifetime weight management programs, writes in her column that the debate about the efficacy of low-fat diets compared with the low-carb lifestyle will continue to exist because of "some very exciting new research" set to release.

"It seems now that scientists have shown that the big variable in deciding which is better isn’t so much the fat or the carbs—it’s you!" boasts Dr. Cederquist. "Of course, some of us have been saying that for a while."

Describing livin' la vida low-carb and specifically the Atkins diet as "a fairly extreme, carnivorous" way of eating (she's not an anti-meat activist like these idiots, is she?!), Dr. Cederquist claims it is "effective for some," but "dangerously unhealthy for others." She adds that no one diet plan is a "one-size-fits-all solution."

How can the same program be both "effective" and healthy for some while also being "dangerously unhealthy" for others at the same time? That doesn't make any sense to me. While I agree that the low-carb lifestyle is not the ultimate answer for anyone and everyone trying to lose weight and keep it off, I think making such hyberbolistic statements about low-carb achieves the desired effect of discouraging people from even trying this phenomenal lifestyle change for themselves.

Before I started livin' la vida low-carb in January 2004, I had tried every other diet imaginable. Low-fat, low-calorie, Slim-Fast, starve yourself, you name it! None of those worked for me because they were not sustainable over the long term for me. It wasn't until I found the low-carb lifestyle that I was able to eat many foods that I enjoy while still keeping my weight under control. This has been a miracle plan for me and I'm not going to have anyone convince me otherwise.

Dr. Cederquist admits she has people coming to her all the time "complaining of failure after failure with different diets" and are frustrated they have been unable to lose weight despite the fact that many others have seen success on various programs.

"Your individual weight problem has to be treated individually," she explains, advocating a specific diet plan that meets your body's needs.

Arguing that people need to eat less calories than they burn, Dr. Cederquist said the debate should not be around fat, carbohydrates or protein, but rather insulin sensitivity.

"People who are insulin resistant have to produce more insulin than normal to do those jobs, because their bodies are not responsive at normal levels of insulin production," she contends. "As you might suppose, insulin resistance is a red-flag precursor to the dangerous disease of diabetes, in which patients are so resistant that their bodies can’t churn out enough extra insulin no matter how they try, and they have to take supplemental insulin."

This process is "not irreversible" if you can keep from getting to that point, Dr. Cederquist reveals. She believes weight loss and other health improvements that come from healthy eating habits and exercise will increase insulin sensitivity.

Citing a new study of 21 obese, non-diabetic but insulin sensative and insulin resistent women, Dr. Cederquist said half were put on a high-carb/low-fat diet and the other half were put on a low-carb/high-fat diet for a period of 16 weeks. Their weight, insulin sensitivity, blood lipids, and metabolic rates were tracked and measured as part of the study.

Those who were insulin-sensitive and on the high-carb/low-fat diet lost 13 percent of their initial body weight compared with 7 percent for those on the low-carb/high-fat diet.

But for those who were insulin-resistant, the numbers reversed -- the low-carb/high fat dieters lost 13 percent of their initial body weight compared with 8 percent of those on the high-carb/low-fat diet.

All other physical factors changed in direct relation to the amount of weight that was lost.

While this was "a small study," Dr. Cederquist said she expects these results to lead to "additional, larger studies" into weight loss treatments for the years to come.

Individualized weight-loss treatment, Dr. Cederquist maintains, is what has been needed for a long time.

"We won’t necessarily say we told you so, but not because we weren’t trying," she concluded.

In a blurb at the end of her article called "Through Thick & Thin," Dr. Cederquist recommends that people eat less calories, lower our fat intake, and avoid the "smorgasbord" of food options available to us (i.e. portion control what you eat).

Okay, so weight loss is all about and up to me, huh? Then why am I expected to watch my calories, watch my fat, or watch my portions, Dr. Cederquist. When I weighed 410 pounds and was eating anything and everything in sight with no regard for what I was putting in my mouth, it was inevitable what was happening to my health.

But I made the conscientious decision to become purposeful in my eating habits when I started livin' la vida low-carb and the results have been incredible. 180+ pounds lost and kept off for 10 months, blood pressure falling from 170/99 with medication down to 120/82 with no medication, HDL good cholesterol going up, LDL bad cholesterol and triglycerides going way down, body fat percentage going from 50% down to 11%, and much, much more. My life is radically changed because of the low-carb lifestyle and I want others who struggle with their weight to give this option a try if nothing else has worked for them.

I sense that the Cederquist weight loss programs incorporate the same old "watch your calories, watch your fat, watch your portions" message that has been rammed down our throats by the government and health experts for decades. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing that message because it's just not true. Don't tell me that I have to watch the amount of fat I put in my mouth or the number of calories I can eat in a day because I haven't kept up with that since I began the low-carb lifestyle. Instead, I don't allow sugar or other unnecessary carbs to enter my body and I am a healthier man because of that.

While all diets are not the same and will not work for everyone, it is not my place or your place to discourage someone from trying to do SOMETHING about their weight in a way that works for them. If it's low-fat, then so be it. If it's low-carb, then so be it. But give people the options with all the facts and stop scaring them with purposeful mischaracterizations about this wonderful way of eating. Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. People can then decide which plan is best for them and make their choice based on an informed decision and not on baseless "facts." Doctors who ignore the healthy benefits of low-carb are doing a great disservice to their patients.

Dr. Cederquist is right about one thing -- this debate about low-fat vs. low-carb is not going away. As long as it exists, I'll be here trumpeting the cause of low-carb because it changed my life forever. It could be just the lifestyle change you've been looking for.


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