Sunday, October 23, 2005

Low-Carb A Perfect Fit For College Students

College students and the low-carb lifestyle go hand in hand

It has not been that long ago since I have been in college and one thing I remember about college students is how incredibly unhealthy they can eat! I ate my fair share of ordering pizzas to the dorm, making trips to the doughnut shop at 2 o'clock in the morning for a "study break," and eating on the go all the time. Life in college is just so fast-paced, how can you possibly even think about eating "healthy."

That's the topic of this story written by Illinois State University student newspaper columnist Abby Gabrys for the Daily Vidette. Unfortunately, Gabrys fell into the same trap that this student journalist did recently by making erroneous assumptions about livin' la vida low-carb. Let's see if we can't straighten her out just a bit!

In the article entitled "A fresh look at healthy eating, dieting," Gabrys writes that the literal barrage of diet plans on the market today makes it "difficult for students to determine what is truly healthy and unhealthy for their bodies."

She quotes a couple of ISU health professors who proclaims the same old mumbo jumbo about calories in, calories out and getting an adequate enough exercise while following the government-recommended food pyramid.

"People often get caught up in fad diets, but in the long run they aren't effective in keeping weight off," said one of these health "experts."

So far there's nothing "fresh" about this look at healthy eating and dieting. The old ways of limiting your calories, fat grams, and portion sizes just don't hold true as a lot more people than watch the popular Fox-TV show American Idol have found a healthy and permanent alternative in the low-carb lifestyle.

But Gabrys points her criticism directly at the Atkins diet and "similar high-protein" programs in her column first. She asserts that these programs claim to "alter a body's metabolism so it will burn stored fat while building muscle mass" (which studies have proven that it does), but then chastises them for encouraging people to "consume too much fat" while shunning "fruit, vegetables and whole grains."

One of her "experts" again chimes in with this ridiculous quote: "Carbohydrates are a wonderful source of energy for the body. If you are exercising, your body needs them in order to perform. You won't have energy and people often get tired of the [low-carb] diet because they can't eat much variety of foods."

I have a question for Gabrys that she needs to provide an honest answer to. Which is worse for your body -- fat or sugar? Her answer to that question will let me know if she has truly done her research on this subject or if she is merely buying into the warnings we have heard for far too long in the media.

Fat is not the great enemy people! This nation is eating way too much sugar (Gabrys does not even mention the subject of sugar in her column on healthy eating and dieting...hmmmm) which is causing the obesity rates to rise as rapidly as they have in the past decade.

Continuing her assault against livin' la vida low-carb, Gabrys write that people who restrict their carbohydrate intake enter "ketosis, a condition that causes the body to produce high levels of uric acid" which "may be a risk factor for gout and kidney stones."

Yadda yadda yadda. We've heard all of this before, Ms. Gabrys. Again, there is NOTHING "fresh" about this column you wrote. But to help you and others understand the purpose of ketosis, it is not a "condition" (that makes it sound like some kind of disease or something!), but rather a wonderful physical state when you are eating low-carb that allows your body to become a lean, mean fat-burning machine. Without ketosis, there would be no weight loss on low-carb.

I've been eating low -carb for nearly two years while losing over 180 pounds and keeping it off. I don't have gout or kidney stones and don't plan on having either one of them. All I know is I have never felt as healthy and vibrant as I do at this very moment in my entire life! I attribute that to the miraculous physical change that has happened to me thanks to livin' la vida low-carb.

The rest of Gabrys' column focuses on the importance of eating dairy products for strong bones (low-carb eating strengthens you bones, too!) and eating fruits and vegetables.

Despite what you hear about the low-carb lifestyle in the media, we DO eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods. But not all fruits and veggies are the same, so you have to be discerning about which ones you put in your mouth. I love to eat raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, fresh salads, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, low-carb whole grain breads and much, much more as part of my low-carb living. These are important foods that have helped me lose weight and keep it off as part of a controlled-carb approach to eating.

The mindless reporting to the contrary is just a purposeful way to mislead the public that is truly dishonest and malicious if you ask me. Why does the media continually lie about low-carb? What is their motive for doing so? I really would like to know the answer to that question because you would think the media would be falling all over themselves to celebrate the amazing success that people like me have had on it. I just don't get it.

Despite the label that this story would be a "fresh look at healthy eating, dieting," Gabrys just had to include a reference to eating a "balanced" diet. That's the same advice that this young writer wrote about in her recent column against low-carb. That phrase has become so cliche now that nobody really knows what it means.

I would contend that my low-carb eating plan is MUCH more "balanced" than the typical American diet. The majority of people could stand to cut back on the carbs (especially sugar, white flour and starchy foods), increase their protein and fiber consumption, and eating with a purpose rather than stuffing their mouths with whatever is in front of them. That would be a healthy "balance" that will get their weight under control for good!

One of the health "experts" did say some positive things that college students and anyone for that matter should follow for weight management that I want to highlight:

- Don't skip meals (especially breakfast)
- Watch your body mass rather than your weight (my body fat % went way down)
- Don't take diet pills (do I really have to explain why?)
- Start making good eating habits now (and make it your lifestyle change)
- Exercise 30 minutes per day doing whatever activity you enjoy
- Maintain your weight during the holidays, just don't gain
- Don't deprive yourself of foods you want (you could plan a splurge every once in a while)

Gabrys and her fellow classmates at Illinois State University as well as college students all across the United States should take a closer look at low-carb to help them maintain their weight during college. The stress of tests, late night studying, social activities, and lack of time to get anything done may sound like an excuse to not worry about eating healthy while getting that degree. But livin' la vida low-carb is tailor-made for this kind of busy lifestyle and very easy to implement.

Send Abby Gabrys an e-mail encouraging her about how the low-carb lifestyle is adaptable to her life as a college student. Educating college students about how low-carb can help them now can help them carry those healthy characteristics into the future when they are in their 30's, 40's, or 50's and living life. Don't waste half your life trying to figure out how to lose weight permanently when the answer is staring you in the face. Start livin' la vida low-carb today!


Blogger Mr. LowCarb said...

Hey Jimmy,

Great post and congrats on your weight loss!

I have a son playing football in college (Springfield Mass.) and fortunately he has good guidance on nutrition.

I myself follow a low carb diet plan and wouldn't consider anything else. Since I like to work out at the gym, it wouldn't make much sense to eat anything else. That's the plan touted by body builders AND fitness experts alike!

Keep up the good work with the blog and keep informing the masses.

10/23/2005 11:32 PM  

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