Monday, October 10, 2005

Taking A Student To School On Low-Carb

College students are back in school and some of those young skulls full of mush are beginning to write about subjects they have no idea what they are talking about. Just look at this column from a student newspaper called The Spectator on the campus of The University of Wisconsin.

Composed by a student named Katie Flehmer, she opines that livin' la vida low-carb via programs such as The South Beach diet or the Atkins diet help to "promote bad eating habits."

Sigh. I guess I'm going to have to take little Katie to school regarding low-carb like I did these students from Ohio University and Arizona State University. Are you listening Ms. Flehmer because class is now in session.

While she accurately points out that there are a lot of "fad diets" advertised virtually all around us these days with billions of dollars spent on various diet plans, Flehmer focused the attention of her column specifically on livin' la vida low-carb.

Maintaining that both the Atkins diet and The South Beach diet are still very popular (even more popular than the #1 show on television!), Flehmer quotes a freshman who successfully lost 15 pounds while on the Atkins diet for six months but couldn't figure out why she gained the weight back so quickly after she "stopped the diet."

Gee, I wonder! This point has always bewildered me. Do people who lose weight on a low-carb program actually believe that once they have reached their goal weight that they'll be able to eat like they used to and NOT gain weight? Really? If that's your train of thought, then let me give you the biggest wake-up call of your life -- IT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN! The only way you can truly keep your weight under control is to find a plan that works for your and STICK WITH IT! There's nothing magical about low-carb other than the fact that it is the most delicious and satisfying "diet" plan out there which might explain why so many people are still doing it and making it their way of life.

Flehmer quotes a so-called health "expert" who claims the low-carb lifestyle encourages too much fat consumption despite the fact they are satiated by the foods they eat. The expert states that a person may feel full, but that's because they have all this fat glib-globbing inside of their bodies which will lead to weight gain after the "diet" is over.

I don't have much regard for a health "expert" who doesn't understand the science behind low-carb and why fat is so important to the effectiveness of low-carb. That's just being lazy from an intellectual standpoint and ignoring the new evidence that suggests fat may not be as harmful to your body as was once thought. As long as you stick with the low-carb lifestyle, as I have for nearly two years, your body will function just fine even when you consume more fat than this "expert" would like for you to. After all, the lastest research shows that eating a high-protein/low-carb diet will help you burn fat faster than any other weight loss program. Just check out my latest body fat percentage to see how well this really works!

Oh, but the health "expert" isn't done yet. She claims people are "putting themselves at risk" by trying the low-carb lifestyle because they'll have bad breath, develop cardiovascular diseases, bring on Type II diabetes or even get cancer.

Why don't we throw in that your arteries will clog up and you'll keel over before you reach the age of 25 to REALLY scare these students into NOT trying low-carb to deal with their weight problem? Yeah, those lies will go right along with the ones that were mentioned to keep them off of it forever. What a crock of you know what!

Bad breath? Pop a mint people if it bothers you that much!

Cardiovascular disease? Cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar all fall into healthy levels to protect your heart when you start livin' la vida low-carb.

Type II Diabetes? I think Jacqueline Eberstein's book thoroughly explains how the low-carb lifestyle can remedy this condition.

Cancer? You have a greater chance of getting cancer by remaining obese than by doing something about it such as low-carb.

None of these health problems are valid. NOT A SINGLE ONE!

But wait, there's more.

Remember the student who lost 15 pounds being on low-carb for six months and then gained it all back. She alleges that she "felt the physical wear" of being on low-carb because it was "such a restrictive diet" that caused her to be "fatigued all the time" and experience a "change in her attitude."

What's restrictive about eating a buffet full of delicious foods that you can't ever have on a low-fat diet such as full-fat cheeses, pepperoni, turkey, salad with bacon bits and real Ranch dressing, eggs, low-carb breads and pastas, butter, strawberries with whipped cream ... do I need to continue? What a useless excuse for not livin' la vida low-carb. As for being tired, that probably was during the first few weeks as your body was detoxifying itself from carb addiction. Your body has to go through this temporary process to help you begin losing weight and taking back your health. The change in attitude may need an attitude adjustment. Just kidding, read my comments about this subject here.

The student concluded that livin' la vida low-carb was "just way too much work." Lazy and ignorant. What a combination!

Yet another student stayed on the Atkins diet for three whole weeks before giving up on it. WOW! What commitment these young people have these days. She said it was "really hard not to eat carbs" as a young college student out on her own. She said the on-campus food selection didn't give her a lot of options and she was constantly hungry.

In order for someone to experience what the low-carb lifestyle is going to be like for them, I tell people that need to stay on it for a MINIMUM of three months. If after three months you don't think this is the miracle way of losing weight that I know it is, then stop doing it. Otherwise, keep doing it for the rest of your life as your permanent way of eating. And whatever you do, don't be foolish like this student and try to avoid ALL carbs. That's just stupid. I never ate less than 20g carbohydrates in any given day because your body needs some carbs to function properly. On the point of not being able to find low-carb foods on campus, is there not a grocery store near the campus where she could buy all the low-carb foods she needs? Again, lazy, lazy, lazy! Is this really the future leaders of America? Yikes, Lord help us all.

The health expert chimes in one more time at the end to get in her two cents worth on the value of low-carb. She said people lose weight, but "they are not learning good, healthy eating habits" because they do not encourage exercise or the consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber.

So exercise and eat lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and fiber. Nobody is stopping people from doing that on their low-carb lifestyle and even Dr. Atkins encouraged ALL of these things in his books. A lie can be just a subtle difference from the truth to make it seem true when in fact it is nothing more than a smokescreen. These kind of distortions of what livin' la vida low-carb is all about make it very difficult for people to get accurate information about the healthy benefits this way of eating can offer them, including weight loss and improvements in their health.

Little Katie Flehmer probably felt proud of this article she wrote thinking she was doing a great service to the students at UW. But what she has done is perpetuated the problem we have with obesity in this country by being a willing accomplice in the media to continue spreading rumors and lies about the low-carb lifestyle. I implore you, Katie, to do a little more research about low-carb and see that there are a whole lotta people who not only lose weight but keep it off for a very long time thanks to low-carb. Hopefully someday you will find out this truth for yourself.

10-11-05 UPDATE: I received the following response from Katie Flehmer today about my blog post:

Mr. Moore-

Thanks for your interest in my article. Very interesting things you had to say. But this “young skull full of mush” has something else to add. First off, let me say congratulations on your weight loss. I am glad that this particular diet worked for you. That is quite an accomplishment. However, that is about as congratulatory as I am going to get.

I did not begin my article with the intent of cutting down the Atkins diet. I went at it in an unbiased manner. I questioned many, many people on campus (which was my assignment) to see if I could find different results from any of the diets out there. Like it or not, Mr. Moore, I did not find one student who responded to the diet in a positive manner. So with my limited time, I used what resources I did have. Numerous times you ripped into my “so-called health expert.” What you conveniently forgot to mention is that my source just happens to be a registered nurse as well as the school’s nutritionist. Hardly a position acquired when one is not indeed certified to hold these titles. Not once in my article did I claim to have any sort of health expert myself. What I did include were FACTS from an RN and stories from students I interviewed. I am not a doctor; I don’t claim to be. But from numerous studies I have read and the, yes, health expert I interviewed, it is not healthy to consume an exorbitant amount of animal fats. Yes, as you said, a little bit of fat is beneficial to ones over all health but it is also true, sir, that excessive consumption of animal fat causes damage to your liver, as well as other detrimental side affects that I mentioned in my article. As for your suggestion of eating breath mints to help the halitosis that can be result of this sort of diet; interesting, but not practical. Breath mint machines would have to be stationed all around campus if that is the way to “cure” bad breath. The freshman I interviewed said that she became physically tired after being on the diet for awhile. Your response was that this student was just in the state of “detoxifying.” However, she was on the diet for SIX MONTHS and still felt this detrimental side effect. My other source you called lazy because she was unable to find food here on campus that fulfilled the dieting requirements. Transportation, time, MONEY are things we college students are at many times at a loss for. So yes, as a student it is harder to continue with this kind of diet than someone who has monetary means at their disposal.

All of the information I presented in my article was acquired from elsewhere. I never once said that I knew anything about the diet or results. My information was based of what I felt, and still feel, were credible sources. You chose to look at my article with emotion, rather than knowledge. While this particular diet worked wonders for you, it is not a “one size fits all” kind of deal. What worked for you may well not work the same for others. I was simply providing readers with information that I had gathered. I did not think that this article would discourage those from trying such a diet. If they had truly been interested in attempting such a thing, I am quite sure they would have looked up more information on their own.

I did not write this response to you in order to refute or promote your claim that the Atkins diet is the best diet available but to bring to your attention that your representation my of article was grossly misrepresented in what it was trying to do. Amid a response riddled with sarcasm and condescension, you failed to see what my true intent was. I was simply trying to enlighten; not to coerce.

-Katie Flehmer

Katie, I appreciate your response and the explanation of your intent with your column. But it came across as VERY biased against the Atkins diet. That's why I chose to challenge the points you made. I've been a college student and went to grad school, so I understand the challenges of money and being able to afford "healthy" food. It can be done. As for the claim that I am advocating livin' la vida low-carb as the ONLY way people can ever eat to lose weight, nothing could be further from the truth. If you read my blog for very long, then you will find that I urge people to do whatever they can to lose weight whether it is low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, whatever. Doing SOMETHING about it is what I promote. For me it was low-carb because it was the easiest and most satifying way I have ever tried. I just want to share the good news with others.

THANKS again for your response and good luck to you in your journalism career. I find it VERY hard to believe that NOBODY was willing to stand up for the low-carb lifestyle at the University of Wisconsin. But maybe you were right and there weren't any. Those tens of millions of people who are low-carbin' it live somewhere near you, though! Try finding them for your next column. :-)


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