Monday, January 23, 2006

Low-Carb Not 'Magic Pill' For Weight Loss, But Is A Great Place To Start

This San Francisco, CA-based Metroctive column written by staff satirist Ella Lawrence just further exascerbates the myth that livin' la vida low-carb is all about eating meat.

In her tongue-in-cheek article "Back in Flour: Atkins is dead, long live the carb," Lawrence puts her ignorance about the Atkins diet on full display. While I realize she is trying to be funny with what she is writing, the basis for any good humor is when it is rooted in the truth.

She claims in this piece that the low-carb lifestyle consists of "a standard breakfast of bacon and eggs, segued into an at-work barbecue of homemade bratwurst, launched from there to a happy-hour resplendent with sausage-y snacks and culminated with another barbecue and fireworks session laden with all sorts of grilled pig products--featuring a midnight snack of yet more bratwurst and sauerkraut."

Let me tell you something, Ms. Lawrence. If I ate that much pork in a day, I think I would throw-up. Genuine low-carbers don't just kill a pig and gnaw on it all day as you claim. Nope, we incorporate healthy fruits, vegetables, cheese and other vitamin-rich, delicious foods to complement our protein-packed meat selections. Nobody in their right mind would ever pretend to eat the way you just described, Ms. Lawrence. You simply make yourself look like a fool for even insinuating it.

Contending that "thousands of Americans following the faddish Atkins diet, a day like this is the norm in their culinary routine" is simply absurd.

For starters, there aren't "thousands" following this way of eating, but rather MILLIONS -- TENS OF MILLIONS according to the latest survey results. The media-invented "death of low-carb" is nothing more than hyperbolized hype for the sake of discouraging people from tackling their obesity and health problems head-on. That to me is a complete and utter travesty.

Lawrence continues: "The Atkins program, an extremely carbohydrate-restrictive diet, seems to have become popular because it offers Americans a magic pill: eat all the fatty foods you want, don't exercise and still lose weight."

What is the definition of "extremely carbohydrate-restrictive diet" and why is it such a bad thing? I just returned from a scientific conference in New York that provided statistical evidence showing that a ketogenic, or very low-carb, diet can be useful in treating diabetes, epilepsy, obesity and a wide range of other human ailments.

Nobody is claiming low-carb is for everyone or is indeed the "magic pill" for weight loss. But getting an understanding of WHY you can eat more fat than the typical diet "and still lose weight" is the assignment of anyone who wants to begin a low-carb routine for themselves. You wouldn't start a new job without training and educating yourself about what the job entails. The same goes for your weight loss and disease management. READ THE BOOK FIRST and then start doing it -- the right way!

As for this "don't exercise" nonsense, Dr. Atkins never discouraged people from getting physical activity in their lives. In fact, he promoted just the opposite. If you are going to write a believable story about low-carb, then at least do a little bit of homework and make yourself sound at least halfway intelligent. These people just amaze me!

Lawrence claims that "carbohydrates are the building blocks for our bodies and for sound nutrition."

But even she must admit Americans have traditionally overconsumed carbohydrates for far too long. I am arguably one of the biggest (figurately, not literally -- ANYMORE!) proponents of the low-carb lifestyle and yet I believe carbohydrate consumption is a GOOD thing. GASP! This whole idea that low-carb means NO carb is just another attempt by our opposition to define who we are. I'm not going to allow that to happen.

The high-protein, high-fat, low-carb approach for losing weight for people who have been used to eating "processed foods, excessive amounts of white flour and sugar" for most of their lives (and for obese Americans, that's virtually ALL of them!), Lawrence acquiesces and admits it is an effective way to lose weight. But she still not convinced it is a healthy, long-term "lifestyle."

"The Atkins diet ... seems a sure road to colon cancer, to say the least. Heart disease and kidney stones are among just a few of the negative side effects that nutritionists fear may result from following the Atkins diet for an extended period of time. Well, the Atkins craze is over."

I agree, the CRAZE about the Atkins diet is over (thank God!). Now maybe people can ignore all of the poor low-carb products that flooded the market and get back to the basics of low-carb eating. When I was in the midst of losing over 180 pounds in 2004, not ONCE did I ever eat any of those "low-carb" creations, not even from Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. They didn't appeal to me at all.

These accusations that the low-carb lifestyle will result in all of these alleged diseases are just plain bunk. Prove it! When am I supposed to get colon cancer? When will the heart disease hit me? How about those kidney stones? Anyone? Hello? Ms. Lawrence, repeating a lie -- PURPOSEFULLY -- just to suit your bias is reprehensible and you should be a more responsible journalist than that. The fact is all of those accusations about livin' la vida low-carb are just plain false and you know it.

The so-called "extreme health conditions" that come from following a carbohydrate-restricted diet are being found to be unmerited. So many of the speakers at the Nutrional & Metabolic Aspects of Carbohydrate Restriction conference this past weekend presented clinical and laboratory studies looking at this very issue. While there was some minor disagreement about what level of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) are needed for optimal health, the general consensus was that a low-carb diet will actually IMPROVE health. Gee, imagine that!

Lawrence, though, repeats the same old "moderation" mantra that simply leads to starvation. She adds that if people just eat less and exercise more, then weight loss will happen. This "calories in, calories out" message is so yesterday's news, though. There's a new and better way to eat that will maximize your health and will lead you to living a long, productive life in the years to come. It's the low-carb lifestyle and I will never be the same again because of it.

How'd you like to start livin' la vida low-carb TODAY? Sounds like a GREAT idea to me. E-mail me at if you need any assistance getting started. I've been there weighing 410 pounds not that long ago. YOU CAN DO IT!


Blogger Newbirth said...

Oh my God...what an idiot, and the worst kind, too - a willful idiot.

We don't work out? We eat nothing but meat? Carbohydrates the building block of life? The build block of life is protein. Carbohydrate isn't even necessary to human survival - protein and fat ARE.

1/23/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger Jerry&Gloria said...

I really like what Jonny Bowden says--"No one diet works for everyone."

The 'eat less, exercise more" seems to work best for people who have less than 30-35 pounds to lose.

Those of us who have yo-yoed through life and put on 50 pounds or more--well we just don't respond to that strategy. It's like something's broken in our metabolism. I have lost on low fat but I was cold all of the time and obsessed with eating. Constant craving... I can forget about food with this plan and live LIFE in between meals.

My blood work is just great. My last check, my GOOD HDL cholesterol was 90--I'm not kidding. Up from 56. Everything else was normal.


1/23/2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Exactly right, NewBirth. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate in nutritional science. But that doesn't mean we don't eat the healthy ones. Jerry&Gloria made a interesting remark too: "it is as if something broke in our metabolism". Well, in fact, that is true. Something did break it: the Government-enforced overconsumption of refined carbs. Obesity, in most cases, is a defect of the carbohydrate metabolism. The (overworked) pancreas may not function properly anymore, often as a result of our cells no longer being sufficiently sensitive to insulin (hence the term insulin insensitivity). These are well-known and well-documented conditions. But, as usual, the media is not interested in the truth - only in sensationalism and simplistic overgeneralizations. This reporter, if anything, only proves her intellectual bankruptcy. She would do very well on the science-purification squad of Gorran and his fear-mongering cronies!

1/23/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I have no idea what wrong with my metabolism. I know I was 30+ pounds overweight most of my life and decided I could live with that. It was the medication I take that piled on 30-40 more pounds, and that I couldn't live with. Personally, I think the med causes carb cravings which Atkins helps control. What I do know is even a "controlled carb" diet of about 100g a day gives me the most horrible cravings imaginable. For me, I hav eto stay truly LOW carb to keep the cravings under control.

I've binged more times than I can count, and at least one person I know thinks it's the result of the medication giving me cravings that most people don't have to deal with.

1/23/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Jimmy, I have sent a link to this post to my father who is at least 60 lbs. overweight and stubbornly believes in the "calories in, calories out" theory. As if how your body processes those calories, fat, protein, etc. had nothing to do with it! I'm hoping between the great articles I find and my own weight loss, I can inspire my dad to get healthy the right way.

1/23/2006 11:03 PM  
Blogger Philena Rush said...

Yes I agree that low carb doesn't work for everyone. It takes time as well. But every with proper diet and exercise you body is still depleted of vitamins and minerals. My Weight Loss Secret

1/24/2006 12:01 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I can virtually guarantee you that indeed, it is the medications, NewBirth. I've seen it in numerous people - once they could be waned off medications, weight loss came effortlessly on low-carb. Unfortunately dumping the meds is not a viable option for everybody. I have great respect for your success!

1/24/2006 5:37 AM  
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1/24/2006 5:55 PM  

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