Dr. Barbara V. Howard says obesity "not caused by the lower-fat diets"
This Miami Herald story is about a new study of the low-fat, high-carb diet that is so cherished by the media, government, and medical "experts" which was conducted over seven years.
As an attempt to respond to the supporters of the low-carb lifestyle, Dr. Barbara V. Howard from the nonprofit MedStar Research Institute found in a study of 48,000 women aged 50-79 who ate a low-fat, high-carb diet that they lost an insignificant 2 pounds over a seven-year span.
WOW, two whole pounds in seven years?! Really? Man, makes you want to go out and start livin' la vida LOW-FAT right away, doesn't it? LOL! Are you kidding me? Is she really hailing this measly TWO POUND weight loss as something to be proud of for her study participants?
Oh, but Dr. Howard is an "obesity expert" who was the lead author of the study who not only heralded her study, but said it proves that low-fat diets aren't the reason for the obesity epidemic getting worse as low-carb supporters often claim.
"It will help people to understand that the weight gain we're seeing in this country is not caused by the lower-fat diets," Dr. Howard proclaimed.
Over TWO whole pounds, Dr. Howard? Is that something we should REALLY be applauding? Couldn't those ladies in your study lose more than just TWO pounds?! Was that just an average where ONE participant lost like 100 pounds and all the rest gained weight, but the average ended up being a net two-pound loss? I cannot for the life of me understand how ANYONE would be happy with the results of this study on the long-term effectiveness of low-fat diets.
There is one REAL obesity expert named Dr. Michael Dansinger from the Tufts-New England Medical Center and is also a weight loss consultant for the hit NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser" who is not at all happy with the findings of this study.
"This is like losing the Super Bowl but claiming a second place victory," Dansinger said. "The results are disappointing in the context of a country trying to battle obesity."
Dr. Dansinger is right on target with his comment. I like the analogy to football, too. A lot of people take credit for making efforts in the battle against obesity, and yet the obesity rates keep going up and up. Real solutions to the obesity problem will result in a rapid decline of those rates and that means we need to look at methods other than the same old low-fat lie.
That's why it has been so frustrating for me to see how the cherished low-fat diets have continued to be propped up despite clear scientific evidence that they are NOT working to curb the obesity tidal wave. At the same time, low-carb is vilified at every turn by all sorts of critics. If we really care about people losing weight, then why wouldn't we want all of the methods for helping people do that on the table? Hmmm?
Dr. Howard's study appears in the January 4, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The women in the study cut their fat content down to 20 percent and ate more fruits, veggies and whole grains, including eating more carbs. The low-fat dieters lost almost 5 pounds in their first year, but quickly gained back most of the weight. Meanwhile the control group maintained their weight over the entire seven years.
Although the study was not specifically designed to observe weight loss, but rather the effect of low-fat diets on heart disease and cancer, Dr. Howard felt there needed to be a response to the low-carb proponents who often link obesity with the low-fat diets recommended by doctors, health groups and even the government.
Well, if this is your response, Dr. Howard, I would say you've got a lot more convincing to do to make your case that low-fat has not made obesity worse. As someone who lost 170 pounds on a low-fat diet in 1999, I KNOW that you can lose weight by reducing your fat intake. But the problem comes in when you try to keep the weight off for good that way. It is a virtual impossibility because you are constantly hungry, feel deprived of the delicious foods you want to eat, and feel like crap most of the time. At least I did. It was nice being skinnier, but I just couldn't keep it up and eventually gained all my weight back.
While Dr. Dansinger says his own research has found low-carb diets are effective for weight loss, he believes they can be too difficult to remain on for a long time without the right attitude by the person needing to lose weight.
"People who succeed at maintaining a dramatic weight loss have changed their mindset and priorities and have made exercise and healthy eating among the top priorities in their lives," he said.
As a 190-pound low-carb weight loss success, I cannot argue with Dr. Dansinger's conclusion about people who are successful on the low-carb lifestyle or any weight loss endeavor for that matter. You have to WANT to do this and completely change your mind, which is where weight loss must begin if you are going to make it happen.
You MUST make up your mind that you will NOT quit no matter what and that sets the stage for you following through with your commitment to eating right -- the low-carb way -- and exercising. That was my formula for success and can be yours, too.
Livin' la vida low-carb is not an easy road at first, but it gets a whole lot simpler as you go along. Losing weight is not as difficult as people make it out to be as long as you make up your mind that this is what you need to do and then DO IT!
Let Dr. Barbara V. Howard know you are still not convinced that low-fat diets aren't responsible for the obesity epidemic by e-mailing her your comments to her at Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org.