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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Even On Low-Carb, You Count Calories, Right?

Yeah, mon! Check out what they think about livin' la vida low-carb in Jamaica, mon!

This Jamaican Observer story lays the groundwork for people who are trying to lose weight using low-carb that you can't possibly eat that way unless you are watching your portion sizes and, OF COURSE, counting your calories.

The nameless "reporter" of this story said there are so many "low-carb" products on the market that people need to be careful about what they put in their mouths even if it is supposedly healthy.

I've preached that message hard myself in this forum many times. Not everything that is marked "low-carb" is what I would describe as low in carbohydrates. While it might be LOWER than the regular version, that doesn't equate to "low."

So it stands to reason that you will need to read labels and decifer for yourself which products will be good for you to consume as part of your low-carb eating plan or which ones obviously will not. This process becomes a whole lot easier after you've been on low-carb for a while. Just always be mindful of what you are allowing to go inside of your mouth.

Interestingly, the story notes an analogy to "the fat-free craze" that we have experienced in the past and that hopefully is on its way out of mainstream grocery stores soon.

"Consumers were led to believe they could eat all the pretzels, crackers, and devil's food snack cakes they wanted, regardless of calories - as long as the label said 0 grams of fat. As a whole, US consumers ate less fat, but they also gained more weight."

I was one of those who was fooled into believing the low-fat/fat-free lie during my low-fat diet experience in 1999. If it was fat-free, then I remember chowing down on all that tasteless stuff! It was disgusting to eat, but that's what "healthy" food is supposed to taste like, right? What a numbskull I was back then!

When I started livin' la vida low-carb in January 2004, would you believe I PURPOSELY avoided the foods that were marked "low-carb" at my grocery store, despite the fact that it was at a time when the height of the low-carb food boom was hitting the market.

But I just wasn't interested in that. I wanted to lose weight first and then take a look at how those foods might later help me keep them off. Today I enjoy many of the truly low-carb foods available from manufacturers who care about what consumers want and need and are making outstanding low-carb products for people to enjoy. THAT is what healthy low-carb living is all about.

Nevertheless, the anonymous author of this article did a quick calorie-comparison of some popular low-carb snack foods with well-known sugary candy products:

"A 1/2 cup scoop of Keto's Rt 66 Rocky Road low-carb ice cream has markedly more calories (270) and fat (21 grams) than the same-size serving of many regular ice creams - even premium, full-fat Ben 7 Jerry's.

"A 'serving' of four Russell Stover Low Carb Pecan Delight chocolates has just 3.2 net carb grams, but 200 calories. Four Hershey's Kisses with Almonds have half those calories."


Yeah, so what's your point? This is something people who don't low-carb just can't seem to understand. We don't pay attention to calories or fat grams -- JUST THE CARBS! Personally I don't care that my low-carb ice cream or chocolate candies have MORE fat or calories than similar sugary versions of those foods because I'm doing what is good for my body.

Is it just me or is there this disconnect with a lot of these reporters writing "health" articles? Many of them like to focus on the fat and calorie content of the foods we eat, but they almost NEVER get as worked up over the SUGAR content in the foods we eat. This is a gross omission on their part and it's high time they are called on that.

Ever since I started livin' la vida low-carb, there's no more sugar addiction for me with all the highs and lows that little substance can take your body on. It's as bad as any drug addiction and what's sad is most people don't even know it! They eat sugar and feel great for a few minutes before crashing rock bottom at which time you need MORE sugar to get you UP from that state which raises your blood sugar yet again followed by...I think you get the picture.

It's UGLY and eating low-carb, sugar-free products will satisfy your need for sweets without going through all of that.

At the end of the column, the writer notes that "it remains unclear whether a low-carb diet is a good long-range weight-loss program for most people."

I can't speak for "most people," but I can speak for me. This has been the easiest, most effective LONG-TERM weight loss plan I have ever been on in my life. After a lifetime of struggling with my weight, I am no longer trapped into thinking that I have to count my calories, watch my fat grams, or carefully measure out my food. None of that is necessary when you are livin' la vida low-carb.

This article urges you to watch your calories because they think "a calorie is a calorie -- no matter how few carbs are in the food it comes from." My experience has shown me that I'd MUCH rather have my calories come from good sugar-free, low-carb foods in lieu of low-fat and diminished portions. With over 180 pounds lost and kept off for over a year, I'd say my low-carb way of eating has worked out just fine, don't you think?

Send your comments to the gutless wonder who wrote this worthless article by e-mailing feedback@jamaicaobserver.com.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Miller said...

This is of course because the idea of calories has being the only problem has been bandied about for so long it has become accepted fact.

The "low carb" labels also annoy me, but it at least makes me read all labels in detail. They are really reduced carb and not low carb.

3/09/2006 9:39 AM  
Blogger Mark F said...

I'll hand to folks who can count calories. I could never do it. With low-carb I avoid "white stuff" (ie. sugar, flour, taters, and rice), high sugar fruit and starchy veggies (beans and corn) and that eliminates the vast bulk of the pitfalls.

Most of us got large because we aren't great food planners. Calorie counting dieting required me to plan meals very carefully (or at least seemed to). Eating out was stressful trying to figure out calorie counts.

Low-carb? If I'm too tired to cook, a Subway club turned into a salad is a quick out or a BBQ salad from a local restaurant. Chinese take-out or take-out fajitas sans the noodles, rice, beans, etc work wonderfully.

I don't have to obsess and I can find sucess.

3/09/2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Some of us got large like myself because of the drugs given to me by doctors when I was a child. Athsma steroids are powerful things.

I've found lately that the Atkins bars, and all the processed low carb crap, all it does is stall my weight loss and make me feel unwell.

Calorie Counting was promoted by Food Manufacturers of a way of dissolving their social irresponsibility.

3/09/2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I have to count calories, even on low carb. Otherwise I would WAY overeat things and gain weight. And I'm not talking sugar free candies, either; I'm talking overeating the healthy stuff - avocados, salad dressing, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, and even MEAT.

I religiously log my food, counting calories and carbs, six days a week. On Saturdays I loosen up a bit and just count carbs, and then only so they don't get up to 150g or something.

http://fitday.com/WebFit/PublicJournals.html?Owner=Newbirth

3/09/2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger Regina Wilshire said...

I think counting calories is a highly individualized thing with low-carb - some may need to at some point as they lose weight, others will never ever have to even consider how many calories they're eating a day, the calories just take care of themselves.

In my experience, I lost well following low-carb, but as I added more carbohydrate back while slightly reducing fat intake to accomodate the additions from carbohydrate, calories did begin to factor into my continued weight loss. Since I continued with the add-back approach, I have no idea if I'd lowered carbs back down if I could have ceased watching calorie intake. I will say though, the calorie intake didn't need to be restricted to "hunger" levels and was actually a generous calorie intake each day, but I did reach a point where to continue effective, sustained, predictable weight loss, I did start counting my calories too.

3/14/2006 12:30 PM  

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