Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dietician Detests Low-Carb, But Promotes Its Principles

What's wrong with this diagram?!

I've noticed something strangely peculiar about some people who make derogatory remarks about the low-carb lifestyle. While they openly deride and distort what livin' la vida low-carb is about, they simultaneously advocate and encourage people to follow many of the tenets that have always existed about this amazingly healthy lifestyle. If only these opponents of low-carb living by name knew just how ignorant they look when they turn right around promoting low-carb!

Today's example is from the May 2006 issue of the Kingston, New York-based cultural magazine called Chronogram featuring a local registered dietician named Ilyse Simon.

In her column entitled "Foods to Balance Blood Sugar: A Return to Sensible Eating," Simon takes on the subject of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome by sharing her opinions about what a healthy diet should consist of for people suffering from these conditions.

Check out this list of ideas she shares and see if they sound familiar:

- Avoid the Standard American Diet (SAD)
- Steer clear of white flour and refined, processed foods
- Don't touch sugar
- Eat a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and fat
- Consume nonstarchy vegetables
- Increase your protein intake for level blood sugar
- Healthy fats in fish oil, coconut oil, and almonds are good for you
- Trans-fats are bad for your health
- Choose carbohydrates with fiber in them
- Snack on high-protein foods for satiety
- Give up fast food and prepackaged meals
- Read books like "The Schwarzbein Principle"

I'm gonna give you three guesses to figure out what Simon has just described in each of the items listed above. Okay, make that one -- IT'S LIVIN' LA VIDA LOW-CARB, of course!!! Not one single thing on that list runs contrary to what people who follow the low-carb lifestyle believe about what makes up a healthy diet. But apparently this is all lost on Simon as she mockingly derides low-carb and what it stands for throughout her column.

In fact, the very first sentence of her article asks the question, "Remember the low-carb craze?"

Well, yeah we remember how crazy people got without ever reading up on what low-carb living was all about. Had they read Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution or any other low-carb plan, then they would have learned so much about how this way of eating could help them lose weight and keep it off forever. Sadly, some people just decided to do the media-version of Atkins by eating bacon, eggs and bunless cheeseburgers all day. This was and still is NOT the Atkins diet. And neither were all those so-called "low-carb" products that flooded supermarket shelves.

For Simon, she said the "heart of the matter" regarding weight loss is "balance and moderation." Gee, where have I heard THAT before?! You would think these people would get tired of sounding like a broken record with such vague phrases that have little to no meaning in the real world. By the way, who exactly gets to set the balance parameters and how do I know what a moderate level is? Who knows?!

While our culture has gotten more lazy and moved away from exercise, problems such as Metabolic Syndrome have gotten worse and upwards of 41 million people are insulin resistant with Type 2 diabetes. Yikes!

Simon said people with these problems can "improve or reverse their condition with fad-free, sensible eating and moderate physical activity." Yep, they sure can, Ms. Simon. It's called the low-carb lifestyle and it's working beautifully to help people overcome their obesity, improve their metabolic syndrome, and make their lipid profile and other health conditions dramatically better. Since you agree with me about this according to what you consider healthy in that list above, I welcome your support for those of us who have made low-carb our commitment for life.

Although she laments the SAD diet, which she describes as "a very sad diet indeed" (once again, we agree!), Simon then made several inaccurate ASS-umptions in her statement about what she thinks low-carb is all about.

"One thing the low-carb fad gave us besides high meat consumption and remarkable vegetable restriction is better recognition of carbohydrates. Unfortunately, we were taught to run from them."

Low-carb is ANYTHING but a fad for those of us who have used it to lose weight and keep it off. It has been a lifeline for me personally helping me lose 180 pounds and keep it off for two years and counting. I wouldn't say my meat consumption has been high for me nor does it have to be if you are livin' la vida low-carb. In fact, there are many low-carb vegetarians out there. Speaking of, a survey found that vegetable consumption for people when they go on low-carb actually doubles. And you'd be surprised to know that I eat LOTS of carbs, Ms. Simon. Sorry to disappoint you with your ASS-umptions again about low-carb.

To help you create "balance" in your diet, Simon suggests the three following rules:

Rule #1: Pair every carbohydrate you eat with some form of protein in similar serving sizes. That means every piece of whole grain toast (primarily carb) gets matched with a high protein source such as nut butter, an egg, or a piece of cheese. To balance cereal, add a handful of almonds.

When you are livin' la vida low-carb, you do the exact same thing. The carbohydrates you eat will be digested and absorbed much more slowly if you eat them with protein. This process with macronutrients becomes so natural when you are on a low-carb plan because it almost takes care of itself with you improved food choices. Rule #1 is done!

Rule #2: Choose carbohydrates with fiber: whole wheat pasta over white, oatmeal instead of cream of wheat, sweet potatoes over Idaho spuds. Try an apple with your peanut butter instead of crackers: Both apples and crackers are carbohydrates, yet fruits tend to have much more fiber than grains.

Fiber is an absolute must for anyone ahdhering to the low-carb way of life. It helps clear your system of excess waste and fat while again slowing the digestion of carbohydrates. Getting adequate fiber along with lots of water is one of the things I tell people who say they are constipated or feel the scale isn't going down for them. Rule #2 I already do!

Rule #3: Have a protein snack between meals if they are more than four hours apart. That will help keep blood-sugar and energy levels steady. This doesn't mean eating a lot: It's a handful of almonds, a thin slice or two of turkey, or a few slices of cheese. (Meals might become smaller, as frequent snacking may make you less hungry.) Including some carbohydrate is fine, as long as you follow the above rules. So if you want popcorn, eat some peanuts or a piece of cheese as well. If you want crackers, choose a whole-grain variety and spread them with hummus or nut butter.

Snacking between meals is a great idea especially when you make a high-quality choice such as nuts, meats or cheeses as Simon suggests (all of which are low-carb, by the way). These high-protein power snacks are tasty and will keep you satisfied for hours as you anticipate your next meal. Rule #3 is elementary.

Interestingly, Simon also suggests something that I already do as part of my low-carb lifestyle: eat every few hours to ward off hunger. Oh, and that book she recommended called The Schwarzbein Principle by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein -- it's a low-carb book! Ha!

So while Ilyse Simon was blasting away at the low-carb lifestyle throughout her article, in actuality she was advocating people start livin' la vida low-carb to see improvements in their weight, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.


You can e-mail Illsye Simon to let her know how much you appreciate the fact that she agrees that livin' la vida low-carb is an excellent nutritional approach at


Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

This is too funny!

You have got to wonder just what they think low carb is ??????

5/03/2006 7:46 PM  
Blogger 1Peter3 said...

The only real difference between the way most low carbers eat and what she's advocating is that some of us don't eat as many whole grains as what she allows - which could be interpreted as a minimum daily amount.

It'd be nice if some of these dieticians would actually find out what a low carb diet truly entails before branding them as being nothing but meat and fat.

5/04/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger sam said...

I think that a lot of people are turned off by a diet which is defined by the term "low carb" but most acknowledge that the basic principles are good ones to follow. It's when people take on "low carb" without the rest of the healthy stuff and expect it to be enough to be more fit that the diet gets a bum rep.

5/07/2006 4:38 PM  

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