Monday, August 28, 2006

Dietician: Atkins Diet 'Never Helped People Maintain' After Weight Loss

I just love it when another one of these so-called "expert" dieticians start badmouthing the Atkins/low-carb nutritional approach because it gives me an opportunity yet again to expose them for just how ignorant they really are about diet and health. In fact, just in case you've missed any of my previous blog posts about dieticians, here's a list of them for you:

- Dietitians Diet Dead Wrong About Low-Carb
- Low-Carb Is Not As Dead As They Said
- Dietician Detests Low-Carb, But Promotes Its Principles
- Christian Dietitian Entertaining, But Not Giving Good Advice
- Malaysian Nutritionist Can Take His Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet Advice And Shove It
- Doctor, Dietitian "Alarmed" By Atkins Diet Column
- Fiery Low-Carber Confronts Advice From Sports Nutritionist
- Purdue Nutritionist Likens Low-Carb Weight Loss To Taking Laxatives
- Low-Carb Weight Loss Is 'Water Weight,' Health Instructor Contends
- Nutritionist Says Low-Carb Provides 'Unhealthy Weight Loss'

As you can see, I like to have fun with these dieticians because they are generally very adamant in their opposition to livin' la vida low-carb. And this Independent Online story is no different.

Featuring commentary from a registered dietitian named Nancy Kazakis who was helping out some dieters walking through the grocery store wondering what to buy for their healthy weight loss plan. Unfortunately for them, though, the tips she was providing them were horrible for anyone trying to improve their weight and health.

Here's what I mean:

According to the story, Kazakis avoids any foods where over a third of the calories come from the most hated of all macronutrients--FAT! And God forbid you eat any saturated fat from animals "which raises cholesterol" or trans-fats.

“If more than half of what I’m eating is calories from fat, then I’ll put that right back on the shelf,” she said.

Are we EVER going to get past this saturated fat thing already? Saturated fat can be very good for you despite the claims by the media that this study proves otherwise. Baloney!

Regarding trans-fats, most people are very aware of this worst of all fats because it has been villified (rightfully so!) as dangerous to your health. But Kazakis like so many of her fellow dietitians throws ALL fats in with the bad which is highly irresponsible for someone providing nutritional information to the public.

After she finished with her fat tirade, Kazakis then turned her attention to the Atkins diet which she erroneously defines as a way of eating that "advocates zero carbohydrates and plenty of protein." Other than people like my friend Rob on the Zero Carb Path, I don't know anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb and going completely without carbs in their diet. NONE! The fact is the Atkins diet is at the VERY MINIMUM during the first two weeks 20g carbohydrates and then most people move up to 30-50g during their weight loss.

Kazakis then made the boneheaded comment that while the "dissolving" Atkins diet "worked for many," it has "never helped people maintain their weight once they took it off."

Oh really, Ms. Kazakis. NOBODY! Then I guess I'm a "nobody" because I lost 180 pounds on it in 2004 and have kept it off for a couple of years now. You might want to also meet Kent Altena, Karen Kimball, Colleen Awalt, and John Smith, ALL of whom lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off ever since!

Where do these people come up with such idiotic claims about low-carb?!

Of course, like every dietitian I know, Kazakis then goes into a lecture about how the body needs carbs that you can only get from cereals and bread to help YADDA YADDA YADDA! Like a broken record that keeps playing that bad song with a skip on it, that's what these nutrition experts keep sounding like in all of these columns.

Oh, then you MUST see this list of 7 grocery tips Kazakis offered the dieters (poor people!) and what she recommends they should eat during their weight loss:

1. Consume 3-4 eggs per WEEK

HA! I eat AT LEAST that many per DAY! It is a great source of protein and delicious, too! In fact, a study showed people who eat eggs actually consume less calories during the day. That's reason enough for me to eat eggs ALL the time!

2. Eating low-fat cheese

Uh, no. How about if I eat DOUBLE fat cheese because it'll taste better. Kazakis recommends eating string cheese because it is made with low-fat milk. Nah! Eat it because it's low-carb, but don't worry about the fat.

3. Choose vegetable oil-based margarine

Yikes! I haven't put margarine in my mouth knowingly for close to three years now. Butter is SO much better for you and should be used in any food you eat that needs a flavorful burst of a healthy fat. And the real stuff tastes so much better, too!

4. Use only vegetable oils for heart health

NOT! Actually, other than extra virgin olive oil, you should probably not reach for canola (soy-based) oil because there are serious concerns about how healthy it is for your body. Instead, try macadamia nut oil or even the healthy avocado oil.

5. Purchase lean deli meats

Other than the FDA allowing spray-on viruses to be put on deli meats, I cannot disagree that deli meats should be a part of your grocery shopping list. However, forget about the low-fat versions because they tend to have more sugar and salt in them than you really need. Keep the fat in and enjoy some good ham, turkey, roast beef and more!

6. Substitute ground turkey for ground beef

Why would I want to do that?! There's nothing wrong with eating beef and it tastes so good, too. The supposed benefits to eating ground turkey (less fat) are not worth the sacrifice in taste when there is nothing wrong with eating a good hamburger. Don't forget the cheese, baby!

7. Eat lots of high-fiber, low-calorie veggies

Okay, I'm all for vegetable consumption which actually doubles when you start livin' la vida low-carb. But you must be discerning about what KIND of vegetables you eat because many of the ones that are starchy or contain high amounts of sugar in them are NOT good for you. Green beans, cauliflower, and salad greens are just a few of the many EXCELLENT choices for you to eat on your low-carb lifestyle. Stay away from potatoes, arguably the most unhealthy vegetable ever!

At the end of the story featuring these comments from Kazakis, she raves about how awesome the 100-calorie snack craze is because "it’s all about control.”

"It’s a smaller portion, but isn’t that the whole idea of our diet plan?” Kazakis exclaimed.

No, it's not. I don't want or need any sugar in my diet, no matter how small the portions allegedly are, Ms. Kazakis. While I agree that portion sizes have gotten out of control, the answer is not in pre-packaged servings that contain 100 calories. Low-calorie diets aren't necessarily healthy and making better overall food choices helps people more than anything control their weight and get healthy.

At the end of the day, Kazakis is just another robotic dietician attempting to influence the people she counsels with archaic dietary advice that will keep them unhappy and unhealthy for many years to come. Hey Ms. Kazakis! How about joining the 21st century and telling people about how livin' la vida low-carb will radically change their life for the better? Oh, I forgot, you can't do that because YOU ARE A DIETICIAN!!! ARGH!

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Blogger Newbirth said...

1. Consume 3-4 eggs per WEEK

HA! I eat AT LEAST that many per DAY! It is a great source of protein and delicious, too! In fact, a study showed people who eat eggs actually consume less calories during the day. That's reason enough for me to eat eggs ALL the time!

Have you ever thought that this might be the source of your high cholesterol? I keep my eggs down to one a day (or two every other day). Your cholesterol is quite high, and I'd be making some serious dietary changes. Heck, my cholesterol is only 214 and I'm still cutting back on the eggs!

8/28/2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Eating eggs does not influence total or LDL cholesterol, nor does it adversely affect endothelial function. Several controlled, randomized studies have confirmed that. There must be other (dietary or medicinal) factors here, newbirth. See for example: Katz DL, et a. Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. International Journal of Cardiology, Mar 10, 2005; 99 (1): 65-70.

And high cholesterol is actually a good thing. Why change something that is proven to be good for you?

I have yet to find evidence that eggs are anything else than a totally natural and extremely healthy food - provided they are not tampered with; think "omega-3 eggs". Dr. Atkins always referred to eggs as "nature's most perfect food". As another example, Dr Uffe Ravnskov, the founder of The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics decided to test the theory that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels. So he ate 59 eggs in nine days. His cholesterol went down by 11%. But also "old researchers" and antropologists like Stefansson tell us about the great properties of eggs. For example, the former Lord Strathcona, Canada's High Commissioner to England in the late 19th century ate very little other than eggs -- and lived well into his 94 year.

8/29/2006 12:11 AM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

That's the only thing that I changed between one test and the next. Overall, my eating habits had become healthier during that time - I did more cooking and ate less frankenfoods.

59 eggs in 9 days is basically a high carb to low carb diet. But I'm already on low carb and my LDL skyrocketed 40 points - on low carb the whole time.

8/29/2006 12:53 AM  
Blogger Kevin Dill said...

Believe it or not the dietician was right about Atkins not helping people maintain, what she forgot to mention is that the same could be said for any diet. Most people fail on most diets, most of the time. I forget the exact numbers, but something like 10% of the people who lose more than 10% of thier starting weight, manage to keep it off permanently.

8/29/2006 9:18 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Actually, Kevin, the numbers are even WORSE that that. Try 2-3 percent over the long-term of 3+ years for ALL diets.

But why does the media and these "experts" like this dietician single out the Atkins diet? Will you ever hear people like her chastise and ridicule the FAILURE of the low-fat, low-calorie, portion control diets, too?

Heck no! Why? Because that's what they believe is so "healthy."

Sure, diets fail, we all know that. Which is precisely why the lifestyle change is what I advocate and promote as the only effective way to PERMANENTLY lose weight and keep it off. Of course, livin' la vida low-carb certainly doesn't hurt either. :D

8/29/2006 9:35 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Sure - total cholesterol can go up on low-carb. But that's not a bad thing at all, so why be concerned about it? LDL is not necessarily "bad" cholesterol, to the contrary even, it is extremely useful. The terms "good" and "bad" cholesterol were only coined by Big Pharma during the days (10-15 years ago) when most medical professionals were not yet aware that the total cholesterol number is completely meaningless - if it ever was meaningful. With the only objective, of course, to push more highly profitable but completely useless and even dangerous drugs.

I wouldn't worry about cholesterol, even if it's going up, for whatever reason (and I'm rather certain it's not eggs, but something else - maybe the combination of "medicinal factor X" or even "dietary factor X" and eggs). My cholesterol is high, especially the HDL, but overall all biomarkers are excellent. Recently I had a complete checkup and the doctors were astonished at my cardiovascular health. I had the heart- and lungcapacity of a young man, they said. And I'm really old :)

But if I may say so, newbirth, you do look fabulous in your picture!

As for maintenance, kevin, I don't understand what you mean by your remark. How so is maintenance on Atkins hard? I've been doing it for more than a decade and kept more than 200 pounds off easily. And I'm certainly not a great asset to the gym. In fact I hardly ever work out due to lack of time. I find that maintenance is easy once one understands one's metabolism - and low-carb is exactly that "pathway to knowledge", as it works with your body instead of against it.

As for attrition rates: it has been shown that attrition rates on low-carb dietary regimens are much lower than on others. People simply find it easier to stick with it, due to the elegant, natural logic of it. I've never counted a calorie since I started over a decade ago and I never will. Ultimately we're all governed by calories, of course, but the unique metabolic advantages of low-carb make it so easy. I still -after a decade- consume almost 3 times the number of calories (2400 vs. 800) I used to on low-fat, high-carb regimens! And trust me, I (reluctantly) tried them all - including hospital-based, supervised starvation diets. None of them worked for me - until Atkins. And I never looked back.

8/29/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger Hellistile said...

I still can't believe that low-carbers are falling for this cholesterol propaganda. Mainstream dietary gurus also pontificate about how good carbs are for you and you believe them when they say eggs raise your cholesterol? Whatever.
I have high total cholesterol but my ratios are better than perfect. My anti-atkins, anti-saturated fat, anti-animal products doctor cannot make me take enough blood tests to prove her point. My blood work is perfect and I'm 56 years old.

8/29/2006 12:46 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Hellistille makes a good point. They cholesterol hype, the "good carb" myth, the soft support for saturated fat, the notion that calories count, all artifacts of the low-fat hype.

As for not staying on the diet, when you're eating even as little as 20g of carbs for some people will start to spur weight gains. By the time they've upped the carbs to 100g they're starting to put it back on. Only the morbidly obese would see their weight levels remain lower than what they were, but if you need to lose 40-50 pounds it will come back eventually eating 100g of carbs per day.

The Zero Carb Path

8/29/2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

My cholesterol is okay, Science, but I do worry about Jimmy's. It's way higher than even the Eades' recommended.

8/29/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Looking back now, from my experience with low carb,

Those diet recommendations look daft and seriously dangerous.

When will the insanity end??

9/03/2006 8:21 AM  

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