Dr. Feinman saw incredible behavioral changes of actual low-carbers
The results of a survey of 3,000 members of a popular low-carb forum were published today and the results of the survey showed some very surprising results about the dietary habits of people who are livin' la vida low-carb.
Lead researcher Dr. Richard D. Feinman, along with Dr. Mary C. Vernon and Dr. Eric C. Westman, wanted to see what kinds of changes that real-life low-carb dieters make when they begin counting carbohydrates for weight loss and improved health.
According to the survey of members of the Active Low-Carber's Forum, low-carb dieters aren't gorging themselves on tons of fatty foods as the popular media and opponents of the low-carb lifestyle suggest. Instead, they are actually replacing the old starchy and sugary foods that were previously consumed with lots of green leafy vegetables and salads. You may recall that I previously referenced the preliminary results of this survey last year when I blogged about how people who go on a low-carb diet tend to double their vegetable consumption.
In fact, 54 percent of the survey participants increased their salad greens with 34 percent reporting "double their usual consumption" of green vegetables to replace the starch and sugars they had been eating.
Additionally, a small percentage of respondents said they had drastically increased consumption of such high-fat foods as beef, bacon, and butter--foods that most people believe are the staples of a low-carb diet. But what the researchers found was that half of those people who lost 30 or more pounds on low-carb and kept it off for a year had not significantly increased their consumption of those foods. One exception was the lower-fat chicken. Thirty-four percent of low-carb dieters had doubled their chicken consumption.
In regards to the reaction from family doctors, Dr. Feinman said he was surprised by the change in attitude about low-carb living in the medical community. Half of the survey participants said they consulted with their doctor about going on low-carb before and during their experience and 55 percent of them said their doctor supported them in their effort along with another 30 percent who said their doctor displayed no opinion or support until weight loss happened.
Dr. Feinman said this is an important shift in thinking that is happening.
"Physicians can prescribe a diet for people who want to do low-carb that involves replacing starch and sugar with green vegetables and salads, a diet that few could object to on conventional health- or nutrition-related grounds," Dr. Feinman explained.
Oh, they'll still find a way to object to it, Dr. Feinman. But the clear message of this survey is that all the stereotypical biases against livin' la vida low-carb are dead in the water WRONG! This survey clearly shows that is true.
But the survey turned up another bug-a-boo surprise about portion control. Most of the survey participants did not actively engage in watching their portions beyond the natural responses to restricting carbs, but over half said they felt like they are eating less food now than they did before starting low-carb. Dr. Feinman said this should serve "as a model" for doctors interested in helping their patients lose weight.
"Most people were happy with the diet and a section of narrative comments produced consistent responses of 'have more energy,'" Dr. Feinman added.
Indeed we do, Dr. Feinman. The answers to this 27-item questionnaire were quite revealing about the actual behaviors of people following a low-carb regimen. The demographics of the average respondent show that they were mostly women and mostly significantly overweight with a significant number intending to and, in many cases, succeeding at losing more than 100 pounds. Most of them follow the Atkins or an Atkins-like diet.
One notable statistic from the survey was the fact that most of the respondents did not turn to the government or health agencies for information about their diet and health. HA! I wonder why with all the low-fat, low-calorie, portion-control propaganda they relentlessly push on the American people day in and day out! Good for these survey respondents for bucking the trend and learning about other ways to lose weight and get healthy.
The results of Dr. Feinman's survey were published today in the Nutrition Journal.
10-3-06 UPDATE: The always entertaining and ever-witty Dr. Mike Eades blogged about this survey today at his popular blog. Check it out!