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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Facing The Low-Carb Bullies One-By-One

It was almost as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. You knew they were lurking around waiting for the right time and the beginning of the new year last week was the perfect opportunity for them. They've got your full attention right now and have set their plan into motion.

Of course, I'm referring to the anti-low-carb zealots out there in the media. Not everyone in the press is opposed to low-carb (like this recent Galveston (TX) Daily News column). You've seen the negativity about low-carb in just this past week, haven't you? A jab here, an insult there at the Atkins diet and the smirky irreverent remarks many of these journalists trying to be cute have made about our beloved low-carb way of eating.

Just in case you missed these somehow, here are a few that I saw:

1. The St. Petersburg Times

[Charles] Platkin said in an online interview this summer that when he was just 10, he was so conscious of being overweight that he got his parents to buy him the first Dr. Atkins diet book.

It did not help him keep weight off, nor did a succession of what he termed "futile quick-weight-loss diets."

These, he said, reduce calories by severely limiting the variety of foods people can eat. But such restrictions are "impossible to maintain over the long-term."


Platkin is known as "The Diet Detective" and has written negative things about the Atkins nutritional approach in his syndicated column. I first challenged him for his viewpoints in this blog post which then precipitated a stern response from the author and fitness instructor. He has repeated this idea that low-carb is not for the long-term before and even said in an interview with me last year that livin' la vida low-carb is as detrimental as obesity on the health of Americans. Pretty wild stuff!

Despite my obvious vehement disagreement with his point of views as espoused in this column about his new book The Diet Detective's Count Down: 7500 of Your Favorite Food Counts with Their Exercise Equivalents for Walking, Running, Biking, Swimming, Yoga, and Dance (which I will be reviewing VERY soon!), Platkin recently added me to his list of writers at his DietDetective.com web site to blog about low-carb. You can access my columns by clicking here.

I have explained to Platkin that I disagree with his comments about low-carb not working over the long haul and that my food choices have not been severely limited as he claims. My willingness to articulate these viewpoints is why he wanted me to write for his web site. He's still wrong about low-carb and I will continue to hold his feet to fire about it!

2. The St. Petersburg Times (AGAIN!)

The Atkins diet does, indeed, work. You cut the carbohydrates, increase the fat and the weight can melt off.

This is because a very low carbohydrate diet makes the blood acidic, a process referred to as ketosis. This, in turn, suppresses appetite. Virtually no one can stay on this diet indefinitely, and once carbohydrates are reintroduced, ketosis disappears and weight returns rapidly.

At the height of the Atkins craze, Americans everywhere jumped at the opportunity to order burgers without the buns and cholesterol-filled plates of steak and eggs. All of that excess, and you still lost weight!

But, as the diet became increasingly extreme, many in the medical community began to question its health benefits. Today, we know that any extreme diet is not healthy:

- A diet containing too great a percentage of calories from carbohydrates leads to weight gain, insulin resistance and a higher risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and perhaps high blood pressure.

- A diet containing too much saturated or polyunsaturated fat can also lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer.


This guest column written by Dr. David Lipschitz from DrDavidHealth.com is in response to the great news about low-carb that was revealed in November 2006 regarding a long-term study on the effects of low-carb diets on heart health. That research concluded there was no connection to an increased risk of heart disease from consuming a low-carb diet and that the fears of those who oppose this way of eating are unfounded.

But that doesn't stop them from STILL railing against it as "extreme" and unable to stay on it for more than a short amount of time. Well, I've been livin' la vida low-carb for over three years now and my weight and health are better than ever! Of course, if I ever were to get off of the plan and exponentially add carbohydrates back into my diet, then why wouldn't I expect to GAIN weight?! That's why this is a permanent lifestyle change, not just some fad diet.

As for this notion that fat makes you fat, Dr. Lipschitz you really need to to reading up on the latest research my friend. Check out this excerpt from my interview with University Of Connecticut researcher Dr. Jeff Volek about this subject matter:

"Eating fat does not make you fat, storing fat makes you fat. And carbohydrates play a major role in storing fat. So the level of dietary carbohydrate is really the most important factor to control because it dictates what happens to fat. Carbs are dominant and fat is passive. When carbohydrates are low, fat tends to be burned, and when carbohydrates are high dietary fat tends to be stored. The same holds true for the atherogenic effects of saturated fat. The body handles saturated fat better when carbohydrates are low."

So, the only time fat becomes an issue is when you combine it with the consumption of a large amount of carbohydrates. Cut the carbs down and the supposedly negative effects of eating fat, even saturated fat, are negated. And that's a fact, Jack!

3. The Chicago Tribune

Foulds began developing the product while the low-fiber Atkins diet was all the rage, out of the company's conviction that pasta, as a slow-burning complex carbohydrate, had a place in healthy diets.

"With all the focus on the Atkins diet, we saw the mass of confused consumers," Bradley said.

What dieters wanted most, he was convinced, was to eat better and lose weight.

"We thought long and hard about the landscape, and we came to the decision that we didn't believe in low carb," he said. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, the company took the opposite tack.


In this column about a pasta company surviving the low-carb craze, they describe the Atkins diet as "low-fiber." Hmmm, that's strange because Dr. Atkins himself always advocated eating plenty of fiber for satiety and to stay regular. It's an issue I addressed in my blog post "Allow Your Bowel To Shake, Rattle, & Roll."

If you want to eat pasta while on a low-carb diet, then there are two excellent versions from companies that do not make fun of the low-carb lifestyle like the creators of Fould's Fiber Wise Pasta have. They are the deliciously healthy low-carb Dreamfields pasta which is about as close to traditional pasta as you will find anywhere (and is LOADED with fiber, too, by the way!) and the new kid on the block from Japan called shirataki noodles. These low-carb alternatives are MUCH healthier for you to eat than regular pasta any day of the week. Deriding low-carb makes Fould's look foolish.

4. The New York Daily News

For the last time - it's the calories! "If the Atkins diet does work for an individual, it is entirely because they have achieved a calorie deficit by eliminating such a vast category of foods," says Mount Sinai Medical Center senior clinical dietitian Rebecca Blake. "Weight loss is 100% contingent upon achieving a calorie deficit." Besides, your body relies on carbs to complete basic functions. Bluntly put, "The laws of physics govern weight loss and weight gain," says nutritionist Carla Wolper at St. Luke's New York Obesity Research Center. "And physics looks at energy, which is equal to calories. Physics has not heard of the Atkins diet." That said: Eat only enough carbs; an excess can lead to health problems.

If I hear one more dietitian tell me that your body NEEDS carbs then I think I'm gonna pull all my hair out! UGH! Haven't these supposedly educated people ever heard of gluconeogenesis? And why is it that dietitians seem to be the most outspoken critics against livin' la vida low-carb? What are they REALLY so afraid of about this miraculous way of eating?

That biting comment from the nutritionist quoted in the story that "physics has not heard of the Atkins diet" is just more bitterness from these people who are supposed to have people's health in mind. But they'd rather trash the Atkins diet than to read up on the latest research out of The University of Arkansas that states the "calories in, calories out" message may not always apply in weight loss. The study participants ate 2,400 calories per day without ANY exercise and STILL lost weight. Oh, but how could they if it's all about the calories? Read the study people because the evidence is there! Are all you dietitians listening?

5. The Montreal Gazette

The good diet news, says McGill University nutrition watchdog Joe Schwarcz, is that no new "miracle regime" has come along to take the place of the discredited Atkins diet, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate plan that promised quick weight loss.

"There doesn't seem to be any fresh stupidity," said Schwarcz, The Gazette's science columnist.


What's "discredited" about the Atkins diet, Mr. Schwarcz? I still have nearly 100,000 pageviews at my low-carb blog each month from people who follow this way of eating cheerfully and willingly because it changed their lives forever. Why are so many columnists like Schwarcz so angry against a plan that is obviously working to help people lose LOTS of weight and improve their health? I just don't get the venemous animosity!

The media is desperate to see an heir to the Atkins diet step forward. But the reason we haven't seen any successor to livin' la vida low-carb is because all the science has show this to be the most remarkably effective nutritional approach known to man because it is so nutrient-dense. Why eat any other way than the best? :)

6. The Bradenton Herald

Once, because everyone else was doing it, Jones turned a deaf ear to her own advice and went on the Atkins diet, which gave her chest pains that sent her to the emergency room.

There, doctors told her she needed a hysterectomy, so she went back to her vegan diet (no meat and no dairy, things her body doesn't even want anymore), and her symptoms disappeared.


In this column about preventing cancer with a vegan diet, the subject of the article claims that the Atkins diet gave her chest pains. Now how does she blame the Atkins diet for doing that? Perhaps she's kin to opportunist Jody Gorran whose lawsuit against Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. for giving him heart disease was recently dismissed by a rational federal court judge.

Now this woman is back on the brainless vegan diet (that's not my opinion, it was proven in a recent study) and joins the ranks of these people. Sigh. Well, if she's happy eating that way, then who am I to stand in her way? Just get your facts straight about the Atkins diet before blaming it for causing chest pains. ARGH!

7. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

In the past I have counted calories, eliminated fat, used Sugar Busters, and spent a few months with Dr. Atkins' and his sadistic slow torture method of carbohydrate deprivation.

Last but not least we have a chef named Robert St. John who is wanting to lose weight in the new year. As he contemplates which plan he wants to do, St. John describes the Atkins diet as "a sadistic slow torture method of carbohydrate deprivation." You know, I honestly believe that these anti-Atkins people lie awake at night trying to come up with another way to slam low-carb. Unreal!

The only "sadistic slow torture method" that I've ever been on is when I went on a low-fat diet in 1999. The FAT "deprivation" I experienced during those ten months that I willed myself into losing 170 pounds was just too much to take and I gained every bit of that weight back within five months! But with livin' la vida low-carb, this has literally been the easiest way to eat and lose weight for good in my entire life. St. John doesn't know what he's missing!

So, there you have it! There were PLENTY more examples I could have shared with you from the opponents of low-carb in the media and from health "experts," but I think you get the picture. They're out there...waiting...lurking...ready to pounce at any moment. And I'll be here ready to squash them like the bugs they are!

Feel free to share any of these kind of articles with me by posting them using the Submit Headline page at LowCarbNewsline.com. I'm happy to respond if it is warranted. They have been warned now, haven't they? ;-)

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11 Comments:

Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Thanks for standing up against these bullies Jimmy!

Please remember you have thousands of low carbers backing you up!

What some of these guys need to remember is that people don't go on low carb purely as a way to lose weight.

They go on low carb for the ease of the lifestyle. The health ebenfits gained from that lifestyle.

It's about maintaining that weight loss - which low carbers do really easy.

Some people like myself have had out carbohydrate metabolism altered by doctors. People who should have known better have stuffed around with our metabolism.

It's about an objective reality, not some subjective interpretation of research data!

1/07/2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

You are, of course, quite right, lowcarb_Dave. What is so sickening to me is the fact that these people -all of them- really should know better. If anything, they prove how ignorant and uninterested they are in the real science behind a low carb dietary regimen. They simply refuse to see it as a lifestyle; a deliberate, determined, highly intelligent and scientifically rocksolid response from individuals with a disturbed or impaired carbohydrate metabolism. Moreover, these critics also conclusively prove that they are not only ignorant fools but also stupid and arrogant enough not to be in touch with the highly relevant and up-to-date nutritional science.

I guess all of the above is a nice way of saying that they are complete and utter morons :)

Keep up the good fight, Jimmy! Not only do you have thousands upon thousands of loyal supporters, you also have the truth and your side and none of these critics can say that!

1/07/2007 9:55 PM  
Blogger Calianna said...

You're right Dave, it's not just to lose weight.

Why do I stay on it? Sure I'm happy about losing the weight I've needed to get off for ages, but it's primarily because I feel so much better - There are other ways to lose weight than with low carb. Some of us have chosen this way and stay on it just to feel better.

I even decided that should they ever conclusively prove that low carb truly is a dangerous diet (I mean with long term studies, with truly low carb diets, head to head against the "standard" high carb low fat diets), I'd still low carb, I just feel too awful on high carb to ever go back to it.

1/07/2007 11:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

We don't need carbs (due to gluconeogenesis), but need veggies? HUH?

1/07/2007 11:52 PM  
Blogger Jake Silver said...

I don't know why people still bash Atkins and South Beach and Low Carb in general. For MOST Americans on the Standard American Diet, you end up eating SO MUCH BETTER than before!! Granted, I'm not a fan of the bacon and pork rinds thing... but some people need that I guess to keep from going crazy on a diet. But in the end, Atkins and SB teaches you to eat your veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins and good fats!! Keep up the great work on this Blog!

1/08/2007 6:49 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Jeff,

THANKS for your comments about gluconeogenesis, but I think you may be missing the other benefits of eating vegetables like spinach, leafy greens, cauliflower, green beans and other non-starchy low-carb veggies.

While it is true your body doesn't need the carbohydrates that come from these foods, you are assuming that's the only purpose for eating these foods.

These foods pack a power-punch of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that are essential to your health.

Sure, you could physically live without the carbs, but you'd be hard-pressed to eat healthier and nutrient-dense than a delicate mix of meats, cheese, and eggs with low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.

THANKS for your comments!

1/08/2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger Calianna said...

Jake said:

Granted, I'm not a fan of the bacon and pork rinds thing... but some people need that I guess to keep from going crazy on a diet.

It may be tantamount to blasphemy around some Atkins circles to even admit this, but I've never even tasted a pork rind.

I think I may have eaten bacon about 4 times in the last 4 years, and not half-a-pound-at-a-time like my non-low carbing husband will eat, either!

And yet I still consider myself to be a low carber, and I'm not going crazy on my "diet" either.

1/08/2007 8:16 AM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

What Lowcarb_dave said about doing low carb for other reasons is really true for me and other diabetics who are bucking the standard ADA dietary advice. My main motivation is to control my blood sugar with weight loss as a close second. That provides extra incentive to stick with it. Sure, weight loss will improve insulin sensitivity and further help with glucose control, but I also want to keep my blood sugar as close to normal as possible while losing weight. I'd like to keep my extremities in tact and avoid other things such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, etc.

1/08/2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

Jimmy,

I'm fine with the other nutrients and such, but what do you make of the belief of no-carbers who say fiber is actually HARMFUL for you?

1/08/2007 4:32 PM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

A bit off topic, but you mentioned Dreamfield's. I have a blood sugar meter and have been testing myself and let's just say that Dreamfield's did not perform very well. The carbs ARE absorbable; they just metabolise like a complex carb, over about 5 hours.

My expiriment is chronicled in the first part of this post.

For me, Dreamfields will have to be a VERY occational treat because it doesn't seem to act any different than something like brown rice in my body.

1/08/2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

Jeff,

Personally I need fiber to stay regular. I feel much better physically when my diet is high in fiber than when it isn't.

Your other option is to take a lot of magnesium every day. That'll move things along! ;)

1/08/2007 11:21 PM  

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