A book about avoiding flour and sugar--a low-carber's dream!
I live my life by the KISS motto--keep it simple stupid!
That's because simplicity is the most effective way to make something as complicated as something like a healthy diet as understandable as possible to everyone who hears it. People are already confused enough from the health "experts" about how many calories they need to be eating, what kinds of foods they should be consuming, trying to figure out the proper ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein they should be eating--somebody please make the madness of it all go away! AAAAACK!
Well, that is exactly what syndicated health columnist Dr. Peter H. Gott ("Ask Dr. Gott") has attempted to do with his very simple, yet incredibly effective four-word diet plan and here it is: NO FLOUR, NO SUGAR! That's it! Nothing more, nothing less. Just avoid the white flour and eliminate all forms of sugar from your diet and you will lose and maintain your weight forever and ever, amen. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?
It's this kind of bare minimum advice that is winning Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet enthusiastic fans the world over. For those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb, we already know how important it is to remove flour and sugar from our diet because these are the kind of carbohydrates that are making Americans fat and unhealthy at a record pace. However, there can also be a case made for avoiding other high-carb foods like potatoes, rice, pasta, processed foods, and junk foods, too. But this is at least a good start.
If the issue of obesity were simply a matter of cosmetics, then it wouldn't be such a crisis right now. But the sad fact that Dr. Gott points out very clearly in his book is that the resulting health problems that have come from the existence and prevalence of obesity alone is unnecessarily having an adverse impact on the quality of life of tens of millions of Americans. In fact, it is leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually and nobody seems to care!
As a diet and weight loss advocate myself, I was pleased to see Dr. Gott talk so openly about important elements of living healthy such as keeping a food journal, carefully reading nutritional labels, finding support from people who will help you lose weight, exercising regularly, adequately planning for your new lifestyle change, avoiding the real fad diets, staying focused on the plan, and making your new habits stick for proper weight maintenance for many years to come.
All of this is excellent advice, but...
Unfortunately, Dr. Gott doesn't embrace livin' la vida low-carb as a viable means for permanently losing weight and keeping it off forever because he thinks it is "potentially harmful" to eat the high amounts of protein and saturated fat from animal sources while allegedly decreasing the amount of fiber as well as fruits and veggies consumed with such an "extreme" plan like the Atkins diet. He sounds the warning bell that all of this will lead to an even bigger risk of heart disease, obesity, and maybe even cancer over the long-term.
Puh-leeze, Dr. Gott!
Very simply put, no it does not! If you read any of the latest studies coming out about the healthy low-carbohydrate nutritional approach, then you will very clearly see that there is nothing "potentially harmful" in terms of heart health or otherwise about this way of eating over the span of at least one year and quite probably even longer than that. Sensationalizing low-carb diets as somehow inherently "dangerous" or "unhealthy" is so yesterday's news. Most people are thankfully beginning to realize that dog don't hunt anymore.
Meanwhile, there are PLENTY of studies showing how a high-carb, low-fat intake is indeed leading to an increase in heart disease (likely from the gumming up of the arteries from excessive refined carbohydrates), making people gain more weight specifically in their abdomen area (yes, low-fat diets DO make you fatter--studies confirm it!), and bringing on both such conditions as kidney, esophageal, pancreatic, and even brain cancer in people who would otherwise remain healthy had they simply followed a low-carb diet. It's all in the medical journals in black and white for anyone with eyes willing to see it.
It is the height of hypocrisy and nothing more than a bald face lie to tell people eating protein and saturated fat is unhealthy for them. Again, go read the studies, Dr. Gott! The evidence simply does not bear this out and you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting otherwise. Talk about making it simple, why do you insist on spreading such unproven nonsense about protein and fat? What are you afraid of people learning about these macronutrients if they wisely begin adding them to their diet in lieu of carbohydrates?
As for sharing your complete ignorance about the so-called lack of fiber on low-carb as well as fruits and vegetables in a low-carb diet, I'll have you know I eat about 50g fiber daily (without even counting, too!) and my amazingly delicious and nutritious low-carb diet is rich in such vitamin-rich non-starchy vegetables as spinach greens, cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes AND even low-glycemic fruits (GASP--you mean you can eat fruit on low-carb? Somebody stop the presses!) as strawberries, blueberries, honeydew, and cantaloupe--just to name a few!
How in the world did I ever lose nearly 200 pounds, keep the weight off for over three years, then get healthy and stay healthy eating this way, hmmm? How indeed.
Additionally, Dr. Gott repeats the ridiculous claims that low-carb "stresses the kidneys and liver" and leads to osteoporosis. Again, check your facts before going off on a tangent you obviously know nothing about, sir! There is no evidence that low-carb causes harm to the kidneys or the liver and there have been very clear studies on the myth about bone loss on a low-carb diet. LOOK IT UP and don't forget to apologize for your mistake later!
This continued assault against low-carb diets really needs to stop, especially from people like Dr. Gott who are for all intents and purposes is promoting the very same principles that the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins made his entire life's work. If Dr. Atkins had never spoke out so strongly against the impact of garbage carbohydrates like white flour and sugar for nearly three decades, then Dr. Gott would probably have never released this book. That's a fact, Jack!
Frankly it was quite difficult to even get into this book after reading the jibberish about low-carb living and Dr. Gott's all-out assault against the very way of eating that helped me lose my weight and get healthy for the first time in my life. What's wrong with people that they have to tear down the Atkins low-carb diet in order to prop up their own dietary advice. I've just never understood this and probably never will.
Nevertheless, I forced myself to keep reading even as I was biting my tongue at times. Ironically, people who support livin' la vida low-carb will probably like what they see from Dr. Gott regarding the purpose of Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet. Primarily, it is to reduce calorie intake which then leads to weight loss. While he subscribes to the now-defunct "calories in, calories out" theory, this lower-calorie approach does somewhat explain why his plan works for weight loss.
The elimination of sugar from your diet under Dr. Gott's plan does not mean you can't have any of the plentiful array of sugar-free products made with artificial sweeteners like Splenda, aspartame, saccharin, and others--all of which he discusses at length in the book. He does not put any limitations on such things because they can help you get rid of sugar from your diet, an area where Dr. Gott and I strongly agree. I was happy to see him warn people about the nasty stomach-busting side effects of sugar alcohols like maltitol, lactitol, and sorbitol.
Also, for those of you who need direction, Dr. Gott provides a whole list of what you SHOULD eat and what you SHOULD NOT eat as well as two weeks worth of menu plans to help you get an idea about how Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet works from a practical standpoint. Plus, what's a diet book without recipes? Dr. Gott aims to please with plenty of them at the back of the book for everything from breakfast to dessert. Mmmmm.
Where we very sharply disagree, though, is on what constitutes a healthy diet.
Dr. Gott says carbs like whole grains, beans, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and high-sugar fruits like bananas are excellent choices for people when they are trying to lose weight. Frankly, they are not and will sabotage you even before you start due to their impact on your blood sugar levels and ability to reach ketosis.
On the subject of fat, we both agree that trans fats are bad news, but Dr. Gott believes saturated fat is just as damaging to cholesterol levels and heart disease and cancer risk as trans fats are. WRONG-O! The body of research that is building in support of saturated fat intake in conjunction with a low-carbohydrate diet is compelling indeed and I can only urge people to read the data for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
Finally, Dr. Gott says protein intake should be limited to lean animal sources to prevent an overabundance of saturated fat from entering their diet. Sigh. Will we ever get past this stigma that has been unnecessarily attached to saturated fat? Hello people?! It's not the great enemy people like Dr. Gott are making it out to be!
At least Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet does emphasize eating "nutrient-dense" foods that are packed with healthy nutrition. Again, this is something people who are livin' la vida low-carb advocate as well and it's good to see it being recognized by a health expert like Dr. Gott. Although his definition of "nutrient-dense" may be slightly different from mine, mostly he's referring to whole, all-natural foods--perfect choices for a healthy low-carb lifestyle.
One aspect of this book that I actually enjoyed was the liberal use of actual letters Dr. Gott has received over the years in regards to his "no flour, no sugar" diet plan. They helped tell the overall story about how and why this diet works from the perspective of real people living this way with amazing success. They found what works for them and now they're doing it. Who can argue with results?
All in all, Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet is not one that should be entirely dismissed even by people on a low-carb diet. If you can get beyond the perplexing bias against livin' la vida low-carb that overwhelmingly pervades certain sections of this book, then it actually has some fantastic information in it. It's just too bad Dr. Gott felt compelled to jump on the anti-low-carb bandwagon to placate his fellow health "expert" buddies.