Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'The F-Factor Diet' Gets An 'F' For Snubbing Low-Carb While Espousing Its Truths

Dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot says eat your fiber, but don't cut out foods

There's not a doubt in my mind how healthy consuming fiber is as part of my healthy low-carb lifestyle. When I lost 180 pounds on the Atkins diet in 2004, my adequate consumption of delicious sources of fiber was a major part of my success. For people who complain about constipation on low-carb, there's no better cure than big gulps of water and enough fiber to allow your bowel to shake, rattle and roll!

With high-fiber low-carb foods such as coconut flour, ChocoPerfection chocolate bars, NexGen low-carb muffins, Konjac brand shirataki noodles, GoLower nut bars, and Atkins Advantage bars, there's no reason why anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb can't get PLENTY of fiber in their diet.

The subject of fiber is somewhat controversial within the low-carb community, but I am convinced fiber is an excellent addition to your diet especially during weight loss. That's why I was attracted to and intrigued by a new diet book centered around fiber consumption. It's called The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss.

Oooh, the "secret to permanent weight loss" is certainly a compelling a bold claim to make. But nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot is convinced she can confidently back up that claim made by her book with the principles she shares in it. And I must say, some of what she writes about is right in line with what I personally believe regarding a healthy weight loss diet.

Here are ten solid examples of where I agree with Zuckerbrot:

1. Eat a moderate-fiber, low-carb diet for first 2 weeks
2. Consuming too many carbohydrates leads to weight gain
3. "Whole wheat" or "whole grains" foods not necessarily healthy
4. Don't skip meals or snacks during your weight loss
5. Fat-free foods with sugar are foolish
6. Adequate protein intake is a must
7. All carbs turn to sugar inside the body
8. Non-starchy vegetables are preferred over potatoes
9. Beware of hidden sugars in so-called "healthy" foods
10. Keep a journal of the foods you are eating

As much as I agree with all of those wonderful things which are contained within the pages of The F-Factor Diet, imagine my disgusted surprise at some of the hyperbolic mischaracterizations of low-carb diets espoused by Zuckerbrot elsewhere in the book. In light of our many areas of agreement, this was utterly shocking to say the least.

Here are ten things Zuckerbrot thinks are true about low-carb:

1. Cut out all fruits and veggies (WRONG!)
2. This diet has made us fat (No, high-carb has!)
3. You crave carbs when you don't eat them (NOT true!)
4. Never get to eat bread, pasta, or rice again (Don't miss it!)
5. Portion control your diet (just eat when you are hungry?)
6. Dietary fat increases heart disease risk (Studies say otherwise!)
7. Atkins is a fad diet (Well, I lost 200 pounds on that fad!)
8. It fails because you go back to old habits (Not all of us fail!)
9. Can't have fiber on low-carb because it's carbs (You subtract them!)
10. Saturated fat leads to heart attacks (Not if you keep carbs low!)

These are some fundamentally flawed arguments being made about livin' la vida low-carb in this book from someone who is supposed to be more knowledgeable about nutrition than most average, ordinary Americans. That's what disappoints me about this book which could have been a nice addition to my health book collection, but has been incessantly tainted by the blatant unabashed bias against low-carb.

As much as I can appreciate all the wonderful tips and suggestions, delicious recipes at the back of the book, detailed menu plans for the various stages of weight loss and weight maintenance, and all the like in this book, I cannot in good conscience recommend this as a resource for people desiring weight loss and improvements in their health. If she's lying about some things, then what else is she withholding the truth about.

Can somebody explain something to me? Why is it that health experts like Zuckerbrot feel the need to publicly flog and snub their nose at livin' la vida low-carb in their diet books and then turn right around and espouse the very truths that make up that particular way of eating? Hmmm?

Sounds preposterous and hypocritical, but it is happening more and more over the past couple of years. Why not just recommend low-carb by name rather than being so coy about what you believe nutritionally? Millions of us have changed our lives forever on the amazingly healthy and delicious low-carb lifestyle, so stop trying to beat us. Join us instead.

I don't have any problem at all with you advocating the basic principles of low-carb living in your The F-Factor Diet, Ms. Zuckerbrot. I know you are given the unique opportunity to speak about health on both television and in print, so people are familiar with who you are and place their trust in you. So why not flash them those beautiful pearly whites of yours and admit that the low-carb lifestyle fits right in line with the overall message of your book? Is that too much to ask?

No antagonism, no hyperbole, and no more outright lies. Overweight and obese people deserve to have the truth as it relates to a healthy diet, which is what I try to provide them on a daily basis at my blog. Weight loss is hard enough without having to deal with ignorance from those who should know better. I challenge you to remember that the next time you decide to write a book about diet and health.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) All fiber does is irritate your stomach and give you insane gas.

2) There is no need for any fruits or vegetables in the human diet. Carbs are carbs are carbs!

3) You do initially crave carbs until you go long enough without eating them.

6/26/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

How can medical personnel both promote and reject low carb at the same time? How can low carb be both good and bad for you? Clearly these very confused members of the medical profession have no real understanding of the function or significance of low-carb. Furthermore, this reveals that they never really understood or believed low-fat, either! This demonstrates that medics don't promote solid information, they merely promote what the majority of other medics are currently promoting. This is neither science nor medicine, but beaurocratic conformism. Low-carb is not something to be understood, but just the latest medical bandwagon, just as low-fat has been merely a forty-year medical bandwagon, rather than hard science. So if medical advice can change at the drop of a hat, why should we trust anything they tell us, rather than our own eyes and ears? People who "get" low carb have more common sense than the majority of highly trained and overpaid medics. Furthermore, those few insightful and brave medics who dare to question the status quo will have their careers ruined by the monolithic beauracracy who are actively seeking to outlaw all alternative opinions! Mass beauracracy and centralization will destroy any real democracy or free inquiry in our society.

6/27/2007 12:56 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

I used to feel grateful for the 'small favor' of someone not totally trying to eviscerate lowcarb. Now I feel differently.

That person, that EXPERT, whom we EXPECT to do at least the amount of research that a 10th grade high school kid would be expected to do, only had to read ONE BOOK on the subject to know better.

She only had to ASK ONE PERSON of the many high profile people you could find in any search engine, if she was too lazy to read a book.

It is not a 'favor' that self-proclaimed experts as authors actually get at least minimally informed about what the hell they are talking about.


She sucks at her job, period.

So she's got some nice stuff about fiber, if you like fiber; I've never really cared one way or the other about it and I have a lurking suspicion that a great deal of the research on its alleged glory is based on the grain industry coming up with more allegedly scientific reasons why the FDA should recommend tons of grains. You know there is nothing grains have that veggies or dairy or meat don't do better, except "fiber" -- and whaddaya know, suddenly the world just can't live without fiber, riiight.

But plenty of her ideas exist in print by other authors already as far as basics go, and her anti-lowcarb stuff verges on outright superstition and hyperbole -- ONE HOUR on the internet could have better educated her.

Anybody who simply thinks they know everything, is so unprofessional they can't even do the most minimal reading to back what they're saying, is just incompetent in my view.

If we should expect better from a high school kid in a decent science or journalism class, what should we say about adults who are alleged 'experts' influencing people through books and tons more through media while hawking the book?

6/27/2007 1:45 AM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Is it lost on everyone but me that this woman's last name translates into English as Sugarbread?

6/27/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Indeed, Gary, that was what jumped out immediately. Zuckerbrot means "Sugarbread" in German :)

6/27/2007 12:38 PM  
Blogger AnOldHouse said...

1. Cut out all fruits and veggies (WRONG!)"

Wrong...except for Kimkins K/E and all other variations of all-meat nutritionally unsound diets.


6/27/2007 3:13 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

David, I'm all for you making a salient point on the topics I write about here at my blog. But this is not a "free-for-all" to just bash away at me and my personal dietary choices.

This post had absolutely nothing to do with Kimkins and yet you abused your commenting privilege to spout your opposition to it.

I'm all for debate, but where it is appropriate is when I am actually talking about it. THANK YOU for respecting me and my blog with the proper courtesy.

And, as always, I appreciate your comments. :)

6/27/2007 3:43 PM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

Maybe it's appropriately namend the "F-Factor" since it contains a lot of Freakin' nonsense. :-)

Cut out veg & fruits??? The author obviously doesn't know what she is talking about.

Crave carbs when you can't eat them??? I used to when I was on low fat-high carb, but not any more.

6/27/2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger AnOldHouse said...

I'm sorry you feel that I'm "bashing" at YOU, Jimmy. I'm not. That is not at all my intention. If I haven't made myself clear: It is entirely your choice to do whatever dietary method you feel works for you and I only hope for the best long-term results for you.

However, yes, I am bashing Kimkins, and for the multitude entirely scientifically sound and entirely factual reasons I've posted about. It's clear that you are taking this entirely personally and I'm sorry you find it necessary to be so defensive about Kimkins as other commenters have pointed out. If I had made an entirely unrelated remark here about a vegan or veganism here, it wouldn't have been any big deal, would it?

But for you to make a claim that not all low-carb programs cut out fruits and vegetables is "wrong" is simply false, especially when you know first hand as you are continuing to so heavily promote Kimkins on your blogs and use one yourself (Kimkins K/E) that specifically does cut out all fruits and vegetables. My remark therefore was not unrelated as you now assert.

Since it appears that you honestly feel that my pointing out this fact in an entirely civil manner at this time as a comment on this particular post is "inappropriate" and "abusive of commenting privilege", I will simply cease participating here altogether, as well as the 30-in-30 blog, because it is entirely clear that you really have absolutely no interest in an open forum or any honest debate of the facts when it comes to Kimkins.


6/28/2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANK YOU again David for your comment. I appreciate your participation at my blogs, but only when the comment is relevant to the post at hand. That's all.

Whether you realize you were being antagonistic towards me through your utter disdain for Kimkins or not, that's EXACTLY what you've been doing. There's a difference between civil discourse when you disagree and personal attacks.

I'm happy to hear you agree I can do what works for me and that's the bottom line. If I wanted to do Jimkins, then why would David "AnOldHouse" even care what I am doing with my life? Atkins was right in 2004 and now Kimkins is right in 2007.

Your "scientifically sound" reasons for opposing Kimkins are no such thing. Instead, you use hyperbolic language to scare people into thinking the diet is something it is not. As someone who is actually on Kimkins, you are DEAD WRONG about it.

As for taking this personally, absolutely I do because you are challenging the very plan that is helping me lose another 50 pounds right now (and working extremely well towards that end, too, by the way!). Just as I defend Atkins, Protein Power, and other low-carb diet plan that are helping people lose weight and get healthy, so too will I defend Kimkins.

If an unrelated comment about veganism was made to this blog post, I probably would have REJECTED the comment as irrelevant. Consider your privileged that I let yours through.

Fruits and veggies are a part of the long-term low-carb weight management plan REGARDLESS of the plan. Sure, some plans, like K/E, TEMPORARILY remove these just as the Atkins diet does in the early stages of weight loss. So don't get up on your high horse about this issue when you are 100% incorrect.

David, if you had been "civil," then I'd simply let your posts go as part of the ongoing conversation and debate. But you have moved into something worse--something VERY personal--which has no business being on a blog like mine.

I'm sorry you have to be a crybaby and run away sucking your thumb, but that is entirely your choice. I can appreciate your knowledge of the Atkins diet and your staunch support therein. I'm STILL a very strong supporter, too.

But this is "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." I promote ALL low-carb plans that are working for people to help them lose weight and get their life back. That's what I'm about and I make no apologies for it.

Low-carb is the basic diet that can and will change people's lives and I'll be danged if I let ANYONE try to discourage others from trying it in the manner you have been doing for the past couple of weeks!

6/28/2007 9:22 AM  
Blogger laurab said...

I'm not sure if "Zuckerbrot" is a nom de plume for the doctor, but literally translated from the German it means "Sugar-bread".

6/28/2007 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jimmy, I was wondering if you have any links to credible studies/research/journals to substantiate some of the false claims you say the Tanya Zuckerbrot is making about low-carbohydrate diets as I'm writing a critical review of the diet and these would be useful to include.

"2. This diet has made us fat (No, high-carb has!)
6. Dietary fat increases heart disease risk (Studies say otherwise!)
10. Saturated fat leads to heart attacks (Not if you keep carbs low!)"


4/23/2008 7:38 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Sure anonymous, I'm happy to help:


There's a lot more out there and I've blogged about many of these studies. Plus, I got a ton of new scientific data at the Phoenix conference a couple of weeks back. Be looking for that at my blog coming soon. THANK YOU for your inquiry and good luck with your paper.

4/23/2008 9:58 AM  

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