Friday, August 24, 2007

When I Say Low-Carb, I Don't Mean No-Carb

A common mistake you will see being made by ignorant pinheads in the media about livin' la vida low-carb is that these healthy and effective diets for weight loss call for people to consume no carbohydrates at all. Yep, they're trying to convince the overweight and obese that if they want to go on a low-carb diet, then they will need to completely eliminate all carbs from their life forever.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Sure, there are those who subscribe to an all-meat, zero-carb diet and more power to 'em! But those are not indicative of the most popular and widely-used low-carb plans like Atkins, South Beach, and Protein Power, just to name a few. All of these outstanding low-carb plans call for the consumption of certain kinds of carbs as part of a nutrient-dense nutritional approach.

Friend and fellow low-carb blogger Laura Dolson from the About Low-Carb Diets web site wrote an excellent piece on this topic called "What about 'no-carb' diets?" She notes that a no-carb diet would be next to impossible as well as undesirable to follow and would be very lacking in essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle anyway. She also acknowledges that none of the major low-carb programs call for removing all carbs from your diet.

So, what exactly are you removing from your diet and what carbs do you need to be eating? This is a question that my friend and low-carb retailer Michael Kirtley from Low-Carb Central addressed in his newsletter this week. It was so succinct and easy-to-understand that I thought I would share it with you in this post.

Here's how Michael explains what he means by a low-carb diet:

"When we talk about low-carb or controlling carbs, please don't think we are talking about eliminating all carbs. We are talking about refined carbs and added sugars. Carbohydrates (plants, seeds, nuts, berries, some fruit) in their natural (unrefined) states are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, antioxidants, flavanols, caratenoids etc. that can be very healthy if eaten in moderation and your body can handle them. It is when they are stripped of their nutritional value (refined) as well as when sugars (think refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose etc.) are added that we advocate avoiding them."

Excellent job, Michael! Get rid of the bad and replace it with the better. I don't know why this is such a difficult subject for people to grasp, but apparently it is. Keep in mind that carbohydrates are recognized by the body as sugar whether they are in the form of sugar or not. Therefore, limiting your carb intake to just those that provide your body with the best nutritional punch will keep you healthy for many years to come.

So the next time you hear one of the bombastic news journalists or so-called health "experts" out there spouting their mouths off about the "no-carb" diet fad, you remind them that carbohydrate consumption is a GOOD thing...even on a low-carb diet! You'll blow their mind!

8-26-07 UPDATE: Wanna see an example of the "no-carb" lie in the media. Check out this video that appeared in a news segment on the Atkins diet last Fall:

If he were with us today, then the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins would be surprised to know he advocated "no carbs" as this report suggests. That "fad" diet they made fun of is precisely what's keeping so many of us slim and trim as well as happy and healthy for the rest of our lives! :)

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Blogger CB said...

She notes that a no-carb diet would be next to impossible as well as undesirable to follow and would be very lacking in essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle anyway.

Certainly, it is true that none of the major carbohydrate-restricted programs require *no* carbohydrate consumption; however, the above statement simply is not supported by scientific data or research. In fact, quite the opposite is true(see: Inuits, Kekwick, etc.).

I'm not saying that we low-carbers should necessarily advocate for *no-carb* diets; but at the same time, it is counter-intuitive for we low-carbers to propagate scientifically unfounded statements such as the one above.

Low-carb certainly doesn't have to be *no-carb* (it isn't for me, nor for anyone else I know), but by the same token, it certainly *can* be - and it can be perfectly healthful.

That said, I agree with your premise: truthfully, I eat more - and a greater variety of - vegetables than just about anyone I know; and in doing so, I am well within the confines of my low-carbohydrate approach (a hybrid of Atkins and PPLP).

8/24/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Which of the major published low-carb diet plans call for a "no-carb" nutritional approach, CB? I'm curious. :)

8/24/2007 6:57 PM  
Blogger CB said...

Uh, Jimmy... did you forget to read my first sentence? :)

I'll repeat it:

Certainly, it is true that none of the major carbohydrate-restricted programs require *no* carbohydrate consumption...

8/24/2007 7:13 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Oops, sorry CB! That's what I get for trying to read it too fast. :P

GREAT POINTS as always, CB!

8/24/2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger LCT Cathy said...

How many times have I had some well-meaning person say "oh, low carb is dangerous, you need vegetables"? I could scream!

I'd have to say that the vast majority of low carb "lifers" I know eat more vegetables than non-low carbers.

With all the studies and research that has been done, people still spouting this drivel just show their ignorance.

I guess I'm coming across as a little hostile but I'm just sick and tired of hearing the same tired nonsense.

8/25/2007 2:45 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

You speak on behalf of many of us who feel the same way, Cathy! :)

8/25/2007 6:23 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

Bleh, more appeasement towards the mainstream crowd and condescension towards a no-carb lifestyle. Why?

There is absolutely no need at all for vegetables, fruits, fiber, or any kind of carbohydrate intake whatsoever. The myth that you do need them is the real "nonsense". I could care less what mainstreamers think. Let them come out with all their asinine studies and such. FAT is king. Carbs are not. Laura Dolson and Michael Kirtley are wrong.

Now if I can just shake my own carb addiction.....Mr Bunnell are you there, hehe?

8/25/2007 2:57 PM  

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