Monday, October 15, 2007

Diet-Blog's Jim Foster Says Frustrated Dieters Should Try A 'Controlled-Carb Approach'

I have a lot of personal respect for Jim Foster's work at Diet-Blog

If you have ever found yourself scouring the Internet for information about diet, weight loss, health, nutrition, and fitness, then undoubtedly you have come across a really neat web site called Diet-Blog. It is run by a man named Jim Foster and is an excellent resource for news and information about just about anything and everything related to this subject.

In fact, Diet-Blog is among an elite group of health and fitness blogs designated as the Best of the Web. These kudos are well-deserved and I have long admired the work that this average Joe puts into his web site. Like me, Jim is not a health professional, but is simply interested in helping people find what works for them and then encouraging them to do those things to stay healthy.

The prestigious and leading health blog has been getting recognition from a couple of his peers this month in two separate interviews appearing at Charles Stuart Platkin's Diet Detective as well as Amy Tenderich's Diabetes Mine.

In the Diet Detective interview, Jim answers the question "When someone you know asks for diet advice what do you tell them?" in as pithy a response as I've ever seen.

"Eat more whole foods like fruit and vegetables. Eat less junk and fast food."

Enough said, huh? :) I like Jim because he's one of those fellas who when he says something, it makes you think. Challenging conventional wisdom and getting people to stop seeing through their own narrow-minded kaleidoscope about life is one of the things that sets him apart from other health bloggers.

Take this latest post he wrote about pole dancing for children? Outrageous? Yep! But Jim takes it even one step further in his short, but to the point commentary.

1. Pole “work” is inextricably linked to exotic dancing. It would be difficult to break this stigma.
2. With young girls already being perpetually fed messages about “being” and “acting” sexually, would these types of classes perpetuate that message?
3. If the class were called “fitness with a vertical bar” would people still be outraged?
4. Is pole fitness a unique way for children to bolster their strength, flexibility and coordination, or is it simply an industry trying to broaden their marked by capitalizing on a hot concept?

It's these kind of crack-your-brain blog posts that has made Diet-Blog one of the most widely read health web sites on the Internet today. Jim Foster and his lineup of contributors have their finger on the pulse of what is happening in this industry and cover it all. He even recently weighed in on the "Kimkins Disaster" after it was featured on a local Los Angeles television news report.

Foster's interview with Diabetes Mine will be of interest to those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb because he addresses the issue of carbohydrate restriction in a way that should bring a smile to your face. The author of that blog, Amy Tenderich, is no fan of low-carb, although she was open to hearing from my readers recently for suggestions about low-carb foods.

But check out Foster's answer to this one posed by Tenderich: Give us a sense of your approach to carbs: good carbs, bad carbs, low carbs, no carbs?

Here was his brilliant response:

Carbohydrate-based foods are cheap. Next time your are eating at a "large-portioned" restaurant -- look at what fills your plate. Highly refined carbs are easy to overeat and often lack the satiety of certain fats and proteins. Recent data has shown that sweetened soft drinks contribute 10% of all calories in the American diet.

So, having said this, I feel we tend to eat too many refined carbs and sugars. However, nutritional advice for the last few decades has focused exclusively on fat. Someone forgot to mention that we also need to moderate carbohydrate intake.

As for heavily restricting carbs, I believe there is a place for it in certain situations. And rather than being a target for derision -- a controlled-carb approach needs to be offered as an option -- particularly to those with any blood sugar issues.

I have my own experiences with this: I struggled with hypoglycemia for years. A nutritionist advised that I needed to be snacking and grazing more throughout the day. The suggested snacks were all carbohydrate-based foods. My symptoms persisted until I began to include a strong protein component in my snacks. Now the glucose wasn't hitting my body in a rush, and it helped to balance out the wild blood sugar swings.

INCREDIBLE! You go Jim! That response is very reasoned and cuts to the chase. But he wasn't done yet. Tenderich asked a follow-up question: The "eatwell plate" you featured from the UK food authorities seems to recommend a very large proportion of carbs. Are you on board with that?

Oh, you're just gonna stand up and cheer after you read Jim's response:

I'm not out to antagonize public health authorities - however I feel we as consumers don't need any encouragement to eat more carbs. If anything we need more education on the different kinds of carbohydrates - and the impact on satiety.

AMEN, brother! Although, personally, I don't mind antagonizing the self-proclaimed health "experts" when they deserve it! That's why Jim does what he does and I do what I do. We all serve a good purpose in the health debate which hopefully is being impacted for the better through the efforts of people like Jim Foster.

I have invited Jim for an interview at my blog to ask him more questions about livin' la vida low-carb, fat, cholesterol and all sorts of other subjects to return the favor for his interview with me last year. We'll bring that to you if he agrees. :D

Got a comment or question for Jim Foster? You can reach him through this contact page at Diet-Blog. Be sure to thank him for articulating the concepts of the low-carb lifestyle and being respectful enough of it to defend it publicly.

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