Monday, November 26, 2007

Anderson: Low-Fat Diets Have 'Created A World Of Carbohydrate Addicts'

You should subscribe to Nicki Anderson's "Happy Monday" newsletter

There are only a handful of people in this world who I hold a tremendous amount of respect for their willingness to remain open to new ideas and yet remain firmly grounded in their ability to discern what is right even when it is unpopular. It is the rare individual who possesses such a quality, but that's exactly what I have found in my friend and fitness motivator Nicki Anderson.

I first blogged about Nicki nearly two years ago and the work she is doing at her Naperville, IL-based Reality Fitness weight and health center. She is one of America's leading voices on behalf of implementing quality fitness routines into the lives of everyday people regardless of their size. Her life's passion is to share with others that exercising can and should be a fun and exciting part of your healthy lifestyle.

I've featured the writings of Nicki Anderson here at my blog previously because her enthusiasm spills over and is so infectious when she hits a topic of particular interest to those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb. I remember when she wrote this article about the low-fat diets failing in response to this historic 8-year study published in JAMA last year showing the once-heralded king of the healthy diets is one of the biggest shams ever perpetrated on the world. And Nicki NAILED 'em for it, too! In September 2007, she exposed the rampant abuse of the over-the-counter weight loss drug Alli in a very timely column.

Well, it seems Nicki has been doing a lot of research and reading about the wonderful world of livin' la vida low-carb over this past year (with a little gentle nudging from somebody you know--*wink*) and is becoming increasingly convinced there is more to it than once thought. While she's always been highly respectful of me and my nutritional choice for weight loss and health, now it seems she is learning to love and appreciate why this way of eating is so fantastic for people like me.

In her latest "Happy Monday" newsletter today (which you can sign up for FREE at, she shares with her readers this evolution that is happening within her realm of thinking regarding diet, health and nutrition right now to get them to begin questioning what they have always believed to be true as well. There are a lot of patients and medical professionals who are still so deeply indoctrinated in the low-fat dogma that it's gonna take someone like Nicki to point them in the right direction.

With permission to reprint her fabulous "Happy Monday" column here at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog, here's what Nicki Anderson wrote:

It's absolutely necessary to explore new information when it comes to exercise and nutrition. With companies always trying to make a fast buck, sometimes the trends aren't always in the best interest of your health.

- Nicki

I have always tried to do my best to teach my clients and readers that healthy living is about balance, and I will always believe in that approach. One of the toughest things about my industry, health and fitness, is that information is constantly changing. One day we read that cardio exercise for 60 minutes is mandatory and the next day we read, 3 segments of 10 minutes each is sufficient.

Then there's the nutrition, ay-yay-yay! Everyday it's something new. But not always in the best interest of overall health but more in the interest of big business and huge profits.

Over the last 10 years, I have watched very closely the direction that nutrition has been heading. Now remember, when I lost my weight almost 30 years ago, it was done simply by eating colorful food, watching portions and eliminating unnecessary sugars. I have always followed that and it has always served me well. Back then "diet food" was non-existent. Today you've got absolute garbage that is touted and sold as weight loss food, confusing the masses and tricking them into believing they work. Healthy food? Why no, simply low-fat and surely low fat food means low fat on the body too? Right? Um, no.

In the 80's the low fat craze was at it's peak, yet somehow everyone was dieting more, hmmmm. When I jumped on the low-fat wagon, I paid no attention to the fact that I constantly needed to eat, my energy levels were erratic, and every day was a battle to maintain a healthy weight, but I figured that was normal. We all know that in this country when a trend starts, it spreads like wild fire and everyone is on the bandwagon, no questions asked. And in the 80's it was low-fat all the way!

In the 90's, The Atkins Diet resurfaced (after a 20 year hiatus) and because many had been indoctrinated in to the world of low-fat, Dr. Atkins was perceived as a certifiable lunatic. Since I pride myself on being open to different ideas on nutrition, I started doing some research to find out where Atkins was coming from. Mind you, as people often do, the problem with his popularity (not in a good way) was that many people took bits and pieces of Atkins book (just the part to lose weight), not understanding exactly what the science was behind his approach, and simply started eating nothing but meat, cheese and eggs, which was not his philosophy.

Check out a little history, back in 1850's there was a gentleman by the name of William Banting. The gist of Banting is that he was overweight and he couldn't figure out how to get rid of it. Everyone was telling him something different and then he hooked up with a doctor who told him to, "Avoid sugar, bread, sweets and walk up and down your stairs a few times a day." In a year, he lost 50 pounds. This was where the understanding that excess sugar translates to excess pounds started.

The more I researched, the more I realize that low-fat diets are no longer the ideal when it comes to weight loss or good health. In fact, in my humble opinion, the low-fat diet world has created a world of carbohydrate addicts. Think about it, all of the "diet" foods created over the last 20 years are typically sugar filled, processed, garbage "diet" foods, aka unhealthy carbohydrates. Snackwells anyone? Don't you find it odd that millions of dollars have been spent on low-fat foods yet our country is heavier than ever? Type II Diabetes is higher than ever and affecting younger and younger children? More and more disease, obesity related of course. Clearly something is not working.

Research indicates much of it has to do with the fact our country is full of carbo imbibing dieters that are completely unaware of the damage that all of the high processed, high sugar foods actually causes to our body and ultimately our health. Think about the low-fat, diet foods that are always advertised, ice cream, breads, cereals, boxed snacks, cookies, and on and on. Nothing natural, nothing whole, nothing normal, all processed, high sugar foods, aka "carbage." But hey, they're low-fat! Ugh!

I'm not a doctor, nor a dietitian but in my 25 years (since low-fat has been around) more and more people are struggling with weight. I got back to my healthy eating roots, more color, less sugar and no processed foods. At 46 years old, my energy level is great, my weight is healthy, I don't crave garbage foods, my hair and skin is healthy and well, I feel great. When clients come through my doors, many of them are eating around 75% processed carbohydrates per day! Breads, pastas, crackers, packaged snacks and the list goes on and on, because they're LOW FAT! Ugh!

If you look at what a lot of recent studies show, you will find that more and more, low-fat diets are not working to create a lean, healthy and sustainable weight. Look I'm not a proponent of all or nothing in any realm, but I think it's time we set aside the low fat snacks (which are simply an excuse to overeat the wrong things.) Let's take a gander at some interesting studies and information so you are able to come to your own conclusion. Remember, it's not about all or nothing, it's about finding a balance between healthy choices and healthy living.

No matter what you believe, seek to lower the processed foods you eat and focus on whole, real food, it is worth your time and study. If we can perhaps learn to focus on foods that fuel us well and are not out of a box, maybe just maybe we can lick this obesity thing, not to mention greatly enhance the quality of your life.

Check out some interesting sites recommended by my friend Jimmy Moore, king! He posts some fascinating things that certainly leave you wondering what we've been doing the last 30 years, hmmmmm.

So here's some reading for you, let me know what you think.

Dr. Michael Eades


Weight of the Evidence

Jimmy Moore's Blogspot

Send your feedback and encouragement to Nicki Anderson and she continues this journey toward dietary truth by using this contact page. I've urged her to read Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories next and assured her it will blow her mind. When she does get around to reading that book, LOOK OUT! She'll be unstoppable! :D

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Blogger Christopher said...

Hello Jimmy! This comment isn't about your latest entry (per se - it was excellent as usual, of course), but about your YouTube videos... I've been reading your site for over a year now - and enjoying it - but my wife and I recently got high speed Internet, which opened up a whole new world in regard to experiencing your work... Simply put, I cannot say enough good things about the videos - they are AWESOME! You and Christine are not only knowledgable - that goes without saying - but you're also both born teachers. I make my living as an educator teaching high schoolers, and I know how hard it is to be so consistently engaging - and you pull it off with stunning regularity. Ultimately, the videos work because they entertain. They're fun. And I suspect that a lot of people learn things and never even realize they're learning... I honestly would rather watch you two on YouTube than ANYTHING on tv. Seriously! Keep up the incredible work & have a joyous holiday season...


11/26/2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger Gloriana said...

There are good points here, but I'm inclined to wonder whether 'snack foods' are the main culprit. The other side of the problem is that constant material from the low-fat realm have led to that people are afraid of protein and fat. Eating meat is the root of all weight problems - having more than ADA portion sizes of protein destroys one's kidneys and heart - etc.

People have insufficient protein to reduce hunger - then so fear the protein that they eat starches that only make them more hungry! I was raised on the dreadful 'Mediterranean diet,' a sure route to being hungry every hour of the day. I'm not speaking of 'snack foods' - not only because many had not yet been invented, but because our household was poor and frugal. (One can of tuna was protein for 4-5 people. It was especially hard, during childhood, to be ravenous and have to wait hours for a chance at anything to eat - by then, I could have eaten the tablecloth.) The pasta, breads and so forth only increased hunger.

Most people I knew who did not have weight problems ate meat daily - often several times each day. This was long before any health craze - the same kids ate crisps, chocolate, whatever. I was living on what later would be considered so 'safe' and 'healthy' - and gained 50 pounds between the ages of 6-9.

I really believe that the downfall of 'low fat' (as far as weight problems go) is the constant hunger, whether one ever eats snacks or not.

As an aside, I would caution low carbers about 'snack foods' as well. Thirty years ago, there were no 'low carb products.' I'm wondering if, for example, eating a low carb chocolate bar could stimulate cravings - where one could have hard boiled eggs, consume fewer calories, and not have appetite stimulated.

11/27/2007 7:04 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Chris! I'm so glad you enjoy our YouTube videos. Christine and I love doing them and wouldn't mind having our own television show. But YouTube is a good place to start. :D

Gloriana, I agree people are absolutely terrified of eating fat and to a lesser degree protein because of what they've "heard" about how allegedly unhealthy these are. And you are exactly right about low-fat=hunger which will be the ultimate downfall of that way of eating.

But I see nothing wrong with having low-carb alternatives to foods like chocolate which are better for you than eating the real thing. If you can do without them, then that's awesome for you. However, some of us can eat our low-carb chocolate and be completely satisfied with that.

THANK YOU for your outstanding comments!

11/27/2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger Waterlily said...

Went to Nicky's site and found "low-fat carrot cake" under recipes, and went...hmmmm. Kinda hypocritical to say the least.

11/27/2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Waterlily said...

I was with her as far as her recipe section where I found "low-fat carrot cake."

11/27/2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Waterlily, this is still an evolutionary process, so cut Nicki some slack right now. She's only just now realizing livin' la vida low-carb is a viable alternative after decades of believing otherwise. I'm sure there will be lots of changes happening at Reality Fitness as a result.

11/27/2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger leosatter said...

I hope you can help me out. I am trying to get my health under control so starting to eat right is my first step. Do you know where I can purchase quality food online? (that is on the healthy side) I am starting to do all of my shopping online because of various reasons…so I am hoping you can help me out with a suggestion or two.
So far I have only tried Celebrity foods (which is outstanding by the way)
I am in desperate need to grow my list of quality services or stores, where I can buy my food from. Thank you and have a great day or night (depending on when you read this. LOL!

11/28/2007 11:14 PM  

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