Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Enough Already With Hyperbolizing The Low-Carb Diet, Health Leader Says

Do remember that outstanding "Happy Monday" column I shared with you last week from health and fitness advocate Nicki Anderson from Reality Fitness in Naperville, IL about her realization that there are other ways besides the low-fat diet to be healthy? Well, all you know what broke loose among her newsletter readers who thought Nicki had lost her mind.

Here are a few of the spirited responses she received:

"Nicki, are you saying you believe in all of that low-carb nonsense?"

"Nicki, you've never lent yourself to any particular doctrine when it comes to nutrition, you've always been very good at being general. Please, say you haven't gone to the 'dark side.'"

"What's this? You've gone low-carb on me?"

Ahhhh, welcome to my world, Nicki! LOL! Yes, the low-carb antagonists are letting her know what they think about her openness to lending credence to the low-carb lifestyle as a viable means for controlling weight and health. After all, she's seen people like me and others find GREAT SUCCESS eating this way.

But Nicki has stuck to her guns and made the following brilliant statement:

"The minute we say there is only ONE way to be healthy, we're in trouble," she said. "I am firmly convinced that although there are definite no-no's when it comes to lifestyle choices, often it's simply a matter of what makes sense for your body and your lifestyle."

And thus the choice is up to the individual to find what works for them, follow a proven plan that has been shown to genuinely help people, and then keep doing that for the rest of their life. This is my philosophy and something that Nicki Anderson has fully grasped as well.

For those who disagreed with what she wrote last week, Nicki offered this additional explanation of what she believes in this week's "Happy Monday" newsletter. This is REALLY AWESOME, so read it all the way through. ENJOY!

So here's the deal. For over 20 years I have been involved in some capacity in the health and fitness industry. I have watched nutritional trends come and go, and come and go and come and go. Many of these nutritional trends are calorie restricted diets that allow only enough food to keep your heart pumping.

When it comes to weight management and sustaining a healthy weight, it has never been about more than eating well, eating clean if you will and eating with color. Unfortunately, we have evolved to the point that the ONLY reason we exercise and eat "diet food" is to lose weight, period, end of statement. So we don't pay attention to eating for good health, only for weight loss.

We don't need "special" diet food to lose weight, we don't need hours of exercise and we sure as heck don't need super restricted diet's telling us what we can't eat. But a lot of people have made a lot of money off of the constant pounding message, "Eat what you want without gaining weight and actually lose weight!" and what has that miracle food been? Low-fat. Hmm, every person I know that has a fridge full of no-fat foods is battling the bulge. If we simply went back to basics, portion control and less sugar/processed foods, we'd be fine.

Here is what I have seen in my 20 plus years in the industry. And let me reiterate for my RD friends that read my Happy Monday newsletter. I know, I know, I'm not a Registered Dietitian, I am simply sharing my thoughts and experience, what I've read and of course, my humble opinion. :-)

But here's where we have gotten into trouble, whether it's low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, low-protein, high-protein, high fiber, and on and on, we end up thinking whatever "program" we are on allows us carte blanche when it comes to quantity of food. In other words, when low-fat came around, every conceivable snack was created to be low-fat, it didn't matter if it was good for you or not, it was low-fat so people bought it and ended up eating it constantly. They figured, "If it's low-fat I can eat all I want!" Remember, the whole oat bran craze? Suddenly breads, cereals, crackers (again, all snack food) had copious amounts of oat bran. Again, another craze that ended up being pretty short lived.

Between you and me, I don't care if something is low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, low-sodium, I am not going to use it as an excuse to overeat, and you shouldn't either. Low carb (when you look at the big picture) is not some wacky way out there practice, it is simply getting away from years of overimbibing in processed foods. Foods loaded with sugar are designed to help everyone lose weight, and to date, well our country is heavier than ever.

Low carb is no different than eating the way my family did 30 years ago, before processed carbohydrates became a food group and food of choice. Everyone looks at those that prescribe to the low carb philosophy as a bunch of whack-jobs, believe me there are plenty of zealots with every weight loss program, but YOU have to read between the hype and the health and make a smart choice.

Regardless of what philosophy you choose to follow, it has to be smart, healthy and can't be all about, "How much I can eat because it's low whatever." It DOESN'T MATTER! You should not overeat ever. Before all of this designer diet food, most folks ate healthy amounts of decent foods. Kids didn't walk around with a bag of "Combos" in their hand when I was a kid. Fast food was a once-in-a-while deal and chips and crackers we saved for parties 4x per year.

Any excuse to eat en masse is what the diet industry has perpetuated, so let's see if I can offer some succinct thoughts to help you on your road to a healthy lifestyle, whatever route you choose.

- Just because the labels on the front of boxes or cans, etc. says, "low" whatever, doesn't mean it's good for you nor does it mean you can eat all you want. Nor does it mean eating it will guarantee weight loss.

- Don't be fooled by labels that promise something. Oftentimes when it claims it's low in carbs or low in fat, you look at the side label with the nutrition information and it contains 3 servings which drastically changes the actual nutrition info.

- No matter what program you follow, or what "special" foods you buy, quantity will always matter, you eat too much, you will gain weight, period, end of statement. Also, it's about quality. I buy as much organic, whole rich foods as I can, when I can.

- I attended a lecture by Jose Antonio, who is a food scientist and he said, "Do you know you cannot overeat protein, but you can easily over eat carbohydrates?" Processed carbohydrates are loaded with sugar and often cause a withdrawal affect so that you find yourself always going back for more.

- At holiday parties, stay away from puffed pastries, and instead of overdoing on cheese and crackers, have cheese with canteloupe or cheese and veggies. You'll fill up more quickly and stay satisfied for a longer period.

- If you choose to drink alcohol, always have one 8 oz. glass of water for every drink. You'll most likely drink less and stay well hydrated.

I continue to read and expand my knowledge of the human body and the effect that exercise and nutrition has on it. It's fascinating stuff, I'm telling you. I continue to be amazed at what new studies reveal and some old studies continue to be solid. But at the end of the day, it's about finding what's best for you and what allows you to stay healthy and well. If you're chronically overweight you know whatever you're doing isn't working for you, change it, experiment, explore, read and in the end, pick the healthiest choice for you!

Cheers and Good health!

THANK YOU for reiterating this message again, Nicki, because it is one that more and more people like you should be coming to grips with. Those who actually investigate what livin' la vida low-carb is are often surprised by what they see--this way of eating is a normal, natural, healthy, whole foods dietary approach that looks nothing like the way plans like the Atkins diet are typically portrayed in the media and by so-called health "experts."

As more and more medical and nutrition professionals read Good Calories, Bad Calories, then we'll be seeing others like Nicki Anderson having an epiphany moment where everything they've always believed is challenged. And that is where the rubber meets the road as we seek to overcome the needless objects to the amazingly healthy low-carb lifestyle.

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Blogger JD said...

Think some of those who hyperbolize low carb need to look at some of Volek's most recent research regarding what low carb does for lipid profiles. Truly amazing.

Question for you and/or Jeff Volek. Does he have any plans to combine this low carb diet with CT heart scans (ala Dr. David)? Would be interesting to know if a very low carb diet is capable of reversing plaque just by itself.

12/04/2007 1:32 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey JD! I've e-mailed Dr. Volek with your question.

12/04/2007 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Here's what Dr. Volek wrote to me:

No real plans, reversal of plaque would be a great finding but probably takes years to show. The only study I'm aware of showing this is the synthetic apoA-1 that when injected gobbled up plaque over a period of weeks showing a 4% decrease with IVUS. Fascinating story.

12/04/2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Thanks Jimmy for asking the question. Maybe some of those familiar with Dr. Davis' work would have an idea of how long it takes to show reduction in plaque. In any case, you know the critics are going to want a longer term study like say a year. Since you said this was just one of many papers maybe that will be part of them. In any case, I also wonder if any other researchers have duplicated his results. Scientific results are never accepted until they can be independently verified but I'm sure his results will be. Maybe some will do a long term study and include CT heart scans. Hmmm. Right up Ornish's alley.:-) I wonder what he would say about Volek's results. He would probably be in total shock and left speechless.

12/04/2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Don't expect Dr. Ornish to step up, JD. He selectively chooses the data he wants to believe and usually labels ones he disagrees with as "poorly constructed" research. Shocked and speechless? Not hardly!

12/04/2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger HeartCipher said...

Hey Jimmy,

Came across some MUST SEE YouTube video links that I've just now blogged about. Don't know if you've seen them yet. I think you'll enjoy them.

Thanks for the inspiration.

aCipher at

12/05/2007 7:01 AM  
Blogger HeartCipher said...

Regarding JD's question about coronary plaque...

THE guy on the question is Dr. William Davis of

He's adamant about being low carb but also discusses dimensions of the issues that diet alone cannot address.

aCipher @

12/05/2007 7:04 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS HeartCipher! I blogged about those YouTube videos last week. :)

12/05/2007 7:25 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

This lady clearly, for the full 100% got it...and knows what she's talking about. It's heart-warming to see that more and more professionals in the field are getting the message!

And let there be no mistake about it, Jimmy... it's your efforts, your heart and soul you pour into this blog and many others, that is bringing all of us the Change that was so desperately needed!

I've said it before and I say it again: you have, certainly from the beginning -years ago already- almost single-handedly positively influenced and literally saved the lives of countless thousands of people! And nobody, not the critics and not even Government, can ever take that away from you. There are many more bloggers these days, but you are one of the true pioneers and you are doing one heck of a job and you deserve full credit for that, and your incredible success.

Like they would say in NASA: you are a steely-eyed missile man!

12/08/2007 12:25 AM  

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