Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm Not Sidestepping The Term 'Low-Carb'

Welcome to the "Livin' La Vida [BLANK]" blog where we talk about all things related to [BLANK]. You know, I've found the [BLANK] lifestyle to be one of the easiest and best ways to keep the weight off permanently. Ever since I started my [BLANK] diet in January 2004, eating all the wonderful [BLANK] foods that are available to you when you are [BLANK]ing makes this way of eating far superior to any other weight loss plan out there. I'm so glad I'm livin' la vida [BLANK].

What's wrong with this picture?!?!?! What the [BLANK] is going on?

I have just demonstrated for you the current state of the industry formerly known as "low-carb" in the year 2006. It seems that everyone who used to champion anything and everything related to low-carb is jumping ship from using that term anymore. From Jonny Bowden to Dana Carpender, some of the loudest voices in the wonderful world of low-carb no long want to be affiliated with that term.

Additionally, you've got companies in the food industry shying away from using "low-carb" in their name or on the packaging and marketing of their products, although the product itself hasn't changed. Eat Well Be Well, for example, used to be called CarbSense/MiniCarb but changed their name to a more generic one to supposedly be more all-inclusive of many healthy ways to eat.

Why are the biggest low-carb personalities and companies that made a name for themselves using the term "low-carb" all of a sudden sidestepping it completely and avoiding using it like it's some kind of disease or something? Is it just a little bit strange to anyone else why this is happening when much of the success they have had can be attributed directly to their affiliation with "low-carb" in recent years? Inquiring minds want to know!

Some people might be wondering, "Jimmy, what's the big deal? I don't care what we call it as long as I'm able to keep my weight under control and improve my health with this way of eating. Does it really matter that it has to be called 'low-carb'?"

In my opinion, the answer to that question is a loud and unequivocated YES! Absolutely it matters that we keep calling it "low-carb."

Let's examine for a moment five of the popular new terms being thrown out there to replace "low-carb":

1. Low-glycemic

I would venture to say that most people on the street don't even know what the glycemic index is (most people still don't even know what the low-carb lifestyle is all about!). This is a tricky concept to explain to people and it's not as cut and dry as "low-carb." I know this is a phrase that a lot of companies are hedging their bets on, but I don't see it sticking in the United States (currently 93% of Americans don't look for GI information on the foods they buy) like it has in Europe.

2. Diabetic-friendly

What if I'm not diabetic (and I'm not!)? How does this improve the term "low-carb" in the least? Diabetics know that sugar-free, low-carb products are good choices for them, so why alienate the low-carb consumer by using a phrase with "diabetic" in it? I don't get this one either.

3. Controlled-carb

Actually, I have used this phrase myself because it does serve a good purpose when explaining what my lifestyle change is all about. While I certainly ate "low-carb" (between 30-40g carbs daily) when I was losing weight, I transitioned to more of a "controlled-carb" approach (close to 100g carbs daily) once I met my goal and wanted to maintain. However, I am still eating "low-carb" compared to the 900-1000g carbs I used to eat on a daily basis before I started livin' la vida low-carb.

4. Carb-restricted

Similar to "controlled-carb," this phrase was no doubt created to remove any negative stigma from the "low" part of "low-carb." The media and those who oppose this way of eating take that "low" and change it to "NO" to make it "NO carb" which is absolutely silly. Nobody ever talks about eating ZERO carbs and yet that's the common belief. But using the term "carb-restricted" attempts to change this perception and it's a good attempt. I still don't think people know what you are referring to with this phrase.

5. Nutrient-dense

I actually like this phrase because it insinuates that the foods you eat are healthy and give you all the essential nutrients you need to consume. That perfectly describes the kind of foods you can eat on the low-carb lifestyle. But is this phrase going to translate to the average person on the street? I'm afraid not.

So what do we need to call it then? Is there really a need to change the term "low-carb" at all?

My 180+ pound weight loss was a God-given miracle in my life. I think you realize from the articles I write in this forum what an incredible difference it has made in me. I am a new man because of it and nobody will ever be able to take this accomplishment away from me.

But guess what? I DID IT ON LOW-CARB!!! Three cheers for low-carb -- LOW-CARB LOW-CARB LOW-CARB!!!

I'm not ashamed to use that phrase one bit. While others have purposely backed away from using "low-carb," I have actively embraced it with every ounce of resolve within me because it is the plan that made me skinny for the first time in my life and it is what will keep me fit and trim for the rest of my life. Why would I call it something different now?

Perhaps I am being naive about my decision to use the term "low-carb," but I don't think so. If it weren't for "low-carb" being a part of my life, had I not learned more about what "low-carb" living is all about, and if the principles of "low-carb" could not be communicated to the masses of overweight and obese people who need to understand what it is, then where would I be today? 400+ pounds, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems, or quite possibly, six feet under!

I don't mean to sound morbid, but defining the term "low-carb" and helping others understand clearly what that actually means is why I created the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. For all those critics of the term "low-carb," let me ask you something. If "low-carb" is no longer viable, then please explain to me why my blog which prominently uses the phrase "low-carb" in it continues to attract over 1,500 pageviews per day and has grown by at least 25 percent every month since it started?!

I'm on track for the month of March 2006 to reach nearly 50,000 pageviews, an all-time record high since I began my blog in April 2005. What could possibly be attracting so many people to a "low-carb" blog if it isn't the subject of "low-carb" itself? I believe it's a bit too premature for us to be abandoning and sidestepping "low-carb" just because we think its use has run its course. People are still looking for information about "low-carb" and I'm happy to give it to them.

Here at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb," the term "low-carb" is NOT going to stop being used because I refuse to allow the media and the so-called health experts to erroneously redefine that cherished term to the people who want to know more about it. I stand proudly in defense of the term "low-carb" and will gladly share what it means to me in the presence of anyone who desires to learn more about what it is. And I'll give 'em the TRUTH about low-carb!

Let others hem and haw about what to call "low-carb" but as for me I will not run away from it!


Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Hurrah for Low Carb!

Don't forget the other term, probably more despised than Low Carb is: The Atkins Diet!


3/27/2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Man, oh man: I absolutely love it when you blast the bastards like that. Rake 'em over the coals, Jimmy! You keep up the good work, my friend -- in the long term, the truth will prevail!

3/28/2006 5:20 AM  
Blogger TESS said...

I don't think all the rats are deserting a sinking ship but iI do think they follow the money. Dana said once in her ezine that her editor wouldn't publish her new book if it had low carb in the title.I would guess that is why her newspaper column changed names as well. To accept low carb for the exellent health tool it is would mean all those food giants that process cardboard boxes would go out of business and lets face it that just isn't going to happen. Likewise pharmacutical companies. If low carb were to be accepted they woud be out a considerable amount of money. Their has got to be a happy medium but I really dont think we will see it in our lifetime, which makes your blog and all the work you do more important than ever, Jimmy! Keep up the excellant work!!!

3/28/2006 5:06 PM  
Blogger Calianna said...

Personally, I don't really care what it's called, as long as it's still the same eating plan.

Back in the early 70's when I was originally diagnosed with hypoglycemia, I was put on a "high protein" diet. The only significant difference between that diet and what we now know as low carb was that it allowed either one slice of bread of 1/2 of a baked potato per meal. I didn't feel good on that much starch, so I didn't eat it. What did that give me? A low carb diet/restricted carb diet/controlled carb diet... take your pick, even though it was called high protein back then, it was still low carb.

Then came the low-fat craze of the 80's and 90's, and I was afraid to eat like that any more, because as we all "knew", all that fat and cholesterol would kill you... which is why I ended up more than doubling my weight during that time, as I tried to fill up mostly on pasta, potatoes, bread and sugar (in it's many guises).

Enough is enough though, and because I felt so awful, I knew I had to do something... I finally decided that I had no choice but to return to the way I ate during the only time in my life when I was not overweight, not constantly hungry, and had energy - that high protein/low carb way of eating.


From what I've read (although this may not be true in every situation - if so, anyone who knows should feel free to post the correct information), authors are not really allowed to decide on the published title of books they write; that's something that the publisher decides, because they're the one putting up the money to publish it, not the author, so they choose a title that they believe will sell the most books. If you want national distribution of your book, you agree to use the title the publisher chooses, whether you like it or not, unless you happen to be wealthy enough to self publish as well as have enough clout to effectively promote your book.

3/28/2006 7:36 PM  
Blogger branruadh said...

At least some of the movement, especially in the food industry, may be because of Canada. Their FDA equivalent recently declared that since they haven't seen sufficient proof it matters to people's health, foods can't advertise themselves as "low carb" there anymore. Thus "Carb and Sugar Control" yogurt.

3/30/2006 12:14 AM  

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