Gymnasts and low-carb

Steve McCain

Steve McCain

According to a recent NBC Sports article, Olympic gymnasts have jumped on the low-carb bandwagon.  And they do it because they need plenty of quick energy for the intense activities they perform.

With rock-hard biceps and abs that would make a bodybuilder jealous, Stephen McCain doesn’t need to lose weight. Yet count him as a devotee of the increasingly popular low-carbohydrate diet.

A 2000 U.S. Olympian trying to make it back to the Games this year, McCain started doing the high-protein, low-carb thing well before it became the biggest diet fad in the country.

“I used to think it was all about carbs, carbs, carbs to get the energy,” he said. “But over time, I realized I performed better when I kept that stuff in check.”

That’s because gymnastics, unlike swimming or long-distance running, is considered an “anaerobic” sport, one in which short, intense bursts of power are much more important than endurance.

“Over the span of a three-hour workout, we’re probably only up on the equipment for 15 minutes,” McCain said. The longest routine for a man or woman is the floor exercise, which lasts between 60 and 90 seconds.

Thus, having lots of complex sugars stored up — the kind produced by carbohydrates — does not help a gymnast that much. Those energy spurts are best provided by a diet high in protein. Most gymnasts try to get between 60 percent and 70 percent of their calories from proteins (like meats and cheeses), the rest from carbs (like whole-grain pasta, fruits, vegetables) and fats (like oils from peanuts). And, as has been proven by all the Atkins, South Beach and Zone diets so popular these days [Atkins, South Beach and Zone. Sigh. I guess MD and I are destined to be the low-carb Rodney Dangerfields forever], high-protein regimens help gymnasts keep their weight down.

Thanks to Fred Hahn for sending me the article.

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50 thoughts on “Gymnasts and low-carb

  1. I’ve been reading and reading about low-carb diets and am ready to plunge in! One question, though. Supposedly the Framingham study proved that the more saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories you ate, the lower your serum cholesterol was; however, other studies state that (especially) women whose serum cholesterol is high, live longer! I want to live longer – how should I interpret this seeming contradiction?

    Don’t worry about it. The cholesterol differences in the Framingham study weren’t all that large. If you follow a low-carb diet, your cholesterol should be in the proper range.

  2. >>”Most gymnasts try to get between 60 percent and 70 percent of their calories from proteins (like meats and cheeses), the rest from carbs (like whole-grain pasta, fruits, vegetables) and fats (like oils from peanuts).”
    Hi Dr Mike,
    Doesn’t this seem to be yet another example of a garbled passage, c/o modern journalism? If the sources of protein are meats and cheeses, wouldn’t the fat be higher? And why would gymnasts have anything to do with yucky omega-6 peanut oil?? And why, indeed, are carbs listed second, when this wrecks the argument about even complex carbs being useless for a gymnast?
    Which brings me to an anecdote. We’ve just come back from an extended family ski trip to Perisher, and my niece was up from Melbourne. She’s studying dance & choreography at the Uni. She tells me that they get nutritional “advice” and she was told flat out that she needs to consume some 1000 kJoule more than she does in carbs. She won’t, of course, because if she did she knows she would feel crap. And she’s maintaining her weight (which is ideal!!!) eating the way she does already. And she looks absolutely gorgeous (said the proud uncle).
    What rock do these creeps live under?

    Bestest Regards, Michael
    P.S. Now 8 Kg lighter since your !cheese and !nuts advice. And still loosing. You guys are the best!

    The state of nutritional reporting and of nutritional advice in general is abysmal.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  3. Hi Doc, I have a question. My doc is pushing statins for my high chol. I got her to agree to check particle size to settle the issue of my risk. She says the results indicate ‘moderate risk’ but 1) i don’t trust her, and 2) the numbers seem better than that to me. However, I really don’t know how to intrepret these numbers. Is there a resource that might help me, and if you care to weigh in, I would love your opinion. My diet is about 80% fat, mostly saturated, and 20% protein, carbs under 5 or so daily. I think my numbers score one for low carb/high fat. Thanks so much!
    Lipids:
    LDL = 197
    HDL = 79
    TRG = 56
    LDL Particle Numbers nmol/L:
    LSL-P = 1129 *this was flagged as greater than optimal
    small LLDL-P = 0
    Metabolic Syndrome Markers:
    LDL Particle size 22.6 nm
    Large HDL-P = 18.6 umol/L
    Large VLDL-P = .3 nmol/L

    What your doc needs to know more than your various lipid values (which look pretty good to me) is that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that statins provide any benefit for women of any age. End of argument. See this post for an explanation.

  4. Hold on their Rodney. I may have loaned out my “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, but nobody is going to pry my “Protein Power” out of my hands.

  5. Maybe if it was just “EADES DIET” I bet that would have gotten on there. Maybe Protein Power is just takes too long to say? ha ha, but seriously, what other explanation could there be? You guys rock!

    Thanks.

  6. 60-70% protein?! I find that highly unlikely. You would have to eat nothing but lean meat, and even then it would be a challenge. You certainly aren’t going to do that with cheese.

    Whoever wrote that NBC sports article doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The human body can’t consistently handle more than about 35% protein.

    They’re either getting their calories from fat or carbohydrate. Given that they’re eating LC, I’m going to go with fat. I wonder if this was the author’s way of weaseling out of saying the gymnasts are eating a high-fat diet.

    Oh so true. The reported doesn’t have a clue. But, hey, these are sports reporters.

  7. Hi Doctor,
    Sorry about the Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome. You’re no 1 with lots of LC’ers. Do you think McCain could eat less protein and still maximize his creatine phosphate? Then he could eat more saturated fats and fewer carbohydrates for better health. Incidentally, the 800-M has long been highly regarded by track aficionados because it is right on the cusp of sprinting and distance running.

    I think he probably could eat less protein…if what they attribute to his protein intake is accurate, which I doubt.

  8. yah you might be less well known but you seem to often fall under the radar of criticism and attack.

    Ah, yes, but, as the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Unless, of course, one is publicly accused of pedophilia or some other awful thing.

  9. You mean: ‘you get no respect’? I should say, you get plenty. To the ones in the know, Dangerfield is unsurpassed.

    I have a blog on paleo and lowcarb matters (in my native Danish) and write in the face of the official dietary guidelines, of course. Today I got my first commenter asking for advice … he had it all: obesity, TC through the roof, stratospheric BP and lowered lung capacity and subjected himself to 15 kinds of meds on a daily basis.

    Of course I told him – like you always do, no comparison intended – that I couldn’t possibly give him any advice and furthermore that he should think twice about any advice he could get off the Internet. I did however suggest that weight loss would probably remedy most of his ailments and pointed him in the direction of the big Israeli study as well as the yet unpublished one from Obesity Reviews – the latter being doubly relevant, since fellow Dane Arne Astrup is among the editors of said journal. I suggested he discuss these studies and their implications on a weight loss plan for him with his MD.

    Also I pointed him to Jimmy Moore’s site for inspiration and to your PPLP for that as well as scientific back up.

    So, did I steer clear of ‘malpractice’, you think?

    I think you did steer clear, but if you’re not a doctor, then you can’t be accused of malpractice. It’s an interesting situation. A person with absolutely no training or no credentials of any kind can give anyone nutritional advice, even specific nutritional advice, even medical advice, for that matter, and not be considered to be malpracticing. I, who am a licensed physician, can commit malpractice. I suppose the powers that be assume anyone who acts on advice from the man on the street deserve whatever happens. But when people rely on my credentials and are wronged, that’s a different story. So, as long as you’re not a physician, you can pretty much say what you want. I do think that you did right by your commenter.

  10. The article’s advice to eat 60-70% of your calories as protein seems dangerously stupid, unless they’re including fat under the banner of “protein.” Stefansson developed rabbit starvation in his Bellevue meat diet study when they fed him lean meat. His protein intake was over 40% of calories and that is widely regarded as the toxic level. His condition was reversed by feeding fatty cuts of meat. Many will develop health problems if they follow the advice of that article and many other mainstream articles that characterize low-carb diets as high-protein diets. An excess of protein (beyond 35-40%) is clearly toxic. That is not to say that it is optimal to eat a diet with 25-30% protein. The emphasis should be first on fat, IMO..

    (see page 11, table III, of the study’s full text)
    http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/87/3/651.pdf

    Many take the wrong approach to low-carb, IMO. The low-carb diet should be a high-fat diet or health and energy will fail. Barry Groves and Stefansson both made this point in their own writing. The people who complain of constipation, lack of energy, or other problems on the low-carb diet are probably eating too little fat or the wrong kind of fat (PUFA oils, nuts, and other garbage). They should focus on animal fats, esp large ruminants.

    http://www.mendosa.com/stefansson1.htm
    http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/fat-not-protein.html

  11. “Thus, having lots of complex sugars stored up — the kind produced by carbohydrates — does not help a gymnast that much. Those energy spurts are best provided by a diet high in protein.”

    Hi Doc,

    Help me out here. I’m a huge proponent of low-carb, but this article seems a little misleading. How exactly are these “energy spurts” BEST provided by a diet high in protein? If you’re using protein for energy aren’t you converting it to glucose first? And isn’t the major source of fuel used in intense anaerobic bursts stored glucose (glycogen)? So if this is somewhat correct, it seems that having “lots of complex sugars stored up”, i.e. as glycogen and not as fat, would be a good thing provided you don’t overdo the carbs to the point of conversion to fat. I guess I don’t understand the author’s statement that “having lots of complex sugars stored up does not help a gymnast that much”.

    Thanks,

    Ned

    What you’ve got to understand is that none of these people – the journalists or the gymnasts – are nutritionally savvy or articulate. Who knows what they are talking about?

  12. A cranky comment: it does seem like if someone on tv says something that supports your view you mention that you heard it on NBC or wherever, but if someone on tv says something that doesn’t, it becomes evidence that folks on tv don’t know anything.

    I’m not using the fact that this article appeared on NBC to give it credibility. I’m taking what McCain says at face value since he is the one following the diet. It just happens to be on NBC. What I do take issue with is when the TV stations do opinion pieces on something that are presented as fact and are totally inaccurate.

  13. How about this part of the story…

    “A 2000 U.S. Olympian trying to make it back to the Games this year, McCain started doing the high-protein, low-carb thing well before it became the biggest diet fad in the country.”

    I wasn’t aware that there is data that supports that the low-carb diet became the biggest diet fad in the country… unless we count what the media says. Hilarious!

    Nonetheless, pretty impressive that the biggest fad diet is turning out to be superior to the non-fad diets in terms of helping people regain their health! 🙂

    Cheers

    True. It is a pretty impressive performance for a fad diet.

  14. When I told my doctor that I followed a low-carb diet, she said, “I hope it’s more South Beach and not Atkins,” meaning low-fat as well as low-carb. I smugly replied that it was neither, but Protein Power. Sigh… she had never heard of you. But you wouldn’t want to be known as “that Protein Power craze,” would you?

    The Protein Power craze…I wouldn’t mind maybe just a little touch of it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  15. [Regarding the Rodney Dangerfields reference]

    I’m just glad I found you and your books. It was your Protein Power Lifeplan (PPL) and Taubes’ Good Calories Bad Calories that really helped me turn the corner and realize that a low carb diet is founded on good science. Thank you for your continued efforts to educate. I particularly like that you never stop reviewing new research and highlighting (with careful analysis) relevant studies. While your name may not be part of the media lexicon when it comes to “low carb,” you are greatly respected by your readers, and your work has made a huge impact on many lives.

    Thanks for the kind words. MD and I truly appreciate them.

  16. “Those energy spurts are best provided by a diet high in protein. ”

    I thought “they” always said that glucose/glycogen was utilized first during short, intense bursts of energy. By that rationale, you think they would recommend a high-carb diet. Have they changed their tune? Or are they saying that protein is the BETTER fuel during anaerobic exercise rather than glycogen?

    They’re saying that they’re nutritionally inarticulate. In other words, they don’t have a clue what they’re saying.

  17. I think the reporter meant that he gets 60-70 percent of calories from “proteins” such as meat and cheeses meaning that he gets 60-70 percent of his calories from meat and cheeses. Since meat and cheese aren’t 100% protein, ie the guy gets a lot more fat than the reporter makes it sound. He would die from protein dysentery ie rabbit starvation at 60-70 % protein.

  18. >>you need to get a better PR Rep.
    >Know one?

    Reminds me of a joke headline I once saw. It read:

    “What’s-His-Face Fires Publicist”

    Funny. I think we had the same publicist.

  19. I think the name “Protein Power” is the problem. PP along with PPLP still remain to be my favourite books on nutrition, but I was turned off at first by the name before I had a chance to read them.

    I guess there isn’t much you can do about the name now, but good PR can work wonders.

    Get a few celebrities to get on and endorse your diet and you’re set.

    We’ve had celebrities on the diet – in fact, I’ve consulted with a few on the phone – but whenever the press gets a hold of it, it becomes the Atkins diet or the Zone. Al Gore went on PP to lose weight for the election in 1992 – we’ve got a letter from him about it. But the press reported it as Atkins. In one of the major low-carb diet studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine – the one that had the best results – the diet used for the low-carb arm was the PPLP (here is the full text of the article; check out reference #6 at the end), but the press reported it as the Atkins diet. I’ve got to stop; I’m starting to get a complex.

  20. I agree with the comment that “Protein Power” is just too long a name to come trippingly off the tongue, especially in a three example list as used in the article. Notice that the diets cited each have no more than two syllables, and the one syllable “Zone” come last in the list and right before the two-syllable “diets.”

    All of this is to say that if you rename and relaunch as The Best Diet you will have wild success and be lauded as the nutritional savior of our country. 🙂

  21. I dunno about the Jimmy Moore reference. He’s at a fit camp right now where they’ve convinced him to eat some bread to power the long and intensive workouts and I don’t know what to think. Check out especially Episode 14 where they do nearly two hours of weight lifting (over 100 reps for each exercise!) http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/?p=2602. These people have been at this camp for only 9 days or so. WDYT?

    I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t comment. I”m sure Jimmy will report what happened.

  22. I have to confess doc, when I first picked up a copy of Protein Power, it was on a whim. It had been the ten thousandth time I had seen the cover and because of the (forgive me) hokey sounding title, I thought it was some book intended for guys who wanted to pile on muscle at the gym.

    You have to wonder if you printed a new edition under a newer, simpler title whether it would fly off the shelves.

  23. Hey Doc, thanks for your reply. As you surmised, I am not a doctor. Once a soldier, a mere scrivener I be now, trying to do my bit to spread the word as well hoping to save my family from cereal downfall. At the moment though I can say about my 4-year old like Gary Taubes has said about his son … that she won’t eat anything that’s not a carb. She has been an avid meat eater earlier, but recently she has been rejecting it. I remember reading, here somewhere I think, that young girls are prone to enter a vegetarian state at some point in their lives, however misunderstood. Which worries me and which brings me to my question:

    Now that your book about the middle-aged middle is in press, how about dedicating your next one to the kids? I remember you guys writing in PPLP about the responsibility as a parent and how we are in the business of ‘building people’ literally. I would think that many parents, who have grown intelligently into a Protein Power slash Paleo way of eating, experience that their offspring demand those carbs (the flak from the surroundings, baking-crazy grandparents come to mind, doesn’t help either) on a daily basis.

    I realize that this is a delicate subject, but in short, we need your help doc.

    Best regards,
    Michael

    We would write a book on diet for kids, but no one would publish it. Diet books for kids have done so poorly that no publisher any longer wants to take a chance on one.

  24. They probably tried to say 60-70% of “protein-rich foods” instead of protein per se. So two quarters of the plate is meat, one quarter vegetables and/or cheese eg. Anyway, good to know the athletes are wisening up.

  25. What do you think about the ratios/percentages that are being bantered about in these comments? One commenter said that 35% is the maximum for protein, another mentioned 25 – 30% protein, and another said 20 – 25% protein is typical.

    If you had to state what you believe to be the “best” ratio for *most* situations, what would you say? Allow me to rephrase … what do you believe to be the best ratio for weight loss?

    I’m a 5’6″ woman, age 53, and weigh 189 (ugh). I’ve been averaging 61% fat, 31% protein, and 6% carbs, with calories at 1247 (and recording everything). I’m doing light cardio (like 3.5 mph on level 3 incline on the treadmill for 30 minutes) three to four times a week, and heavy resistance training a couple times a week. I’m losing (at most) 1 pound a week.

    Not stellar results, huh?

    Do you think I would be better off with ratios of 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs? What about 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs? What about calorie level? Is 1247 on average too low? Note that my caloric range is from about 1100 to 1400, not anything crazy like 500 to 2000+.

    According to your PP Lifeplan, I should be getting 34 grams protein per meal, or 102 grams protein per day.

    At 1247 calories and ratios of 61/31/6 (my current averages), it works out to be 85 grams fat, 95 grams protein, and 16 grams carbs. This is not enough protein, according to PPLP.

    If I keep the protein up at 102 grams per day and adjust from there for differing percentages of macronutrients, here’s what I get.

    At 75/20/5, it’s 2040 calories with 170 grams fat, 102 grams protein, and 25 grams carbs.

    At 70/25/5, it’s 1632 calories with 127 grams fat, 102 grams protein, and 20 grams carbs.

    At 65/30/5, it’s 1010 calories with 73 grams fat, 102 grams protein, and 13 grams carbs.

    (All amounts approximate based on rounding).

    For me, I think 2040 calories is too much; no caloric deficit there to lose weight. Even at 1632 there doesn’t seem to be much of a deficit. Yet 1010 calories seems too much of a deficit.

    So, what has to give? Protein intake or calories?

    Have I thoroughly confused everyone?

    For weight loss, what’s most important? Keeping the calories down or keeping the protein intake at a certain level (102 grams per day)?

    Let’s go through the calculations as I would go through them with a patient. I’m going to assume that your bone structure is normal, i.e., not large, not small. If so, given your height, your ideal weight should be about 130 pounds. For your age, your ideal body fat should be around 20 percent (26 pounds), which means that your lean body mass should be around 104 pounds (130 – 26). If you figure around 0.5 grams of protein per pound of ideal body mass, that calculates out to (104 X 0.5) 52 grams of protein per day. I always set the minimum protein intake at 60 grams per day, so, were I you, I would decrease my protein to 60 grams per day, keep my effective carbs at or below 30 grams per day and let the fat fall where it will. And I would avoid cheese, nuts and nut butters – the three foods that can provide huge numbers of calories without breaching the carb limit.

    Based on caring for a large number of patients, I would assume that your body fat right now is around 33-35 percent. At 189 pounds, this means you are carrying about 60 pounds of fat and 129 pounds of lean body mass. At your ideal weight and body fat percentage, you will have a lean body mass of 104 pounds, which means you will lose 25 pounds of lean body mass. Which is okay since you won’t need that lean mass when you are 59 pounds lighter. (As a corollary, if you want to gain lean body mass all you have to do is strap on a 59 pound pack and wear it 24/7.)

    The muscle mass you lose will be converted to glucose to make up for the glucose your body uses while getting only 30 grams per day. Under stable low-carb conditions, the body needs about 130 grams of glucose per day (normally it needs about 200, but ketones take up the slack for about 70). If you provide 30 grams in the diet, the body gets the other 100 grams from lean mass breakdown. 100 grams times 10 days equals one kilogram, which is 2.2 pounds. Add that to the fat you will be burning from the spontaneous caloric deficit a good low-carb diet provides, and you should find yourself losing 2-3 pounds per week.

    Let me know how it works.

  26. Ummm … it doesn’t say 60–70 percent protein, it says 60–70 percent “from proteins (like meats and cheeses),” which isn’t the same at all.

    My daughter was in competitive gymnastics for a while–thankfully her coach never made weight an issue. Those kids worked hard; I remember my daughter, at age 12, proudly saying that pound for pound gymnasts had more strength than any other athlete. (I have no idea if that’s true, but I’ve read that they’re among the strongest.) She had a t-shirt that said “If gymnastics was easy, they’d call it football.”

  27. Hi Dr. Mike,
    Love your blog. Protein Power got me teaching about low-carb in my Biochemistry classes, and my undergraduates (who, granted, are not necessarily ultra-discerning but who get credit for being open-minded) take it in like gospel. Some of my faculty colleagues and family members give me my own Rodney Dangerfield syndome however. It’s so maddening to give a talk and then to have everything you say dismissed with “Well, my grandmother taught me – everything in moderation.” Anyway, I think your new book is going to generate a tremendous stir and I’m wondering when it’s coming out.

    Hi Wendy–

    Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t mean to sound so whiny with the Rodney Dangerfield allusion, but I guess I came off that way. Atkins and PP are the only two unabashedly low-carb, high-fat books out there, and I get torqued when the press always includes the South Beach diet, which is kind of low-carb lite and whose author goes around saying that it’s not a low-carb diet and shouldn’t be considered one, and the Zone, which clearly isn’t a low-carb diet, along with Atkins and ignores PP. I guess I’m still whining.

    The new book comes out next March.

    Best–

    Mike

  28. currently going from a very low carb regiment to even more so just as an experiment:

    ive never been a big breakfast person so i decided to skip it entirely and just eat a nice low-carb lunch and dinner.

    it doesnt bother me at all to skip breakfast and i dont nesessarily eat more at lunch because of missing the meal.

    any opinions on this type of diet change? is it preferable to consume at least 3 meals per day, even if we generally dont like to eat in the morning?

    thanks as always, really enjoy the site.

    I don’t see a problem in not eating breakfast, especially if your other meals are low-carb.

  29. If Atkins Nutritionals keeps going down the road they have chosen with their lean meats and whole grains and their “sweet, sexy science,” I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about. Go Protein Power!!

  30. Dr. I’d really appreciate it if you’d help me out over a problem that’s really annoying me. I’m 20 and I’ve been low carb for about 2-3 years. I’m now at a level of eating between 70 to 100 g of carbs per day (any less and I become hungry between meals). I’m worried about an article John Berardi wrote about the ketogenic diet – he basically says when done for over 4 weeks it impairs glucose tolerance and makes you less sensitive to insulin. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi76.htm
    I’ve found when eating starch (i.e. porridge) after doing a period of v.low carb high fat I react badly to it (I feel light headed and basically ill for about an hour). These symptoms go away mostly if I include some starch in diet regularly (and I need this amount of starch to function ok I feel). I still feel that I’m slightly intolerant to glucose though. So I’m asking does a low carb high fat diet improve insulin sensitivity or just mask problems of it for a while? Is there a way to test insulin sensitivity periodically without these Glucose tolerance tests? What do you recommend for glucose intolerance? Maybe my problem’s due to a magnesium deficiency or something? I’d like to say that I fully believe that your diet is much healthier than berardi’s eat 8 times a day moderate carb approach but I’d like to be sure. Thanks.

    My view is that a long-term low-carb diet improves insulin sensitivity for low amounts of carb intake and decreases it for large amounts of carb intake. When people who have been on a low-carb diet for a while do a glucose tolerance test, their results indicate mild to moderate glucose intolerance. But if they undergo an insulin challenge test, they show terrific insulin sensitivity. Why the paradox? Because all the enzymes and glucose transporters needed to deal with large amounts of sugar aren’t available in large enough amounts because they haven’t had to due to the low-carb diet. The enzymes and transporters that are available act quickly and efficiently under the stimulus of insulin to deal with the small amount of carb in a low-carb diet. If you consume a large amount of carb, it kind of overwhelms the system until the body has a chance to make the necessary enzymes and transporters to deal with the large amount of incoming sugar. This lag is represented in the glucose tolerance test as glucose intolerance. And it is why doctors recommend those following a low-carb diet who are scheduled for a glucose tolerance test to eat a lot of carbs for several days before the test to make sure the body has generated the enzymes and transporters necessary.

  31. so doc, just for the record, what macro-nutrient percentages do you aim for these days on an average daily basis?

    i’m looking forward to your new book, but until then, i’m wondering if you are finding you have had to lower carbs more as you get older?

    I usually stick to about 20-30 grams of carb per day and don’t pay attention to fat and protein. I eat a lot of of meat and a few vegetables, mainly tomatoes, asparagus, and squash. Boring, but I like it. I do expand my culinary horizons when dining out or when MD tries new dishes. I have found that I have to be more careful with age, which is kind of the topic of the new book.

  32. “How could any formula in a diet book work for everyone when we are all different? There is little evidence that the effects of a diet can be predicted by its macro nutrient components and there is large variation among subjects”

    Now reading this struck me as nonsense cos it seems more and more low carb studies seem to repeatedly suggest for whatever the ‘thrust’ of that partic.study that low carb (say under 100gms per day..low carb to some not to others) diets work for the majority(work as in lowering all the things one wants lowering and losing some bf too) and for very good and understood reasons….have i got this right or wrong ?

    The above seems to be of the ‘we won’t define or label anything’ as we are too deep and meaningless(!) for such such things.

    Might you enlighten me, lost in the wildernesse of self, pleasum ?

    Thankum

    Nope. I think you’ve gotten it right. My take is that some weird diets work for some people, but low-carb seems to work for all. If followed correctly, that is.

  33. Hey Rodney,

    You can do quite a bit of PR yourself–especially with your dual talents as Dr. & writer. Every media outlet on the planet keeps a database of SME’s (subject matter experts). When some intriguing/controversial news snippet pops up, they immediately search the database under that topic (think keywords) looking for the phone number of someone to get a good sound-byte (bite?) or quote from. Get on those lists under “nutrition”, “diet”, “author”, “cholesterol”, etc. etc. Doc! You’re an SME if ever I saw/heard/read one (that includes your better half). Start peddlin’ your impressive accomplishments and expertise to the media, offering them free access to your expert opinions. (You can bet Dr. Ornish does.)

    ..Todd

    Sounds great. Thanks. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get on the SME lists.

  34. @Wendy –

    Good luck with undoing all the misinformation drilled into the kids since elementary school. I can’t believe the nonsense being forced at my 2nd and 3rd grader, and it’s tough because teaching to that age group never involves reasoned discussion. BTW, my favorite response to “all in moderation” is that arsenic in moderation probably won’t work very well (also works to the “as long as it’s natural” argument).

    @Dr. Mike –

    Perhaps you could consider re-branding your web presence, with the PP URL just linking forward to the new one. There are plenty of companies and consultants out there that work with this sort of thing and you could transition to being the source of “no-spin” nutrition information and study translation. I have to tell you that I get mixed results recommending your books because of the title, but when I link to your blog articles I get great reactions. It seems like the blog format supports your credibility since you keep it current and post regularly. The nice thing about the web is that you don’t have to leave old PR behind; it can just be linked forward to new branding (like never losing that old favorite phone number!). Also, ever consider ditching the whole print media thing and offering your new book (and future books or even articles) as e-book downloads? Nothing like a web presence to bolster your audience!

    Hi Leslie–

    I suppose I could forward all my stuff to a new URL, but I wouldn’t have a clue as to what to call it. I first considered The Eades Health Report as a newsletter, but abandoned it because I can’t refrain from publishing off beat stuff here and there that strikes my fancy but isn’t health related. Maybe I should do the Tim Ferriss and call it: The blog of author Michael Eades. I’m pretty good at a lot of things, but, unfortunately for my pocketbook, self promotion isn’t one of them.

    It never occurred to me to publish our book as an e-book download. It’s so Anthony Colpo-ish. It sort of screams: I can’t get my book published by a real publisher. Anyone who can get his/her book published by a mainstream publisher does. I doubt that you’ll find a John Grisham book as an e-book download.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  35. Re: “…baking crazy grandparents…”

    Here is one Grandma who never serves anyone anything that isn’t low-carb. My children, grandchildren and I just spent a week together where we had eggs for breakfast every day, meat or fish for every meal, and only my own roasted-in-coconut-oil nuts for snacks. But I agree about the little ones craving carbs. Even the two-year-old is starting to prefer fruit to meat. I understand that a complete book on the subject may not be possible, but if you and MD could at least give out some advice for kids now and then on your blogs, it would be greatly appreciated. Feeding finicky eaters is a real challenge.

  36. I do wish someone would write something about the impact of different sports on macronutrient requirements. I know there’s an element of individual variation there, but still it’d be good to have a jumping off point.

    For me, if I’m basically sedentary, very low carb is very comfortable. When I got back to playing ice hockey all hell broke lose: I felt sick, tired, and slow in my games if I stuck to my diet. Now I’m on a break from hockey for a couple of weeks, but doing a lot of endurance exercise (run, bike, swim) and again just feel weak and sick if I keep carbs even close to what I manage when I’m sedentary.

    I gather from commenters above that dietary fat takes care of this problem for some…that could be the case for me, too, I suppose (although I kind of question how (and how quickly) muscle glycogen stores get replenished in that scenario…) but I have no idea what to aim for and how to go about eating more fat. I also really don’t know what to aim for in adding carbs to a baseline low-carb diet, I feel like my nutritional understanding is very all-or-nothing.

  37. Mike, here’s how you can get all the press coverage you’d ever want and more:

    Find some way to suffer an injury that requires treatment with a steroid. When the steroid causes you to balloon up to 280 pounds, the kind, loving people at PETA will make sure your picture is everywhere and they will send faxes about you to every major press outlet in the country.

    Oh sure, they’ll conveniently fail to mention that you were a lean, mean fightin’ machine before the injury and that all the weight gain was due to the drug, but never mind … everyone will know who you are.

    By the way, my wife informed me that she saw a story on the news this morning about how some people are allergic to wheat gluten … the story ended with the reporter reminding the viewers to always consult with a doctor before giving up wheat products — because you will be missing all those important B vitamins and could suffer health consequences.

    I guess that explains why Eskimos, Native Americans, and most people who ever lived just sat around being sick all the time.

    The amount of critical thinking that goes into some of the things one sees in the news is jaw-dropping.

  38. Doc, John Grisham doesn’t have to worry about his book being out of date by the time it hits the shelves, nor is he trying to change the thinking of entire populations. Also, you HAVE been published, and so you have your credibility established. I find it unlikely anyone would group you with Colpo simply for using the technology that’s available.

    Anyway, II was more thinking about the downloadable stuff for things you said the publishers don’t like, such as kids’ nutrition on low carb or future subjects you’d like to write about more completely. They could be more than a blog post and less than a book, and could be updated at will.

    Just do what everyone else with internet access does: surf the web to find every site that relates to your subject or profession and takes notes on every feature you like. Then use all those things as templates (which makes it different from copying…) and voila – new web identity.

    Oh. Yes, I see what you mean. Problem with the ebooks, though, at least vis a vis the mainstream press, is that I get paid for what I write in the mainstream press. I don’t know if that applies to an ebook. At least not without appearing Colpo-like. As to the new identity, maybe I’ll start scrounging to see what I can come up with.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  39. Thought you’d be interested in this study:
    Omega-3 fatty acids, but not statin therapy, cuts mortality and hospitalizations in heart failure.
    European Society of Cardiology Congress 2008 / The Lancet

    http://www.theheart.org/article/898959.do

    You beat me to the punch. I saw this article in The Heart, but I haven’t pulled the paper yet. If it looks as good as the press report, I’ll post on it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  40. MRE: If it looks as good as the press report, I’ll post on it.

    I was surprised the results were as good as they were, since they only used 1g/day.

  41. If i wanted to lower my weight, which i will down the line i would do it via a low carb diet. Nothing fad like about it- plenty of fat and protein and most of the carbohydrates coming from vegetables and fruit. Depending on what type of person you are and how quickly you want to shed fat i would do a normal 5×5 strength routine and monitor my diet or if i need to lose some weight quickly i would do some sort of metabolic conditioning in combination.

  42. You don’t have to publish an e-book per se to have it available as an e-book. Although unfortunately limited to those owning an Amazon Kindle book reader, it is up to your publisher to make this option available on Amazon. I checked and PPLP is not a Kindle download. Nor is Protein Power. Nor is your new book. My wife loves her Kindle so your publisher is missing a market segment.

    I’ll pass the message about Kindle along to our various publishers. Unfortunately, it’s not our call.

  43. Regarding a post further up, about having a lot of carbs when on a low-carb diet.

    Do you consider it to be bad for the body to overload on carbs when it’s used to eating low carb? Or does it have an evolved mechanism from our ancestors stumbling over honey?

    I do think it’s bad for the body to overload on carbs anytime. See today’s post for the reason. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t do it myself from time to time. If you’ve been on a low-carb diet for a long time, it’s even worse because blood sugars generally go higher than if your are habituated to a high-carb diet already.

  44. Hi Dr Eades:

    “That’s because gymnastics, unlike swimming or long-distance running, is considered an “anaerobic” sport, one in which short, intense bursts of power are much more important than endurance.”

    So far, so good…

    “Thus, having lots of complex sugars stored up — the kind produced by carbohydrates — does not help a gymnast that much (???). Those energy spurts are best provided by a diet high in protein. (???)”

    Of course, I assume that they mean fat + protein instead of only protein.

    I have a question about glycogen vs fat use during short intense (anaerobic) 4 – 5 seconds exercise. Scientific literature refers to creatine phosphate and later glycogen as the main fuels in that type of exercise. Where does fat comes into play?

    I read somewhere metabolics adaptations ocurrs and intramusclar tryglicerids are used instead glycogen. Can you give me some references?

    Curiously, nobody asked you a similar questions to mine in this post.

    Thanks

    Miguel

    They obviously mean high in fat. Meat and cheese aren’t 60-70 percent protein as the article asserts, but are 60-70 percent fat. During anaerobic exercise glucose is used as fuel. Fat can be used only in the presence of oxygen.