The low-carb movement needs your help

obesity-stats-small

I received the following email from Dr. Richard Feinman today asking for help on behalf of the Metabolism Society and low-carbers everywhere.

Greetings!

Here’s a good topic for your blog.

The question bears on recommendations along the lines of the USDA meeting that is coming up.  It arises from a seminar that Eric Westman gave at Downstate. The group at Downstate is not particularly doctrinaire and the talk was well received but Dr. Sheldon Landesman of the School of Public Health raised a good question: “the major focus of diets based on carbohydrate restriction are fundamentally therapeutic. How could the benefits that you presented be utilized in making recommendations to the population at large?”  So while 20 g a day might be very beneficial for somebody with diabetes or somebody trying to make a big impact on weight loss, even the maintenance phase of people on low carbohydrate diets may be different than what would be recommended for everybody.

Also whereas the population at large has significant amount of overweight and obesity, a large part of the population is not overweight and even those who are, may not want to lose weight at the moment. The question is quite pressing in that the USDA has convened a panel to make new recommendations for 2010. Many of us are upset that there is no representation of the panel of people who have experience with carbohydrate restriction and some who are on the panel are probably actively antagonistic to such an approach.   On the other hand, Brian Wansink [who is involved with] the committee is aware of the problem and open to suggestions on carbohydrate restriction.

So, the question is:  how can the benefits of carbohydrate restriction that you have experienced personally or in your immediate environment be translated into reasonable recommendations that the USDA could put out? In other words, if you actually had your way what kind of recommendations would you like to see the USDA make? Recommendations should be short and to the point.

If you can encourage your readers to send their suggestions to your blog and also copy to Lauri Cagnassola (info@nmsociety.org) the Metabolism Society will organize them. We will publish the results in the scientific and popular literature and also communicate some of the main points to Brian.

I think they are right to call our bluff on what we would actually do if we had access to policy.
Best Regards,

Richard Feinman, PhD
Metabolism Society

I draw your attention to the question that inspired Dr. Feinman’s email:

The major focus of diets based on carbohydrate restriction are fundamentally therapeutic. How could the benefits that you presented be utilized in making recommendations to the population at large?

I think this question is breathtaking in its inanity.

As you can see from the graph at the top of this post, obesity is galloping along and shows no signs of slowing down.  According to the latest figures from the National Center for Health Statistics (from which the above graph was taken), almost 70 percent of Americans (between the ages of 20 and 74) are either overweight or obese.  Despite the growing rates of childhood obesity, there is a much lower rate of childhood obesity than there is adult obesity.  Since childhood precedes adulthood, one can only assume that most of the children who are not overweight now will ultimately become overweight or obese as they enter and progress through the ranks of adulthood.

Now we all know that the consensus of many studies published in the medical/scientific literature indicate that single best treatment for obesity is a low-carb diet.  We also know that there are no diseases of carbohydrate deficiency while there are diseases of both fat and protein deficiency.  Therefore a low-carb diet that provides plenty of good quality protein and fat should never lead to any diseases of nutritional insufficiency.

Finally, since a good quality low-carb diet reverses obesity and a host of other medical problems associated with obesity, doesn’t it make sense that this same diet would prevent these disorders?  Dr. Feinman was himself a co-author of a brilliant paper positing that the Metabolic Syndrome can be defined as a constellation of symptoms that respond positively to carbohydrate restriction.  If carb restriction improves these symptoms, then why wouldn’t carb restriction prevent them?

I find it extremely difficult to believe that if the entire population of the United States were to follow carbohydrate-restricted diets that the graph at the top of this post would look the way it does.  Which is why I think the question asked at Dr. Westman’s presentation was inane.  Especially if the questioner had just sat through a talk about the health benefits of low-carbohydrate dieting.

We’ve got a therapeutic modality – the carbohydrate-restricted diet – that causes no health problems in non-overweight people who follow it, reverses obesity in overweight people who do follow it, and improves every single defined component of the Metabolic Syndrome in those who have the syndrome and apply the diet.  And someone wants to know the rationale for making these recommendations to the population at large?

It’s kind of like saying that since stopping smoking improves chronic bronchitis in only those people with smoking-induced chronic bronchitis, how can we make the recommendation not to smoke to the population at large, most of whom don’t have smoking-induced chronic bronchitis?

The annoying thing to me is that the people who ask these kinds of questions are probably the very ones who would vote to add statins to the drinking water if they could.

Now that my rant is over, let me encourage you to send in your answer to the question

how can the benefits of carbohydrate restriction that you have experienced personally or in your immediate environment be translated into reasonable recommendations that the USDA could put out? In other words, if you actually had your way what kind of recommendations would you like to see the USDA make? Recommendations should be short and to the point.

You can either send them as comments to this post, and I’ll pass them along.  Or you can email them directly to Lauri Cagnassola (info@nmsociety.org), who will get them to the appropriate people to submit those who have some influence over the committee to set the nutritional guidelines for 2010.  Or do both.  If you send them through the comments section of this post, maybe you will inspire others to tell their story.  A story of success in overcoming health problems from one of you will do more than a long letter from me, whom everyone will think is simply trying to sell a diet book.

And remember, where government committees are concerned, more is better.  If you’re trying to get your point across, bombarding them always helps.  As was confirmed by my interview with Bill O’Reilly most people don’t give a flip about however the nutritional guidelines turn out because they – just like Bill – figure these guidelines are just another bunch of government propaganda that doesn’t really mean squat to them.  But with the nutritional guidelines it does mean something because the law mandates that all the people the government feeds must be fed according to these guidelines.  And since many millions are fed, the food manufacturers take note.  If we can get some low-carb influence into the nutritional guidelines, it will mean that many more products will begin showing up on grocer’s shelves carrying labels saying ‘low-carb’ or carb-restricted’ just like the multitude that say ‘low-fat.’  The low-fat mania was basically launched by the nutritional guidelines.  There is no reason that low-carb can’t get its fair market share.  If it does, it will make all of our lives a little easier, not to mention healthier.

So, write, write, write.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

141 thoughts on “The low-carb movement needs your help

  1. Hi Dr Eades! I cant speak on behalf of many, so I will only speak on befalf of myself and few others that i had sureveyed about health benefits from low carb lifestyle. i think changes are absolutely necessary. both in FDA pyramid quidelines and otherwise. every time I mention low carb diets the majority of people, medical school mostly mind you, associate it with Atkins diet. i love Dr Atkins work and commend him on trying to revolutionize the minds of many Americans. However for many more his name is accociated with low carb diet and his name is also dragged as an epitomy of heart disease. How many times have we heard that Dr Atkins died from what he prescibed to others himslef. If you remember from my previous post what people said right away when i mentioned Dr Feinman name “‘Oh that crazy low carb guy”. And those were medical students at infamous Suny Downstate! Same goes for Dr Atkins! So I would first start with incremental, small changes first! Revolutions are fine, but how many revolutions were ultimately successful, lol! So here is my short and sweet recommendations:

    Start with Meditarenian low carb approach! Instead of saying liberal amount of meat and butter along with saturated fat, how about saying liberal amount of non-starchy vegetables, omega 3 loaded seafood. Low carb berries. nuts, seeds and moderate amount of lean meat. Would it be an optimum low carb approach, absolutely not? But it would be something to get people started. Sort of middle ground. to get people off the standard American diet. And sinnce most people, including doctors would support such a lifestyle, i think it would be a wise first step!

    When I inteviewed those medical students about low carb diets, almost all 200 said they wouldnt recommend Atkins diet to their future patients! But when I rephrased the question and said what about lean meat, fish, nuts, vegetablesn and low glycemic fruits, most agreed it is healthy and not Atkins! So I will be glad for Dr Feinman to come over and inteview those students , even though they wouldnt be as honest off course, lol!

    • Dr. Atkins died from slipping on an icy sidewalk in NYC during a freak April ice storm…he did not die as a result of following his own diet…

  2. Several months ago I was having a discussion with a friend who doesn’t see eye-t-eye with us on diet issues. He made a similar challenge. He said there isn’t any simple recommendation that you can make that is good for everyone.

    Although I’ve read your books and many others on nutrition and I’ve thought a lot about this subject, I have never thought about it like that before. Nonetheless I instantly said, “Cut out the sugars and starches.” He thought about it and agreed. I think we can make up a list as long as your arm including such things as Omega 3s, CoQ 10, sunlight, Slow Burn, and dozens of other issues, but here are the first two steps that get us 80% of the way there:

    Step 1: Cut out the sugars.
    Step 2: Cut out the starches.

    These steps have another advantage beside being simple and effective. They will withstand arguments. No reputable “nutrition expert” will disagree with the first at all. Many will quibble about the second and many will argue that there are more import priorities (cutting saturated fats or other nonsense), but not many will go to bat to defend the need to starches in human nutrition.

    Simple. Effective. Hard to argue.

  3. I think the CrossFit people put it best in their guidelines:

    “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”

  4. In my own experience I had a dramatic weight loss (72 lbs.) resulting in a much improved self-image, accompanied by LOTS of compliments. Physiologically, the elimination of what I believe was an intestinal fungal infection: flatulence and diahrreah completely halted. No more cramps. Also a lowering of blood pressure and drop in amount of BP medication by about half. Lowering of blood sugar values (and almost certainly insulin levels) in an adult male with a Type 2 diabetic parent. I haven’t been diagnosed as diabetic. Look, we can all have a piece of chocolate cake on Christmas or our birthday (if you can stand the sugar rush). Just don’t continue on the following day (or any days).

    I don’t remember where I heard this, but it may be from both of you (MRE & MDE) in one of your books. Consider what the feedlot owners use to fatten the livestock – carb! They’re not force feeding the cattle and hogs Bumble Bee Tuna, they’re force feeding them feed corn and other high carb food. And it works. They get fat.

    Cheers, I hope it helps. If you need something different let me know.

    Jim

  5. None of this is going to be politically popular, but the #1 plank of the low-carb platform is “Do not restrict protein.” The second plank would have to be “If you weigh too much, cut out starch and sugar.” But I have personally found that restricting carbs only partially is unpleasant presumably because insulin sensitivity increases while fasting insulin is still elevated, leading to headaches and anxiety that don’t really resolve until carbs are truly low. And I think the low-carb camp’s eagerness to embrace saturated fat (which is admirable) blinds them to the problem of insulin resistance being caused by excessive myristic acid, the source of which is dairy fat, the main non-paleolithic element in the typical low-carb regime. So the unpopular but necessary mantra has to be “Eat a meat-based diet.”

    I would be interested to see the reference demonstrating that insulin resistance is caused by myristic acid, which is a 14-carbon saturated fat found in many other foods besides dairy fat.

  6. I eat a low carb (<50g/day), high fat diet and have since 2003. I am a 62-year-old female. My triglycerides are 75mg. I weigh 134 pounds and am 5’7″ tall. I gained 37 pounds when I quit smoking and lost it all eating low carb.

    The only way I am ever able to describe the success of my weight control (because no one wants to hear the science) is to say “I’m the proof that it works.” The response of my overweight, constantly-dieting friends and acquaintances is, “That’s just you — it doesn’t work for everyone.” I have never been able to convince a single person to try a low carb eating pattern.

    The myth of needing a diet composed of at least 50% carbs (or you’ll die!) is rampant. Also, the “whole grain” push has done more harm than whatever good it could have promoted. Its interpretation is that you can eat all the “whole grains” you want — the more the healthier.

    I have no idea how to translate my experience into a USDA recommendation. Maybe someone else can.

  7. There are volumes of research results which support the efficacy of low carb diets. The general consensus of them all is that a low carbohydrate diet has the result of stabilizing and normalizing blood sugar and insulin levels, reducing triglycerides, improving the HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio, and making weight loss easier.

    I can say from experience this is exactly what happens. Four years ago, I decided to give a low carb diet a try. Before I started, I had my blood work done so I could see if the diet had any effect.

    For three months, I ate huge amounts of saturated fat – steaks, butter, cream cheese, hard cheese, all kinds of meat and chicken, eggs and whole milk diary products. I restricted all forms of sugar and starch and tried to keep my carbs below 30 grams per day. I ate no fruit, no starchy vegetables or grains of any kind.

    I would estimate that I was eating about 2800 calories per day. I am 5’3″, my work is not physically demanding and I’m female, so my total daily energy expenditure would work out to about 2300 calories a day. Conventional medicine says that eating more than 2300 calories each day should cause me to gain weight.

    After 3 months, I had my blood work done again and compared the two. Here are the results:

    Total Cholesterol: Dropped from 213 to 178
    Triglycerides: Dropped from 163 to 76
    HDL: Increased from 48 to 52
    LDL: Dropped from 132 to 109
    Blood Pressure: Dropped from 120/100 to 123/72
    HDL/LDL Ratio: Dropped from 2.75 to 2.02

    As you can see, every health factor improved significantly. I also lost 25 pounds, even though I didn’t exercise at all during this time. This experiment convinced me that a low carb diet was the most healthy way to eat.

    It should convince most anybody. It’s hard to believe with all the evidence like this out there that there are naysayers.

  8. Looking at the carb-restricted WOE as therapeutic is short-sighted and allows people to exclude it as a long-term, healthful way of eating. It implies that low carb is a plan that can or should be stopped when the treatment has succeeded, i.e. when weight has been lost, blood sugar levels have improved, blood pressure has normalized, and so on. After all, we wouldn’t continue to take iron supplements if we no longer had anemia.

    If the government must be involved in telling people what they should eat, it obviously must be in the most general of terms, as one plan certainly does not fit everyone. There cannot be just one plan, or pyramid, or pentagon, or whatever shape these guidelines will be, that can be promoted as healthful for all people. Therefore, only a few hard and fast guidelines should be presented: Do not consume trans fat. Limit consumption of sugar and HFCS. Grains and starches are not essential for health. If you like them, if your body can tolerate them, if your weight permits their consumption, eat them in moderation. The USDA should stay away from propaganda and scientifically unproven statements for achieving health such as:

    “Bran provides fiber, which is important for health.” (Really?)
    “Most milk group choices should be fat-free or low-fat.” (Why?)
    “Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated (MUFA) fats.” (Why? And do they know that beef fat is mostly a MUFA?)
    “The MUFAs and PUFAs found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils do not raise LDL(“bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood.” (So?)

    Failure to acknowledge the healthfulness of natural fat in the diet, and to differentiate between hydrogenated fats and natural saturated fats, ignores the science and is disingenuous. Making unproven health claims for fiber is equally so. Implications about the health dangers of cholesterol should be omitted. Ditch the fat-phobia. Americans are unhealthy (not just fat and diabetic) as a result of the astronomical amounts of sugar that their bodies have to process (11 servings of grains with no fat to slow the onslaught of sugar? What were you thinking??).

  9. “I would be interested to see the reference demonstrating that insulin resistance is caused by myristic acid, which is a 14-carbon saturated fat found in many other foods besides dairy fat.”

    You are correct, there are none. Here is a paper that explains some of the difficulty in studying the issue in humans: International Journal of Obesity (2004) 28, 1427-1434. My own experience is that a high level of myristic acid causes almost exactly the same effects as raising carb level above the optimum on a low-carb diet, such as anxiety, headaches in association with insulin sensitizers like chromium, and gain of fat mass if I persist–and after I go back to the optimums, the effects last the same few days it takes for insulin clearance. I am of normal weight, and I have no doubt that the effect would be absent in people who are obese and eating too much carbohydrate. But as their weight comes down, many stall, and anecdotally, it’s frequently the dairy fat. I can also get the effect from large amounts of beef fat, but have not tried coconut oil, nutmeg butter, etc. I’ve found no other fatty acid that has this effect.

  10. I am a 45 year old male from Bangalore (India) with a very strong family history of type-2 diabetes. When I was diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance in 2003, I had not heard of low carb diets. I paid a heavy penalty for this and became a full blown diabetic by end of 2007 despite walking and calorie reduction. When I read ‘Protein Power’ for the first time, I neither understood nor believed it mainly due to my bias caused by the wonderful! articles appearing in news magazines exhorting people to follow a low fat way of living. After ‘intermittently’ following LCD for last one year, my HgA1c has come down from 8 to 6.5. After just two weeks of LCD, my wife who is apparently in good health (just 10% overweight!) lost a significant amount of fat and her fasting blood sugar dropped from 90 to 81 mg/dl. Well! These facts are not new to the readers here. My point is, had I known about LCD earlier (unfortunately, this part of the world does not seem to be aware of it and I can’t find LCD books in stores) I would never have become diabetic in the first place. So, spreading awareness about this alternative (the only one which worked for me) nutritional philosophy is really important. Secondly, both myself and my wife are vegetarians and find it very difficult to stick to LCD (< 50 g/day) with not much of food choices when we go out to eat. The adherence is tough when you are in a society of nonbelievers of LCD and becomes more difficult with hostile! medical advisers. So, for people who do not have health problems at present, the maintenance phase of PPLP (< 120 g/d) may probably the right approach.

  11. I don’t think it is at all inane. Eating a very low carbohydrate diet is extreme. People will not be motivated to do this unless they have a symptom of carbohydrate metabolism dysfunction (and if the recidivism rates on low carb forums are any example, even IF they have a symptom of carb metab dysfunction they STILL won’t stick to extreme low carb).

    The question is very good… the question is, how can we bring the most benefit to the most people? What is the best way to recommend carbohydrate reduction in a way that is both effective (to prevent) and tolerable to the majority of people?

    We can sit around saying “eat 20 carbs” or even “eat 70 carbs” or “eat no grains” but guess what. That’s not going to do any good at all. People have been eating grains for thousands of years. It is unnatural to completely and totally avoid every modern food product (unless you’ve a REALLY good reason, like losing limbs to diabetes or being unable to fit in normal seats due to obesity). Really, it is overkill. People were eating plenty of carbs before the obesity epidemic. They were eating less than they were now, combined with other lifestyle factors (e.g. more sleep) and that makes all the difference.

    Even if it was absolutely necessary to eat an extreme low carb diet simply to avoid becoming an obese diabetic, it could never get off the ground because of the economic impact of radically changing our food supply.

    I think this is a very practical and useful question. What diet is the best compromise between realistic application/acceptance and effectiveness to prevent problems?

    You wrote:

    the question is, how can we bring the most benefit to the most people?

    According to statistics released within the last week, 70 percent of adults are either overweight or obese. Although not to the same extent as with adults, childhood obesity is higher than ever. And children are headed toward adulthood where 70 percent of them will be obese if something doesn’t change. Carb restriction both prevents and treats obesity. I would submit that those who experience no improvement on a low-carb diet are in the minority, therefore a low-carb diet does bring the most benefit to the most people.

  12. With that tiny disagreement…

    I think good advice would simply be to promote the association between gaining weight/losing health and eating large portions of high calorie, high carbohydrate meals. You know how “calorie” is a euphamism for “carbohydrate”, because it is assumed that carbs are the backbone energy source? We need to flip things so that people properly associate “calorie” with “fat” (the energy backbone) and instead view carbohydrate as this extra thing which causes disease and needs to be watched/moderated specifically apart from its ability to increase calories.

    We need to flip the perspective so that people GET the problem is primarily carb. If people could apply the same caution to carb which is presently focused on fat, the battle is half won. Every store will consider a “light latte” to be one which has a splash of cream and no sugar. Every diet menu will be primarily starch free and only secondarily lower in fat (whereas this is reverse today; diet food is primarily low in fat calories and secondarily low in sugar/starch).

    It must be emphasized that people need to eat more fat. Call them “good fats” if you must, but people need to focus on eating fat. Even if carbs are consumed, fat satisfies the appetite and leads to eating less (less carb). This is the true “french diet” that leads to good health… eating fat prevents eating carb. People are more likely to do something than to not do something. Eating full fat cheese is easy, not eating crackers is hard. If you eat full fat cheese with your crackers, you will generally eat less crackers naturally, just like the french. If you eat weight watchers cheese, you’ll fight urges to eat tons of crackers. Thus the 70% fatty rates correlate well with the introduction of fat free yogurts and other metabolic bastardizing foods.

    Advising eating protein may be politically correct and safe but it is important to emphasize eating of fat too.

    If we tell people to eat MORE of the food that antagonizes carb eating, this helps reduce carb intake. People ate less bread back in the day because they were eating more butter and meat. It wasn’t willpower. People didn’t have coffee and sugared fat free oatmeal packets and crap like that, they had eggs and toast (far less carbs). If they did have oats, it was with a whole lot of cream and butter too and that kept them full / burning fat well.

  13. how bout if we keep it simple and just focus on one number. The statinators like to focus on total cholesterol, (which of course we know is bogus for a number of reasons).

    Let’s replace that with an emphasis on your triglycerides count. Follow any diet you like, good sir or mam, however, if your triglycerides are not below 80, you must make some changes. Here are your choices:

    1) Eliminate all sugar and all starch. That will resolve the problem in almost all cases.

    2) Follow any other crazy diet your heart desires, but, and this is important, keep the sugar content down. If you’re still eating mostly plants and avoiding animal products (a la Furhman, etc), and if your trig. count is above 80 (it will be!) then you MUST EXERCISE A LOT EVERY DAY. At least one hour, probably two. And save up your $$$$ for the work your worn out body is gonna need in your old age.

  14. I wish the government would advise us to avoid food manufactured in factories. This would include sugar, flour and lots of stuff made with those things.

  15. So the biggest obstacle is that the A in USDA stands for Agriculture, and they’re not about to start a civil war with the sugar and corn lobbies.

    Look at the current guidelines — it’s all about inclusion, not about elimination. If we can frame the discussion in terms of inclusion, USDA will see this as a less offensive means to discuss low carb.

    So to be heard, we need to talk about low carb as an acceptable option, not the BEST or ONLY option.

  16. How about these: Eating a carb-restricted diet makes sense because Ansel Keys lied and the secretary at the USDA was a vegetarian with an agenda to push? There is no comparison when you look at the evidence. Are they waiting for a sledgehammer between the eyes?

    In all seriousness, I’m not sure if I should be happy or disgusted. Inane is a good word. It reminds me of a study I read a few years ago (can’t remember the reference) but they manufactured a resistant starch and enriched it with all sorts of vitamins and minerals. It had all sorts of possibilities. For some reason, however, they couldn’t recommend broccoli.

    Here is a simple one: You will feel better. Plain and simple.

    A health-related recommendation: I work with a pediatric liver specialist. His practice is dominated by NAFLD in obese teens. Very sad.

    Regarding childhood obesity, the percentages are skewed. Whether they use triceps skinfold or BMI, the data is normative. So the 97.5 percentile (obesity) is an ever-changing value.

    Does this mean we can expect a mia culpa from these guys?

    I sincerely hope some good will come of this and that you and Feinman (and the rest of us) are being pacified.

    Brian

  17. “We can sit around saying “eat 20 carbs” or even “eat 70 carbs” or “eat no grains” but guess what. That’s not going to do any good at all. People have been eating grains for thousands of years. It is unnatural to completely and totally avoid every modern food product ”

    This is may be the reason that 70 percent of adults are over weight or obese, do ya think?

  18. I agree with you ITW. Low carb may be great, but it is VERY hard to stick to long-term. I’m one of those, definitely in the majority, but little heard from, apparently, who find it next to impossible to stick to for more than about 2 years at a time. I think it’s crazy how we know “it’s the best thing going,” yet the overwhelming evidence suggests that even in the face of obesity and disease, we just won’t stick to it.

    It may be VERY hard to stick to for some people, but not necessarily for all. I’ve pretty much stuck to a low-carb diet for at least 25 years. And I know a lot of other people who have done the same. I’ve got a post coming up on this very subject.

  19. My reasonable recommendation for the general population is that carbohydrates should only constitute 10-20% of calories and that preferably these carbohydrates would come in the form of whole grains and/or starchy vegetables. All sugar and anything made from refined grains (most pasta and bread) should be limited to an occasional treat.

    My personal experience with carbohydrate restriction is that I lost 40 pounds with ease. Hunger was never, ever an issue even when I was purposefully restricting calories. Now that I am at maintenance levels my weight has stabalised with no need for calorie counting as long as I continue to eat low-carb. Some of the unexpected side effects are that I no longer get acne, my body odor has improved, and 20 years of mild depression have lifted. Now when I eat a lot of carbohydrates, I often feel groggy, bloated, and depressed.

    After much persuasion I convinced two friends to try eating low-carb. One friend quickly lost 15 pounds without any attempt at restricting calories. Another friend lost 15 pounds even though she claimed she was eating more calories than she ever had in her life. She also uncovered a grain allergy when her lifelong issues with stomach cramps miraculously went away almost overnight.

    I agree with everything except for the bit about whole grains. Why whole grains? Whole grains can’t be digested without being processed, so there really isn’t such a thing as whole grains, only processed grains.

  20. I think there are several problems.

    1. LC diets are expensive. Obesity is greatest among the poor, and how many of them can afford a lot of meat, fresh vegetables, and berries? I recall a blog post here that raved about a restaurant meal that cost “only $10.” I rarely eat out, and for me, $10 is a lot to pay for a meal. The same would be true for low-income people who now eat huge piles of cheap french fries at cheap fast food restaurants. Some welfare people urge people to eat at fast-food restaurants because it’s actually cheaper than cooking your own food.

    2. Carbohydrate foods taste good. Most people will not be willing to make the same sacrifices for disease prevention that they are willing to make once they have a disease or condition like obesity. Most people think nothing bad will ever really happen to them, especially young people, for example those who smoke despite knowing that old geezers of 40 or so might get lung cancer from doing so. They figure they’ll never really be 40. How many currently normal weight people will be willing to give up their rice and bagels because it might prevent obesity in the future?

    3. I think some people are able to process carbohydrates better than others. I have a friend who is thin and exercises a lot but worried that she might get diabetes, so she went on a LC diet. Her fasting BGs were in the 90s, and when she did a glucose tolerance test using her meter, she tested borderline diabetic. Then she tried a vegan low-fat diet and her fastings went down to 70 and her blood sugar hardly budged on a GTT. This could have been because a LC diet causes “starvation diabetes,” meaning that when you’re not eating any carbs (starvation is the ultimate LC diet) you stop producing carb-processing enzymes and test diabetic even though you’re not. Or it could be that she has a metabolism that burns excess carbs instead of turning them into fat.

    Because people may metabolize things differently, I think we really need to find out which people have a tendency toward metabolic syndrome and urge them to go low carb, because it seems to work especially well in this population. The ones who can stuff themselves with bagels and never gain an ounce might not have the same needs.

    But what is important,is to ensure that the bagel diet that is OK for these thin people isn’t imposed on the people who really need a LC diet. The feds need to offer people options, not one-size-fits all.

  21. I have benefited enormously from a low carb diet: lost weight, improved blood lipids, energy, focus, mood, no more arthritis, skin problems and more. My husband did not need to lose weight, but on a moderate carb diet he also got rid of his arthritis and his lifelong heartburn.

    Individuals vary in their metabolism and needs, so any single recommendation for the optimal diet for everyone only creates confusion. Ditch the pyramid.

    Instead focus all your efforts on greatly reducing the foods that everyone can agree do nothing to build anyone’s health and everything to create our obesity and diabetes epidemic: refined sugars and starches. Educate people on the many ways these foods can act on us to destroy our health by undermining our blood sugar regulation and the many resultant health problems. Stay with this simple message. Encourage thought and awareness. Stand up to agribusiness. You may just make a dent.

  22. When people complain that low-carbing sounds too complicated or too restrictive, I tell them they probably don’t have to count carbs or go to a lot of trouble. For most people, it’s as simple as:

    EAT: meat, chicken, fish, vegetables (potatoes and corn are not vegetables), butter, unhydrogenated oils, nuts, berries, occasional fruit, cheese, olives, mushrooms, herbs, spices.

    DO NOT EAT: grains, sugars, trans fats, or anything that comes in a box.

    I’d guess that 90% of overweight people would lose weight on that diet, without counting anything or worrying about portions or any other lifestyle issues like exercise. The other 10% of us have to be more particular, making sure we don’t sneak in too many starchy vegetables like peas, or dealing with a dairy intolerance, which is where it gets complicated. But for most people, it can be very simple. And for people who aren’t particularly overweight and/or diabetic, that diet would keep them very healthy.

    Of course, if someone went to the USDA with these recommendations–and didn’t get laughed out of the building–the most we could hope for would be a compromise with the fat-phobic crowd and the big grain processors like ADM. We’d end up with a steeper food pyramid, maybe a Food Rhomboid, that recommended some more meat, maybe even some healthy things like butter, but also retained a few servings of grains instead of a dozen or whatever they do now. After a decade or two of that, we’d still have a lot of diabetes and heart disease and obesity, because they’d still be recommending way too much grain, but low-carb would take the brunt of the blame. “We met the low-carbers halfway, and look what happened.”

  23. I grew up poor, in the inner city. To make money stretch we purchased less meat and vegetables and more affordable carbohydrates, like ramin noodles, rice, white bread, etc. It didn’t help that the nearest grocery store was miles and miles away so we had to shop at local convenience stores. Contrary to what people think poor looks like, I have ALWAYS been overweight. Of course, doctors thought that resulted from overeating. In fact, I regularly skipped meals at school thinking that would make me lose weight, when it only made matters worse. So you can imagine my lifetime of frustration with that…

    The only weight loss success I’ve had is with PP. The weight melted off – without regular exercise. I have told many people about the benefits of PP and the main objection is that it’s just too hard to give up carbs, too expensive, etc. A close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Diabetes. Thankfully, her doctor wanted to try a nutritional approach before prescribing meds. She followed the doctors “diet” but was disappointed that her numbers where still pretty high. I mentioned that she should try leaving out the carb sources and I’m happy to say that her numbers have been normal ever since.

    Over the years, I have slipped up and sure enough, the weight returned. I have purchased other “fail-proof” plans and as soon as I read something like “the answer to weight loss is to consume less calories than your body needs”, I know that it was a complete waste of money. This equation has NEVER worked for me. I must be super-wired for survival. I won’t lose a pound.

    I know for sure that PP is the only solution for me.

    Thank you so much, Dr. Eades. We appreciate all you do.

    PS: there is an excellent documentary called Unnatural Causes that really hit home to me. As an African American, I cringe when I see some new report about us being more likely to have some kind of disease. What I appreciate is that the documentary discusses the link between access to healthy foods (vegetables/protein) and health problems.

    http://www.unnaturalcauses.org

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you found the book to be helpful. Keep after it, and the weight will fall back off.

    The documentary looks great. I watched the clips from the website. Thanks for the link.

  24. Let’s see… populations that have found low-carb diets to have significant health and performance benefits: overweight and obese, diabetic, epileptic, persons at high risk for heart disease, models, actors, endurance athletes (have I missed any?); populations that have problems with low-carb diets: none (unless maybe you count those whose problems are in the form of poor acceptance by family, friends, and coworkers…) But it’s “unproven,” isn’t it? Well, we’d all like to see more extensive data on larger populations. But surely, the obvious failure of current dietary recommendations which HAVE been tested extensively and shown to be seriously flawed, suggests that we need a new approach. Low-carb diets which have shown such clear benefits for so many populations are so clearly superior to the current food pyramid, that we are due for some class-action lawsuits (against the USDA, individual panelists, other medical societies, food industry lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies?) for so blatantly putting self-interests above public health!

    My personal story: mid-50s, low-carb for one year after a lifetime of high-carb diets. Used to tolerate high-carb diet well and be able to eat large meals without gainng weight. Weight crept up over time, then started rising faster. Gradual appearance of symptoms of metabolic syndrome (fasting glucose up, blood pressure up, weight up, etc.) Low-carb diet rapidly reversed problems: lost 30 pounds without calorie restriction, blood pressure and fasting glucose down, improved general health and athletic performance (I took up running ultramarathons and now do so on little or no carbohydrates and feel good during and after the events [and I now comfortably run hilly distances of up to about 20 miles/4 hours on no supplemental food at all]). And no, the high level of exercise did not result in my weight loss and health improvement; rather the health improvement and weight loss ENABLED me to increase my level of exercise. If anything, the weight loss has plateaued and reversed slightly with increasing exercise.

    It is clear that there are populations that can tolerate and even thrive on high-carbohydrate diets for a lifetime. But my best estimates from data I’ve seen is that these are a minority—probably well under 20% of the general population, and they probably represent predominantly people with either limited access to food and/or people with a high level of daily physical activity.

    My recommended changes to general dietary guidelines: start with a baseline of about 20% carbs, 65% fat, 15% protein. Increase carbs only if weight GAIN is needed. Decrease carbs further for weight loss or other specific health conditions such as diabetes. Increase protein if needed for muscle building/repair (athletes). For most people, this sort of diet is best achieved with a lot of meat, fish, nuts, and vegetables, though details can vary widely depending on availability and any religious, cultural, or specific health/allergy issues. Sugars and simple starches should be used sparingly if at all. These include nutritive sweeteners, most wheat, rice, corn, and other grain products. Fruits should also be limited: most are nutritionally predominantly sugar water. Dairy is more controversial. Personally, I do not limit dairy consumption, although some people find it desirable to limit or cut dairy entirely. Legumes and legume products (such as soy products) should probably be consumed in moderation, and may be left out by personal preference. Within these general guidelines, try to eat a wide variety of food.

    I think it is most important to focus first and foremost on getting these macronutrient guidelines established and understood. Micronutrients are clearly also important, and since fat is to be recommended as the major source of calories, it is probably also important to recommend emphasizing or avoiding particular types of fat, but these kinds of recommendations should be given a secondary status to the macronutrient recommendations. The “wide variety of food” recommendation should take care of most micronutrient needs for most people.

  25. I’ve never dieted in all my 68 years, never paid any attention to the food pyramid or food fads, but have always been guided by what I found in the health literature. Would you believe I read about eliminating trans fats 50 years ago? However, I think at the heart of our nation’s obesity/diabetes tragedy are foods that we were all raised on. The standard American diet (SAD) has always permeated every aspect of our world. And, of course, changing eating habits engendered over a lifetime is the hardest to do. I’m just slightly overweight and firmly believe the low carb/high protein is the healthiest lifestyle, but it is a lonely and difficult path to follow.

  26. Interesting comments! There is a world of difference between knowing something and doing it! So even if FDA does change its recommendation a bit, I think very little would change anyway! Look at smoking campaign. In NYC where I am from a pack cigarettes on average is $9.50. Do you think it deters people from smoking? Nope. And you would be surprises how many people who are on welfare still smoke! So where there is a will there is a way! I disagree with Gretchen that low carb is super expensive. There are options there. And low carb does reduce appetite so people naturally tend to eat less. How many people do we know that binge on a steak. But I know many, myself included, that can eat a whole bag oof chips, an ice cream pint and few other low carb junk. So high carb can be expensive too. But I still believe it has to start with education first. And even education is not enough. Until companies stop making huge profits from selling high carb junk we are doomed for a long time. High carb junk+ huge profits ( talk about cost effective) + easy availability ( no needc to cook a bag of chips or ice cream vs cooking steak and vegs) + addictive and good taste nature of carbs= 70 % obesity and climbing for a long time to come! How can you beat it? I think there is no solution unless frame high carb junk a nation’s killer and ban at least all convenient supermarket easily available garbage that is cheap, affordable and taste good.All industrial countries are going through obesity epidemic. So show me an average American eprson, either overworked or stressed out who wants to cook a nice piece of steak coming home? Or show me a poor American family who is willing to sacrifice cheap junk that for a healthy low carb? I am doing adult echocardiography on a part time basis. I have seen many people dying from CHF, uncontrolled hypertension , unstable angina who still refuse to stop eating junk. And those are relatively educated people. So how do you prevent all of this madness? How do you try to put a relatively healthy youngster on a low carb diet when a relatively sick adult refuses to do it? I can only know of one way, but it wouldn’t be feasible in a free society. It was in communist Soviet Union!

  27. First: Benefits
    1- Weight loss
    2- Blood pressure reduction
    3- Cholesterol improvement
    4- Acid Reflux elimination
    5- Lean Body Mass protection and enhancement
    6- Adipose tissue reduction, including abdominal adipose tissue
    7- Increased energy
    8- Hunger reduction
    9- Caloric reduction (Possibly a sustainability issue, maybe not)
    10- Steady energy, no peaks and valleys
    That’s what I’ve seen, personally. Others control PCOS, Diabetes, etc.

    Second: Guidelines
    I think you need two sets of standards to address the concerns of everyone. Before anyone suggests this is out of line with government work, let me remind you:
    1- I work for the government
    2- The government already has two standards for nutrition: the basic Pyramid+ and the weight loss version.
    Point 2 is exactly how I want to chop it.
    On all versions:
    Eat 1g protein per kg of weight. Or, in simple english, eat at least .5g of protein per every lb of weight. Roughly.

    Eat a minimum of 3 servings of green leafy veggies (include a list similar to Atkins induction veggies) (I dunno that this helps, but it makes the Veggie Mafia shut their soy holes)

    On the maintenance version: Do not eat more than 100g of carbs per day. Do not eat more than 30g of carbs at one sitting.

    On the weight loss version: Do not eat more than 50g of carbs per day and do not eat more than 15g of carbs at one sitting.

    On all versions: Free sugars should comprise no more than 2.5% of daily intake. (currently, there is no limit to this, and they balked at a 10% cap)

    That is simple. Easy. The Wizards of Ag (the USDA) can complicate it up with a graphical pyramid and various expansions on the core rules. They can recommend 8 cups of water daily (in my reading, no one can point to where this recommendation comes from nor any science to support it) and they can recommend supplements or vitamins or calorie limits or whatever. But, if you stick with the core rules (eat protein, limit carbs strictly), you will probably be okay (unless you’ve got bigger problems).

  28. Thanks for the opportunity Dr Mike.

    If I were to advocate what I consider to be a “healthy diet” for all Americans to strive for, and recognizing that one diet does not fit all, I would suggest:
    The Zone
    Maintenance from Protein Power using the Hedonist protocol
    South Beach Maintenance
    Changing the first level of the Food Pyramid from 8-12 servings of grains and startches to a maximum of 3 and increasing the number of servings of protein.

    Basic assumptions: protein and fat are good for you and are the basis of the daily diet with carbohydrates in moderation.

  29. I agree the suggestion should be one of inclusion. Keep the food pyramid, just turn it upside down. Keep carbohydrates to 10-20 percent of calories. Eat large amounts of leafy green vegetables. Make meats a centerpiece of your meal. Avoid sugars and starches. Even the food guidelines didn’t say to eliminate fat, it placed it in the food pyramid in a positon that limited it’s consumption. That’s what we do for carbs.

    When fat was made the bad guy, people didn’t stop eating meat, they ate the kind of meat that kept their fat low. By suggesting that you eat 10-20 percent of your calories from carbs, even if you don’t tell people to eliminate sugar, ideally people switch to a diet that allows them to eat the foods with less carbs. Instead of going from steak to chicken like we did when fat was limited, we go from bread to veggies when carbs are limited. The suggestion of limits changes how people see the food and they start looking for ways to keep eating while avoiding the dense version of those foods. Steaks are treat for some people now who think they should keep fat low. That should be how people feel about pasta. You don’t tell them not to eat it, you make it so it seems like a treat.

  30. All that we successful low-carb eaters amount to is a growing amount of anecdotal data. As our friend Gary Taubes has said, there is another hypothesis, that carbs are the villain, not fat, in the obesity crisis, but this has never been tested scientifically. Neither has the fat hypothesis, although that has not prevented governments from issuing guidelines based on it.

    I think we do need to get awareness and consciousness-raising efforts for low-carb up.
    I fantasize something like a low-carb-million-man-march on Washington. Imagine a million fit, lean, healthy people of all ages and races marching, proclaiming, “We eat fat! Fat makes you thin! Sugar makes you fat!”

  31. I see two issues making general recommendations for a very LC diet. The first being – is a LC diet truly necessary for prevention of obesity, or is a more moderate form of carb restriction sufficient if you have never damaged your metabolism from excessive carb intake? In line with this, do we know at this point at what level carbs begin to be a problem? Second – If we start to recommended a LC diet, the likely hood of unintended negative consequences is rather high. The road to hell is paved with good intentions after all. Government should get out of the business of diet recommendations and leave it to each individual and their doctors based on lab work and other evidence.

    I agree that the government should get out of the diet-recommendation business, but based on many years of experience, I feel that nothing but good would come of a generalized recommendation to follow a low-carb diet.

  32. I will offer my own experience prior to the horror that is menopause when things get all out of whack. As soon as my hormones get back to “normal,” I have no doubt that I will again reap all the benefits of LC eating that I have in the past.

    I’ve always been one to be very focused once I decide to do something. In my 20s, low/no-fat/high-carb was the way to go, ala Miss Jane Brody. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I never had any blood work done then, so I can show a comparison. What I can say is that I gained weight year after year. My regimen for years and years (I kept journals) was no more than 1200 calories, 10% fat, very little protein, lots of pasta and breads, some veggies (including starches), and occasional desserts (though usually non-fat ones). I was also exercising 5 to 6 days a week, high-intensity step aerobics for an hour a day.

    Over the course of maybe 10 years I went from 135 pounds to 195 pounds.

    Then, around 1998 I read an article that said American women don’t get enough protein, despite what we’ve been told. I thought about it, and decided maybe they’re right. So, I went to the bookstore, where I found and purchased the Eades’ Protein Power. I read it cover to cover and it was all so obvious.

    In a couple months I dropped 20 pounds. Then I got cocky and thought I could sneak in some carbs here and there. I gained 10 pounds back over the course of several months.

    Then I got serious. Right by the book. I dropped a total of 40 pounds and maintained in the low 150s for a couple years. Rather effortlessly, I might add. Virtually no exercise, except toward the end when I actually FELT like exercising (weights and some aerobics).

    I don’t have comparisons, but my blood pressure was right around 110/70, total cholesterol was 198, HDL 73, LDL 110, Triglycerides 72, total/HDL 2.71, LDL/HDL 1.51, Triglycerides/HDL .99. That was in 2002. In 2005 the results were virtually the same.

    I felt GREAT and had good self-esteem. I felt lean and mean.

    Then menopause hit and I got a lot of bad advice from a string of doctors. I got back up to 195 and size 16, but now my weight is starting to drop and my size 14s are starting to get loose. I’m not weighing myself now, mostly because I very easily get traumatized by the number on the scale. Daily fluctuations put me over the edge, so I avoid them.

    In my humble opinion, LC is the best way to eat. Sure, I still slip up from time to time. Warm French bread fresh out of the oven slathered with good Irish butter will make me cave every time. To stick to plan, I try to not veer except for the occasional REAL stuff. For example, instead of succumbing to LC bread on a regular basis, once every couple months I’ll to go my favorite French restaurant and indulge in their fresh bread. Same with desserts. I forgo 99% of the time, but when I do, don’t worry about having the real thing.

    I agree with the others. Stay away from sugar and starches, eat lots of meat and fat (preferably saturated), berries from time to time, and a few veggies if you must.

    One word on veggies and fiber. I never have a problem with elimination EXCEPT if I start eating veggies. If I do start eating veggies on a daily basis, I very quickly need to supplement with Citrucel every day, and even that doesn’t work all the time. Better to go with no fiber. It’s not needed by my body, so I feel safe in doing without.

    Hope this helps.

  33. Sorry. Off topic.

    I was just notified by Amazon that the release of your new book is now not until SEPTEMBER 2009!!!!!

    What the heck! I was starting to get so excited about getting it within a month or two.

    Don’t think I’m not incredibly annoyed as well. The book has been written since back in June, so it’s not us. I’ll do a post soon telling what has happened.

  34. From a long-term low-carber’s point of view I’ll grant that the question is inane but I can sympathize with Dr. Landesman’s need to visualize everyday, long-term low-carb eating for the population at large. The general public has been steered so far away from a meal of meat and low-starch vegetables (nicely buttered!) that it is extremely hard to visualize getting enough calories and a satisfying eating experience without putting refined grains on the table — not to mention the health benefits we’ve been misled into believing accrue through a diet consisting primarily of grains. Also, people no longer know how to season and cook meat and fresh vegetables to make them appealing — most family cooks make fantastic lasagna but ruin the chicken breast. Low-carb was very easy for me because it was therapeutic. But others in my family are rail-thin, eat whatever they want and are generally very healthy. Telling them they’d be healthier long-term was futile. I had to change their diet through good cooking, and that was hard work. Also, unfortunately, Atkins induction seems to be the model everyone thinks of when they think of a low-carb diet — I’ve known people who are desperate to lose weight who say they’ve tried Atkins and didn’t like it — but never got past induction. Of course you, of all people, Dr. Eades, could rightfully consider Dr. Landsdowne’s question inane, since you’ve spent a good portion of your career arguing the value of a low-carb diet for the general public — and showing what it would look like. My suggestion to the Metabolism Society would be to look at the guidelines, menus and recipes from the Protein Power Books.

    I second that motion. :-)

  35. I sent this to the email, but wanted to post it here as well, for the benefit of posterity.

    I am not and was never overweight nor do I have major health problems, so my “story” is simply going to be this.

    At 45, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to maintain my weight eating a standard healthy diet and exercising an hour almost every day. My weight kept inching upward.

    Since starting a low carb lifestyle, I have noticed that my weight has stablilized at an ideal level (5’4″, 112 lb) and remains there pretty much effortlessly as long as I keep to mostly low carb fare. I have also noticed that my fingernails are harder, my few grey hairs are oddly turning dark again, and my menstrual cycle has stabilized. I have plenty of energy on less sleep, and am not really hungry. I used to have a tendency toward anxiety, and before, when I used to eat a sugar- or starch-laden meal, I would have a wave of anxiety starting about half an hour after a meal lasting a couple of hours. Eating low carb, and especially making sure that after adequate protein intake the balance of my calories come mostly from healthy saturated fat, my moods have stabilized to the point where I am no longer particularly neurotic. At my age one’s appearance fluctuates from day to day, and I notice I seem to have more “young” days than “old” days because my skin is more supple.

  36. How about a simple plan to follow, only allowed foods are those that have 1 item on the ingredient list.

    It’s simple, alright. And I’m sure would be healthful as long as that one ingredient wasn’t sugar.

  37. There are two aspects to consider: What is recommended and what people will follow.

    A government recommendation should be guided by the first consideration. People can choose what they will, but a bad recommendation will kill people.

    So that’s my bias. Do the right thing.
    “Starches and sugars are not necessary in the human diet. They may be useful for and tolerated by people requiring extremely high levels of physical performance, but that is a small %-age of the population. Negative effects of ingestion of starch and sugar-based carbohydrates are common and accumulate over time. ”

    “For those with symptoms of metabolic syndrome (high triglycerides, high blood pressure, obesity), complete avoidance of starches and sugars is recommended.”

  38. LC diets aren’t expensive. It’s just not true that poor people can’t afford low-carb, if they do it intelligently.

    I’ve seen people on low carb forums complain about the cost, but that’s because they’ve decided to eat ribeye for every meal! I eat a lot of ground beef (buying the fattiest and adding extra tallow the butcher gives me free), and a ton of eggs.

    If I can get off the diet soda, my food costs will plummet further!

    (And many people who eat carbs have no problem paying $4 for a bag of thinly sliced potatoes fried in soybean oil — cost of ingredients ten cents, maybe? And they have no problem paying Nabisco’s markup for Oreos, Cocoa Puffs, etc.)

  39. One of the reasons that is so hard to stick to a low carb diet is because unless you live in a cave, you are getting messages every minute of the day and from every direction to eat them. They are pushed at us right and left all day long. And some people can eat them without apparent harm. Not, of course, to mention how good they do taste.

    So first it must be widely (by doctors, USDA, everyone in fact ) acknowledged that there are some people for whom carbohydrates are a problem. Then find ways to identify those people. Are their triglycerides too high? Is their post prandial BG too high? What about their insulin levels? If they try to lose weight by simply reducing all calories does it work for them? Or does a diet only work if they reduce carbs?

    These people would then have much more support in their endeavor to keep off the carbs.

    So the “officials” who claim that a low carb diet is not the answer because people can’t stay on it, must realize that unless they themselves help change the enviroment in which the carb sensitive people exist, we will just get more of the same.

    Precisely. I wonder if the rate of smoking would have fallen off as it has in this country if the populace were being constantly bombarded with how wonderful cigarettes are as they were in the good old days when almost everyone smoked?

    .

  40. Dr Mike, I wanted to ask a question about benefits and efficacy of fresh cranberries? My mom has always been using them as a snack. This morning she made a special surprise for me. She grinded a whole bag of fresh cranberries through the meat grinder I beleive. Then she mixed the cranberry paste with stevia and Devinchi sugar-free syrip. Then she stirred in few tablespoons of sour cream and walnuts! It tasted awesome! Sweet, but not overkill, sour yet not tongue twisting,. It had some zipp to it too. She never fully reveal the recipe. Jewish and Italian moms never do, so their genetic materials can come for more. But I think she did put smng else, may be an orange zest! I know cranberries are relatively low carb. A cup of fresh cranberries contains only 13 carbs, and 6 of which is fiber. So you get 8 grams for a cup. I only eat a bit at a time. But there have been anecdotal stories about cranberries treating bladder infection and having anti-bacterial properties. Dr Mike care to comment? Have you had any experience with cranberries as far their benefits and place in low carb eating? Thanks!

    I like cranberries myself but don’t eat them that often simply because I don’t think of it. MD makes a great cranberry relish with cranberries, orange, Splenda and other stuff. As long as you don’t over do it, cranberries can be part of a low-carb diet. Where people get in trouble with cranberries is with cranberry juice. There is way more sugar (HFCS) in 12 ounces of cranberry juice than in a 12 ounce soft drink, yet everyone seems to think the cranberry juice is healthful.

  41. you know whats hard to quit? smoking.

    that was tough. years later i still have cravings and after a few days of smoking id probally pick up right where i left off.

    some people i know had a much much tougher time quitting, and others just never took to smoking in the first place.

    you know what else is hard: dialysis. diabetes is a real hassle to live with.

    the idea that a LC diet is hard to stay on is akin to saying waking up early is hard so its not a viable way to organize your life. it takes effort every day to do a myriad of things we naturally would rather just shy away from and lounge on the couch with a tub of french vanilla ice-cream with chuncks of turtles chocolcates on top, while sipping beer and not checking our voice-mail.

    LC can be hard, ive been doing it for over a year but im constantly temped and fighting not to indulge and eat a chocolate bar after every meal. but it says nothing to the efficacy of the diets and their metabolic advantages. having been a sugar fiend my whole life i look at it like an alchololic looks at the sauce. for whatever reasons be they genetic or social, some people cant handle certain things without causing serious problems in their life.

  42. It’s frustrating to read both the initial, inane line of questioning (my thoughts exactly as I was reading it!) , and some of the hand-waving, “it won’t work for everyone” comments. The continued emphasis on “reasonableness” is the tell: It’s like a bunch of heroin addicts clamoring for a “reasonable” amount of heroin they can take.

    I realize I’m more hardcore than even many people here and in the various LC forums, but both times I’ve failed on a low-carb diet, it’s because I was really trying to do a moderate-carb diet instead. I’ve found that saying no to the second carby food item is always WAY harder than saying no to the first. Therefore, I never touch the first, and life’s easy.

    To the argument that LC is a more expensive way to eat, which seems a reasonable objection on the face of it, there are two rejoinders:

    One is that you absolutely can eat meat on the cheap. I eat at fast-food restaurants fairly often. McD’s hamburgers are nothing but beef, salt, pepper, and occasionally onion powder, and can be easily eaten without the bun. For a couple years now they’ve been selling their double hamburgers on their dollar menu. In grocery stores, look for sales and freeze larger quantities, or–my favorite–shop in the deep discount bin. Don’t be afraid of meat that’s close to the expiration date–it’s usually more tender and flavorful.

    The second rejoinder is that you simply do eat less when you LC. Depending on your prior diet, you may be eating the exact same amount of protein as you did before, only now you don’t have all the pasta/bread/dessert/whatever accompanying it.

    Sigh. “Non-therapeutic.” Well, we certainly wouldn’t want people’s health to improve, would we?

  43. LC eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Of course you have to be a smart shopper. See Regina Wilshire post on her LC food shopping. You can even do fast food LC cheap! I just had two Whoppers (lettuce wrapped) and an avocado for $2.67. Last week Pollo Loco had 11 legs and thighs for $7.99, made a sald and some yams (for the kids) and we had ourselves a nice family meal.

  44. People find it difficult to stick to a low carb diet, not because it is “extreme” but because carbohydrates are addictive. That same logic would conclude that smoking is “extreme” and that’s why people continue to smoke in the face of the overwhelming evidence of the risk of cancer and emphysema.

    And as for low carb diets being expensive, I would rather teach the poor to make low carb choices at the grocery store, than have my tax share foot their future hospital and doctor bills.
    Good health is always the least expensive choice on many levels.

  45. I don’t mean to pick on Gretchen, but she brought up a lot of good issues that people who don’t really want to give low carb a shot bring up.

    I think there are several problems.
    1. LC diets are expensive. Obesity is greatest among the poor, and how many of them can afford a lot of meat, fresh vegetables, and berries?
    *snip*

    It doesn’t have to be expensive. Right now I can usually pick up nice, juicy, flavorful fatty cuts of beef that are relatively inexpensive. Granted, that is because the very low fat cuts cost an arm and a leg because that is what is being recommended as healthy. I save a lot of money at the grocery by not buying the carby junk. It doesn’t make it into my grocery cart, nor into my home.

    Whole chicken is usually less than a dollar a pound. I also get the fattier cuts of pork at a decent price per pound, way less than the leaner cuts.

    I ate vegetables and berries, either fresh or frozen, before I converted to low carb eating, so that cost hasn’t changed, and shouldn’t too much for anyone else who had typically been eating a low calorie/low fat diet, because these foods are recommended in that way of eating as well.

    Add to that the fact that low carb foods are very satisfying and it takes less of the low carb food to fill you up and again that’s a money saver.

    I think the general public needs to be made aware that the “filler foods” they use to extend meats and the carbier vegetables used as side dishes are actually not doing what they are intended to do – give one more to eat and make them feel fuller – but they are making them feel hungrier and less satisfied. Yes, the fillers (potatoes, crackers, oatmeal, noodles, pasta, etc., etc.) aren’t that expensive, but it adds up, and they are worthless to the human body.

    2. Carbohydrate foods taste good. Most people will not be willing to make the same sacrifices for disease prevention that they are willing to make once they have a disease or condition like obesity. Most people think nothing bad will ever really happen to them, especially young people, for example those who smoke despite knowing that old geezers of 40 or so might get lung cancer from doing so. They figure they’ll never really be 40. How many currently normal weight people will be willing to give up their rice and bagels because it might prevent obesity in the future?

    I don’t think carbohydrate foods taste good. I used to, when that was the majority of what I was eating. I had to have them, like a junky needs their fix. Now that I’ve been eating low carb for a while (and actually not long after I started eating low carb) most carbohydrates that I used to eat taste nasty to me. And sugar or anything that contains sugar? Way too sweet! It would not take long for someone who was eating low carb for a while to change their opinion of what foods tasted better – low carb foods would win every time if given the opportunity.

    As for “old geezers” of 40 or so, (Hey! I resemble that remark!!), they need to know it’s not all about obesity. At my age I want to prevent bad things from happening down the line, even though I didn’t have too terribly many health problems compared to some when I started low carbing. With age comes wisdom. Leopards can change their spots. Look how many already “healthy” people (not obese or overweight, not diseased) jumped on the low fat bandwagon thinking they were doing themselves a favor down the line by eating that way…I don’t think it’s farfetched to think that a low carb diet, if recommended by the powers that be would be such a challenge for people to try.

    3. I think some people are able to process carbohydrates better than others. I have a friend who is thin and exercises a lot but worried that she might get diabetes, so she went on a LC diet. Her fasting BGs were in the 90s, and when she did a glucose tolerance test using her meter, she tested borderline diabetic. Then she tried a vegan low-fat diet and her fastings went down to 70 and her blood sugar hardly budged on a GTT. This could have been because a LC diet causes “starvation diabetes,” meaning that when you’re not eating any carbs (starvation is the ultimate LC diet) you stop producing carb-processing enzymes and test diabetic even though you’re not. Or it could be that she has a metabolism that burns excess carbs instead of turning them into fat.

    Because people may metabolize things differently, I think we really need to find out which people have a tendency toward metabolic syndrome and urge them to go low carb, because it seems to work especially well in this population. The ones who can stuff themselves with bagels and never gain an ounce might not have the same needs.

    But what is important, is to ensure that the bagel diet that is OK for these thin people isn’t imposed on the people who really need a LC diet. The feds need to offer people options, not one-size-fits all.

    Everyone is surely different, but I must disagree that a bagel diet is good for anyone, even those who seem to be less sensitive to carbohydrate intake. Offering options is just wishy-washy, appeasing to the stubborn, IMO. A high carb diet will catch up with anyone at some point in their lives, and will be evident either by making someone obese, diabetic, or sick in some other way. No one is truly immune from the way excessive carbohydrates ravage the human body. Our systems aren’t that different from one person to another in most cases, unless one has some sort of genetic anomaly going on.

    All that said, I don’t think it will be an easy task to convince anyone who has bought into the low fat “wisdom” that low carb is really the way to go.

    I must agree with others who have said that the starting place should be to suggest not ingesting starches and sugars, and probably anything processed.

    Since I have been on low carb I have dropped 45 pounds, my blood glucose is in check (I was severely hypoglycemic, a precursor to diabetes), and I am generally healthier. Before I started low carb I was lethargic, depressed, overweight, and generally ill all the time. I used to get sick if I even looked at anyone else who was ill. In the last two years that I have been on a low carb way of eating I have visited the doctor twice for illnesses, both time diagnosed with a virus. Before low carb I was sick and visiting the doctor maybe a dozen times throughout the year with upper respiratory infections and the like. I also no longer have heartburn, which had become such a problem (acid reflux) that I had lost my voice from it for three months.

    Low carb has boosted my immune system so much that everyone else in my family has been sick with the flu over the past couple of months and I have not succumbed to it. But rather was well enough to take care of every one of them.

    I am on no prescription medications; I no longer spend a fortune on doctor’s visits or being hospitalized. My skin glows, my eyes sparkle and no one believes me when I tell them I’m 44 years old. I owe it all to low carb eating. I know I do.

  46. Carbs are not evil. But have studies been done of how many carbs people are really eating a day? In the old days I was eating upwards of 500 grams of carbs a day. It did evil things to me. I suspect that most overweight people are eating 300-500 grams a day. WAY too much. The Eat Drink, and be Healthy books was what got me started in the right direction. It also persuaded my very healthy adult children to change their diet. I developed diabetes, and have gone very low carb. This means I have reduced dosages of insulin, which is also a healthy thing. Very few overweight people are aware that too much carbs and the resulting over production of the bodies insulin are what drives hunger pangs in vulnerable people.

    It is counter productive to call carbs, french bread, pasta, pizza evil. For those who can eat them and not gain weight they are good/OK foods. For young extremely active people they are essential sorts of foods. Doesn’t Michale Phelps eat upwards of 12,000 calories and lots of carbs on work out days, (and rather low carb on resting days!)?

    There is more to health than not gaining weight. Although a number of people seem to escape the fat-deposition qualities of carbohydrates, they don’t necessarily escape the rest of the problems. Some people can smoke cigarettes and seemingly suffer few ill effects. Does that make tobacco okay? Picasso smoked like a chimney and lived to be well into his nineties as did Winston Churchill. Should we, based on their examples, tell people it’s okay to smoke because a lot of people can smoke and seemingly escape the consequences?

  47. I guess I really hate the “one size fits all” feeling of paternalism that “government guidelines” give me. Though I guess I contradict myself as I’ve love to see a government guideline that matches *my* philosophy.

    I guess you could call me a Protein Power dropout. I started PP initially in 1997 after seeing a very obese friend become slim and handsome on it. I loved his claims of eating ham and cheese omelets (hold the toast and potatoes) every morning for breakfast. I started on PP in May of 1997, and by 1998 was down 80 pounds. I was heavily overweight however an still had another 70 to go! But I thought my goal was certainly achievable by the year 2000, which I was aiming for. Except at that point my weight loss just STOPPED, even with 70 lbs to go. I was active on low carb internet groups and tried everything they suggested to break my stall – eat MORE calories, eat FEWER calories, exercise MORE, exercise LESS, more FAT, less FAT, more CARBS, fewer CARBS, eliminate DAIRY, eliminate various other things I’ve forgotten. The year 2000 finally rolled around and I was still 70 pounds overweight – and I sort of gave up and went back to my old carby ways, in a major depression.

    I allowed myself to forget all the *good* things about LC. my dreadful GERD symtoms had totally vanished, I had lots of energy, I was more mentally alert than ever, my blood lipid numbers were fantastic, the asthma-like breathing issues I experienced pretty regularly had vanished.

    Naturally they all came back again once I began consuming carbs again – especially sweet, empty sugar and white calorie carbs, baked goods being my downfall.

    It was after reading the Taubes book just last month that I decided to recommit to LC. I turned back to PP as that was my absolute favorite book of all the LC books I’d read. So I’m only two weeks back. The good news is that at least I started out 30 pounds lower than my high starting weight in 1997. Already in just two weeks I’m more alert, breathing better, GERD is gone again…

    So my wishes for the government guidelines?
    1) Stop so much emphasis on GRAINS! The company I work for sends a periodic newletter from something called “Spark People”. Does anyone know it? Their “diet” suggests, for example, 42-63 servings of whole grains a week! (EEEK) with fewer that 25 a week being a “danger sign” of a bad diet. Their fat guidelines are for fewer than 7 teaspoons a week, with over 14 being a “danger sign”. Their recommended fats are: “1 tsp canola, olive, peanut oil; 1 tsp corn, safflower, soybean oil” – olive or peanut are the only ones there I would touch with a 10-foot pole.
    2) Stop demonizing fats.

    So I think the above will happen? The problem is that the PERCENTAGES are based on the calorie count. If you tell people to eat lots of leafy greens, and some high fiber fruit they are still low CALORIE, making the total calories from the “good carbs” still very low.

    When I told people I ate a diet that included tons of green veggies and salads and some fruit and some nuts they all nodded and said, “ah” like I was a sage. But if I added that by calorie percentage this made my diet about 10% carb, 20% protein and 70% fat they all wondered how come I was still walking around alive.

    I guess in the end if I could just get them to admit that eating anything made with white flour and white sugar is not the same as eating sweet potatoes more “natural” examples of carbs I guess I would feel a bit happier.

    Glad to hear you’re back on the straight and narrow. Keep after it.

  48. I think I will just counter Gretchen’s points, since they pretty much sum up my opinion on the topic.

    1. Carbs are cheap BECAUSE everybody eats them. It’s simple supply/demand stuff. If more people were eating ONLY meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts, they would be cheaper, and carbs would be more expensive. Restaurants would follow the trend too. The market dictates everything.

    2. We are wired to crave carbohydrates. We are not wired to resist carbohydrates. This makes low-carb dieting hard because Carbs are everywhere. If we eliminated even some of the available carb choices, it would make it a lot easier and more viable to sustain this type of lifestyle.

    3. Just because some people fare better on carbs than others doesn’t mean that they are good, or that these people should be used as a shining example of why there aren’t that bad. The science speaks for itself.

    I definitely don’t agree with a “one-size-fits-all” dietary recommendation, but the feds could go a long way by at least dramatically reducing the recommended level of carbs, and perhaps educating the public a little on carbohydrate metabolism, and the fact that you don’t need any carbs to survive.

  49. Low carb doesn’t have to be expensive. Hamburger, chicken legs quarters, eggs and canned salmon are all good protein sources. All vegetables don’t have to be fresh but cabbage is a good cheap choice, read the labels of frozen and canned vegetables to look for added sugar or starch. You aren’t buying cereal, cookies or crackers so you’re saving money there. No Hostess or Little Debbies, compare that to frozen berries with plain yogurt or bulk nuts for snacks.

  50. Here’s how I’d like to answer the members of the USDA if I could speak to them personally about what nutritional guidelines to provide for Americans:
    1. You need to decide what is more important to you: support for the wheat, corn, soy, and sugar industries, or the health of Americans. Your food pyramid as it now stands is monetarily beneficial to said industries, but is disastrous for the health of Americans.
    2. You need to wrap your minds around the fact that the nutritional advice you have dispensed for the past forty years is dead wrong. A diet with carbohydrates as the largest daily food group makes people fat and/or sick.
    3. You have been embarrassingly wrong for the past forty years about the dangers of fat in the diet. The extreme fat reduction you have recommended makes people fat and/or sick.
    4. Your dietary recommendations for the last forty years are largely responsible for the amount of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, depression, and more that Americans experience in ever-increasing numbers.
    5. I visited the MyPyramid.gov Web site and found your pyramid to be what one would expect government bureaucrats to create: unnecessarily complicated, confusing, filled with misinformation, and condescending. It claims to be “science-based,” but does not admit–or understand?–that it is based on junk science that has been poorly conducted.
    6. If you want to give the population at large advice about what to eat to be healthy or to correct many health problems, it should go something like this:
    a. Eat mostly real food, not food products processed in food labs.
    b. Make the time to prepare almost all of your meals at home from scratch. Know what’s in the food you eat.
    c. Retrain your body to derive its energy from fat instead of carbohydrates by fueling it with quality fats such as lard, coconut oil, butter, nut oils, and olive oil. Eliminate all trans fat from the diet, and drastically reduce the amount of fat from vegetable oils. Saturated fat is good for you, enjoy it.
    d. Limit carbohydrates to those derived from low-starch vegetables and low-sugar fruits. See how much better you feel when you don’t eat wheat, corn, soy, rice, potatoes, pasta, legumes, or other grains, or foods containing them.
    e. Know how much protein you need to consume daily to maintain your lean body mass and make sure you eat at least that many grams every day.
    f. If you eat dairy products, make sure they are full-fat.
    g. Eat nuts in moderation.
    h. Almost never eat sugar.
    i. Quit worrying about your cholesterol. Every cell in your body needs it. Eat foods that contain it. Eat lots of eggs.
    j. Get out in the sun regularly or make sure you supplement with plenty of vitamin D3.
    Now these are some nutritional guidelines that might actually benefit people!

  51. I’m feeling particularly cynical after reading this press release:

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/uoc–mha011209.php

    As long as guidelines are produced by “researchers” on the payroll of big pharma, exercises like this ([blog topic] will elicit nothing more than a few chuckles from the committees who make the big decisions.

    What set me off (grumbling) this time is the paragraph at the bottom of the article:

    >> “Fonarow has conducted research for GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer and serves a consultant and has received honorarium from Abbott, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer and Schering Plough companies. He is also chair of the Get with the Guidelines steering committee.”

    I think the media needs to see a press release from a real health and nutrition organization that calls these people to task. “Big Pharma decides American diet and therapy, causes obesity and disease epidemic.” Oh that would get picked up, and might get some real changes rolling.

    >> “Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk in most who could benefit,” said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow”

    His recommendations: Statins at the base of the food pyramid.

    Thanks for the link. It’s one of the stupider things I’ve ever read. This guy states that since 75 percent of people who have heart attacks have what are considered normal levels of cholesterol, we must have set the ‘normal’ values for cholesterol too high. I wonder if it ever occurs to him that perhaps the reason 75 percent of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol is that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart attacks. This boy needs some schoolin’ in critical thinking…fast.

  52. Re: “bagel diets that are ok for thin people.” For every person who’s like your thin friend, I’ll bet there are two thin people who are like my adoptive mom: Completely addicted to carbohydrates (her “stomach needs” a lot of bread every day), with Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol (yeah, I know, so what, but it scares the crap out of her and keeps her from eating meat), and a history of heart incidents. But she’s got a great figure, so she says she doesn’t need to watch her carbohydrates.

    Obesity isn’t the only problem caused by carbs, just the most visible. Folks can and do have plenty of other carb-related issues and never gain a pound.

  53. I started the low carb WOE in Sept. 2006 after failing to bring my BG down following the low fat/ high carb mantra. Being basically wheelchair bound and not being able to exercise it took me 2 years but I lost 68 pounds. It only took me a couple of months to bring my blood sugars down from over 200 to less than 100. When I started low carb my HA1C was over 10. My last HA1C was 5.7. At present I am on no prescription meds. I don’t believe the standard numbers used as limits for cholesterol or blood pressure. I think these numbers were put out by big pharma so they could sell more meds and make billions in profits. The new number for blood pressure was considered low blood pressure just a few years ago. Big pharma has no morals and they don’t care how many people they disable or kill as long as they make a profit. They have deep pockets and control the media and buy politicians through lobbyists and campaign donations. Their money also influences the FDA, ADA, AHA and others.
    I do have CHD. In 1997 I had quadruple bypass surgery ( two weeks before my 50th birthday). I blame it on many things. I was overweight, I ate a high carb diet that included lot of sweets and trans-fatty foods like margarine. I had been a heavy smoker for over 30 years and had quit 2 years prior to surgery. (If I hadn’t I would probably be dead.). The cardiologist said that at some time prior to my surgery I had a mild heart attack that damaged the bottom of my heart. When and where I don’t know. I was on Lipitor for a couple of years until it attacked my calf muscles. A CK test came back with high levels and my liver enzymes were also high. The doctor told me to discontinue the Lipitor immediately. After a few months my muscles got better but it took a long time for my liver enzymes to come back to normal. By the way this same doctor was taking Lipitor to lower his high cholesterol and a few years later had a heart attack. Did the Lipitor keep his heart attack from being fatal? I don’t know. Did the statin keep him from having a heart attack? NO!
    Up until six months ago I took a 325mg enteric aspirin a day and had since my bypass surgery. I now take two 81mg enteric aspirins daily. In Feb. 2002 I had to quit taking my aspirin for a hospital procedure. A week later I had a mild stroke that affected the left side of my body. I found out later that stopping aspirin therapy increases the chance of a stroke. CAT scans and other tests could not find any other cause. I think my blood thickened up because of the higher triglycerides from my low fat/ high carb diet and diabetes. Then in Sept. 2005 I once again had to quit the aspirin for a hospital procedure. Against my better judgment and protests to the doctor I stopped the aspirin. Eight days later I had a more severe stroke that affected the right side of my body. Then six months later in Mar. 2006 I had a relapse. At this time I was taking ibuprofen and hydrocodine for pain in my right shoulder. I read later in the book by Dr. Oz (from Oprah fame) that when taking ibuprofen it negates the effect of aspirin. So once again it was like not taking aspirin. So six months of rehab was down the tubes and I’ve had to start over. I can walk a few steps with the help of a quad cane but most of my mobility is done in a wheelchair. I am right handed but can’t use my right hand. I live alone so I have to do the majority of things myself. Some days I get really frustrated but I try not to feel sorry for myself. When I do, I remember the people I’ve seen at the VA hospital or on the street that are in far worse shape than me.
    From my personal experience I would recommend a low carb diet for everyone. It isn’t easy at the start but after a while it becomes very satisfying. It is time that the powers that be look at the facts and not the hype. Being politically correct is killing people!!!
    Back to top

  54. Wouldn’t the overweight percentages be even higher if standards from the 60’s were used?
    Isn’t this government statistic worthless because it counts people who are fit and trained and have muscles and low bodyfat as overweight? And its based on a sample. Typically high school athletes lift weights now, but did not until fairly recently. Is that why there more obese
    children?
    Also many weightlifting nutrition advisers suggests 1gram protein per pound of body weight, 2 grams carbs, and the fat takes care of itself. Carbs are adjusted to the activity level. If you were doing intense work, say loading boxcars would you want more carbs?
    Isn’t the idea of a government food pyramid silly anyway? How can they know whats right for 300 million people. How’d Davy Crockett survive with out them?

  55. I think the argument that low-carb diets are expensive is false. It’s true that you can choose to eat steak in a restaurant every day and spend a good deal of money…but my typical workday lunches cost $5-10/week (that’s not $5/day, that’s $5/week) with maybe another $3/week or so in fruit and nuts. Carbs may be cheap, but they’re not cheap enough for carb-heavy convenience foods to beat those numbers. I don’t have any particular need to be frugal — I used to go out for $15 lunches with coworkers almost daily — it’s really just a matter of how inexpensive raw ingredients really are vs. prepared foods.

    Of course, the rub is that you need to have time and inclination to cook, and many people don’t. There’s also a period of ramp-up time figuring out what works for you, and that may be more expensive. My gut feeling is that even a couple of home-cooking failures in the early days evens out to be less expensive than regular fast-food consumption, but I could be wrong about that (and it always *feels* worse to make something inedible!).

  56. As a simplistic approach, the following is the kind of thing they are looking for:

    For everyone facing overweight, about 70 percent of the total American population, refined sugars should be limited to not more than 100 calories per day, or 25 grams of carbohydrate.

    If this were spelled out in terms of percentage of total diet, it would make more sense, but be less comprehensible to the folks who need to understand it.

  57. In my recommendation I stated that a small percentage of calories (10-20%) can come from whole grains and starchy vegetables, because to me it meets the criteria of being “a reasonable recommendation the USDA could put out”. I chose to ignore the part about “if you actually had your way”, because I feel like it would be unreasonable to expect the medical community and government bureaucracies to flip 180 degrees on their stance on whole grains and risk completely ruining their credibility altogether in the public’s eyes. Furthermore they constitute a pretty cheap source of calories.

    I suppose I’m concerned that coming out and saying “grains are the devil!” would be so against current nutrition dogma that it would make it easy for people to dismiss low-carbers as wacko conspiracy theorists and lump us in with the fruitarians and vegans.

    Perhaps that makes me the Neville Chamberlain of the low-carb world.

    Well, you know how Neville Chamberlain has fared historically…

    I actually understand what you’re saying. Often it’s easier to sacrifice Czechoslovakia make small changes in the right direction rather than going for it all at once. There is virtue in that if it works. Didn’t work all that well for Neville.

  58. I don’t think the question was inane, actually. I think there is much more to eating and being in our bodies than simply how much we weigh. The everyday benefits of eating fewer carbs for me include having much more energy, being much less tired, really wanting to get up and go to the gym and work out, not thinking about food all the time, not being hungry, the tremendous relief from cravings – realizing, in short, that so many weaknesses I had previously attributed to a lack of willpower (snacking, lazing around, etc) were actually easily fixable nutritional issues and not all in my head. The feeling of control and of physical well-being, of being in balance, is a fantastic trade for a few sugars and starches. It is a bargain, in fact, one I am grateful for every day. So, based on my own experience, I would urge the USDA to recommend a diet high in protein, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and oils, limited in legumes, and very restricted in sugars and starch. Simple as that.

  59. Change comes with time and persistence. And since the facts are in favor of effective weight loss and improved health for those who restrict carbohydrates, I believe it’s just a matter of time before the tide turns.

    Now here’s a little anecdote. I am a college professor and dean. A dietitian on our faculty wanted me to have a blood test as she was concerned that my cholesterol would be through the roof. Prior to that I had taunted her by declaring that my favorite breakfast is 3 eggs and 4 slices of thick bacon and that pork rinds and sardines are a healthy snack (you can imagine her reaction).

    Well, the blood test came back with a total cholesterol value under 180 (I don’t have the lab document with me at the moment) and triglycerides under 50. She remarked that my results were good but would not credit the low carb diet. I imagine that she’s thinking that I have “good genes.”

    Ah, yes, the old ad hoc hypothesis of the good genes. They’ll go for that one every time.

  60. Viewed through the lens of objective science, carbohydrate restricted diets make perfect sense especially since no requirement for carbohydrate in human nutrition exists. In consideration of the latter issue it makes sense to view any dietary recommendation that includes more than a small amount of carbohydrate with suspicion or at least a good amount of caution.

    The problem is that the carbohydrate business is big business. The potato is the most consumed vegetable in North America by a country mile. And carbohydrate is the primary ingredient in the majority of what I call edible products which are highly profitable for a whole array of reasons. Because of this it is a given that any proposal to even consider a recommendation to include carbohydrate restriction in the government food guidelines will be vigorously and aggressively opposed by the extremely powerful carbohydrate lobby.

    The best defense is always a strong offense. The carbohydrate industry knows this only too well. To allow the door to carbohydrate restriction to swing open even the slightest crack incurs the risk that it could be forced open wider in the future. Better to keep it shut tight and securely locked.

    Fienman and Westman as brilliant and dedicated as they are are banging their heads against a brick wall if they think arguments based on science will bring change. It took 50 years and a series of class action lawsuits to slow down the tobacco industry. When they finally got nailed to the cross they just took their smokes to China and other emerging countries.

    The carbohydrate industry doesn’t care a wit about scientific arguments in support of carbohydrate restriction. Until such time as someone can produce irrefutable evidence that carbohydrates are causing illness which is dam hard to do they will care as much about the health of the consumer as the tobacco industry.

  61. From ITW:

    “Eating a very low carbohydrate diet is extreme. People will not be motivated to do this unless they have a symptom of carbohydrate metabolism dysfunction…”

    Low carb diets are seen as extreme because of the failure of the nutritional establishment to acknowledge their health benefits. Furthermore, I don’t think it has been suggested to recommend a very-low carbohydrate diet to the general population. The Protein Power plan isn’t extremely low in carbs. Can some people eat grains and “get away with it”? Of course. But what about all of those who cannot or should not, but are prompted to do so anyway “for their health”? The point is that if people are never informed about the negative effects that grains and carbohydrates could have on their well-being, they have no reason to consider low carb. If people are going to look to the USDA as an authority on what they eat, they should at least be told the truth. And people didn’t need to experience symptoms of heart disease before adopting the current low-fat recommendations; they were motivated to cut fat and eat tons of carbs out of an imaginary fear that heart disease will befall them if they eat fat and cholesterol. Therefore, people wouldn’t necessarily need the threat of an amputation to be motivated to cut carbs; many are just longing for a green light or the assurance that it’s ok. Personally, I don’t need the government to tell me what’s right for my body, but some need that peace of mind.

    “It is unnatural to completely and totally avoid every modern food product (unless you’ve a REALLY good reason, like losing limbs to diabetes or being unable to fit in normal seats due to obesity).”

    Again, losing a limb or going blind due to diabetes complications are a real threat, as opposed to the fantasy “you’ll develop heart disease” warnings from the low-fat camp. Obviously, from the response of people and manufacturers to the low-dat guidelines, people do not need an imminent threat to their health to change their ways. Unnatural? Not at all. Is it unnatural to avoid poisons? Unrealistic? Not if the food industry jumps on board and promotes the value of low-carb products, or if restaurants or fast-food places cooperated too. But again, they won’t do that without the blessing of the USDA. The claim that low-carb is an expensive way to eat is a cop-out. It CAN be if you choose to go that way, but two eggs cost about 20 cents. There’s no requirement to eat pounds of meat. In fact, low-carb cuts hunger, so people can get along just fine on less. As my grandfather used to say, you’ll either spend money on healthful food or on doctor bills.

  62. It seems to me if eating whole, unprocessed foods could be promoted and emphasized and all the ads for the unprocessed foods eliminated it would go along way towards healthier eating. Especially with our children – since they are so influenced by the TV ads.

    Personally, I do moderate low carb because I feel better, don’t have low energy days and can give blood without the usual lethargy that normally follows my giving a pint of blood. And my labs are nearly perfect.

  63. My advice to the general population – do you want to get fatter and less healthy? Just keep doing what you have been doing. I know – that’s what I was doing and that was the result. It is a tragedy, but standing on the soap box seems a lonely and unpopular place. Changes will come (I hope) but very slowly for the foreseeable future. Having said that, blogs and websites like this and others are making a difference in people’s lives. Hats off to the stubborn voices in the dark including Dr. Eades – the truth must be told and will win eventually.

  64. I’ve lost 50 pounds and counting by eating LC. What’s funny is that I didn’t start LCing to lose weight. I don’t believe in diets as they cause food obsessions in me (I crave what I tell myself I “shouldn’t” eat). After reading Taubes “Good Calories, Bad Calories” I cut the sugar and refined carbs because I didn’t want to eat carbs! That book was an eye opener. I then read some of the diet books on LC, including Protein Power Lifeplan, just to see what recommendations were out there.

    My eating plan:
    –Half my plate holds veggies and/or some fruit.
    –If I can’t eat lots of veggies at once, I choose a smaller plate. (I rarely use a regular dinner plate, the salad plates fill me up nicely)
    –The other half of the plate holds protein and fat.
    –Snacks work the same way — try to have a protein and some kind of veggie or fruit.
    –Sugar is for special events, and try to find the most gorgeous version of sugar — no cheap candy bars, make it quality chocolates or homemade cake or rich ice cream. Expect to feel miserable afterwards no matter the quality.

    Sure, there’s a lot more things I do, like keep my fruit as low carb as possible, stay away from starchy veggies, buy quality meats, etc., but the plate rule seems to help. If I do that at least 80% of my week, I’m doing much better than I used to.

    My energy is high. I’ve even started taking a P.E. class at the university I work at. My low-grade depression is gone. My joints and feet aren’t complaining all day long.

    I just wish there was an easy way to convince people on the danger of carbs. My mom just had a quadruple bypass after having a heart attack. She is a Type 2 diabetic and has been for years. Eating low fat didn’t help her, nor did all the medications she took for years do anything to stave off further damage. I don’t want to end up like that.

  65. OK, I’ll start with a rant.

    The government should simply shut-up on the entire subject of nutrition. This is America – land of the free. We do not need the government telling us how to eat, that is what grandmothers are for. If anything the USDA should admit that their current pyramid recommendations are a failure.

    OK, rant over.

    How about these simple statements:

    1. Proteins are essential to health and control hunger.
    – Eat eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, meat, and/or nuts –
    2. Fats are essential to health and will not make you fat.
    – Eat natural fats; do not eat trans fats –
    3. Colorful-carbs are good-carbs.
    – Eat fresh, colorful vegetables –
    4. White-carbs are bad-carbs. They increase hunger and your risk for obesity and disease.
    – Restrict sugar, cereals, crackers, cookies, soda, chips, fries, bread, pasta, etc –
    5. Scientific studies demonstrate that carbohydrate-restricted diets are safe.

  66. In my experience the main reason low-carb is hard to sustain is because the whole world is eating (mainly processed) carbs! So at any social occasion, there’s little or nothing I can eat. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone served the good stuff?

    Recommendations that might do some good: limit sugar and starch. Eat more fish and non-starchy vegetables. Eat good fats. (Then eventually we work on naturally saturated fats being good.) Eat meat that doesn’t have antibiotics or hormones. (At least it tells people to eat meat.) These are all things that have a chance of sneaking past the low-fat defenses, and the smarter people will be encouraged to actually research the matter and find out what’s what.

    Then maybe in another ten years we can just shout: eat real food! Protein and fat! Vegetables and fruit taste good, but the body has NO requirement for carbohydrates.

    I have a question, btw, about those recommendations. On what are the protein requirements in PPLP based? Why are they so high, and why are they figured according to actual rather than ideal weight? After all, it seems as though maintaining enough lean body mass to support the weight I want to be would be adequate; what’s the extra for?

    If I am intermittently fasting do I need to eat enough protein on the feast days to make up for the famine (seems rather intimidating, actually)?

    Inquiring minds want to know….I’ve lost 70 pounds since August using PPLP, and really appreciate the fact that you explain things instead of just saying, “Do this. Don’t do that.” It not only makes me feel reasonably intelligent, it helps convince me that LC makes sense! Although the proof of the pudding (LC pudding, of course….) is in the way I feel.

    Andrea L.

    We created the protein requirements in Protein Power according to the standard protein requirement tables. We got a zillion letters from people who were fixated on trying to get the exact amount of protein. In the PPLP, we rounded up because we wanted to error on the side of a little too much rather than a little too little. On low carb diets protein serves two functions. It provides the raw materials to replace and repair the protein structures (hair, nails, skin, bones, enzymes, structural proteins, etc.) that are broken down in the act of living AND it provides the substrate for gluconeogenesis, i.e., the body’s production of sugar. When people follow a high carb diet, they don’t really need the extra protein to make sugar because they are getting sugar by mouth. On a low-carb diet, the body must produce its own, which it does by converting protein to sugar as needed. Thus the need for extra protein on low-carb diets. Hope this helps.

  67. About a year and a half ago I went to my doctor complaining of various symptoms such as aches, pains, lightheadedness, lethargy, tingling sensations in limbs and general brain fog. Tests showed I had high liver readings and borderline diabetes. The liver reading was said to likely be due to fatty liver as a result of a poor diet since all other possibilities were ruled out. I was already familiar with the diet usually prescribed for diabetics; I have a few family members with the disease. However, I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who was a bit more informed than many. When I described my understanding of the diabetic diet as consuming whole grains, whole wheat pasta etc. as well as proteins, my doctor corrected me by stating a starch is a starch, whole grain or not – they are all metabolized like sugar – therefore I needed to stay away from them. He suggested I seek out some of the low carb books on the market. That is how I ended up with ‘Protein Power’ by the Eades.

    I followed the suggestions in the book, keeping my carb intake to 10 grams or less per meal. I was to come back in 6 months for a follow up exam. The next set of blood tests revealed normal liver readings and normal blood sugar. I had lost almost 34 lbs. I felt terrific – energetic, clear headed, no pains, no tingling in my limbs. Plus I was exercising again. I attribute this success to the low carb diet. I knew within 2 weeks of eating this way that positive things were taking place in my body. You only need to try it to know this is how we were meant to eat.

    It is disturbing that literature put out by the Diabetes Association recommends eating between 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and eating meals often. These are people who are extremely sensitive to carbohydrates. What is the implication for the rest of us? I can’t help but feel that the dramatic results I have obtained in such a short amount of time as well as the positive results of many, many others as indicated in Dr. Eades posts, combating conditions a high carbohydrate low fat diet helped to create, suggests the prospect of an exciting future of better health for our children, if only there was support to show them the way. I would hope that just getting people well right now is reason enough to act towards getting new nutritional guidelines enacted.

  68. @David 9:36: You might be the only person I have ever heard about who can run ultras on LC. I myself have a hard time getting past 7 miles without running out of gas. (And I’ve been at it a while.) Are you consuming carbs in your dairy products? What does your daily diet look like, in terms of calories, etc.?

    Something like an Atkins “ladder” or Food/Carbohydrate Ladder could also be used in lieu of a Food Pyramid. If you have weight problems, diabetes, etc., you can start at induction levels of carbs and then use a step-wise pattern to find a point where you don’t gain and don’t lose. Tweak as necessary depending on lifestyle habits, exercise, illness, whatever. Then it’s not necessarily “one size fits all,” but “many sizes for everybody, depending on what you want and what you need.”

  69. Dr Eades – The point Dr Feinman was making is that the sort of low carb diet you and I follow is really… OVERKILL… and completely unnecessary to arrest or prevent obesity. I eat 50ish carbs a day, never more than 70 unless I’m splurging. I have had numerous carb issues, but I wouldn’t expect a normal person who is chubby to need to eat the same way as me (but “overweight” by BMI which is the Bullcrap Measuring Index by the way).

    The diet I eat may be effective, but I don’t expect anyone to follow it because it is a very hard diet to stick to. What good is the medicine in patients won’t tolerate it?

    A moderate carb diet is probably just as effective as an ultra low carb diet for PREVENTING disease, and the odds of someone actually doing this long term is a whole lot better than a diet that forbids all sugar and bread and pretty much makes your life really inconvenient.

    Trigger- The obesity epidemic is 30 years old. Diets high in carbs are thousands of years old. There is a whole lot more than carbs behind this problem and it is unnecessary to eat a borderline ketogenic diet simply to avoid being obese or diabetic (note, once these conditions have developed eating very low carb may be required for life… but not to prevent the disease itself).

    Regarding the response to failed over and over… Dr Eades you must consider that you have privilege to information and deep scientific understanding of this thing (as I do). Plus, you have Ms Eades to put food in front of you conveniently at every meal. Imagine trying to do this if you really didn’t have the means/occupation to ‘get” the science behind it… and then imagine trying to maneuver the high carb world and get acceptable food every single meal? I am lucky to be both reasonably medically studied and a very good cook :). Things would be a lot different if I wasn’t scientifically inclined and a bad cook. I probably would be like 200-300 pounds now instead of 120.

    I think the problem is we are assuming this is black or white… either you’re eating super low carb, or you’re eating high carb. There are different types of low carb diets. We would be well advised to drop the fanaticism stat if we ever hope to make any sort of progress (with mainstreaming a low carbohydrate diet). A 200 carb diet is low. A 100 carb diet is low. Why do we have to assume that only borderline ketosis is acceptable, extreme atkins or protein power type eating?

    Push the moderate low diets; when those are accepted and industry changes, then there is room for tolerance of theraputic very low carb diets in the medical world.

    All of us, including Dr Feinman, probably agree a low carb diet is the way to go for all people.
    The question is, how do we get people to actually reduce their carb intake? People are not going to follow the kinds of diet I follow, or most of this blogs readers follow. So the question is, how do we actually get people to make changes that reduce carb intake, which are realistic and effective?

    I agree with you. We need to figure out how to get people to reduce their carb intake. It would go a long way if the nutritional guidelines gave that advice. Since they probably won’t, the only way we have is by disseminating the information in other ways. But, you can lead a horse to water…

  70. Here are my two cents, I eat low-carb’ish for a different reason: acne. I’m 27 female at a normal weight but I suffered from acne for a long time. Only a person who goes through bad acne can get how miserable and isolated it can make you.

    Avoiding high carb meals and food cleared my skin in days. That made me first elated then tremendously angry over all the creams, antibiotics and Accutane I had to go through. So at least for the teens/young adults suffering from acne, low carb will be a benefit. Another perk is increased muscle tone.

    Thanks for bringing up the issue of acne. Improvement of this condition is one of the unheralded benefits of the low-carb diet.

  71. Dr Eades,
    I’ve hesitated to reply to this because (1) I’m a foreigner and (2) what more could I possibly add.

    But I will say this: before adopting low carb, I had a fatty liver, passed at least 2 kidney stones and — despite trying — couldn’t run more than 200 m without stopping.
    Now, and about 30 kg lighter, in the last three days I have (1) run along the beach, 5km effortlessly, (2) swum 1 km twice. No more kidney stones. And, though I am actually not a believer in lots of exercise, I exercised so much because I have so much energy to spare I did it out of sheer joy. My wife over the last 8 weeks has lost 10 kg and I have lost 10 kg in the last 6 months and am edging towards my ideal weight. I couldn’t help noticing while I ran along the beach in my Speedos the admiring glances from the fair sex. It’s great to be alive. I owe it all to low carb.

    Otherwise, with my previous ailments, a shortened lifespan would have been mine — so the endocrinologist told me.

    My recommendations? The low-carb food pyramid? Maybe. There are several versions. Perhaps the easiest with the greatest effect for the littlest effort: eliminate starches, wheat and grains. Including whole grains. It’s not the complete answer, but it will go a long way to help.

    Thank you from the depths of my heart,

    Michael Richards

    Hey Michael–

    I’m glad to hear you’ve done so well. Congrats.

  72. I do not live in the USA, neither am I a citizen of the USA, so I do not know what signifcance any comments I make will have.

    Regardless of what opinion(s) and/or behaviour(s) we seek to change regarding dietary habits (or any other habits for that matter) we need to recognise “knowledge is power” (Aristotle, I think).

    We also need to recognise that we are creatures of habit/reflex (a very useful trait but it does have its downside).

    Taking the last two (apparently unrelated statements) consider this;

    1. Do people realise the sugar equivalents of the starch they eat (most of which is touted as “healthy”). Instead of having a “healthy” serving of some cardboard packaged alleged cereal with milk and probably some sugar/honey/maple syrup and canned fruit (in syrup) for breakfast they might as well eat x amount of Hersheys Bars or y amounts of Werthers Originals for all the nutritional value they are going to get.
    All digestible carbohydrate is converted to glucose, period.

    2. Glucose in the blood stream causes metabolic reactions. Excess glucose causes excess reactions. Any specialist in toxicology will tell you that the danger lies in the dosage over a time line. Eventually things collapse.

    3. Every high carbohydrate food is danger over time. A little from time is unlikely to threaten anyone. It is the incessant overconsumption of starchy and sugary foods that is debilitating the so called “advanced nations”.

    4. Pick “typical” USA meals and equate them to your candies. It would be interesting to see what the bureaucrats did with that.

  73. I agree that we need to be practical in offering low-carb recommendations, about what a general population would be willing and able to do.

    I myself have been basically low carb for 7 years. I started out via the carb addicts diet, which I now see as an invaluable stepping stone to ‘true’ low carb, as just like the majority of the world, i coudln’t conceive of giving up all my favourite foods. After a year and a half and fifty pounds gone, I had stalled for months, and knew my ‘reward’ meal was turning into a binge. I had also done more reading on atkins, protein power etc, and had discovered it wasn’t the ‘fad’ ‘unhealthy’ diet i’d been told it was, and that it was the logical next step. So for 5.5 years, I’ve been doing low carb ‘properly’ and lost another fifty pounds, down to where I was maintaining, at around 150-155lbs. Last year I got pregnant, and was so sick during the first four months of the pregnancy that I couldn’t face anything but carbs, despite trying really hard to stay away from them. I threw up most of it for two months, but when the throwing up lessened to once a day, I started gaining weight at a ridiculous rate, becuase I was still eating carbs. I couldn’t get back to low-carb until I was in my 23rd week. Once I did, however, I stayed at the same weight for the rest of the pregnancy, so I only gained 26 pounds through the pregnancy. However, I also didn’t lose much of that weight after I gave birth – only the weight of the baby and placenta, really. I know it is because I put on the majority of my weight during the first half of the pregnancy. I also could not focus, for the first ten weeks of my baby’s life, on eating well – I just had to eat whatever was at hand, and whatever kept me going. I started back to low carb on and off, but I only really got ‘back on the wagon’ two weeks ago, and am now solidly low carbing again. I have twenty pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I am not dieting, just eating protein, fats and non-starchy veggies in whatever quantities I want.

    Anyway, that’s my story. The question in hand is very important.

    I agree that to make these guidelines people will actually consider you can’t go ‘ultra’ low carb.

    i would emphasize protein and good fats (so as not to get people worried about saturated fats etc, even if we know there’s no problem with them) and suggest minimizing not only white flour and sugar but grains in general. also emphasize always balancing – so always having protein and fats in a meal to balance carbs, dont’ just have carbs. have your plate be, for example, half protein, quarter low-starch veggies, and a quarter brown rice/quinoa/whole grains etc. as much fruit and veg as you want, except for potatoes. and sugar and processed foods to be reserved for the occasional treat.

    my husband is skinny and obviously has a metabolism that deals fine with carbs, but having read Good Calories, Bad Calories, we tried to work out what number of sugar grams a day would equal the consumption of sugar 100 years ago, ie before the current epidemic etc. We came out with, if I remember correctly, 20g. So if someone with no issues with their weight or metabolism currently could be persuaded onto a better diet, I think it would be best with the kind of guidelines my husband is trying to follow – very little white flour or sugar, complex carbs to be brown/as unprocessed as possible, with plenty of protein and fat. Even though he is skinny, I’ve had to deprogram him from fat=bad – he was eating low fat before we met!

  74. Oh, one other thing.

    I would highly recommend switching focus AWAY from dieting. focus should be on eating for health, not weight. Yo-yo dieting, which is usually low-fat, only destroys the metabolism. I for one know that I may have been overweight (I was 180lbs by age 16), but I would never have got up to 250lbs if it wasn’t for my attempts at low-fat dieting. I ate whatever I wanted before that, and after the initial rise during puberty to 180lb, I stayed the same. If people ate less processed foods, and focused on getting in good proteins and fats at every meal, minimizing starches and sugars, they would probably remain stable in weight and health.

  75. I am not overweight and never have been. I’ve been eating very low carb for 10 years now because I have more energy and build and maintain muscle most efficiently doing so. I am not a fitness fanatic, I just simply enjoy being active and want to age without disease. The by-products that are created when our bodies must turn carbs into fuel is damaging throughout our system, not just our fat cells. The process that does this is meant to be a BACK UP system, to avoid starvation, not our body’s primary fuel system. These by-products (free radicals, oxidants, tryglicerides, etc…) are responsible for Alzheimer’s, some cancers, heart/arterial disease, diabetes, and so very much more – all the “diseases of civilization” can be linked to this process and the toll it takes on our system. THIS is why it’s good for the population at large to restrict carbohydrate intake.

  76. Have a look here

    http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=3763

    a nice summation of the types of story we have seen over many years in all diabetes newsgroups and forums.

    OK, the plural of anecdotes is not data

    BUT

    consider the almost total lack of similar anecdotes where people claim such successes on high carb low fat “official” type diets, there are probably one or two people per forum who genuinely do well on such a diet (plus several pretenders)

    Yet not only is the official recommendation still for a diet that does not work for the majority of diabetics (and the same is undoubtedly true for obesity and other conditions) they are STILL looking for data to back it up while ignoring the ever increasing amounts of data which agree with the anecdotal evidence provided above, or at best recommending reduced carbs only as a temporary measure.

    Cognitive dissonance?

    IMO the Food Industry is based around buying cheap and selling expensive and its best feedstock is carbs

    potatoes ex farm £100/tonne

    potato chips £14 950/tonne

    no doubt your figures are in the same ballpark

    This is going to need a LOT of the data which is not being collected or is being ignored to overcome

    Never eat anything your grandparents wouldn’t recognise as food?

  77. Are we certain that low carb is effective because too much carbs in any form are bad news, or could it be that specific types of food that make up a large part of non-carb restricted diets are bad? I ask this because public health and the law of unintended consequences tend to produce bad results even when the ideas have some merit.
    If the food industry starts mass producing low carb food, I am not convinced that they would not corrupt it somehow.

    What about focusing recommendations on the following?

    1. Avoid excessive fructose and thus sugar, HCFS, and all of the processed “food” that contains it. (Also avoid “natural”products like juice and agave nectar that are high in fructose.) It seems clear that if carbs are bad, fructose carbs are worse.

    2. Avoid the commonly used types of vegetable oils, and all of the processed “food” that contains them. Again, n-6 PUFAs are not carbs, but there is enough evidence that these pro-inflammatory and eaisily oxidized oils are involved in chronic disease. Butter, tropical oils and unhydrogenated lard for everyone!

    3. Avoid wheat.

    These three items would make most diets effectively low carb anyway, I doubt too many people would binge on baked potatos, and it is pretty hard to find processed foods that lack HCFS, vegetable oils, and wheat.

    Is it clear yet that low carb is effective because it is low carb, or simply because it eliminates various toxic components from the diet (wheat, fructose/sugar/HCFS, veggie oils, and processed crap in general). It would be hard to do a study that could distinguish. But a blanket low carb recommendation might just lead to the creation of tons of processed foods that are low carb but still unhealthy, eventually leading some to conclude that low carb is BS.

    Michael Pollan was absolutely right to argue that we humans are not able to create foods that match the quality of what nature has already provided for us. It’s too bad he steered off track with the “mostly plants” foolishness – which is of course what most people will probably take from the book since it is what many already believe.

  78. A realistic approach would be to target sugar and possibly white flour with that. They absolutely should introduce the concept of good carbs vs. bad carbs: Vegetables being good (maybe fruit), white flour being bad. But sugar: “avoid”. Demonizing sugar like they’ve demonized (saturated) fat in the past would work nicely.

    Another compromise would be for the government to acknowledge that not all animal fat is bad and maybe state that “less than half of egg, pork and poultry fat is unsaturated”. Dairy fat may be eaten “in moderation in the context of an otherwise health diet”. Then little by little they could stop just talking about saturated fat… Promote nuts (though too high in PUFA for me, hard to think people would overdo them?) , ban trans-fats.

    State that sugar is worse than animal fat. This is IMO very important, for for many it’s a case of buying either low-fat high sugar concoctions like yoghurt, or plain, fatty yoghurt.

    This way they’d only insult the sugar lobby, not other major industries.

    I’m thinking pragmatically. No way are they going to do a 180-turn turn to low carb, high animal fat, but these kinds of little changes would be possible.

  79. i find it hard to understand why people think low carbing is hard. But maybe you have to be like me, in that:

    1) You really hate being fat.

    2) You’ve already tried every diet under the sun (Ornish, LA Weight Loss, Cambridge liquid diets, etc.) with only temporary success. If you can call being hungry all the time “success”.

    3) You really like meat. And fat.

    4) You don’t mind trading in the starches and sugar (tasteless stuff anyway, without the fat added) for a slimmer body. Its a no brainer – if I pass on that stuff, I’ll drop some weight, feel better, never be hungry, improve my blood panel numbers, reduce my chances for developing Alzheimers, Parkinsons, cancer, etc. – sounds good to me!

  80. Question Dr. Eades regarding Cod Liver Oil vs. Salmon Oil

    is it advisable to take both or just one?
    are you of the opinion that Vitamin A toxicity/overload can occur w/ many forms of cod liver oil, which can disrupt Vitamin D absorption?

    thank you for all your work on this site.

    I would probably just take one. And if I were just going to take one softgel, I would probably take krill oil rather than either cod liver oil or salmon oil. I think one would have to take a lot more cod liver oil than I’m willing to take to worry about vitamin A toxicity.

  81. I second the post from Ethyl – Ditto on all of that!! And isn’t it weird that we all know this information (as we can read) and the people whose jobs are to provide nutritional advice don’t? It makes me suspect that the choice between agribusiness and American health has already been made and made on purpose. Hmmm, conspiracy buffs, take note.

  82. Dear Dr. Mike,
    I’m sorry for contacting you this way but I didn’t know how to contact you any other way. I am currently writing a grant proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to test LCD at a local school as a childhood obesity-intervention program. We have the support of the county, the school, my university, and a local hospital to do this, which I’m thrilled about. I’m also excited because it targets an impoverished rural area that really needs the intervention. However, I am still worried about convincing the reviewers at RWJF since this organization has primarily funded low-fat based programs (that largely haven’t worked). I’m also concerned about getting the parents of the kids on board if/when we get the grant. Is there any chance that you could give us a letter of endorsement that we could attach to the grant? I could send you a copy of what we’re doing but basically it’s a James Bailes approach (of “No More Fat Kids” that limits carbs to 30g/d for the kids and incorporates 30 mins of exercise. (If you have any recommendations about that I’m open to it). Our preliminary propsoal is due Feb 3.
    If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, could you recommend someone who would be able to give us a letter of endorsement?
    This is all because of you, you know. I read “Protein Power” along with Atkins’ book many years ago and got so interested in low-carb I made it one of my research areas.
    Many thanks,
    Wendy

    I’ll be happy to. I’ll contact you by email separately.

  83. Congratulations. I see your RSS Feed reached 3000 subscribers. Keep up the good work!

    It did? Good, I guess. Thanks for the heads up. I’m kind of clueless about this kind of stuff.

  84. Jill, 13. January 2009, 22:52 wrote: “You might be the only person I have ever heard about who can run ultras on LC. I myself have a hard time getting past 7 miles without running out of gas. (And I’ve been at it a while.) Are you consuming carbs in your dairy products? What does your daily diet look like, in terms of calories, etc.?”

    Actually, low-carb nutrition and fat-as-primary-fuel is catching on significantly among endurance athletes (though clearly still only among a minority as evidenced by the almost-all-carb food that still appears at aid stations)! The trick (if you are currently a high-carb-fueled athlete) is that you must go through a physiological adaptation (i.e., training period) that retrains your body to use primarily fat as a fuel rather than carbs. The basic conversion takes 2–3 weeks minimum when you change your diet. Fully developing and optimizing your ability to burn fat is longer-term project. A good approach seems to be to train at a significantly lower level of effort than most people do. Sustained exercise at a heart rate of about (180 – age) keeps you performing strictly aerobically and promotes the development of aerobic fat-fueled metabolism. People who train this way are finding that they gradually increase the speed that they can achieve at this lower heart rate, and that they can then race faster as well without ever having spent a lot of time training at or near race pace. There is evidence that this works for both average and elite athletes. At the elite levels (champion Ironman triathletes, for example), competitors clearly make use of both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, but the winners seem to be the ones who can get the most out of fat-fueled metabolism first, not the ones that can achieve the highest anaerobic power output.

    My diet typically includes some carbs from starchy vegetables and dairy, so it’s not carb-free. But I’ve experimented with coconut milk (high fat, very low carb) with added whey protein as my endurance race fuel. I don’t experience the typical highs and lows of a carb-fueled athlete. My post-race recovery nutrition is higher protein, but carb-free, and my recovery time is short. My total estimated daily calorie intake is DOWN from more than 3000 in my high-carb past to more like 2200 now based on when I feel full, and I don’t find that I need to eat much extra after a long hard day (though I may, anyway, without realizing it…).

    For more on my experience, see my blog. For more on slow training, see article by Maffetone. For some data on fat-fueled exercise, see Alan Couzen’s blog.

  85. Speaking of needing help.

    Millions More Americans Might Be Placed on Statins
    TUESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) — If doctors start taking results of a recent drug company-sponsored trial seriously, 11 million more older Americans might be taking cholesterol-lowering statin medications, experts say. If that finding becomes an important element in medical practice, researchers at Yale University estimated that the use of statins will be expanded widely.

    They published their findings Jan. 13 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/13/AR2009011302323.html

    Just the Jupiter study rearing it’s ugly head again.

  86. I lke these recommendations from ethyl d, above. And I know that bureaucrats *love* bullet points, so I will simply cut and paste:

    a. Eat mostly real food, not food products processed in food labs.
    b. Make the time to prepare almost all of your meals at home from scratch. Know what’s in the food you eat.
    c. Retrain your body to derive its energy from fat instead of carbohydrates by fueling it with quality fats such as lard, coconut oil, butter, nut oils, and olive oil. Eliminate all trans fat from the diet, and drastically reduce the amount of fat from vegetable oils. Saturated fat is good for you, enjoy it.
    d. Limit carbohydrates to those derived from low-starch vegetables and low-sugar fruits. See how much better you feel when you don’t eat wheat, corn, soy, rice, potatoes, pasta, legumes, or other grains, or foods containing them.
    e. Know how much protein you need to consume daily to maintain your lean body mass and make sure you eat at least that many grams every day.
    f. If you eat dairy products, make sure they are full-fat.
    g. Eat nuts in moderation.
    h. Almost never eat sugar.
    i. Quit worrying about your cholesterol. Every cell in your body needs it. Eat foods that contain it. Eat lots of eggs.
    j. Get out in the sun regularly or make sure you supplement with plenty of vitamin D3.

  87. First things first. Get them to admit the pyramid is designed to promote grain agriculture and edible product manufacture, not health. Get the AMA, AHA, ADA, etc. to stop promoting the pyramid like they do. First, get them to admit white carbs are poison to us and then, that the brown ones aren’t much better. Just get them to lower the starch requirement a bit, then a bit more and a bit more until its an occasional ‘treat.’ Start with the came’ls nose under the tent and see if that doesn’t help lower the incidence of obesity and disease. I can’t see how to get them to stop recommending vegetable oils instead of animal fats, they’ll all have to die off first, but vegetable oils probably have as much to do with bad health and obesity as sugar and grain.

  88. Rant #1 – The govmint really does need to decide if it wants guidelines that lead to a healthy citizenry, or guidelines that are good for the food industries. Right now the guidelines cannot do both, because there’s too much subsidized grain and sugar in the food. Remember the hue and cry that came out when reducing sugars to less than 10% from the WHO.

    Rant #2 – the guidelines are untested. We feed millions based on guesses from researchers without any clinical track record? This is embarrassing. Reminds me of Bush telling his crony what a good job he was doing responding to Katrina. We have guidelines that make 2/3 of americans fat…. if you think we follow them. And if we don’t, why have em.

    Rant #3. Why not use guidelines that HAVE a good track record. Use Jack Lalanne’s.

    Sugarholics – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJVEPB_l8FU

    Sample Meal Plan – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuW3RfWJ1H0&feature=related

    Nice links. In case you missed it, here is a post I did on Jack Lalanne a year or so ago.

  89. “It would go a long way if the nutritional guidelines gave that advice.”

    Absolutely. Call me optimistic, but I do think that a great many people would be willing to cut their carbs if they didn’t think they’d be jeopardizing their health in the process. I know a lot of people who’d love to eat omelets for breakfast and put butter on their vegetables, but who don’t “dare” because it’s not authorized by their physicians (or their well-meaning spouses). I had a professor in college, an intelligent lawyer, who wouldn’t touch the shrimp at an awards banquet because his wife, a nurse, would kill him if she found out because shrimp contained a lot of cholesterol and his was already high. He was not fat in the least, but was actually fairly lean. For many people, permission from authority figures means everything.

  90. I think we should demand a focus on true science. That means anything that cannot be backed up with a large scale, carefully controlled, and peer reviewed study should not be there.

    Hmm… Looks like there is nothing on the recommendations list now (except perhaps no trans-fats?).

    If they need to publish something, let them recommend careful food diaries, which also include the amount of exercise, sleep. Tweak diet as required to get the exercise numbers in line.

    While this isn’t perfect, at least you know if you are setting a PR on deadlifts, 5k run, and situps (exercises selected at random), your diet isn’t holding you back.

  91. I’ve been thinking about what I was going to write here, then David MacPhail (15:37) came along and basically said the same thing (only better).

    Our country is on a slippery, corrupt, slope.

  92. First, in response to ITW, I have a high school education and I am poor by most standards. However, I do know how to read and am curious as to how everything affects my health. Just because I don’t have capital letters before or after my name, doesn’t mean I’m stupid and just because I can’t afford to hire a cook doesn’t mean I can’t cook healthy whole low-carb foods.

    Regarding low-carb eating, after decades of poor health, just following a really low carb diet has fixed all my health problems (migraines, arthritis, heart disease, depression). I am 59 years old and take no medications even though at one point 13 years ago I suffered a stroke and was on my way to all sorts of health issues that would have probably claimed my life years ago. I decided to ignore doctors and medications and instead treat myself with food. I knew that it was food that was the answer. That started my journey in search of healthy foods for the body and stumbled on low-carb eating by accident. Boy was I surprised at how great I felt.

    Financially, low carb eating can be cheaper than all that dead stuff that comes in packages. Eggs, ground pork, chops, chicken, tuna, sardines, herrings, cheese, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts, berries, lard, tomatoes are healthy and inexpensive. Fills you up so you eat less.

    Yes there are people who stuff their faces with carbs all day long who are skinny. So what? Does that mean they are healthy and happy? Yeah I thought so :)

  93. stop calling it low-carb, the name has a bad rap so ditch it. call it a natural diet..human beings developed by eating what they could find in nature and eat in their natural state…meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits. or as my doctor says..eat nothing your great great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food!

    but of course, that doesn’t mean that i don’t eat a hunk of homemade peach pie every year on my birthday!

  94. Dr Davis just said this in response to a vegetarian extolling the virtues of a Ornish diet on his Track Your Plaque forum.

    “Having played with diets from across the spectrum, my experience has been that low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets hugely amplify all the phenomena associated with insulin resistance, fasting insulin levels, blood sugar, blood pressure, small LDL, high triglycerides, etc.

    HIgh-fat, low-carbohydrate diets, even Atkins (no restraint on fat or protein sources) do the opposite”.

    I think this is a change in his outlook.

    I think it is a major change in outlook, and, as far as I’m concerned, a big change for the better.

  95. Where do you think the implications of this research are pointing?

    Infant diet determines adult fitness
    You are what you ate.

    Those are the findings of University of Calgary researchers who say adults’ physical health and weight can be pre-determined by their infant and childhood diets.

    A group of rats subject to a protein-heavy diet in their youth dramatically packed on the weight when fed high sugar and fat food as adults compared to rodents that had been nourished with high-fibre early on, said Dr. Raylene Reimer.

    http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2009/01/14/8024386.html

    The researcher’s findings (at least with rats) are that a heavy protein diet predisposes adults to obesity when they are fed high sugar and fat foods later in life (it’s the sugar stupid). However if the rats were ‘nourished’ with a high fiber diet (unbelievable!!) they did not become obese. Based on this study is it reasonable to assume that a high carb diet is better for infants? Many will probably think so.

    Many will probably think so. And the press will probably report it so. But since rats aren’t just furry little humans, the research isn’t all that valid as applied to humans. Rodent studies, for the most part, are like observational studies in that they are designed to develop hypotheses.

  96. My recommendation:
    Keep Protein high, Fat mod to high, and carbs low.
    Starches, sugars, chemical fats, gone. Vegetables, beef, seafood, poultry, spices, in.
    What I don’t get is that it really isn’t rocket science.
    Want a low carb meal for $3 on the run? 3 McDonald’s plain hamburger, toss the buns and you’re good to go. Saltier than I like, but it gets the job done. I’m sure others here have their own on the go low-carb meal.

    I’ve been doing this for years. And people are still like “you’re still doing that”. But the truth is that the diet is easy, and the health benefit is amazing. The benefit being I don’t have to worry about my health. Every blood test, perfect. Every physical, perfect. And I know from reading this blog that people that do this consistently experience the same thing.

    The majority of us don’t feel deprived, and the majority of us take the “day off” so to speak now and again to have some cake or a celebratory meal or try a new restaurant. I wish people would preach that as the moderation.

    Anyway /rant off

  97. Dr Eades said, “It may be VERY hard to stick to for some people, but not necessarily for all. I’ve pretty much stuck to a low-carb diet for at least 25 years. And I know a lot of other people who have done the same. I’ve got a post coming up on this very subject. ”

    I like and respect you a great deal, Dr Eades, but you simply HAVE to know that it’s difficult for MOST people to stick to it for the very long-term. I’m really surprised to hear you say the above, having had contact with patients and witnessed it first hand. Perhaps people who are able to do the diet with the supervision of doctors such as you and Dr MD have a better chance of long-term success.

    As for the rest of us, we get our support where we can find it, and it’s inconsistent, at best. Husbands get weary. Friends are on some other diet. Forums are, well, don’t EVEN get me started on those.

    And you also HAVE to know that you and Dr MD are in the extreme minority as far as “stick-to-it” ive-ness where this WOE is concerned–which I admire more than I can say.

    I discovered LC back in 1995, and the longest I’ve ever been able to stay at it, with occasional trips to the “honey-tree,” that is, not completely abandoning it for an extended period of time, is a year. I don’t think I’m weird, I don’t think I’m weak…I think I’m normal and I also think I’m in the majority. At least that’s my impression from being involved with numerous LC forums over the years. The difference between me and some folks is, I guess, that I have always reached a point where I keep coming back to LC, and I think the vast majority of people who try LC don’t come back to it.

    The result has been humiliating yo-yo dieting, but what can I do except renew my commitment and keep trying, until they close the coffin?

    This time, I’ve renewed my commitment with the condition that, under no circumstances, will I allow myself to cut a little fat or protein here and there to try to sneak the calories down. It always back-fires on me. Sure I lose, and I lose easily, but after a few days of less than 2000 calories, something happens to me. The appetite surges, the dam breaks, I get ravenously hungry, and I find that I can’t get satisfied with just LC foods when then happens. I seem to feel and function best on about 2500 calories per day (and seem to be able to lose, too). When I try to go below 2000, that is the danger-danger number, and within 2-3 days, you can be sure that my appetite will return with a vengeance. Since I read Taubes book, I’m a BIG believer that the body will do anything and everything (including the drive to gorge) when calories are restricted for a period of time.

    I eagerly await your post, as I’m sure many others in the silent MAJORITY do, also!! :)

    Elle

    I hope the posts (I’m planning two) don’t disappoint.

  98. Another advantage of LC–many of us have an intolerance to grains, to a greater or lesser extent, and feel so much better without them. I used to eat high carb, low fat, with lots of those whole grains that are supposed to be so good for you. Felt bloated and gassy much of the time, with occasional urgent trips to the bathroom. I cut out grains and problem solved. I’m sure others have similar experiences.

    Guidelines? Everyone has to find what works for them. I eat no grains, refined or concentrated sugars, or processed vegetable oils. Limit myself to 1 cup of whole milk per day, 2 oz. cheese, 1 oz. nuts (not eaten by themselves, but mixed in with a salad or stir fry, to avoid going overboard), 2 small pieces of fruit. Beyond that I eat all the meat/seafood/poultry/eggs and low-carb vegetables I need to satisfy my appetite (cooked with real butter or coconut oil). How could anyone not enjoy eating like that? Probably 70-80 g of carbs per day. (I don’t count grams but eat pretty much the same things every day.) I’m 42, have a 30″ waist, and feel great.

  99. We are fighting a losing battle!
    I don’t want to sound negative–I’m a PP success also, lost 10 inches off my waist, feel 10 years younger and no longer need my Inderol prescription (BP).

    The issue, as I see it, is not so much one of science as it is human behavior. We all face a similar dilemma when it comes to living within our income, but how many of us do? It’s not that we don’t know better, it’s that we don’t do better. True, here the problem is complicated by arguments from the lo-fat and pro-grain crowd, but still, even if the battle over the science of nutrition was settled, would the majority eat a healthy diet? I don’t think so.

    Carb loaded foods are tasty and effectively marketed, and we are rich enough as a people to indulge ourselves to our own detriment. Bottomline: I think we can save some through education and better science, but as long as we live in a free society the majority will continue to dig their own graves with fork and spoon.

    Again, sorry to sound such a negative note, but without almost draconian measures (which I wouldn’t support) how do you get people to walk away from their cokes, candy bars and pizza (all of which I like also) when they aren’t sick yet (denial)?

    Having said all the above, the reccomendation I would add is that if you couldn’t extract significant nutrional energy out of it in raw state a food should not be a substantial contributor to your diet–you are obviously not bio-engineered to handle it. Also, minimize processing of food in general; let the body do what it was designed to do. Not that I am a raw diet advocate, I like my meat cooked thank you. I just don’t want it pre-chewed and partially digested. The same goes for vegetable products. If you need to freeze dry it and micropulverize it to render it palatable it shouldn’t be on your regular menu.

  100. Hey Doc,

    you said:

    Precisely. I wonder if the rate of smoking would have fallen off as it has in this country if the populace were being constantly bombarded with how wonderful cigarettes are as they were in the good old days when almost everyone smoked?

    Well it just occurred to me that way back “when” doctors actually endorsed cigarettes in print and on tv. It is hard to believe that now.

    So maybe there is hope after all. Maybe one day we will look back in disbelief at what the public was being told about all those healthy complex carbs.

    Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago on those cigarette ads of old. Here is another. Hard to believe these ads were that pervasive. Pretty amazing stuff.

  101. Hi doc ive allready stated the benefits ive had with this woe but will do so for other people. I lost 50lbs in about 6mos. with this woe and got off of bp meds completely. I would think with all of these testimonials you might get someones attention to the fact that restricting carbs is the way to go. But as someone has allready stated follow the money. Most of america is so brain washed into the low fat and high cholesterol thing i really dont know how long it will take to turn the tide. Having said that you as an individual have the final say as to what you put into your body each day. This woe is a mindset just like any other as you have stated in your books you choose what you eat every day. Ive had people ask me what did you do to lose the weight and have passed your books along to many people. Ive heard all of the excuses of why someone cant possibly do this woe. I wont give up the fight however and im glad your not either.

  102. What I tell my family (Who will never count carbs or anything remotely like that).

    Pick up a package. Ignore the calorie count for the most part. If you see the word “sugar” as one of the first five ingredients, put it back. If you see “partially hydrogenated” anything on the label, put it back. If you see any form of soy flour or soy protein on the label, put it back. If you see high fructose corn syrup anywhere on the label, put it the hell down and run the other way.

    Whole grain might in some ways be a little better for you than refined white stuff, but in the long run zero grain is better than whole grain.

    But that is neither here nor there…the truth as my cynical self sees it:

    The USDA will never implement such recommendations as we would have them recommend because too many industrial and ag concerns and their puppets in the USDA and FDA have a vested intere$t in maintaining the status quo.

  103. I think the new government recommendations should go back to my great grandma’s wisdom. I promise not to tell where they got it. All this lowfat nonsense has to just stop at some point, and making explanations or doing it in baby steps will just make things worse.

    Grandma said to build every meal around protein. Eggs and meat contain the highest quality protein for the human body. Cook food in butter and lard. Avoid sugar and starches, especially if you are overweight.

    It is no time for half measures. We are killing our kids by trying to pretend they can eat like cattle.

    My own LC story is very similar to all the others. Addicted to carbs in childhood, I tried over and over again to diet. I caved every time to hunger. All the while my symptoms grew: arthritis, GERD, insomnia, migraines, mood swings, irrational anger, depression, anxiety, acne, aching joints, cavities, gum disease, blurred vision, heart palpitations, confusion, constantly cold and always, always, insatiably, insanely hungry.

    Now, like magic, all gone, and more good health than I can remember since I was 9 years old. My triglycerides are under 60 and I am calm, happy, productive, energetic, purposeful and HEALTHY. I have not achieved a “normal” weight, but that is a mere detail compared to the quality of life that I now enjoy. It is so sad for me to see the people I work with, some decades younger than I, carefully counting fat calories and becoming more and more starved and more and more ill.

    This madness must stop.

  104. Wendy – are you by any chance from NJ? Yay for NJ low carbers!

    nonegiven – yep, nail on head. These dietary recommendations are nothing but industry propaganda. This discussion is kind of theoretical only, since government recommendations have about 5% to do with health and 95% to do with promoting agriculture and business.

    The biggest reason low carb is difficult to mainstream is because it seriously elbows in on lots of peoples money.

    I know that, most of us probably know that, but for some reason we’re still compelled to discuss this. I wonder why?

    This is a good argument for pushing the moderate low diets. They allow you to eat grains and still low carb so they don’t hurt businesses. There is room for more strict carb control when businesses respond to changing health trends as they did for the low fat trend (e.g. by breeding pigs to be ultra low fat, creating “wasting pig syndrome” a genetic form of porcine anorexia nervosa… read about it, very fascinating stuff, the pigs can’t store fat properly and pretty much turn into anoretics if stressed in adolescence).
    When low sugar/starch foods become as default and ubiquitous as reduced fat dairy, then there is room for the government to change its mind about what we should and should not eat for health. Industry controls science.

  105. I’m intrigued by the claims that LC is too hard to stick to. Then I thought, are people really sticking to what would be considered to be a HEALTHFUL lowfat, high carb diet? Sure, folks are on board with the high carb part, but pizza, fast-food burgers, soda, and packaged food from the grocery store aren’t lowfat. I think most folks are eating high carb, high fat (trans and omega 6), unhealthful foods. They feel like crap and then decide to drop the fat, but then they fail due to hunger, which we all know is unsustainable. And round and round they go. I believe that many people who try low carb fail because they don’t eat enough fat, a huge mistake. It’s hard to let go of the “fat will kill you” mantra. Also, too many dieters are perfectionists, with the all or nothing approach, and if they deviate on their birthdays and eat a piece of cake, all is for nought. These folks need to relax; this is for life, there are no exams, there is no pass/fail!

    The only diet that is easy to stick to is the high-everything diet, which, sadly, far to many people follow for a lifetime (usually a shortened one).

  106. I think the way to break through the “sound” barrier is to say that the low carb diet is for people with a problem, e.g, excess weight or insulin resistance. This avoids the unsalable proposition that everyone should eat low carb. In my own household, my wife maintains her weight and reasonable blood parameters while continuing to eat bread, crackers, and cakes. She is not interested in giving these up, and I can’t see any good reason for her to do so. On the other hand, I quickly gain weight without limit if I eat like her. So everybody is not identical.

  107. I very much hope that my personal experience with carbohydrate restriction will illustrate that the benefits of this way of eating should not be limited to its use as a therapeutic diet in treating obesity. I was able to solve myriad health issues simply by switching from a “healthy” Mediterranean Diet to a very simple carbohydrate-restricted plan. I expect to continue this highly valuable “therapeutic” diet of carbohydrate restriction to stay healthy for the remainder of my life.

    Here is my story:
    I am a sixty-year-old female and I have been restricting carbohydrates for over seven years. All the health issues with which I had I suffered for years, even decades, were completely reversed and cured by this very simple change in my diet.
    At my annual exams, I listed a myriad of symptoms. Instead of the list getting shorter, over the years it grew. Ailments became chronic and spanned years, even decades.

    My litany of complaints:
    ✓ Chronic vaginal yeast infections
    ✓ Frequent urinary tract infections
    ✓ Hypoglycemic episodes
    ✓ Irregular heartbeat & fibrillation
    ✓ Frequent urination
    ✓ Blurry vision
    ✓ Chronic fatigue
    ✓ Tinea corporis skin fungus infections
    ✓ Bloating & intestinal gas
    ✓ Heartburn
    ✓ Mood swings & depression
    ✓ Cognitive thinking difficulties
    ✓ Borderline hypertension
    ✓ Weight gain
    ✓ Loss of muscle mass, stamina & strength
    ✓ Joint pain
    ✓ Hay fever
    ✓ Heartburn

    This collection of maladies is a clear indication that I was becoming insulin resistant. Clearly, I was on the path to becoming diabetic, though I did not know it at the time. My health was slowly deteriorating even though we were eating according to the accepted nutritional guidelines. I couldn’t understand why.

    My husband and I were known to our friends as “the original organic couple”. We were grinding our own grains with a stone grinder. We baked two loaves of whole wheat bread a week. We made our own yogurt. We ate whole grains, no processed foods, no refined sugars or refined flours, and no red meat. Fish was served several times a week. We cultivated an extensive vegetable garden. Our meals were the epitome of the “healthy” Mediterranean Diet. As the years went by, I slowly gained weight and became more and more tired all the time. Hypoglycemic attacks and episodes of cardiac arrhythmia were occurring with increased frequency. Other symptoms listed above joined the assemblage of disorders.
    In November of 2001, my weight reached 173 pounds. Prior to the annual exam with my doctor, I did some research online. I had a suspicion that glucose was behind the problems I was having and I decided to ask for a five-hour glucose tolerance test. In the exam room, I persistently went down the list. I told the doctor that I felt I had a serious problem that needed looking into and asked for a five-hour OGTT. According to the doctor, my blood work was good. My HDL was high at 86. My fasting glucose was normal. He felt I didn’t need a OGTT. I said I had lived in my body for over fifty years– I knew it pretty well. Something was very wrong, I insisted. Finally, he wrote out a slip for a 75-gram glucose tolerance test.

    Needless to say, the OGTT showed that I had indeed become insulin resistant. At the follow-up visit, the doctor gave me a lab slip for an Hemoglobin A1C test, telling me that if the numbers came back with a value higher than 6.0, I would have to start medication. There was no discussion whatsoever about diet. Doctor handed me the phone number of a diabetes nutritionist and told me to call. The HbA1C result was 5.9.
    From what I understood, Type II diabetes takes decades to develop. Diabetes did not run in my family. How had this happened? Obviously, we had been doing something wrong. Whole grains, the Mediterranean Diet, avoidance of processed foods, refined sugars and flours, in other words “healthy eating”, promoted by the government, medical authorities, by virtually anyone and everyone, had made me sick.
    When confronted with a problem, I research. I filled my virtual cart with books on the subject of diabetes at Amazon.com. While I was perusing the available titles, I discovered a compelling one: Life Without Bread: How a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life. This book by Ph.D. Christian B. Allan and M.D. Wolfgang Lutz joined three volumes on diabetes in the book order.

    Within a few days of receiving the books, I had decided how to change my diet. Life Without Bread was so illuminating and powerful, I recognized it was life-changing. I immediately understood why our “healthy” eating had made me ill. The evidence was potent and undeniable. Dr. Lutz’s “diet” plan was exceedingly simple. We began the new way of eating immediately. It was an exciting revelation to learn that I could, at long last, regain my health by changing to a carbohydrate restricted way of life. I felt strongly that the books on diabetes would assure my continued progression into full-blown Type II illness and I returned them.
    At first, we continued to eat our regular foods but we counted the carbohydrates in each meal. Portion sizes of carbohydrate-laden foods were reduced to stay under Dr. Lutz’s limit of 72 grams of carbs per day. We increased our consumption of protein and good fats. Basically, the plan is to eat freely of foods that contain virtually no carbohydrates: meats, cheeses, fish, and eggs. We cooked with animal fat, butter and olive oil. Carbohydrates are limited to 6 BUs (12 grams equals a “bread unit” or BU) per day. Permitted foods include moderate amounts of nuts and non-starchy vegetables. These foods have carbs that are added into the daily allowance. That’s all there was to it!

    “Restrict all carbohydrates to 72 utilizable grams per day.
    Eat as much of any other foods as you wish.”

    Breakfast consisted of beef patties, pork chops, egg and cheese omelets, sausage and bacon. I usually had a salad for lunch with a meat of some variety. I snacked on cheese and nuts during the day. Dinner, as it is to this day, consists of a serving of meat or fish and a serving of a non-starchy vegetable, sometimes a combination of these types of vegetables. Within just a few days, we both noticed that our cravings for sweets and other carbohydrates had evaporated. Our energy levels soared. We both felt terrific.

    My moods brightened and I had lots of stamina. Hunger was a thing of the past and even my vision improved. All my complaints – the 40-year-duration yeast infection, the heart arrhythmia, the frequent urination, the hypoglycemic attacks, everything – disappeared virtually overnight! My husband lost ten pounds right away– his very slight “middle-age middle” melted away. His muscle mass increased noticeably as did mine– all without a bit of exercise! He was amazed at how high his energy level became and how it remained high all day long.

    Ninety days later and twenty-six pounds lighter, my HbA1C test came back at 4.6, where it has remained stable. In August of 2002, my HDL was up to 124, triglycerides 37, VLDL 7, and a direct-measure LDL of 125. I had lost more weight and my HbA1C remained 4.6. In November 2003, my HDL had risen even further to 148, and a year after that it was 151. A C-Reactive Protein test result was 1.0.

    I continued to lose weight until I reached 132 pounds, which for my height of 5’7″ is normal. The weight loss was wonderful, but I had initiated carbohydrate restriction to undo the years of damage done by eating a “healthy” Mediterranean Diet. I am infinitely more pleased that all my medical issues have been eliminated, precisely and exclusively due to carbohydrate restriction. I feel better at sixty than I did at twenty-five years of age!

    I recommend that a lifestyle of carbohydrate restriction be encouraged as a way of maintaining one’s health throughout life. It can be used to regain health and to reverse the metabolic damage done by decades of eating carbohydrates. However, in my opinion, its greatest benefit, by far, is in the creation of a healthy body as one grows from childhood to adulthood and in the maintenance of a healthy and strong body throughout life. Carbohydrate restriction can prevent the development of obesity and Type II diabetes. My personal experience illustrates that it is powerful tool in reversing metabolic syndrome. Having health and abundant energy to accomplish one’s goals is a priceless thing.

    Please examine with great seriousness the power that the USDA dietary guidelines have in this country. These guidelines steer the health of a nation. I ask you to choose wellness.

    Regards,
    Nina Wagaman

    Thanks for taking the time to share your medical and dietary history. I’m sure it will be a help and inspiration to many others.

  108. I’ve thought about this long and hard because I don’t just want to repeat what others have said or fall prey to the cynicism that government is basically corrupt and can’t be changed.

    My opinion is that the single most effective nutritional change would be the recognition that a recommended diet must include all the required Vitamins and Minerals. The beauty of this is that low fat diets DO NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT VITAMINS AND MINERALS TO MEET DAILY REQUIREMENTS.See September 12, 13 and 14, 2005 Weight of the Evidence Blog Examining Low-Carb & Low-Fat Diets: Parts 1- 3 showing that even diets from the National Institute of Health could not meet nutritional requirements. As a follow up she offered $1000 to anyone who could come up with a nutritionally adequate low fat diet.
    The focus on macronutrients has obscured the fact that our nutritional requirements are fairly well known and that they’re more easily obtained as carbs are reduced.

    If all this is too complex, then merely making sure that all of the population has adequate levels of Vitamin D in their blood would do more to reduce mortality from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. than all the miracle drugs of the past 10 years.

  109. ITW, I don’t know if Wendy is from *NJ* but I’m from NJ and I bet she is! After all, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is based in Princeton. How cool that would be if the study she is talking about is conducted in NJ. YAY for NJ being progressive in the diet front. I love LC. I’m trying to get my sister to go LC too. She is slender and really does not need weight loss – but she is a big-time carboholic and binge eater, and has lots of weird symptoms I’m sure are related to carb intake. But her husband (in the medical field) is rabidly anti-low-carb and ridicules her and tells her what a fool she is if she even suggests it – and now he has the kids ridiculing her as well. She was all set to do it, and wanted her son to try it too to see if it cleared up some health issues he has. But he saw the allergist today and was told that nothing he ate could have any bearing on his asthma or his psoriasis.

    So now the family is back to ridiculing my sister and again, and she is back to eating carbs after 3 days of low-carbing. So I *hope* the answers are out there and will become more widespread. My brother-in-law is one I’d love to convince. But at age 52 he is 6’3′ and still has to keep eating almost non-stop in order to keep his weight from dropping below 160. My sister *did* get the family to eat a strict LC diet for two weeks once as she was hoping to lose about 10 pounds. She didn’t lose an ounce but her husband dropped down to below 150 in those two weeks and said it was back to piling on his carbs. :-)

    But it would be cool to be able to say someday that a study done in NJ was in the vanguard of the shift to accept the low carb diet rather than to demonize it. :-)

    But, like Katy, I know plenty of people too who would love to eat omelets and put butter on their veggies – but they are terrified to do so, and eat their oatmeal with skimmed milk, and sprinkle a little Mrs. Dash on their naked steamed veggies. So there *are* folks who would love to hear the message. They just need convincing.

  110. I’m a bit surprised on reviewing this thread that no-one has pointed to the Harvard Pyramid

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/index.html

    now you are (theoretically) no longer ruled by Halliburton Bush Inc. maybe your New Leaders will see Harvard and think “Science” rather than “SATAN!!!!!”

    A soundbyte:-

    Being fat is bad
    Eating fat is good
    Eating starch makes you fat

  111. “Dr. Sheldon Landesman of the School of Public Health raised a good question: ‘the major focus of diets based on carbohydrate restriction are fundamentally therapeutic. How could the benefits that you presented be utilized in making recommendations to the population at large?’ ”

    As you said, Dr. Eades, this in an inane question. It suggests that the only reason to go low carb is to treat specific conditions, but that it has questionable value for all of those other so-called healthy, normal individuals. Funny how the medical establishment didn’t question whether the Food Pyramid recommendations were right for “the population at large.” Isn’t the purpose of eating a low fat, high carb supposedly therapeutic? Don’t people eat that way to either treat or to allegedly prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease? The difference between LF/HC and HF/LC is that the HF/LC has actually been proven to BE therapeutic instead of making people unhealthier. Why would it NOT be suitable for the masses? And why does the LC community now have to come up with palatable, watered-down recommendations in order to cajole the USDA into doing what’s right?

    My point precisely.

  112. I wanted to show you this study from 10 years ago on LC for diabetics. There is a great line in there where one of the researchers unhappily admits: “It’s going to come whether we like it or not.”

    http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/10786A.htm

    We think he study may not have been published until:

    Endocrine Practice
    Issue: Volume 8, Number 3 / May / June 2002
    Pages: 177 – 183
    Title: “RESULTS OF USE OF METFORMIN AND REPLACEMENT OF STARCH WITH SATURATED FAT IN DIETS OF PATIENTS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES”

    The line came from Dr. James Hays, whom I know. He is a huge low-carb advocate.

  113. “So, the question is: how can the benefits of carbohydrate restriction that you have experienced personally or in your immediate environment be translated into reasonable recommendations that the USDA could put out?”

    What would be considered “reasonable”? Something that the general population will go along with? Or nothing too far from what the USDA will accept? My concern is that by making compromises, the resulting carb level will still be too high for the benefits to be achieved, and then people will claim that low carb does not work, a la Oprah’s prior attempt to “do” low carb. What of the weight gain that’ll surely occur if people try to eat lots of fat while failing to cut carbs to a appropriate level? I’ve witnessed such complications when individuals within a family try to do low carb, and those still consuming lots of carbs then eat higher fat items, side dishes, etc. along with the low carbers. No, the rules of a low carb plan should not be modified to suit what the average person would prefer, or to appear “reasonable.”

  114. I’ve noticed that some food labels list 0 grams of trans fats, but will list some “partially hydrogenated” oil in their ingredients. Others will say “not a significant source of trans fats…” According to one source, if the amount of trans fat is less than 1 gram per serving, the label is not legally required to list it. So, apparently, some foods whose labels don’t list it have very small amounts of trans fat.

    Is consuming very small amounts of trans fat negligible, or is it so dangerous that consuming just a few molecules of it is enough to adversely affect your health?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer.

    There has to be at least 1 gram of trans fat in something before it has to be labeled as containing it. The trans fats will have to be listed in the list of ingredients, but not on the Nutritional Facts label.

    Consuming small amounts probably isn’t harmful. But if you consume under a gram from a bunch of different sources, the total is a lot more than a gram, so be careful.

  115. I have been a low carber since Jan 00 and hit goal weight – a 90 lb wt loss, in 02. I have now been @ goal wt, or within 10lbs of goal wt, consistently for 7 years. (Loss was from 232 down to 145.) My original plan was Atkins, and along the way I basically rolled into “one” strategies/helpful knowledge from Protein Power, Sugar Busters, and Dr. Schwartzbein (sic) into my lifelong way of eating.

    One BIG deal is that we have made alot of progress with low carb products (but all that low fat awfulness STILL lines the grocery store shelves!) but I still have to order many low carb products from the excellent site: http://www.carbsmart.com Stores STILL do not consistently carry Dreamfields pasta, Pepperidge Farm low carb bread, and a host of other low carb cereal, grain and other excellent products. This continues to be very frustrating to me. When an abundance of lowcarb and no sugar/very low sugar products can be found easily in food stores, then we will have a chance @ impacting the public eating habits @ large.

    When I started out, few of these products were available. Low carbers on internet sites got together and invented ways to make alternatives. And by the way, there is good research support now for the value of internet support groups. This was certainly true for me. Lord knows, I had to run from the local dieticians!

    As for my recs, aside from “institutionalizing” low carb as low FAT has been hammered into the culture @ large, they are the following:

    Easy things like what my brotherinlaws’s Int. Med MD tells patients: If it is WHITE, don’t eat it – ie., sugar, bread, potatoes, rice. This can be an excellent start.

    Label foods into easy to read/learn categories – STARCHY vegetables vs
    low starch/low carb vegetables. USE these terms in teaching and encourage the use of these terms on food package labeling.

    Really push for no to drastically reduced sugar intake and TEACH people HOW to read labels and to recognize what constitutes a tiny to very HUGE amount of sugar in a product.

    Also teach people strategies such as: IF you are going to eat a high sugar desert or high starch carb item in your meal, or both, and/or drink high sugar alcohol for a SINGLE meal, then do it thusly: Eat equal portions of protein along with your starchy carb and pie, and if you drink that sugary wine too, you must CONSUME IT ALL within 60 mins. This minimizes the damage and weight promoting properties of the sugar spike and attendant insulin spike you will experience. This enables you to experience ONE episode, rather than multiples – as in for fruity wine drinking, then for the baked potato and bread @ dinner and then yet again for the sugary desert.

    People need very direct, simple teaching which is reinforced (coached) @ frequent intervals by a public healthcare provider, nurse, MD,internet support group, local support group, etc. And they need to have simple handouts to follow which spell out the basic “rules” and the basic “why” of the science behind them (very simply stated) and the biological consequences.

    You must assume (and know!) that most people are NOT book readers. We book readers read Atkins, Eades, etc and “got it.”

    Also divide fruits into HIGH sugar/glycemic fruits and LOW sugar/glycemic fruits. Always give plentiful examples.

    Give inducements for companies to produce( and label appropriately and clearly!), and for companies to generally stock healthy, low carb/low sugar products. I think the biggest thing that sabotages even successful low carbers (or did alot in the past) was the lack of grain products and healthy low carb snack products and cereals as they progressed. Excellent ones are available, but not in stores, for the most part – Dixie Carb Counters Smaps cereal and Flax-Z hot cereals are wonderful, but I have never found them available on any store shelf. No matter what the food pyramid says, it will be the easy availability of carb-healthful products that will be the deciding factor for learning and adherence for the “masses.”

    Additionally, there is alot of “unlearning” to be done, which of course makes it more difficult. The low-fat mantra…

    I am a 55 year old woman.

  116. Dr. Eades,
    I wanted to let you know that after I sent Laurie an email testimony, and asked her “what next?”, she told me that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC next week where the written comments will be presented before the USDA committee as well as Oral Testimonies from the public. Since I live in the suburbs of DC, I have submitted an Oral Testimony and will rearrange my schedule to be present at the USDA meeting on Thursday, January 29th. I don’t know if it will make a difference or not (you get 3 minutes to present your testimony), but my reasoning is that if I DON’T go, I’m sure to make no difference, so it’s worth a try.
    I’ll let you know what transpires. This is so important and can really make a life-or-death difference, I am happy to make a contribution to the fight you fight every day as your chosen profession. Thank you for all you do.
    Here is what I submitted, in case you’re interested:
    *******************************************************************
    “I would like to submit my Oral Testimony for your consideration. I would like to discuss my own experience as well as that of my parents.

    Self:
    I am a healthy, active, 38 year old female. I have followed a restricted carbohydrate, sufficient protein way-of-eating with great since September 2007. I have restricted daily Effective Carbohydrate consumption to a maximum of 30 grams daily (after subtracting the fiber content from the total carbohydrate content in the diet). I eat saturated fat as it occurs naturally in the meat, chicken, fish, cheese, cream, butter and eggs I eat every day. I also eat olive oil, avocado, and nuts. I eat non-starchy vegetables and some fruit occasionally – mostly berries and citrus. Fat is typically about 60% of my daily intake, protein makes up about 20% and carbohydrate about 10%. I exercise 4-6 hours per week, usually a mix of strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

    My results – I’ve lost 35 lbs. – probably more than that in fat and gained a great deal of lean muscle. I reduced from a size 16 to a size 6, from an ‘obese’ to a ‘normal’ body fat range. I ran my first 5k about 7 months after starting the regimen whereas when I began I could barely run for 5 minutes without becoming totally winded. I am the smallest I’ve been in my adult life, as well as strongest. I have a great deal of energy and am very happy.
    When I followed the commonly recommended eating guidelines of low fat, high carbohydrate along with moderate exercise, I experienced consistent weight gain over many years. Only under a restricted carbohydrate – sufficient protein- abundant fat eating regimen was I able to reverse that pattern.

    Mother:
    My mother is 62 years old in good health. She is not, and has never been, obese or significantly overweight. However, she used to suffer from weekly yeast infections requiring medications 3-4 times per month. About six years ago, she and my father began following a restricted carbohydrate diet (prior they ate low fat, low meat, high fruit and complex carbohydrates). Within a week of changing her eating plan to the low carb way, her yeast infections completely stopped and have never recurred since – for six years now. She enjoys great health and an active lifestyle. She remains thin – the high carb/low fat diet did not make her fat, but it was having other symptoms of detrimental effects on her health. Low carb/sufficient protein/high fat completely fixed that.

    Father:
    My father is 61 years old, 5’5” and currently weighs 174lb. Other than losing close to 50lb in the first year of changing to low carbs (six years ago), his HDL cholesterol went from 40 to averaging 110, his triglyceride count went from 109 to 78, he is very physically active and feels great and healthy. He has a family background of severe diabetes and heart disease (both sides!), and since changing to this life style has enjoyed a clean bill of health and got rid of his chronic “heartburns”. He eats 10% of calories from carbohydrate, 30-40% from protein, and the rest is fat (not restricted, including saturated fat).

    Conclusion
    Thank you for collecting this information. I hope that significant changes will result in the recommendations to the American people to stop the horrendous obesity epidemic that is caused, I believe, by the consumption of processed sugar and starchy foods and excessive carbohydrates from grains. I would recommend Americans restrict carbohydrate consumption to no more than 20% of daily calories and vastly increase their healthy fats (including saturated fat) and protein consumption.”

    **************************************************************************

  117. I find it intensely compelling that the the starting year for the noted increased of obesity on the graph corresponds with the introduction of HFCS into the national diet (and the increase in diabetes).

    I remember reading something along the lines that our bodies have a horrible time breaking down HFCS, requiring significantly more insulin to process (with obvious implications). Is this a well-studied issue?

    I have a hard time imagining HFCS still being a legal sugar substitute 20 years from now, regardless of the strength of the corn lobby.

    Thoughts?

    HFCS isn’t all that much different that sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose contains 50 percent fructose; HFCS contains 55 percent fructose. The body treats them about the same. The problem with HFCS is that it works better for many food processing than does glucose, and, consequently, makes its way into many foods that weren’t sweetened before the advent of HFCS.

  118. First and foremost carbohydrates are not…NOT essential for the human diet to provide energy.
    The fuel that our body cells use for energy is actually neither glucose nor fat, it is a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). A typical human cell may contain nearly one billion molecules of ATP at any one moment, and those may be used and re-supplied every three minutes. This huge demand for ATP, and our evolutionary history, has resulted in our bodies’ developing several different pathways for its manufacture. (Alberts B. Molecular Biology of the Cell, edn 4. New York: Garland Science; 2002: p 93.)
    All energy requirements can be met by fat and protein intake without stressing the insulin system. Because of this the food chart SHOULD NOT have grains and cereals at it’s base. Also 98% of these foods are highly refined empty calories bulked up with corn products which leads to its on problems.
    The food guide should have meats, fats,eggs and oil as the base. Veg, nuts for the second level. legumes/starchy veg and cheese/dairy for the third.
    Cereals and grains fourth and sweets the top.
    Finally since you were notified by someone on the committee concerned enough to ask I will take this moment to forewarn which is forearmed.
    I belong to a group a of Americans and Canadians formed to take on the FDA and Health Canada for irresponsibility in promoting a carbohydrate based diet in the face of proven evidence that it would lead to food cravings and obesity.
    We realize that we will need to be a very large group before going public so at this time I can not post a link.
    Correcting the food guide would save us all a lot of trouble.

    What is the name of your group?

  119. A glucose meter will show what happens to your blood sugar minutes after eating an individual food.

    Diabetic nutritionists recommend cereal and milk or toast and jam and orange juice for breakfast — with maybe an ounce of cheese being alright. (Eat the cheese and leave the rest.)

    Sticking to the diet long term while sometimes craving starch/sugar is the same as alcoholics craving alcohol, drug addicts craving drugs and smokers craving nicotine — we would expect to resist once we’ve kicked the nasty habit.

  120. I am T2 diabetic now for 8 years. NO family history at all. Was going to the gym 4-5 days a week doing 40 carido and heavy weights, super low fat diet, 6 small meals a day, the whole “super healthy living thing”
    Ya right. I took a couple months off and my blood sugar peaked at 27mmol when I finally got tested.
    Cholesterol was found to be all out of wack as well.
    Now on low carb everything is back to normal BETTER THAN NORMAL.
    I no longer sweat like I use to, remarkably less.
    Arthritis in my toe…. gone.
    never get a hunger headache.
    IBS gone.
    All this with out medication and with out cortisone shots are any other nonsense the doctors want to use.
    The truth of the matter is this will never bee adopted by the FDA who surely is controlled by or influenced by drug companies and the various marketing boards.
    Can you imagine the fall out to the US and Canadian economies if we don’t eat corn or wheat to the same degree. What happens to the millions employed by the drug companies if we don’t need their products.
    When a report on sugar was going to be released by the WHO the US gov’t declared it would pull out its 30 million dollars of funding. The report was not released through the WHO but did make it out in other ways.
    I think a class action suit should be brought against the gov’t for it’s current food guide. NOT FOR MONEY but to force it to admit the truth about carbs,
    Ever look at when the first food guide came out……what was the gov’t doing at the same time to promote agriculture in the US??? Very interesting indeed.

  121. I am a 57 year old female who has eaten “healthy” for the past 25 years. Healthy was defined as:
    – Lots of fruits and vegetables
    – Whole grains – whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, etc.
    – Legumes
    – Lean meats – primarily chicken and fish
    – Low fat – Only healthy oils – olive and canola, minimal saturated fats
    – Low fat milk, very little cheese
    – Minimal processed foods
    – Minimal sweets

    Despite this “healthy” diet, my weight crept up from 120# to almost 190 over the past 32 years. Not only did my weight creep up, but so did my cholesterol levels.

    On at least 4 different occasions over the past 30 years I have lost 30 to 40 pounds following a variety of diets – low fat AND low-carb – Scarsdale, South Beach, LA Weight Loss,Ornish and Weight Watchers. As soon as I stopped “dieting” and went back to my “healthy” diet which exceeded the the FDA guidelines of the day, the weight would start creeping up. The only way to keep the weight off is to be a slave to the treadmill, etc…creating a host of other problems.

    Eight months ago I embarked on yet another diet, this time I followed Weight Watchers. I successfully lost 30 pounds over a 5-month period bringing my BMI out of the “obese” range and into the “overweight”. Imagine my surprise to find that my cholesterol numbers had not budged, and my doctor was insisting I take statins!

    It was at this point that I decided to do extensive research on diet, cholesterol and fat metabolism. Among the most valuable sources of information are pioneers like Drs. Eades, Atkins, Agatston and Gary Taubes.

    Obviously, there is either a flaw in my metabolism and that of 70% of Americans who are overweight or obese, or there is a flaw in the dietary recommendations being promulgated by the public health authorities or the medical establishment..

    It is time for the FDA and the medical establishment to recognize the fraud that is being promulgated on the American people, with a huge current and future cost in terms of health and medical costs for the consequences of the obesity epidemic and other diseases related to the high consumption of carbohydrates. What we are doing now is not working! New guidelines should include:
    – Minimal sweets
    – Minimal starches
    – High protein – red meat, white meat, fish
    – Leafy greens and fibrous vegetables
    – Limited fruit
    – Healthy oils and saturated fats

    It’s time to turn the pyramid up side down!

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you Adriana but the question is how?
      Every single day there is something new in the news in some form of media still spouting the old line.
      The media seems willing to spout the latest anything as long as it does not go against general consensus making them a target for possible ridicule.
      Its the same thing with global warming. There is several good sites re-evaluating the data and showing how it is wrong, how the science was done wrong and yet the media will not cover it.
      Both of these cases, the carb issue and the global warming, are almost religions in their own right and you know how that is going to turn out if you try to get folks to change their mind.
      Then there is the whole economic issue. What happens if we don’t need the grains for bread, no more rice or potatoes etc, the sugar industry as well If our mest uptake increases as a population what happens to the size of the already disgusting feed lots….
      I know economics does not come before health I’m just pointing out a few of the major stumbling blocks that politicians will not want to deal with.
      So the question remains how?

  122. Pingback: Day 2 (Week 1) |
  123. Dr. Eades I was 40 lbs overweight and continuing to gain weight following the heart healthy diet recommended by the AHA after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Frustrated I started researching nutritional info on the internet and fortunately found the answers I was looking for in your blog, Gary Taubes book and other great sites. Since my enlightenment I have lost the 40 lbs and my weight is now stable, I am feeling great and regained the energy of my youth by following a healthy low carb diet. I have also successfully indoctrinated my neighbor (an MD) who is now a believer.