Are carbohydrates fattening?

Are carbohydrates really fattening?  This one question has generated much acrimonious debate over the years.  Some believe all that matters is the caloric content of food while others (yours truly, for instance) believe more is at play than simply the number of calories available.  A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) provides some evidence that carbohydrates are indeed more fattening than fat or protein.

Many years ago, I was taking questions after giving a presentation to a large group of both doctors and laymen.  A lady stood up and told me she always lost weight whenever she went on a low-carbohydrate diet, but she also always gained it back more quickly after going off such a diet than she did when she regained weight she had lost on a low-fat diet.  As I listened to her question, my brain was busily formatting a smart-assed answer along the lines of, Well, that’s God’s way of telling you not to go off of your low-carb diet.  But, looking out over the audience, I noticed a lot of heads nodding in agreement.  I realized I needed a reasonable answer.

The truth was, I didn’t really think there was anything to it.  I figured it was all in her imagination.  I had heard such reports before, and I didn’t think much of them.  But as I saw heads nodding throughout the auditorium, it reminded me of the old maxim that one report is anecdotal, but many similar anecdotes become data.

So, I thought about it quickly and concocted and answer on the spot.  Most public speakers know the surest way to embarrassment is to engage in original thinking while in a public forum.  Though I was in peril, I think in this case I came out okay.

I’ll go through my thought processes, as I remember them well.

My bias was/is that carbohydrates are vastly more fattening than the same number of fat or protein calories, so let’s assume that at the start.

A low-carb diet restricts carbohydrates, and so restricts the most fattening of the three macronutrients.  If my assumption is true, then people on low-carb diets should lose more weight faster, which the majority of studies shows to be the case.

A low-fat diet restricts fat and secondarily protein, because most forms of high-quality protein contain fat.  Both fat and protein are less fattening per kcal than carbohydrate.  If this assumption is true, then people on low-fat diets that restrict fat and/or protein should lose less weight and lose it more slowly, which a majority of studies shows to be the case.

How does one cheat or go off a low-fat diet? By eating more fat and/or protein.

How does one cheat or go off a low-carb diet? By eating more carbohydrate.

Since – in my view – carbs are more fattening than fat and/or protein, it makes sense that adding the more fattening carbs to a low-carb diet would cause more weight gain than adding the less-fattening fat/protein to a low-fat diet.

Ergo, in going off of a low-carb diet one would pack on pounds more quickly as compared to going off a low-fat diet.

Seemed to make sense to me at the time, and it made sense to the audience.

I’ve thought about it a lot since then and have concluded that my on-the-spot thinking was probably correct.  And I’ve used it since whenever asked the question.

But unlike the numerous studies showing the low-carb diet to be quicker and more effective for weight loss, there have been no studies (at least not that I’ve seen) showing that people who go off of low-carb diets regain faster.

Until now.

A recent paper in the NEJM looked at what happens over the four years after subjects go off of different kinds of diets.

Subjects were studied on one of three diets over a two-year period.  One group went low-carb, another low-fat and a third group followed a Mediterranean diet.  The original two-year study, published in 2008, clearly showed the obvious advantage of a low-carb diet.  But, at the time, the media kept misrepresenting what the study really showed, so I corrected the record here and here.

After completion of the study, the researchers kept in touch with 95 percent of the subjects and were able to gather data from them four years after the end of the original two-year study.

What the researchers found is what you would expect if carbs really are more fattening.  The low-carb dieters gained more weight after going off their low-carb diets than did the low-fat dieters after going off theirs.

You can see from the charts below (click to enlarge) the outcome of several parameters.

First, in Chart A, you can see that the low-carbers both lost the most weight in the first study then regained the most, which provides some evidence in support of the notion that carbs are more fattening than fat and/or protein.

The study gets really interesting when you start looking at what happens to lipid levels when people go off of either low-fat or a low-carb diets.

Chart B looks at the LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.  Low fat diets lower LDL cholesterol but they also lower HDL cholesterol levels, and, consequently, end up not driving a lot of change in this ratio.  The LDL/HDL ratio typically improves slightly with low-fat dieting because there is generally a greater drop in the LDL cholesterol level than there is in the HDL level, driving the ratio down a bit. (Lower is better.)

Low-carb diets tend to keep the LDL levels the same or elevate them slightly (in some cases, though, low-carb diets can also lower LDL levels as well).  And low-carb diets typically raise HDL levels.   So when the LDL stays the same or goes up a little (or even falls) while the HDL goes up, the LDL/HDL ratio goes down.

As you can see in Chart B, both the low-carb diet and the low-fat diet brought about positive changes in the LDL/HDL ratio (the low-carb was slightly better), but look what happened after the subjects went off their respective diets.  Those on the low-fat diet saw LDL/HDL ratios going the wrong way.  They experienced a substantial increase in their LDL/HDL ratio.  The low-carb dieters, on the other hand, found their LDL/HDL ratios refusing to budge much despite adding more carb to their diets.

Why did this happen?  As far as I know, no one knows.  But it would seem that two years on a low-carb diet appears to confer some protection against increases in the LDL/HDL ratio despite the increase in carb intake.  And this protection lasts at least four years.

Looking at Chart C, we find some interesting corroborating data.  It is well known that carbs tend to raise triglyceride levels while restricting carbs lowers them.  Chart C shows that those on the low-fat diet didn’t experience much change in their triglyceride levels, which would be expected. Those on the low-carb diet saw substantial reductions.  After the two year study period the original low-carbers shot their triglycerides up when they went back to eating carbs, which confirms the message that chowing down on carbs increases triglyceride levels.

And Chart D shows that reductions in total cholesterol brought about by low-carb dieting seem to be maintained despite the increase in carb intake after the end of the two year study.  Once again, it appears that restricting carbs for a couple of years provides some protection for at least the next four.

So what does it all mean?

Well, I think one of the take home messages from this study is that following a low-carb diet for a couple of years brings about improvements in lipids that last for a least four more years – even if you go off the low-carb diet. Which, to my way of thinking at least, would be reason enough for following a low-carb diet instead of a low-fat one.

And it’s pretty clear that going off the low-carb diet will result in more weight gain than going off of a low-fat diet.  Which would have to at least imply that carbohydrates are more fattening than are fat and protein.  We can see from the length of this second follow-up – four years – we’re not talking about the immediate water gain that comes from going off a low-carb diet for just a few days, but the long-term weight gain.

I have to issue my standard caveat here.  This is a single study.  I don’t know of any others like it.  So, repeat after me, we can’t draw certain conclusions from a single study like this.  Other studies may come along and show differing results.

But having said that, this study along with the enormous mass of anecdotal data seems to indicate that weight gain is more rapid after bolting from a low-carb diet as compared to straying from a low-fat diet.  If this proves to be true, then it really is indicative that carbohydrates are more fattening than fat or protein.

I would love to learn of your experiences in going off various kinds of diets.  Did you gain more after a low-carb diet or after a low-fat diet?  Let me hear from you in the comments.

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

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197 thoughts on “Are carbohydrates fattening?

  1. I find I put on weight quickly if I eat grains, when I ate the fats,protein and veggies. I dropped weight easier than I ever have, 26 lbs. over 6 months.

  2. Interesting study, but I am wondering how many of the participants were still following the diet, at least at some level of compliance, years later.
    In my own case, I believe the whole problem is due to imbalanced hormones. It is not the carb content of the food, but how those carbs affect hormonal changes which may affect weight gain differently.
    While I lost most of my weight on a lowish-carb diet (~150 g), I find that a couple of years later I will gain weight on such a diet without also adding in portion control. I find that I need to keep below 80 grams just to maintain.
    For me, eating carbs causes more carb cravings and eating more carbs, and more weight. To make it much worse, make those carbs from wheat instead of white rice or pure sugar, or eat the carbs coming off a bad night of sleep. Come to think of it, a bad night of sleep trumps all macronutrient ratio tinkering when it comes to weight gain. And it is too bad that eating very few carbs (less than 20 g) leads to worse sleep, which leads to more cravings, and caving into carbs which makes one fat and sleepy and happy, but only the first day, and then it causes bad moods.
    Now, some of us can at least partially fix that whatever-it-is that a low carb diet fixes. Its not so much that carbs are more fattening, but more that adding carbs makes us so hungry and moody. And that is the anecdote that needs to be explored.

  3. I am now on a low carb eater and have been for well over a year. I have no intention of adding carbs back and hopefully my weight will remain stable. That being said, I have tried low carb “diets” twice before. The first time was a dismal failure. The second time I Iost weight, went partially off the diet and regained the weight.

    My history with low fat diets was twice I successfully lost 12 kilos but was so desperately hungry that the weight flew back on. I found myself craving food and unable to eat even the tiniest bit of food without weight gain. I never ate out and ate like a sparrow. It was the most miserable time of my life – I was almost acting like an anorexic person in fear of regaining my weight, which of course I did.

    So my answer is yes, going off any diet resulted in weight gain but the fastest weight gain was after my low fat, low calorie diets. After going off my low carb diet I still had the appreciation/knowledge of carbohydrate restriction and didn’t reintroduce them fully so weight gain was slow.

    Now I live a total lifestyle change and realise that is the way it must stay. I admit though that cutting wheat was the single best/biggest thing that made this work this time. There is no going back – I love being slim. I never suffer from hunger and am not anxious all the time that I will ‘go off’ the diet or regain the weight. Life is good :)

  4. What about the role of glycogen depletion and water retention when it comes to being on a low carbohydrate diet? In other words, if you go off of a low carbohydrate diet and were glycogen depleted then you are likely to regain weight very quickly as you store up glycogen and the accompanying water (1gm to 4 water to glycogen).

    In my personal experience the fluctuations when I go off of low carb can be as high as 5 to 10 pounds of weight gain in the span of 2 or 3 days (which can be fasted off again in 2 days). I know that is extreme but so is the effect of water retention and glycogen stores. At least that’s my conclusion. What do you think?

    • It absolutely happens. After Thanksgiving, for example, it’s easy to store up a pound of glycogen and four pounds of water. But that comes off almost as quickly once you go back on a rigorous low-carb diet. What I was talking about, and what this study shows is longer-term weight gain, not the almost immediate gain from glycogen.

    • Yes me too I can gain 5-15 lbs in the span of 2-3 days as well and take it off right away by fasting or going back on a strict low carb diet. So I do know there is water retention for me when I go off. But in the long run when I have come of low carb and stayed off of it for awhile I have quickly gained back a lot of weight. 5 sizes in my closest proves that. Back on low carb again but this time cut out caffeine and diet products. That is making it a lot easier this time too.

  5. I made a very low carb experiment (50-70g/d) in October and stopped it after one month. One of the reasons – aside of my period stopping and me feeling so obsessed with food control that I thought I’d develop an eating disorder for the first time in my life – was the strong yo-yo effect I experienced when getting back to normal levels for me (100-150 g carbs/day) :/ I essentially regained all the weight I had lost in the first three weeks of the experiment.
    I lost 30 kg(!) over the last years by eating less calories. I do have low carb tendencies but also low fat. My body and digestion don’t like food that is too fatty, so possibly I didn’t eat enough fat on the very low carb trial – but I just couldn’t.
    The experiment nicely showed me that my current level of nutrition is very good for me and I’ll stick to it.

  6. Thanks for a great post Dr. Eades,

    I lost 50 pounds using Optifast! I was told it would be worth the money to FINALLY, forever deal with the fat. Naive. As soon as I started eating foods again instead of the protein shakes I became like a bear awakening from hibernation. I had to buy 1/2 gallons of ice cream and swirl raspberry jam through it and eat until I was sick. The weight + another 10 lbs. returned in 2 months. After I gained all the weight back I never ate ice cream&jam again-the craving just ended.
    The Final Solution–not so final, ha ha.

    Now I’m 95 lbs. thinner thanks to zero carb/ very low carb for past 5 years-no cravings-the real final solution!!!.

  7. “Are carbohydrates fattening?”

    Is the Pope Catholic? I mean seriously, no real person doubts this. Those few people who can eat whatever they want and stay thin are really gifted genetically and can’t be used to benchmark the majority of the populace. And if you are one of those gifted, all you hear all the time is “how unfair that you can eat whatever you want!”

    Ask anyone if pizza, Fritos, Pringles, and french fries will make you fat. Everyone will say yes immediately. Only Big Ag, the USDA, and the lobbyist-paid “researchers” raise doubts on this. It’s like the fake “scientists” who raise doubts about global warming. It’s a giant misdirection of what everyone experiences in their daily lives and sees with their very own eyes.

    It’s time to stop measuring carb in rats and start looking at the genes of real people. What are the genes that keep the “I can eat candy all day and never gain a pound!’ crowd thin?That’s what we need to know. Then we can test everyone and discover who has obesity risk from carbs – that is, who is normal genetically.

  8. In my case, I have been on a very LC (20 to 40 grams per day) diet for almost six years. I started because of high blood glucose – I had a 320 one day after lunch. I had been diagnosed two years earlier as borderline so I knew I had to go low-carb and did it that day. In easily less than a year, I went from 160 lbs to 130 – first time in my life that a diet ever worked. But, I still couldn’t keep my glucose level between 80 to 100 (still went up to 140 too often) so I eventually cut back to about 20 grams per day. After that, my blood glucose and A1c were finally normal (5.4) I lost about 10 more pounds. However, though my small frame really should have only about 110 pounds, I could not lose more weight than that.

    Then a few months later, after the cooler weather set in, I began gaining weight again and my A1c began creeping up… and no, I did not cheat and eat holiday treats, etc. I have never “cheated”; I have never “gone off” the diet. I am not sure why I am so disciplined except that I am totally committed to saving my life and my limbs from diabetes. So, be assured, the weight gain had nothing to do with reintroducing carbs. That gain-back was about a year or two ago.

    I was (and am) so discouraged that I did loosen up and began to eat about 40 grams per day but that increase was AFTER the gain back of the ten pounds not before. Oddly, that did not cause me to gain any further weight. My weight stays at 140. My A1c is now up to 6.5 I don’t understand the reason for the lack of success in losing more weight or for bringing my glucose levels down more. Instead I seem to be losing ground in spite of the fact that I’ve maintained such a strict LC diet. I’ve tried going back to only 20 grams per day, but it seems to make no difference than when I eat 40. By the way, my lipids and trygliceride are borderline and have always been. LC has only helped the tiniest bit with these. Doctor wants me on meds but I have refused.

    • Kab, most VLC dieters who keep their carbs under 20g/day naturally do eat more fat as a percentage of their diets but have you ever tried directly adding fat? Many LC’ers have ended stalls or broken mysterious gain trends this way. Dr. Eades writes a lot about it. Hope you figure it out. Are you on diabetes medication or insulin?

      • Thank you, Ann. To answer, no not directly (if I am understanding what you mean). I just eat what fat is naturally present in foods. Of course, I do a lot of cooking in and with butter and I often fry in bacon lard.

        My interesting update is that I seem to have lost a bit around the middle in the last few days. I haven’t yet weighed myself but I know my clothes are fitting better and I can see the difference in the mirror. The day after writing that previous post, this is what I did: Added more veggies, in particular spinach. Reduced protein, in particular meats. I began eating a small piece of flax bread twice a day, drinking six cups of hot tea during the day, and stopped drinking diet cola (decaffinated), and limited coffee to two cups a day (either regular or decaf). I did nothing different about fats, dairy, and other foods. In doing this, I did notice that I was often eating what seemed like less food though I wasn’t trying to do this; it just seemed like I couldn’t eat more without feeling bloated. I did make sure that if I ate more, it was still in the same proportion – 3/4 veggies and 1/4 meat/protien.

        My bulging stomach began going down immediately and I thought I was imagining it but my husband said he noticed it too. I am going to continue this new eating. I choose nutrient dense veggies and good meats with plenty of fat. — the best foods on the planet in my opinion.

        • Kab, I’ve done the ketogenic cancer diet, even though I didn’t have cancer just to see how I felt after it and I feel better but not where I was 10 years ago. 20 grams of carbs is a very hard thing to do but I realized that carbs are not the only answer. I’ve found that supplements are very important.
          As Lovy suggests in their post, you may have low thyroid?
          You may want to get that checked as well your iodine levels.
          I’ve found that taking an iodine supplement has help but you’ll want to do some research before taking any, good luck!

    • I would suspect a low thyroid condition is causing your problems. Take you basal temperature and if it’s lower than 97.8 to 98.0 you have a deficiency of thyroid hormones which is lowering your metabolism. The lowered metabolism will always incease your Cholesterol levels as well.

  9. Looking at those graphs, I think the most important observation about weight during the follow-up period is that the low-carb group still ended up lighter than the low-fat group. Notwithstanding the higher rate of post-diet weight gain.

    Mind you, the “Mediterranean” group wound up lightest of all at the end of the follow-up period. What’s up with that?

  10. I have a guess why people who stopped eating a LC diet could gain weight faster. As we know, calories still matter, the most fattening are carbs+fat combinations, and people who drop LC diet may just add carbs to a diet which is high in fat and consume more calories that people who used to eat low-fat food. Second possible reason – on a ketogenic diet body gets adjusted to the lack of glucose and at the beginning carbs consumption should cause higher blood sugar spikes. However, the second reason will not last .
    I have been on a LC diet myself for 5 years, and have no desire to change my way of eating. It is convenient, tasty, satisfying and promotes great mental and physical health. As I read what other people are saying on internet, I noticed that the mileage may vary.

  11. @Exceptionally Brash – I think the key point to your situation is that at ~150g of carbs a day you are not really on a low carb diet. You’re body never makes the switch from carb burning to fat burning at that level of carbs so a lot of the fat and protein you’re consuming will get put into storage.

    For my significant other and I this has become”our diet” vs “a diet.” Our diet implying that this is just the way we eat – virtually all the time. “A” diet implies that it is a behavior you follow until a goal is achieved. Then you go back to the way you were eating before expecting something to be different this time so that you’ll remain at your immediate post diet weight.

  12. Hey Dr. Eades I think a low-carb approach is absolutely crucial for people that are obese or have a bunch of weight to lose. The issue that I have found is that it absolutely will not get you into single digit body fat levels. I have remained lean and in fact become more lean by incorporating good starches like potatoes and white rice. Albeit not 400g but somewhere in the 100-200 g range daily. I also include a piece of whole fruit a day. I haven’t lowered fat intake at all. Do you know of any studies that look at athletes or people in the healthy range trying to become VERY learn on a VLC or LC diet as opposed to overweight/sedentary/obese individuals? Clearly my experience is anecdotal but it works.

    • With the additions you named, I wouldn’t think you would have any chance of achieving the single digit body fat ratio. Why would you compare a strict VLC diet to a tweaked ‘maintenance’ regimen and conclude that VLC won’t get you ultra-thin?

    • It’s not a study but there is Dr. Phinney/Volek’s book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.

      “On a well designed ketogenic diet as recommended by Jeff and Steve, I consume up to 4200 Calories per day while maintaining 6-7% body fat. This transformation has increased my power to mass ratio and allows a high level of performance in a range of activities. Equally if not more important is the efficiency with which I operate in every facet of my life. My energy level in the keto-adapted state is constant and nver undulates.” Tony Ricci, MS, CSCS, LDN, CISSN, CNS. High Performance Coach/Sports Nutritionist

      http://www.amazon.com/Art-Science-Low-Carbohydrate-Performance/dp/0983490716

  13. Interesting study, but because it was only a workplace-based study and not a clinical ward study, how can we be sure of caloric intake on the three diets? It may simply be that the low carbers consumed fewer calories. This is a real possibility, as people often consume fewer calories when following low carb diets. If this was the case, that would explain the differences in weight.

    • Please, just let go of “calories in, calories out” as it has no scientific validity. I know it has been such dogma that it is difficult to acknowledge that the theory has been thoroughly debunked and that the body is much more complex than that. I learned when I was 13 and weighed, measured, and counted every calories and determined what I had to do to “burn off” everything I ate that it didn’t work that way.

      • The calories in, calories out theory has been proven to be correct.

        To make such a bold statement of “fact” shows that you have not consulted the literature.

        Can and do low carb diets help people to lose weight. Yes. Why? They often cause people to eat fewer calories. Simple.

        By the way, it is meticulous calorie counting that allows bodybuilders to peak at low body fat percentages and muscle retention for bodybuilding shows.

        • Oh, if CICO is such a proven fact, you may try following experiment. Calculate your mean daily calorie consumption and then replace for 3 weeks all calories you ingest by the same amount of calories in the form of pure white sugar. Should be no problem, it’s all about calories afterall and it’s even vegan.

          As for the body builders, the body fat level they try to reach are pathological and trying to constuct the hoops to reach it as something desirable is wrong on many levels.

  14. I would also argue that carbs put fat on faster than eating fat will put back on the muscle weight they lost on the low-fat diet.

  15. I have lost a great deal of weight on zero carb – after trying low carb again and again since the seventies, with ever less success.
    Unfortunately, a few years ago, I believed a doctor who told me I could teach my body to deal with carbs again, and all the weight came back very quickly.
    So now I’m back on almost zero carbs and feel better again and am even losing weight, very slowly, Only change is that now I allow myself once a month to eat something carby, like an icecream or spring roll. I hope to be able to stick to the diet better that way, and avoid feeling that I’m punishing myself.
    Your blog is reassuring, for I was concerned that my carb-fixes would cause huge negative effects on my lipids etcetera which have always been absolutely wonderful on my low to zero carb food.
    The reason why I went off low carb every time was that, way back then I was told by everybody how bad it was for me… now I know I should just have listened to my body and I would not have gained so much extra back. Every farmer in the world knows that you fatten pigs or rabbits by feeding them carbs…

  16. I don’t generally go on strict diets, but have simply (ha!) been trying to low-carb for 13 years. As I pointed out to my husband yesterday, only by trying to lose weight can I keep from gaining. Actual weight loss requires extremely strict compliance that I’m not able to manage for more than a couple of weeks. I’ve never figured out why that is.

    However, I did do your Six Week Cure a couple of years ago when the book came out. It was very easy to be compliant, and I stayed on it for 12 weeks, losing all of 10 lbs. I was very happy, but the 13th week was Thanksgiving and you know what happened—I gained 18 pounds over the next month!

    I’m still struggling with that weight, looking for the elusive secret that will turn on fat loss.

  17. It seems your hypothesis assumes that the two group of people who gain weight at different rates (one previously ate LC diet and the other who ate LF) would be eating different macronutrient proportions after they end their diets. In other words, the formerly LC person would eat more carbs than the formerly LF person. Why the assumption?

    • Seems pretty obvious to me. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you restrict carbohydrates. If you go off a low-carb diet, you do so by eating more carbohydrates, not by eating more fat and protein. Same with going off a low-fat diet.

  18. I have never “gone off” my low-carb diet that I began in 2000, but have experimented with different versions. This past year, I upped my fat intake, lowered my protein intake, and further reduced my carb intake. I don’t weigh myself, so I can only go by the way I look and feel and how my clothes fit to gauge my success. Yesterday, I was outside doing some holiday decorating when my partner came drove down the hill on the way home and saw me outside. When he got home, he asked if I knew how skinny I look – and I laughed to share that I had a moment of concern when my jeans almost fell off! Later, he asked if I’m feeling OK – since I seem to be getting progressively thinner. I said I feel fabulous and no, I’m not getting thin because I’m sick. He is a retired physician who is also on a low-carb diet (lost 40 pounds last summer), so it was probably tongue-in-cheek, but it is fun to have someone who sees me daily remark on my trim body. And – I will be 60 years old in March and have been wearing short pencil skirts and skinny jeans. My hairdresser told me yesterday that I should have been wearing tall boots with my skinny jeans since I “have the body for them!”

  19. So isn’t the answer, at least for those of us that experience more susceptibility to the fattening effects of carbs (and I don’t think EVERYONE’S metabolism is this way) that we must adopt a lifetime regime of low carbs?

    I do best on an Atkins / South Beach type diet to lose weight, and yes I do gain fast when I consume almost any white carbs (sugar, white flour, white rice, pasta etc.) so I try to eat always on a regime that avoids white foods. And alcohol is another “white carb” for me although I rarely have more than one drink a day and don’t drink every day.

    Jules

  20. I’ve been very low carb (30 to 50g per day) for over six years now. I never needed to lose weight and so I have to eat a LOT to keep my weight stable or I lose some and my BMI is 19 so don’t want to get lower. I stick to Paleo – I’m an Eades Purist 😉 I can’t imagine coming off this way of eating – I eat soooo well, such delicious food, why change ? I don’t miss carbs at all.

    My only problem right now is some bad episodes of “silent acid reflux” which has led to some ‘reflux aspiration’ and am seeing a pulmonary specialist – I’m mystified as to why this has happened, maybe I have to eat less fat ? More protein ? Specialist wants me to have PPI or histamine H2 antagonist but I think this would interfere with protein digestion so I’m in a quandary but I have no intention of eating more carbs – besides I am atypical type 2 diabetic.

    • You are right about the PPI and H2 agonists – both will interfere with protein digestion. And calcium absorption. Stomach acid is the barrier to bacteria from the upper small intestine moving upward in the GI tract. Strong stomach acid kills. Those who take meds to reduce stomach acid tend to develop pneumonia at a much greater rate than those who don’t. Stomach acid is there for a reason, so I don’t like the idea of getting rid of it.

      Are you using fructose oligosaccharides (FOS) or sugar alcohols? How about stevia-based products? Resistant starch? All of these substances (along with many others) tend to increase small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which often leads to GERD. I can recommend a terrific book on the subject titled Fast Tract Digestion. There are numerous causes of GERD, and this great book discussed them all along with how to treat with a low-carb diet among other things.

      • Thanks for the book recommendation Dr Eades. It would be easier if I actually got symptoms of GERD, problem is it is “silent reflux” so I don’t know it’s happening and it’s causing harm – really insidious don’t you think. I shall get the book for any ideas to help !

        • Let me know what you think of the book. I think it’s excellent, but I know the author and know his level of expertise and experience, so I may be a little biased. So, please let me know what you think.

          • I saw your mention of Fast Tract Digestion last night and stayed up later than I should have reading the whole thing on my e-book reader.

            I flashed back to the 1980s. I heard Elaine Gottschall on an evening radio program. This was way before I, or anyone I knew, had the internet. I bought her book on how to cure digestive issues. At the time it was titled Food and the Gut Reaction. (Robillard refers to it by its republished title Breaking the Vicious Cycle.)

            Until I read her book, I believed the low-fat dogma. But my gut was a terrible mess. I gave her book a try, which meant reintroducing meat into my diet (I hadn’t eat much of it since I left home after high school).

            I was totally taken by her analysis. It was so elegant. She explained so clearly why monosaccharides are good for the digestion and polysaccharides are bad.

            So I ate meat, made her special kind of yogurt, and had the carbs that she permitted, including fruit juice, nuts, and honey.

            Almost immediately I could tell that the juice and honey were doing a number on my gut. But it was also evident that the meat was helping me. I was not cured. But I was better than without the meat.

            I tried to lessen the carbs she allowed and have more meat.

            Back in those Dark Ages, I assumed that the only people who ate low-carb were those who wanted to lose weight. The thing was, I was grossly underweight at the time. So I didn’t bother to look at the low-carb books being published, because I thought they wouldn’t apply to me.

            I actually thought that I was doing myself long-term damage by eating all that heart-disease-inducing meat, but I figured I would rather live fewer years feeling better than have a long miserable life. So began my low-carb saga. It all started with Gottschall.

            My gut is still a mess. I even tried zero carb for 7 months. I found that I do better having some carbs than no carbs.

            It was a blast reading the Robillard book nonetheless. I don’t have GERD, but I do have belching, which, in his explanatory framework, is closely related. Belching is like an orphan disease. GIs don’t take it seriously even though it has a large impact on the quality of my life. Official doctrine is that it is the symptom of aerophagia, which is medicalese for “air swallowing.”

            Researcher and author Mark Pimentel has done a lot of work to call into question the aerophagia explanation. Robillard pays homage to both Gottschall and Pimentel. He is the first person I’ve read who asserts unequivocally that bacteria in the small intestine can produce gas that moves not only down, but also up.

            That means that belching could be caused by gas that is the metabolic byproduct of small intestinal bacteria, and not only by swallowed air.

            He claims that the exact same mechanism that causes burping causes GERD.

            I should caution readers of the book that his discussion of the elemental diet, and, more specifically, the Vivonex brand of elemental diet, is incomplete. His overall position is consistent with Gottschall’s, namely, that you can mimic the elemental diet by consuming the proper diet. But he never explains that the Vivonex elemental diet, like virtually all commercial elemental diets, is almost entirely carbohydrate (maltodextrin, to be specific). Robillard states that you can only do an elemental diet under medical supervision. That is what I believed when I read Gottschall. But after reading Pimentel I found out that anyone can purchase the (very expensive) elemental diet. I put myself on the Vivonex Plus regimen two times (separated by a couple of years). I felt like total garbage for the two weeks I was on the diet, and afterwards I felt no better than I had felt before I started the diet.

            At that time, I knew nothing about blood sugar and I did not have a meter. I am now certain that I was getting very hyperglycemic with each “feeding” (can’t call them “meals”) and probably falling into deep hypos a couple of hours later.

            It is my view (I am not an MD) that these diets are very dangerous to someone who is adapted to low-carb eating and they should be avoided. (And if you are not adapted to low-carb eating, you are probably not eating well anyway.)

            Another quibble I have with Robillard’s thesis is his use of the Glycemic Index (GI). Again, I love nothing more than an intellectually creative idea, and Robillard’s is very creative. He acknowledges his predecessors (Gottschall, Pimentel, as well as FODMAP and some others) but claims that they lacked a sound method for distinguishing carbs that are fully absorbed from carbs that are not fully absorbed and, thus, provide fuel for the problematic bacteria in the small intestine.

            Robillard uses the GI to distinguish good carbs from bad. The problem I have with this is that I don’t trust the GI. If you ever communicate with large numbers of people who track their blood sugars, you quickly find out that there are all kinds of idiosyncrasies in how they blood glucose reacts to different foods. That is, one person might be able to eat apples without much change in their blood glucose, yet when they eat nuts, their blood glucose skyrockets. While another person could be the mirror image: they can tolerate nuts but get hyperglycemic with apples. It is not at all clear to me that the GI is a secure enough base upon which one can erect a viable treatment program.

            These quibbles aside, it is a great book and I am grateful to Dr. Eades for (1) being responsible, in part, for Dr. Robillard’s writing the book, and (2) calling my attention to the book’s existence.

          • I can’t take credit for any of the work in this book. I’m grateful Dr. Robillard mentioned me in the acknowledgements, but other than a few conversations we had, I didn’t contribute anything. He’s a really smart guy, and this is a real passion of his. He has worked hard on it for several years. As you discovered, it is a really informative book.

          • Actually, you get mention in the body of the work, not merely in the acknowledgements.

            I only have the Kindle edition so I can’t give page references. He says that you “asked me the following key question, ‘Do all carb trigger acid reflux and, if not, can you devise something like a barometer for heartburn that helps people avoid the worst carbs?’ I have spent the last three years answering that question.”

            Earlier in the book, he lumps you in the low-carb category, along with Atkins and Taubes (whose name is misspelled) who failed to help all GERD and IBS sufferers because they failed to restrict fiber sufficiently.

            In the acknowledgements, he says that you asked the “key questions that helped me focus on the real problem,” but he doesn’t mention what the questions were.

    • Some types of medications will cause acid reflux.

      Are you 100% paleo? Dairy gives some people acid reflux. I’ve also heard of people on strict ketogenic diets getting GERD, but those diets may contain a lot of crappy, inflammatory vegetable oils.

      • Yes, 100 % Paleo. The only oil I use is coconut oil, virgin and organic. The main problem is that I am totally unaware of this “GERD” – it is “silent” and so how am I supposed to know what sets it off and what will resolve it ?

        I downloaded ‘Fast Tract Digestion’ (I live in the UK and they only have the Kindle version so I got it straight away) – am about half way through now. The thing that struck me so far is that Norman Robillard says that nuts are “resistant starch” and I eat a lot of nuts (not peanuts I know they are beans), but almonds in particular, but then he goes on to say “My advice would be to enjoy plenty of green, leafy, and stalked vegetables as well as nuts and seeds that contain the less fermentable types of fiber.” – well that’s what I do eat, though I never eat seeds.

        Of course the pulmonary specialist could be mistaken in his diagnosis – I do wonder if “silent acid reflux” is diagnosis of the month flavour ? There could be other causes of the lung “damage” (showed on x-ray) and it might not be “acid aspiration” ? I shall have to push him a bit more about this….as well as continuing to address reflux just in case.

  21. For decades I have starved myself; eating low calorie food. I also religiously utilize a device to track calories & steps. According to this device, I should steady be losing weight. I was not. I went to a low carb diet & weight started coming off. Recently, I found the missing piece the puzzle. I am divorcing myself from an abusive man in a 30 year marriage. It is amazing what stress reduction & a low carb diet can accomplish.

  22. Have lost weight with many diets, but have to truthfully say that I gain the most back when going off the low-carb diet. And it is much harder to get back on track of low-carb again when that happens. The starchy carbs (bread for me) is so addictive that once I begin it takes tremendous effort to stop. It is nothing for me to gain 20 lbs in a couple of weeks once I begin eating bread/wheat again.

  23. This post made total sense to me. I’ve been a low-carber for the better part of 15 years since reading Protein Power back in the 90’s. I can say for sure that I pack it on when I fall off the wagon. I weighed 108 but then started dating a man who doesn’t do low-carb–and started eating like him. Within three months I gained 17 pounds and crave carbs like crazy. I know from experience if I can just make it through those first four days of low-carb, the cravings will subside.
    Just say “No!” to carbs!!! Peer pressure is powerful…

  24. What was the Mediterranean diet used in the study?
    “The Mediterranean-diet group consumed the largest amounts of dietary fiber and had the highest ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat.”
    “The moderate-fat, restricted-calorie, Mediterranean diet was rich in vegetables and low in red meat, with poultry and fish replacing beef and lamb. We restricted energy intake to 1500 kcal per day for women and 1800 kcal per day for men, with a goal of no more than 35% of calories from fat; the main sources of added fat were 30 to 45 g of olive oil and a handful of nuts (five to seven nuts, <20 g) per day. The diet is based on the recommendations of Willett and Skerrett."

  25. Looking at it from the dieter/eater’s perspective, ease of long-term compliance seems a) important and b) very under-studied. I doubt I am alone in reporting that while a low-carb diet can be hard in the beginning, after the first week or so it is by far the easiest to embrace as a lifelong eating pattern (i.e., the diet I HAVE, not the diet I’m ON).

    • I’ve experienced the same. As soon as the mindset changes from a temporary way of eating to my default, lifelong diet, the struggle ends with low carb. It truly is easily sustainable for life and incredibly flexible.

    • If it really is, why after over 2 years there is no difference in compliance over other diets from the studies that have been done?

  26. You posit that carbs, calorie per calorie, are more fattening than fat. But the studies are not calorie normalized. It appears to me that low carb diets lead to the eating of fewer calories. While that’s still a good thing, and a positive for advocating low carb: it does not equate to calories not mattering.

    • You might see what you can learn about the thermogenic effects of various foods. A food like broccoli requires more of your bodies energy to convert for its use than do most foods. There’s a sliding scale. Foods with that are most easily broken down by your body will be more readily converted for storage (as fat) than foods that are harder to break down. Highly processed carbs are in that category (think flour and sugar). Calorie calculations do not take this into account. Calories, themselves, would need to be normalized for each food before you could have a meaningful study that is “calorie normalized.”

      The big issue for most people is that highly refined carbs create cravings in people that lead to overeating. Fats tend to have the opposite effect. So it’s not calories per se that cause weight gain, it’s the cravings produced by your brain in response to foods that are easily converted to fat. Some folks would speculate those cravings were evolved to increase your odds of survival when easily metabolized foods were exceedingly rare.

      • Dietary fat is most efficiently stored as body fat of the three macros.

        Do refined carbs create cravings or do they simply lack satiating properties? Why is it that the most palatable foods tend to have both an abundance or fat and carbs? It seems to be true that people tend to overeat foods that are either high in refined carbs (soda) or high in both fat and carbs (desserts), but not high in just fat (butter, cream). Could be because high-fat foods are not that palatable on their own or that they are often combined with high-protein foods (steak). We know protein is highly satiating so fat w/protein could also remain satiating.

        Why don’t people get fat eating plain baked potatoes? Probably because carbs per se are not the common denominator here that we need to be looking at.

  27. I periodically do a different style of diet — a bicycle-across-the-continent diet. (Alternately a bicycle-from-Canada-to-Mexico diet.) These typically last about 6 or 7 weeks and I generally lose 15 to 25 pounds each time. Since campers’ food generally emphasizes carbs, the diet is relatively low fat but primarily it is a sort of calorie-restricted diet, since outlay is typically 1,000 to 2,000 calories more per day than a person can comfortably eat.
    I have done this about 5 times in the past 11 years, so I have a lot of experience at it.

    What I have found is that the weight comes back amazingly fast — always within a couple years, sometimes within one year (or less.) Remarkably, within a week of returning home, my weight always goes up immediately by about 6 pounds. I figure this has to be caused by restocking glycogen (& water) in my body, which has probably been depleted by the weeks of cycling.
    After that the pounds gradually but inexorably come back. (Perhaps it takes awhile for the appetite to readjust to a less strenuous lifestyle, so that might explain some of the rapid regain.) Note, though, that I always return with a “this time it will be different” promise and I try to eat as little as possible but the body generally does not seem to go along with that plan for long.

    As side note, you’d think after pedalling from Newport Beach, CA to St. Augustine, FL and achieving a BMI of 24.5 would produce excellent bloodwork, right? In fact my cholesterol skyrocketed up 100 points (to 327) at the conclusion of that ride. Go figure!

    Only a combination of statins and a strict ketogenic diet since then has brought total cholesterol to 189.

    Anyway, I hope these experiences are of interest…

  28. Thank you for addressing this question which I believe is key to dealing with obesity. I have struggled with weight issues and early onset depression (atypical) since adolescence. Atypical depression is identified by reverse vegetative symptoms (overeating and oversleeping) and by its response to MAO inhibitors. I have lost the same 30 to 40 pounds three times in my life and rapidly regained the lost weight each time except for once.

    I first lost about 40 pounds in 1977 at age 26 on the weight watchers diet. I started regaining immediately after I quit the diet. At age 30 I again lost about 40 pounds as a result of a severe depression which, for the first time in my life, caused me to quit eating rather than my usual overeating and oversleeping in response to depression. I did not diet – I just ate very little (mostly scrambled eggs and toast as I recall). After several ineffective antidepressant drug trials I hit on Nardil (a MAO inhibitor) which literally turned my life around. I felt “normal” for the first time in my life. I continued to take Nardil/phenelzine (30mg) for the next 5 years during which time I effortlessly maintained a weight of 130 lbs. without dieting and without avoiding the starchy foods and desserts I had always craved. For the first and only time in my life I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and I didn‘t gain an ounce — it was a miracle! I stopped the medication after I wanted to become pregnant. I slowly regained the lost weight over the next 10-15 years which included 3 pregnancies and about 2.5 years of breast feeding.

    By age 50 I was back in the low 170s. At age 55 I started a 800-1000 calorie, low carbohydrate (20 grams or less) diet plus walking 2-3 miles per day which I stuck to faithfully. I lost 40 pounds over about 8 months, however I was not a happy camper. In order to maintain 130 pounds I had to reduce my calories to about 700 – 800 and I increased exercise. If I ate 1000 calories or even a few more carbs I would gain weight. It was an impossible way to live and I was angry and unhappy about it. I thought I had ruined my metabolism but my thyroid tests were normal. The endocrinologist told me I was “retaining fat” whatever that means! I quit dieting out of frustration and I gained back all the lost weight quite rapidly.

    I now realize what an anomaly it was for me to be able to effortlessly maintain a weight of 130 pounds in my 30’s. My body behaved then like a naturally thin person whose weight is regulated within a pound or two regardless of diet — I was immune to weight gain with absolutely no effort on my part! Since I have never before or since been able to maintain weight loss my theory is that it was due to the antidepressant drug. Various studies on phenelzine have indicated that it can alter fat metabolism and circadian cycles, activate HPA activity (which is now thought to be hypoactive in atypical depression), moderate appetite and somehow affect leptin and the immune system. Nardil is generally known for causing weight gain but that certainly didn’t happen to me. I believe it must have powerful and as yet largely undetermined effects on the body’s weight/metabolic/stress system. I wonder if the drug worked most effectively for me to prevent regain but not to lose weight to begin with? I obviously don’t have any answers but I believe there is perhaps something there for obesity researchers to consider.

    • Hi Rae, I’m saddened (but not surprised) to read of your struggles… Please take some time and read through the website (and/or book) Stop the Thyroid Madness. (I’m not associated with Janie Bowman or her site, just *SAVED* by the info there!)

      Just like with “regular” doctors who prescribe statins to anything that walks on two legs; so, too, (most) endos think they’ve ‘really got it’ when it comes to thyroid. And they’re JUST as far off! And just like with finding such a (knowledgeable and wise) gem as Mike Eades on diet-and-health (oh, quit blushing Mike, you KNOW it’s true! {wink}), you can find an MD who knows the REAL story about thyroid… and can adequately and *actually* treat it! (They’re hard to find, but there are great resources at Janie’s site.)

      And to get to correct treatment, you have to educate yourself, so you know when the doctor is giving you ‘the usual crap’ — and that’s where that website comes in. (I did find an MD who actually knew about thyroid (well, knew more than most; I still, it turned out, knew a bit more than he did {eye roll}), and he said that you can be eating exactly right and exercising exactly right — and if your thyroid is messed up, you won’t lose an ounce!)

      Here’s the thing: we expect doctors to know everything (or even enough) about EVERYTHING that can possibly go wrong with a human being, and then we (and they) pretend it’s possible for a single human brain to encompass all that knowledge! (I’ve been reading “Predictably Irrational”: scary… Great, but scary!)

      Your doc cannot possibly have the time to become expert in all things (hence specialists) AND they-all (we-all!) are affected, swayed, influenced, blinded, misled, and etc. by Big Pharma and Big Ag, by custom and history, by the local medical board that will hound a doc out of practice who ‘strays’ too far from what they BELIEVE to be the One True Way (which isn’t always associated with actual science)!

      Even my “good” thyroid doc “went bad.” I referred someone to him, saying he’d been great when I walked into his office and said: “I want to try these drugs (Armour and hydrocortisone) at these starting, increasing, and final/long-term dosages. Do you see anything here to object to?” And (amazingly) he did whatever I asked: he let me experiment with doses and he wrote scrips for me to switch off Armour onto (Canadian) Erfa Thyroid when Armour got destroyed (they changed the mfg. and ruined the efficacy.) But when this woman I referred went in and described her symptoms and asked him for help… he prescribed Synthcrap!! (Argh.)

      (I acknowledge that he (as all docs) has to watch out for the local medical board to protect himself (double argh), so allowing me (just one patient) to ‘play about’ with dosing and drugs, since I could back-up my requests with an explanation of why I wanted to try this-or-that, might be “allowed” — but for him to start a practice of ‘walking on the wild side’ could harm him professionally and his family financially. Had this woman gone in (as I did) and TOLD him what she wanted t to try, he might not have treated her “like normal” — but she and I were both quite disgusted, and I quit going too.)

      I *don’t* recommend self-treatment (nor does Stop the Thyroid Madness), but by that time, after a couple years working with him (well, his scrip-pad, mainly!) and with all my reading and study, I actually DID know more than he did about thyroid treatment, and since I could and can still get T3-only through Mexico (no scrip), I was willing to go off on my own; grateful for his scrip-writing ability that I didn’t have for the things I needed to get most of the way back to healthy.

        • Hey Lovy
          I wish those clueless docs were uncommon, but they are the majority!! Please, let me refer you instead to the Stop the Thyroid Madness website. In addition to just boatloads of fantastic info (diagnosis, treatment, support, help, understanding), there is a list of smart docs, and much discussion of where to get necessary support (including “drugs” from overseas). (I tried a version of Armour (before their mfging changed it for the worse) from Thailand; and finally had my (mostly helpful) doc write me a scrip for Erfa Thyroid from Canada; by the time I gave him (and it) up for T3-only, I had found the (sans-scrip) Mexican source of German-made T3-only. {eye roll} Ah, how the medical establishment helps us out… NOT!)

          Self-education is absolutely 100% necessary if you’re *even slightly* contemplating self-medicating. I cannot stress that enough!! I educated myself, THEN found a smart(-ish) doc to work with me (for two years, as it turned out), then finally, when my learning (in this wee small facet of his HUGE requirement to know a little about every health-thing: no insult to him!) outstripped his knowledge and abilities, I headed off on my own. It’s *SO* not merely a case of: “oh, she’s taking T3-only that she buys overseas, so should I!”

          Without any insurance, I had to cough up the bucks for the overnight saliva testing, the multiple, multiple blood tests (free T3 and T4, reverse T3, bound and free iron, cortisol, etc. etc. — see Stop the Thyroid Madness). Because of the dangers of self-treatment, I had to know everything I could find about the thyroid: only after much testing and reading and blood tests do you ‘get’ (ha.) to determine that you have a reverse T3 (rT3) problem and change your treatment path to T3-only.

          I spent two years on physiological doses of hydro-cortisone (under the doc’s care) (after a year on OTC treatments, which helped but were not enough). What a blessing! Both the HC, and that he was willing to let me experiment! (I was borderline adrenal exhaustion, which is why it took 2 yrs to treat!) (SO worth it!) But you can’t fix thyroid if your adrenals are shot, so you have to learn about them too!

          So, I’m sorry, no I won’t merely tell you where to get possibly dangerous drugs… I will tell you where to go to educate yourself so you CAN make an educated decision to treat yourself without the “help” of clueless docs, or, preferably, find one of the clued-in docs and get some real help. But, as with diet — you have to learn for yourself how to treat — or feed — yourself.

          Remember Dr Mike’s anecdote: If the pilot makes a mistake,the pilot dies. If the air traffic controller makes a mistake: THE PILOT DIES! I’m not an ATC, just another pilot. I’ll send you to the map, I won’t tell you when to cross that runway!

  29. For more than two years I followed a low carb diet while training to increase my speed at bicycle hill climbing. I got very, very lean, especially in the prime riding months of late summer (less weight while maintaining the same level of strength results in a higher power to weight ratio, thus you go faster against gravity). When I was at my leanest, it was possible to notice the fat that would accumulate less than 24 hours after consuming virtually any highly refined carbohydrate. I suspect the elite body builders would confirm the exact same thing. Jack LaLanne knew about this years and year ago…

    You’ll also find that elite cyclists have given up on the old pasta-loading binge that for years was thought of as necessary to “store fuel” for long duration cycling events. They are now finding that fat is the best fuel for high intensity, long duration exercise.

    Carbs aren’t bad, only the ones that are highly refined (ie flour and sugar). Dr. Weston Price (a dentist) figured that out in the 1920s, though he didn’t comment on weight gain, but rather on the epidemic of chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, etc) that followed adoption of these “foods of modern commerce.”

  30. Thank you so very much for posting this – It goes some way to explaining my puzzlement.

    I started low carb about 3 years ago to lose some of the 6 stone (84 lb) gained by being un-diagnosed Hypo Thyroid. Slowly it started coming off, and after 18 months 40 lb had gone. Then it stopped. Completely.

    I tried all sorts of variations to get it started again but nothing had any effect.

    Disheartened, I began having the odd slice of toast, and things didn’t seem to get any worse. Then I added more carbs back, until I was eating as I had done previously.
    Now this is the odd thing: I put some weight back on, about 6 – 8 lbs (it varies a little), but no more.

    I wonder now if I were ever to re-start low carb ‘properly’ whether any weight will shift, but I feel really pessimistic and not sure if I can face all the re-organising and planning required.

    Floundering here…any guidance or pointers would be so appreciated.

  31. Dr Eades As always everything you share here is true to my experience. I’ve been a low carb girl since reading PP in 96. But in the last few years I’ve really struggled to avoid carbs where before it was so easy. My weight is highest it’s ever been 5’6″ 149 – horrible! – yet I struggle with carb avoidance when I have not before. I’ve had no big changes in my lifestyle, I’m not showing signs of menopause but I’ve struggled since I’ve turned 50. And before elimination of carbs caused immediate results. Now I get discouraged because 2-3 weeks of low carb shows no results! Do you think it’s an age thing? Do you have any advice? It shouldn’t be so hard! Thank you for inspiring me. Debi

    PS. I hate to see what my LDL HDL triglycerides are I have a feeling they are bad too.

    • It can definitely be an aging issue. It’s more difficult to lose as one ages, sad to say. Also, don’t know your age, but could be a hormonal thing as well if you are menopausal or peri-menopausal.

      Take a look at the links in my response to JENNI JONES, a comment or two before yours.

      • Very enlightening and I am now thinking its a combination of hormones and lack of commitment. Not sure what to do about the hormone piece. I’m 54 still using birth control pills and no physical signs of menopause yet of course. I just started bio identical testosterone about a month ago. I think I will call my dr, on Monday and go see her about this hormone thing. And the lack of commitment? Getting a personal reply from you is a sign to me that I need to pay close attention to what I already know – there’s no time to waste in getting rid of these extra pounds. I’ve got to be committed every minute of every day. Thank you so much for your reply. Wish me luck! :)

        • See if you can get checked for estrogen, progesterone and SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) and FSH. Those should tell you (or at least tell your doc) what’s going on and what direction you need to take.

          I wish you the best of luck.

  32. Compelling and interesting, thank you for sharing this study with us! You’re right that it is a small body of data, but it is very thought provoking that the low carb diet offered longer term protective benefits in terms of lipid panels. I also agree it appears carbohydrates are more inherently fattening, which also fits the existing body of data regarding the hormonal response of the body differing depending on the nutrient and quantity of it.

  33. Hi Mike,

    Been a while! Season’s greetings to you and yours.

    I agree with you, but my take beyond that (and I had a brief look at the paper at it doesn’t seem to be addressed) is along the lines of behavioural/attitudinal change and its impact on calories.

    Think on this. The low carb dieter whether assigned or independently convinced will have changed their attitude to fat intake. Years of indoctrination from the low fat obsessed media will have taken a beating as a result of two years of weight loss and noticeably improved health as well as blood work. So when they slip off low carb they probably won’t revert to what they were eating before – more carbs, yes … back to being fat phobic? … not so much! So more calories than before AND more carbs. Not a big surprise that weight regain is rapid, but very interesting that some of the health benefits linger on.

    I don’t think the same applies to low fat dieters. Their mind set is unchanged. They just weaken and return to what they were doing, still blaming calories and fat, but not being ‘strong’ enough to resist.

  34. If you are a morphine addict, you can instantly lose your high with an injection of Naloxone, an opiate blocker. Surprisingly Naloxone works as a diet suppressor as well, because wheat acts like morphine on the brain.

    An odd series of clinical studies conducted over the past 40 years has demonstrated that foods can have opiate-like properties. Opiate blockers, like naloxone, can thereby block appetite. One such study demonstrated 28% reduction in caloric intake after naloxone administration. But opiate blocking drugs don’t block desire for all foods, just some.

    What food is known to be broken down into opiate-like polypeptides?

    Wheat. On digestion in the gastrointestinal tract, wheat gluten is broken down into a collection of polypeptides that are released into the bloodstream. These gluten-derived polypeptides are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain. Their binding to brain cells can be blocked by naloxone or naltrexone administration. These polypeptides have been named exorphins, since they exert morphine-like activity on the brain. While you may not be “high,” many people experience a subtle reward, a low-grade pleasure or euphoria.

    For the same reasons, 30% of people who stop consuming wheat experience withdrawal, i.e., sadness, mental fog, and fatigue.

    Wouldn’t you know that the pharmaceutical industry would eventually catch on? Drug company startup, Orexigen, will be making FDA application for its drug, Contrave, a combination of naltrexone and the antidepressant, buproprion. It is billed as a blocker of the “mesolimbic reward system” that enhances weight loss.

    Step back a moment and think about this: We are urged by the USDA and other “official” sources of nutritional advice to eat more “healthy whole grains.” Such advice creates a nation of obese Americans, many the unwitting victims of the new generation of exorphin-generating, high-yield dwarf mutant wheat. A desperate, obese public now turns to the drug industry to provide drugs that can turn off the addictive behavior of the USDA-endorsed food.

    There is no question that wheat has addictive properties. You will soon be able to take a drug to block its effects. That way, the food industry profits, the drug industry profits, and you pay for it all.

    http://heartscanblog.blogsp

  35. excellent article.
    i have found myself a sugar addict in the last couple of years. i am male, 40, very active.
    i went on a low carb diet to reduce my cravings for sweet foods and it works most of the time. i stay between 20-50 g daily cho.
    a couple of times though, after a few months of following low carb dieting, i had to give in to my cravings ( it can seem weird but they always happen to come two or three days approaching the full moon) and i had a sugar binge lasting three days, lots of kcal from sugar/starch only.
    beside the excess amount of retained water in my muscles, which impaired my exercise in combination with a loss of energy from switching from fat burning to glucose burning and getting my body confused when i re-started alimenting myself low-carb, i gained 6 lb of fat and after 50 days i have been able to loose only 3 of them

  36. You ask for people’s experience…I’ve been low-carb for about 18 months now, have reached a sensible weight and I stick to it with no problems at all while I am at home. I love this diet and I don’t see any problem living with it for the rest of my life. Away on holiday though it’s often impossible to avoid flour and sugar because they are hidden in sauces and such like and I regularly put on 3-4lb in a week when forced to eat higher carb, even though I do my best and avoid obvious things such as pastry, cakes etc.
    Before I discovered low-carb sense I tried low calorie dieting and although I lost very little weight I don’t remember it ever going back on in a week when I gave up in despair!

    • I have tried low carb diet for two months. Before I was sixteen stones and two pounds but now my weight is fifteen stones. So far I have lost a stone and two pounds and it was not hard at all. My height is one metre and 66 cm and I’m of a large build. Is there a way of guess estimating how much of my weight loss was due to water loss and how much of it was due to pure fat loss? A simple guess estimate would do if you have some knowledge in this area?

  37. I wonder if the reason the rebound from the Mediterranean diet seems less is because some of the healthful components of the Med diet – fish, salads, wholefoods, olive oil – tend to be assimilated by dieters and are likely to be kept as parts of their diet when calorie restriction ends – whereas the LC and LF options are dependent on the macronutrient ratios (and calorie restriction in case of LF)?

    • Might be. I specifically didn’t address the Mediterranean diet in my post because in terms of the low-fat/low-carb debate it is neither fish nor fowl. It’s not really a low-carb diet nor a low-fat diet. One would expect people going off the Med diet to increase consumption of both fat and carbs, so it would make sense that they would be somewhere in the middle.

  38. Hi Dr. Eades,

    Thanks for this post as usual! I have two incidents to share.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and had lost 80lbs over the years thru low carb (PCOS, post meno, T2). When I heard I had aggressive cancer, I vowed not to die on a perpetual diet so I went on what I call my “Make a Wish Diet” (that’s the diet where you pretty much eat ad lib and wish and pray it doesn’t end up on your hiney). I shockingly gained a little over 40lbs back in less than 2 months.

    I lost it all by resuming the low carb life plus adding back intermittent fasting and alternate day caloric restriction throughout therapy.

    The second time is just recently. My plastic surgeon is just completed my bilateral Lat Flap surgery was adament about me being on a calorically restricted diet of any kind through recovery and told me he’d paddle me if I showed up in his OR in ketosis. So I went off plan 5 days prior to surgery. By surgery date, I’d gained 8lbs. By the time I had the green light to resume my diet, I was up 22lbs.

    OMG. GHDWL again! (Ground Hog Day Weight Loss)

    You should know that during both of those times, I averaged about 1400-1800 cals per day and around 100-130g of carbs per day eating non-lc ad lib. Funnily enough, after 12 years of lc and some IF, I don’t have much desire to stuff food down my gullet, so I was not pounding down 5000 cals a day and gaining at that rate.

    Hope that helps as an n=1!

  39. The reason CHO appears to be more fattening is because when eaten as part of a diet of processed foods where micro-nutrients and fiber are stripped out, the CHO foods are much less satiating. So removing those foods will lead to a spontaneous decrease in calories consumed and re-adding those foods leads to a spontaneous increase in calories, much more so than when going with the low fat diet.

    I bet if you went from LC to adding back berries and plain potatoes, you wouldn’t see such a rapid gain in fat.

  40. In your blog you noted that lipid profiles improved after people went on a low carb diet, and remained improved over four years of follow-up. I’d like to offer my highly unscientific, quite possibly unproveable theory:

    Chronic overexposure to high levels of sugar and flour (I was going to say highly refined flour, but then I saw your post on Napolean’s Glands) leads to damage to the lining of the arteries. Your body’s first step in repairing the damage is to deposit fat on the site. But since the body is overwhelmed by the chronic exposure to sugar and grains, it can’t keep up with the damage. It repairs one site and three more pop up elsewhere. You are literally taking one step forward and three steps backward.

    So enough of these fat deposits show up and the next thing is that cholesterol starts sticking to them, leading to the plaque of clogged arteries (it’s interesting that cholesterol is the third system of arteriolsclerosis, yet the drug companies tell us to alleviate a minor symptom rather than addressing the root cause – no suprise there, as there’s no money in that).

    My unscientific theory is that the negative change in the lipid profile is simply a measure of the amount of resources that the body is throwing at the damaged linings that are popping up all over your body. Eliminate the cause of the damage and allow the body to repair itself, and your lipid profile returns to a more balanced state.

    So, in a low carb diet the sugar/flour assault is lessened to the point that the lining of the arteries can be repaired – you are once again able to gain ground on the problem. Then it takes a significant amount of time for the damage to reoccur after introducing more “bad carbs” back into the diet. And how quickly the damage does eventually reoccur is a function of how completely someone has fallen off the low-carb wagon. Any improvement over the standard western diet is likely to reduce the pace of damage and buy people additional time…

    There obviously is a lot more that goes into these sorts of problems. Dental health would be high on my list of other causes, but then that is very negatively impacted by the same factors – excess sugar and flour. The bottom line is that our bodies are not well adapted to foods that are too easily assimilated, which is caused by over processing and over cooking. Too much of such foods for too long will overwhelm various abilities of your body to deal with their unwanted impacts.

  41. I always assumed the apparently fast weight gain when falling into a carb feast was a simple case that repletion of the the glycogen meant a very, very fast uptake of extra water stored.

  42. Hi Dr Eades

    Great blog(s). I spent 4 years trying to lose weight by eating less and exercising more and lost 30 – 45 lbs on a few occasions when I tackled my excess weight aggressively but what I found so gut wrenching was how quickly the weight came back on. I started a LCKD with the idea that I would do this for a month to help kick start my eating less exercising more regime and maybe this time I would be able to keep the weight off if I just tried harder. I went on holidays for two weeks and kept half an eye on the carbs I was eating but the real surprise came when I stepped on the scales after getting home. I was only a few pounds heavier than when I left, it was then that I knew I was on to something that could work for me. Now 18 months on and 75 lbs lighter I can’t believe the journey it’s been.

    Side note:
    I had an interesting conversation with a farmer recently. He was bemoaning the poor summer we had in Ireland and how it has reflected badly in the quality of the grass. He commented that no matter how much of the grass they ate it would not fatten them as it did not have enough sugar in it. This also had a knock on effect on the sillage which in turn would not fatten them either. He then bemoaned the amount of grain that he has had to buy in order to fatten his cattle. I thought it remarkable that a farmer could tell me what and how to fatten his cattle but our health care professionals can’t tell us what makes us fat.

    It was your Metabolism & Ketosis blog post that started this journey for me.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    • Mark, I think health care professionals are able to tell us what is good for us. The problem is, almost no one listens to this advice (maybe the number of people who take health and nutrition seriously increased recently – or it’s just my impression). Diets of some people I know are disaster to happen soon (sadly, it was the case in my family). It will take another generation or two to make people fully aware of dangers of some food and lifestyle.

  43. A couple decades ago I went on a calorie restriction diet and lost 20 pounds. I had lost every pound that I wanted to. But as soon as I loosened my iron grip on my willpower, within days the pounds started rapidly coming back. And then some. As the years passed, I looked back on that pre-diet weight with fondness, because I had gained back the 20 pounds, plus a whole lot more.

    I knew I never wanted to go on a CR diet again. As I recall, I just avoided anything with high calories, so it was probably a low fat diet. I’m guessing I messed up some hormones with that diet, which led to the rapidly ballooning weight.

  44. I will gain 3-5 lbs from a couple days of going 80-100 grams of carbs. I typically eat around 50-65 grams and thats on top of Crossfit and Jiu-jitsu training (with plenty of energy).

    Ian, i’d say the water gain is simply because insulin activates the RAA axis (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone) and the resulting increase in aldosterone levels leads to the kidneys continually reabsorbing sodium. As a result you will retain water to balance out the increased levels of sodium. I think the whole glycogen thing as Dr. Eades said is not significant.

  45. Steve, I do agree that someone who has an inflammatory cascade going on internally will have elevated levels of cholesterol no doubt. Whether it is from excess levels of blood sugar, consumption of gut damaging grains, or just plain old stress. I think its more simple than that in regards to why lipid levels are altered by going on and off a low carb diet.

    The simplest possible answer is that by increasing dietary carbohydrate, you will most definitely be increasing your triglyceride levels, thus inevitably increasing LDL, as triglyceride will eventually end up as LDL. The more LDL you have, the less HDL you will have because it will be tied up handing off cholesterol back to LDL to bring to the liver.

    Add to this the fact that insulin also activates the biosynthesis of cholesterol via activation of srebp 1c. So increased glucose will lead to increased insulin which will most likely lead to a lowered hdl, and elevated vldl and ldl level.

    • That being said, it is surprising to see that the positive lipid changes gained from going on the low carb diet held constant even after the diet was no longer continued……long after….

  46. From a “fuel” standpoint carbs, immediately upon ingesting, are either used for energy, stored as glycogen or stored as fat. If our glycogen levels are full and we live a rather sedentary lifestyle, why would we require any additional “fuel?” The excess carbs would be stored as fat. If we are sedentary we should rely on fat as our main fuel source. What other pathway would require carbs, in the absence of strenuous exercise?

    • This is the big problem with the whole diet industry. Some people seem to lose weight on almost any diet. Or, I guess, a better way of saying it is that no matter what the diet, someone will lose weight on it. This does not mean, however, that said diet is the optimal diet. It also doesn’t mean that the guy who lost weight eating nothing but potatoes or those who lost weight following McDougall’s plan wouldn’t have done much better following low-carb diets. We don’t know because they didn’t follow a low-carb diet.

      In study after study published in peer reviewed journals, subjects following low-carbohydrate diets lose weight faster and achieve better lipid values than subjects following low-fat, high-carb diets. At worst, subjects on low-carb diets do about the same as those on low-fat diets. There now have been numerous studies published comparing dieters on low-carb diets to those on low-fat diets, and I haven’t seen a one in which the low-fat diet has outperformed the low-carb. So, at best, low-carb triumphs, and at worst, it is equal. If I knew nothing but this and was trying to evaluate which diet to follow, I would figure the odds would be much better on the low-carb.

      • The very simple answer to the question posed by Ron is that no matter what you eat, you will lose weight as long as you consume less calories than you consume. However, this isn’t a good way of going about it, because the weight lost can be muscle mass, and a skinny person can easily be less healthy than someone with a slightly high BMI.

        Like Gary Taubes seems fond of pointint out, eating more than you use will make you gain weight. That statement is both completely true, and completely useless. WHY does one consume more than one uses, or use less than one consumes?

        It all has to do with providing the body with the building blocks it needs (and restricting the ones it doesn’t need). If you force yourself to survive on, say, 1300 calories per day you will lose weight whether the calories come from Twinkies, potatoes alone, or steak, fish and broccolo. Unless you are dumb as a brick though, you’ll understand that the last option is the healtier one.

        • A calorie is clearly not a calorie. Taubes says that in his books. If you comsume 1000 calories from twinkies and 1000 calories from broccoli they will have two different outcomes. Thermal effect of food is one thing to consider. In regards to Dr. Eades comments about low-carb vs. high-carb. Studies do show that they are about even but many more factors come into play. If you are obese = low carb works. If you are fit and low body fat = eating more carbs will not only benefit you but might make you more lean. Just depends on the person and activity levels.

  47. If Americans just cut out the junk carbs and constant snacking LC vs. HC vs whatever would not be such an issue. The Japanese and French consume carbs- bread, rice,etc and in general have no issues with weight and have lower incidence of heart disease than we do.
    Most when they go on a diet are reducing carbs, so the issue is more to do with marginality: when carb intake on a daily level exceeds what in grams do we start to see negative returns in terms of increasing our risk of disease?
    What in your view Dr. Eades represents low carb in terms of max daily grams?
    What do you think is a biologically healthy level of Trgs as well?
    Thank you!

      • Thanks for your response: But above what level of daily carb intake do you think will affect health? Above 50? Is there any science to support that?

        • I wrote an article on this a few years back you can access here. I’m not aware of any specific studies that have looked at levels of carbs on a stair step basis. Many years of practice have taught me that keeping carbs in this range brings about the results people are seeking. People are different, though, and I have had patients lose without keeping carbs ratcheted down to below 50 g per day, but, in my experience, that level works for mose.

          • From your article which was informative: Most cells in the body can use glucose or fat or even protein, for that matter, for energy, but certain cells can use glucose only. Those glucose-only cells are some of the cells in the brain, the red blood cells, cells in the kidney and cells in the retina. All these glucose-using cells consume about 120-150 grams of glucose per day (about 3/4 of a cup)

            Based on the above, it would seem to me that if one is at a normal weight will all other blood markers such as A1C, cholesterol, BP good then if you do not exceed the 120-150G range cited above in carb grams then you should be fine, and really do not have to go below 50G.
            Am I concluding correctly? Thank you

          • Yes, you are concluding correctly. As long as you don’t find your blood work, blood pressure and weight going in the wrong direction on that carb level.

  48. Actually, you will lose weight not when you consume less calories than you expend, but when your hormones tell your body to not store fat. It is possible to lose weight by going on a diet with more calories, as long as they are mostly fat, with few carbs. The low-carb diets Dr Mike just blogged about were not calorie restricted. Carbs tell the hormones that it is time to store fat.

  49. I’ve been eating moderately low carb (between 60-100 g net carbs) for 9 months now. The thing about this diet versus any others I’ve tried (low cal, low fat) is that I’m happy to stick with this way of eating forever. My palate has changed after eliminating processed carbs, and my food is delicious and satisfying. I don’t even miss ice cream. It’s too early to tell, but I hope I’m going to buck the trend, and not regain any weight after my “diet” ends.

  50. I think a fundamental problem people have is thinking of a “diet” as a temporary period – six weeks, three months, six months – in which you eat set portions of a proscribed set of foods, during which you lose 10, 15 or 30 lbs., then declare “I have arrived!” and go back to eating the same foods in the same amounts that got you fat in the first place. You will regain the weight, how quickly is really immaterial, plus about 10% because you body builds a pad just in case you go nuts and try to starve yourself again.

    If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to fundamentally change your relationship with food. With knowledge gleaned from Protein Power and Atkins, et al, I lost over 50 lbs (225 -> 170) and have maintained at that weight for over 10 years. I usually eat less than 30 gms of carbs a day. The only carbs I eat are from fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. The rest are mostly from meats, eggs and cheese. Others are from cocoa, nuts, whey, etc. No refined carbs, grains or potatoes.

    My doctor says I am disgustingly healthy (he’s not). I am 59 and can walk 6 miles at a 13 min pace without breathing hard. BP 118/76. Triglycerides in the cellar.

    So the key takeaway in this post is: “that’s God’s way of telling you not to go off of your low-carb diet.”

  51. I like how it is put in the 1958 book Eat Fat and Grow Slim: Carbohydrates fatten fat people. That book doesn’t say that carbohydrates fatten slim people. The reason lots of fat people find help with low carbohydrate diets is because they have a defect in metabolism that a low carbohydrate diet fixes. Other people who may be overweight but not have the defect can lose weight any old way. I used to be able to lose weight with calorie restriction until suddenly I no longer could. A low carbohydrate diet restored my ability to lose weight and gave me better health. I now eat carbohydrates liberally from roots and tubers but I also lift heavy weights and eat a lot of meat. My weight stays steady now because I’m a lady and we don’t gain a lot of muscle from lifting weights. I prefer the foods on a low carb diet to those on a higher carb diet, but I do eat more potatoes now than I used to with no ill-effect that I can see.

    • I have another anecdote:

      I have never really been overweigh, but I have also never been satisfied with my bodycomposition in terms of fat/musclemass ratio. I have been calorie-restricting half my life not really taking notice of what I was eating just making sure I was around 1300-1500 calories per day. This kept me skinny, the way I thought I should be.

      Until a few months ago when I stumbeled upon low carb high fat diets. Reading the disussions online and seeing testimonials, but most of al reading al the research that has gone into this lifestyle made me think, maybe I should try this…

      I did: I have not lost any weight (at 5ft11 and 140 pounds I don’t really have to) But I have lost al lot of fat and a few inches everywhere, I gained a lot of strength and musclemass and I feel a lot healthier en more energized than I used to. I don’t really work out but I walk a lot (about 6 miles per day) and I have still been counting my calories which have gone up to on average 1700-2000 per day. The carbs are what made me skinny-fat (If you don’t know the term google it)
      I think (moderately) low-carb diets should become the Standard Diet.
      I hope this helps data collection!

  52. I simply can’t function when I eat processed carbs. I found your blog about 3 years ago and started LC immediately. Ever since then, when I do binge and eat sugar, wheat, etc., I wheeze, I keep waking up throughout the night, I feel depressed. I need those Breathe Right strips just to breathe properly while asleep. But when I switch back to LC, I sleep through the night, I breathe all night easily through my nose, and I just…feel better.

    It’s a mental thing: Looking at it as a way of life rather than as a diet. Food as medicine rather than entertainment.

    Immediately after beginning LC, I had a terrible visit with my doctor, where A1C was elevated, cholesterol was all wrong, BP was high. 1 year later, A1C was way down, tri’s were halved (to around 50), HDL doubled, and BP is 90/60. She wanted to prescribe statins and a lowfat diet. I ran screaming out of there.

  53. I lost 25 lbs doing phase 1 of South Beach Diet. I started gaining weight back as I incorporated phase 2. I went off all diets when I got pregnant and gained my weight back. I have not been able to lose post preg weight even eating low carb

    • Most Primates are in deep ketosis when pregnant or nursing.
      See:
      Knott, C.
      “Changes in orangutan diet, caloric intake and ketones in response to fluctuating fruit availability.”
      Int J Primatol (1998).19: 1061-1079.

      Next time remember that hunter-gatherer women, who naturally eat low-carb, have between 1/3 and 1/2 the labor during birth than high-carb, agricultural women.

      Ray Audette
      NeanderThin

      • I’d like to know why deep ketosis happens during pregnancy or nursing in primates.
        My personal experience was weight gain during and after pregnancy which took some time to loose. Things then went well until menopause 2 years ago and that seems to have set off an IR problem where I can’t even look at a carb. The LC helps me maintain my weight not loose it really. I know that estrogen and progesterone levels must a factor and would be interested if post menopausal women can do something to balance things out.

  54. The first time I followed a low-carb eating plan 20 years ago, I lost 65 lb effortlessly in less than four months. I started exercising and tore tendons doing ab exercises. I used the “down time” as an excuse to indulge and, as one might expect, gained it all back plus 20 lb.

    I tried again 10 years later and lost all of those 85 lb. After a couple years of a daily max of approx 60g of carbs, I grew frustrated with the way of eating, went off the diet permanently, and ballooned to 120 lb overweight.

    Now I’ve finally reached a compromise. I have found I can consume between 100 to 120g of carbs per day and still lose weight, albeit very slowly. This may sound like blasphemy to some low-carb enthusiasts, but the generous allowance encourages me to stay on track. It might take me a few years to reach my goal, but I like to tell people, “At least I will die trying.”

    It seems to me the real question is WHY do people veer from their low-carb way of eating if it’s proven to work for them? Isn’t that where the REAL research is? It’s as though for me, the biochemical reaction from overconsumption of carbohydrates is akin to drug/alcohol addiction: The more I consume, the more I want/need to consume; especially when I “go off” my diet.

    • “WHY do people veer from their low-carb way of eating if it’s proven to work for them?”

      Too much societal pressure and too much temptation.

      High carb foods today are like smoking was in the 1950s. Everyone one did it. Cigarettes were everywhere and advertised constantly. I was a little kid then, and I can still remember every cigarette jingle because the tobacco companies sponsored half the shows on TV.

      Now there is no tobacco advertising, and smokers are treated like pariahs. Makes it really easy to not smoke and to stay quit.

      Today carbs are advertised everywhere, all the time. And TV is loaded with cooking shows, most of which show you how to cook high-carb foods. There is no stigma to eating carbs. In fact, it is encouraged. Then you’ve got Dr. Oz and the rest of his ilk actually recommending the consumption of a primarily carb diet.

      So it’s really easy for people to stray from a low-carb diet even if they feel lousy after.

      • “Too much societal pressure and too much temptation”
        Soo true
        I would also add: Lack of available options. Your always have to plan ahead and bring food for lunch, snack…

      • No need to publish my reply, but thank you, Dr. Eades. I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of it.

        Luckily, I really can eat around 100g of carbs per day and still lose weight. Unfortunately, I’m acquainted with a lot of people who can’t go above 60, even 40. It must be really difficult for them, when you take into account our carb-driven society.

        No matter what, I continue to read your and your wife’s blogs. They do help me.

        Have a good holiday! Lee

      • This post was very interesting and finally I get the answer voor me and my clients. I now understand why is there so much weight gain after a birthdayparty or a party at all if you only comsume a few slices of cake, some chips and Doritos and of course some wine and/of cocktail’s. it’s all carbohydrate and if you allow your self to eat some carbohydrates because is a party then you wil go on and it then is very difficult to stop.
        Thank you for explain so much in your blog.
        Best regards,
        Eam from the Netherlands .

    • My belief is that people go off low-carb diets because of chemical addictions. The chemicals in foods, not just carbs, are like drugs. The same way an addict has a hard time getting off drugs, it is hard to restrict the body from having certain foods that it is used to having.

      I’ve never been on a diet before. The key is allowing myself to have things in moderation that I periodically crave. Fresh fruit is my main source of carbs throughout the week and I may reward myself on the weekend with something in the bread/pasta group, or a homemade dessert. This keeps me from binging.

      What has worked for me is lean meats, beans, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional whole grains. I think people probably experience the most weight gain with complex carbs (i.e. potatoes, breads and pastas). Of course, if your’e coming off a low-carb diet, you’re more than likely going to overeat because you’ve deprived yourself for so long, which may explain why the weight gain is higher.

      A good resource I use is http://www.whfoods.com (world’s healthiest foods). It lists several foods, their nutrition facts, and why they are considered healthy.

      Overall, the thing that has worked for me is maintaining a balanced diet, exercise and proper rest. I’ve maintained this lifestyle for 3 years. I am 27 years old, 5’8, 160 lbs and ~6-8% body fat. The balance works!!!

    • Cost is also a factor. Nothing is cheaper than rice and ramen noodles for people with money problems. And many people with weight problems also have money problems. I did PP for five years before financial problems forced me to live cheaper. I lost a fair amount of weight in the first few months, gained some of it back immediately thereafter, and my weight has been stable for the seven years since leaving PP.

  55. Great points about carbs vs. cigarettes. If carb-eating was as shunned as cigarettes, and people actually looked down on carb-eaters the way they look down on smokers, I bet a lot of people would quit. If they took away carb-eating from airplanes, if entire cities designated all public establishments be “No-carb zones”, if companies forced all carbs to be consumed out on the sidewalk during breaks, while the non-carb eaters walked around in disgust….well I bet we’d have a heckuva lot easier time staying LC.

  56. I know that it’s not the question that you asked, but I’ve never been particularly overweight, lost or gained back, so I don’t have direct experience.

    Could it be reasonable to think that a body that has had a prolonged experience with a lowered insulin resistance has temporarily lost the capacity and desire to reject additional sugars, and is more apt to store them as fat? Your body may regain that insulin resistance within weeks or months (which isn’t really a good thing), but in the immediate term is likely to store excess sugars as fat.

    Evolutionarily, your body reacts as in a carbohydrate-rich environment (spring & summer), and expects that a carbohydrate-low environment (fall & winter) will soon return. It would make sense to store fat, since it expects lean-times to return.

  57. I think it’s more about education. Just like we’re taught at a young age that candy will ruin our teeth we need to teach youngsters about how carbs affect the body.
    It should be taught in the schools starting in pre school.

    Also, if people stick to a high fat, moderate protein diet they will not be tempted by the carbs that are ever present.

    I’m a wellness coach and trainer. I have my clients on an ultra low carb diet during the week with one evening of a re feed of anything they want. After a few weeks they are sick and tired of carbs and it’s even hard to get them down. It’s a sustainable diet. I also base it around whole foods with a Paleo template. My clients are so full from all the wholesome good fats from grass fed meats and coconut products that there is no room for carbs! And their pants are dropping off!!

    On this diet I prescribe to my clients it’s very easy to stay on it without having to pack all your food if that’s not an option. During the day your eating fat/protein/and green fibrous veggies. Your daily net carbs stay below 30 grams. If you choose to have any carbs you do it at night, and stick to healthy choices like yams and sweet potatoes.
    One night a week you go all out. Although there may be a calorie deficit during the week, you make up for that with the ‘carbnite”. It all balances out. You teach your body to burn ketones for fuel and have fun eating fat! Very sustainable. Burgers are easy to come by in any city!

    Education is the key, and it’s up to us to have schools incorporate into the curriculum, like some schools I know of in San Francisco are doing, on how to use carb and sugars appropriately in the diet.

    The book i have my client by is here:
    You can read the first 4 chapters.
    It really changes their life.

    Hope it’s ok to put this link. I’m an affiliate, as my friend is the author of the book. I’ve been living this lifestyle for over 20years. He’s backed up living a low carb life with pure scientific research in this book.

    Debby:)

    • I’ve removed the affiliate link from your post. Readers of this blog, if interested, can find the book at the website or at Amazon.com.

      If I let you put up an affiliate link, I will have everyone and his brother wanting to do the same. Hope you understand.

      I haven’t read the book myself nor have I heard of it other than in your post, so I can’t recommend one way or another.

      • Thanks for the feedback. Good to know. I don’t ever want to be considered a spammer!! Thanks for your information. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to read the book. You can find podcasts also at DHKiefer on Soundcloud. He just did a great one with Robb Wolfe of Paleo Solution, and likewise on Robb’s podcast.
        Happy Holiday and enjoy your low carb life! I know I do!!

        DebbyK:)

          • Thank you for responding to your posts. I’m enjoying reading through you blog. I look forward to talking again. If you do get around to reading Carbnite I’d be interested in your opinion of it.
            Debby:)

          • i am responding to your question, are carbs more fattening than other foods. as we know, we lose weight with low carb dieting quickly; water weight. i believe i read somewhere that, for every gram you eat of carbs you store 7 grams of water… think of how quickly we gain weight when we go off the diet, and yes doc we do gain it back quickly…. alot of it is water….

  58. I must say my experience has been just the opposite. For the last eight years I have been eating less than 20 g of carbs a day. I very much enjoy this diet but my cholesterol shot from 180 from before to 340 where it has hovered for 8 years.
    Obviously, it did not matter that much to me since I stick to my diet but it matters to my doctor who warns me every time I get a blood test.

  59. Yes, i had him do the VAP test and of course the particles were the fluffy type, triglycerides low, BP 110/65, body fat 9.5 %, regular exercise. These were my arguments and my doctor, brain washed as most of them are, is not unreasonable and left my alone after initially suggesting statins, which I would have never accepted. He retired now and so I will have to go through the same thing with my new doctor.
    It is curious though that my cholesterol went in the opposite direction. My diet is about 70% fat, 30% protein and close to zero carbs. I am doing very well on this, colds, flues pretty much nonexistent and I have never felt better in my life, well, perhaps when I was a kid.

      • Please let me know what you think. Kiefer is a friend of mine. Exceptionally smart person. Would love to hear your thoughts. I’ve been living this low carb life for over 20 years and have been studying all this good stuff for even longer. Actually started becoming interested in mitochondria as a 15 year old competitive swimmer!!
        I don’t know how I stumbled upon your website, but I’m hoping to keep the connection.
        Do you have Linked In and Facebook, Twitter?

  60. After leaving the low-carb diet routine, I counted calories. I ate more of a wide variety of foods. But I counted calories. So I didn’t gain weight. In fact, using Weight Watchers to keep myself watching my limits, I lost weight.

  61. I have lived a low carb lifestyle for 12 or 13 years now. I can’t believe that I have actually lost count. I enjoy this lifestyle and now that I am in my fifties, I made it not just a low carb way of life, it is now a ketogenic way of life. I ‘ve increased my fat intake by adding coconut oil, flax oil, butter, cream. I try to eat protein from animals that have been raised in a healthy environment ( pastured, grassfed ). I practice intermittent fasting. I love this food. I think that people who have a difficult time sticking to it are not aware of all of the food possibilities. I like my occasional cakes and cookies. I enjoy candy. There is nothing that cannot be made when we crave an indulgence. We just have to look beyond the box. I made German chocolate cake for Thanksgiving and it turned out so well that I am taking it to a pot luck party this week.I discovered a low glycemic sweetener that is not only carb freindly but it helps to keep my blood glucose stable. It is coconut crystals, also known as coconut sugar aka palm sugar. The taste and texture is similar to brown sugar. I have tested it with my glucometer and my blood glucose barely jumps up 15 points. I did a little research on it because I speculated that it was a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is what I use to keep my blood glucose stable. From what I’ve read, it does have magnesium.

    I look forward to the second half of my life as a low carber/paleo chick. Thanks for being a part of my journey Dr. Eades.

  62. “Then you’ve got Dr. Oz and the rest of his ilk actually recommending the consumption of a primarily carb diet.”

    Then there are the local doctors. The other day I was at the hairdresser and I overheard a woman talking about her friend, who has/had been on South Beach Diet. The friend’s doctor said to her, “Drink more coffee, and EAT SOME BREAD!!!”

  63. I’ve been eating low-carb for past 6 years after losing 80 lbs. I haven’t gained more than 10 lbs whenever I eat more carbs than I should. Seems like each time I gain, it doesn’t take long; but it takes longer to lose each time. I never let my weight go up more than 10 lbs and I go back to strict low-carb to lose it again. Unfortunately, I always vow not to gain the dreaded 10 lbs again, but it occasionally happens, particularly around the holidays.

  64. I have been an advocate of low to no carbs for a while. I lost 15 pounds in 3 months while keeping my total caloric intake the same (~2100 kcal). All I did was remove carbs and enter ketosis. The evidence is in favor of low carbs but the industry thrives on producing high carb food. Cheap and easy to produce.

  65. Pingback: Wednesday’s WOD
  66. Ohhhhh….how I WISH I could get my husband to read this ‘stuff’….I read PROTEIN POWER in the 90’s and became a believer!!! I am STILL a believer, but did veer from “the way’.” However, my husband is nearing diabetes (has been border line for a year or more) and dr’s visit yesterday proved sugar levels are too high. Our small town dr. wanted to go ahead and “put him on medicine” to which he said, “No…let me try to lower it one more time with exercise.” BUT, the only diet involved is “cut out all white food…white rice, potatoes white bread.” My husband DOES check labels for sugar, but he can’t/won’t ‘get it’ that all carbs TURN to sugar….I logged on to your website to make sure all your research and YOU (lol!!) are still current and plan to recommend it to my/our dr. so that MAYBE, just MAYBE he could become educated…I am seriously considering your “6-week” cure because I AM middle-aged!!! I assume I will have to say “good-bye” to my morning, yummy oatmeal…boohoo!! Have enjoyed all the “read” this morning!! Love the way you actually respond to your readers’ comments, Dr. Meade….I guess that’s what a ‘blog’ is all about!!!

  67. Hey Jan, (I hope Dr Mike doesn’t mind me adding this long bit — but here is how I answered one of my “list-ladies” (I run a dating/mating/marrying advice list, and we got off topic…):

    Jennifer (my list-lady) wrote:
    This is how I make mine [breakfast]. I take a packet of instant oatmeal, a few tablespoons of frozen organic blueberries, a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed, and add enough skim milk to cover it, then microwave for 2 min. Then I add a little Smart Bran cereal and a few crumbled small Shredded Wheat squares.

    I answered her:
    Oh good lord — you could hardly be making it WORSE! Here’s the glycemic index (GI)/carb count of your breakfast “foods”:

    Remember: straight TABLE SUGAR GI = 58-65 (1tsp has 4.2 g carb).

    Skim milk — glycemic index is 32 — it’s the least bad thing you’re having; and it’s pretty bad! (one cup = 11.9 g carb)

    Instant oatmeal: 66 (higher than plain sugar! Let me say that again: **HIGHER** GI than straight table sugar!) (one pkt = 28 g carb)

    Blueberries: 40 (1.5 oz / 3 TBS = 4.1 g carb)

    Flaxseed: 3TBS= 8.3 g carb (can’t find GI on a quick scan; but carbs go directly to blood glucose)

    Smart Bran cereal: 3TBS = ~3.3g carb (carbs go directly to blood glucose) I can’t find GI of that brand on a quick scan, however GI of similar cereals: All Bran 51, Bran Flakes 74, Raisin Bran 73, Special K 54;).

    Shredded wheat: 67 (higher than plain sugar! Let me say that again: **HIGHER** than straight table sugar!) (1.5 oz / 3 TBS = 28.5 g carb! I just double checked this, it’s actually correct for just 3 TBS!)

    So, you’re having a boatload of *SUGAR* for breakfast. You are so not having a healthy breakfast, you’re having a lovely bowl of sugar! Lots and lots of sugar!! (Of course it tastes great! We love sugar!) But, how about your health? How’s your pancreas doing, pouring out the insulin to try to manage your skyrocketing post-breakfast blood glucose levels?

    How’s your daily blood glucose level — are you damaging the capillaries in your eyeballs!? Well, of course you are — you’re having a ton of sugar for breakfast every damned day!! (You do not have to be diabetic to do serious damage to your eyeballs and your liver and all the rest of your organs! Do you know they’ve started calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 diabetes,” — because it seems to be a problem with glucose management in the brain?!)

    Your total carb count in grams for this “healthy” breakfast is: 11.9 + 28 + 4.1 + 8.3 + 3.3 + 28.5 = 84 g carb. (EIGHTY FOUR GRAMS!!) which is just over 0.4 cup of straight sugar! Do you intend to eat 6.4 teaspoons of sugar for breakfast? Is that healthy?

    Let me stress this again (from Dr William Davis’s blog):
    ================
    If you are not diabetic and have a fasting blood sugar in the “normal” range (<100 mg/dl), you will typically have a 1-hour [post-meal] blood glucose of 150-180 mg/dl — very high. … Blood sugars this high, experienced repetitively, will damage the delicate insulin-producing beta cells of your pancreas (glucose toxicity). It also glycates ["gums-up"] proteins of the eyes and vascular walls. The blood glucose effects of oatmeal really don't differ much from a large Snickers bar or bowl of jelly beans.
    ================
    and
    ================
    Oatmeal yields high blood sugars. Even if your fasting blood sugar is 90 mg/dl, a bowl of oatmeal with skim milk, walnuts, and some berries will yield blood sugars of 150-200 mg/dl in many people.
    ================
    and
    ================
    Check your blood sugar after a low-glycemic index food like oatmeal. Most non-diabetic adults will show blood sugars in the 140 to 200 mg/dl range. …. Repeated high blood sugars of 125 mg/dl or greater after eating increase heart disease risk by 50%.
    ================

    Think about this.
    from: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/sugar-and-sweeteners/a-spoonful-of-sugar/
    ===================
    Since one teaspoon contains 5 grams, the 4.95 grams of sugar in the blood of a person just short of being pre-diabetic equals a little less than one teaspoon. If you run all these calculations for a blood sugar of 80 mg/dl, which is a much healthier blood sugar than the 99 mg/dl one that is knocking on the door of pre-diabetes, it turns out to be about 4/5 of a teaspoon.

    What really gets kind of scary is when you look at the amount of carbohydrate in, say, a medium order of McDonald's fries compared to the sugar in your blood. Remember, it is the job of your digestive tract to breakdown the starch and other complex carbohydrates, which are nothing more than chains of sugar molecules, into their component sugars so that they can be absorbed into the blood. An order of medium fries at McDonald's contains 47 grams of carbohydrate. 47 grams of carbohydrate converts to about 47 grams of sugar, which is almost 10 teaspoons. So, when you eat these fries you put 10 times more sugar into your blood than that required to maintain a normal blood sugar level. If you figure, as we did above, that one quarter of a teaspoon is all the difference between a normal blood sugar and a diabetic blood sugar, the 10 full teaspoons would be 40 times that amount.
    ===================

    And Dr. Mike elsewhere:
    ===================
    As I've written about before, the entire amount of glucose we have circulating through us if we have a normal blood sugar level is around 4 grams, a little less than one teaspoon. If we eat a medium-sized baked potato, we ingest about 50 grams of glucose (potato starch is made of pure glucose), which is more than ten times the amount regularly circulating in our blood.
    ===================

    Please please please!! Go to Wal-Mart and buy the Relion glucometer and some test strips (less than $25 for the whole kit) — and learn how your body is ACTUALLY handling the crap "food" you're giving it!!

    Hope this helps you awaken your recalcitrant husband! Mine had just (finally!) started to ameliorate his diet, when he died at age 60 of a heart attack. DON'T WAIT!

    • Actually wouldn’t that be 6.4 TABLESPOONS? At rougly 4g of carbs per tsp of sugar 84g of carbs would be the equivalent of 21 teaspoons of sugar (and there’s 16 TBS in one cup so a little under 8 TBS in .4 cup)

      • and since the number is actually close to 5g per tsp (not 4g – I forget they like to round it down) that’s closer to 17 teaspoons. But I think at those numbers the difference is moot.

  68. I always thought the issue was that low carb so quickly resets insulin sensitivity, low fat – not so much. Post diet, the body is no longer able to hold off the insulin, the whole cascade is reset, liver makes fats from sugar ever better, fat cells welcome new fat with open arms, etc. It would also explain possibly why the lipids are improved over time – low carb enables healing (insulin sensitivity restored), and has a long term benefit on metabolism. I don’t know specifically that low carb improves insulin sensitivity, but since it works so rapidly on trigs and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome, I have made the assumption about insulin sensitivity. Thoughts?

  69. I haven’t tried many diets, but had the most success with Paleo, which I believe is pretty close to a very low protein diet. I didn’t do it long term because I started it at a bad time. I’m restarting a similar diet now. As a Dallas Therapist in private practice, my life has become more sedentary. I do like exercise, but have found that in the last two years, losing weight has become much more difficult. I’m currently not looking to because quite as thin, as much as I want to maintain my current weight and then lose fat. It seems counter-intuitive to lose fat by eating fat, but I’m becoming a believer. I have just started and am at a point where this will work better. I’m learning as I go along how much sugar we consume.

    • “I haven’t tried many diets, but had the most success with Paleo, which I believe is pretty close to a very low protein diet.”

      Do you mean “low-carb” rather than “low-protein”?

      Paleo can be low carb or not, depending on how you practice it. Some Paleo folks include lots of sweet potatoes and fruits, for example.

      “Paleo” is a way of eating based on people’s guesses about our ancestors’ way(s) of eating. In the early days of Paleo, it looked a good deal like Protein Power in terms of macronutrients (moderate protein, high fat, low carb). But these days when someone says they eat Paleo, it may not tell you much about their macronutrient profile.

  70. I would posit that the reason for going “off” the low carb eating is due to the “addiction” (if you will) to sugars.

    alcohol turns to sugar in the blood stream. carbs turn to sugars, extra stored becomes fat, etc.

    it’s almost like “binging” then going through the purging.

    what most likely needs to work in conjunction with carb reducing is the type of protein followed by the shift in thinking.

    remarkably, the protein consumption can assist in this altering of one’s thinking. the less “control” people live in their lives, the more freedom. this sense of internal freedom gives rise to people no longer “controlling” their diet but actually making healthier choices, naturally.

      • what should’ve been clarified was that alcohol and sugar have a similar effect which leads many alcoholics to crave sugar (carbs) when they get off the drink. it can also lead some sugar addicts to move on to alcohol. althought not always and not as likely.

        The body metabolizes alcohol and sugar in nearly the same way.

        the carb is the common denominator in both cases and the liver processes both of them, although it will give rise to processing the alcohol first over the “sugar”.

        it is likely the research presented when I was in my studies in college for alcohol addiction counseling, has been updated. so it’s helpful to have someone point to new information.

        if you have links to such I’m sure myself and others are inclined to value the updating of such.

  71. The quick answer to your question is, “NO.”

    Carbohydrates are not fattening. The experience of billions of people attest to that. But let me name a few signal examples:

    Japanese
    Chinese
    Okinawans
    Greeks
    Kitavans
    Pima Indians before SAD

    • There is much more going on than just diet. All these people you are using as an example have considerably different lifestyles than we do. Stress, activity levels, food preparation etc. can have considerable influences in why we “fatten” up.
      It does seem that we (Western Society) are struggling with carbs. Perhaps it’s the refined foods we over consume. The poor food preparation we use. Our sedentary lifestyle. Our stress management, or lack thereof.
      On a purely physiological level, carbs are either used for energy, and either stored as glycogen and or fat, shortly after ingestion.

  72. @diana,

    Yesterday, I was leafing through an old (Nov. 11) magazine that predicted that China would raise 479 million head of hogs during 2012. It would be a logical assumption that China also would be raising beef, poultry, and other meats. There’s been a lot of discussion on these low-carb blogs through the years, dispelling the myths that the peoples you named ate mostly carbs with just a very small amount of meat. Probably some people did. But it’s unlikely that all did.

    • true. And all but the Greeks and Pima Indians are tiny people. Way below the average height for male and female. And when human went high agra we lost a good chunk of average height. Heck, our average age was just as bad in 1900 as it was in paleo times (possibly a little lower). We have only in the last century brought that up. Unfortunately, we might be living longer but we’re aging faster and the quality of life after 40 heads downhill. I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

      • Hi, Heather. I’ve been thinking about your comment that the quality of life heads downhill after 40. It’s hard to know how people’s health today compares to any previous time. My feeling is that we’ve made some real strides in reducing some communicable diseases, and there are some miraculous procedures/surgeries available now that greatly improve the lives of some people. On the other hand, my impression is that medicine has been very busy generating new ailments, so that we have a lot of people subjected to drugs, tests, procedures, doctor visits, and the like, that do nothing but diminish a person’s quality of life.

  73. Hi Dr. Eades :)

    I love sweet potatoes, but when I eat them very often I gain a “softer appearance” and have central weight gain.

    An extremely carb rich diet packs on the pounds with me pretty fast.

    I think Gary nailed it with the carb ceiling that everybody has. it is different for different people.

    Then again, I also love salmon and steak which are low carb staples. I have to monitor my sweet potatoe consumption. LOL !

    Wishing you the best !

    Raz

  74. I agree with everything you say. I lose weight the fasted and easiest while on a low carb diet and quickly gain it back when I go off it. Now I follow Paleo all the time to maintain my weight.

  75. Great post. Thank you.

    I find that if I slip from my low-carb ways, the weight gain is very rapid, but so is the initial weight loss when I return back to my usual lifestyle. This is due to fluid retention clearly visible in my face, hands (i.e. slim fingers vs. sausage fingers) and ankles. Without carb induced fluid retention and stomach troubles I am undoubtedly some 2-3 kg lighter simply because of that.

  76. I’ve just done an unintentional experiment myself. I called it December (or, in America, The Holiday Season). It involved chocolate, shortbread, cookies, cake, scones with jam (yum), hot cider, whiskey (damn fine single malt Speyside whiskey- I’m not sorry) , Christmas pudding and more chocolate. Actually a frightening amount of chocolate. I gorged.

    The result? Take a wild guess! 10lbs on over about a month of this happy debauchery. That’s about the rate I was losing when I was in keto. I had maintained a roughly 110lb weight loss for around 10 months prior to Christmas, by staying largely grain, sugar and starch free. My weight would fluctuate by 5lb or so, but never shot off wildly until December happened.

    Back on very low carb again now and happy to report the scale is moving in the right direction. Still weaning myself off needing everything super-sweet thought- I’ve been practically mainlining artificial sweeteners since the sugar’s been banished, but I’ll get there. My first unsweetened coffee-with-cream today!

    But the real benefit? I just feel so much better without sugar and wheat in my diet. I almost needed that shameless pig-out and the fall out (breaking out in spots, bad PMT and period pain, mood swings, the weight gain) to remind me how great I feel when low carb and eating clean. Having dumped the vast majority of my excess weight, and knowing what to do to get it under control, I am not so utterly focused on and obsessed with the scale anymore. I just feel better. I win! :)

  77. On NPR’s main page today they are running “What’s Wrong With Calling Obesity A Disease?” It reminded me of your post from years ago comparing today’s acceptance of eating grain-based carb-rich foods to yesterdays acceptance of smoking (“A toxic environment”). So many people are being led down the “fat is bad” path and are completely clueless about what a healthy diet really is.

    Seductive carb-loaded food is everywhere in supermarkets in attractive packaging. The marketing is intense. Is it any wonder we’re a nation of fatties?

  78. Dr. Oz was recently promoting a “safe” detox diet. Fish/chicken, green leafy vegetables, some fruit, coconut milk/oil, … No grains. No sugar. He was so impressed that people lost weight on this plan. Hmmm. Sounds like that “dangerous” low carb diet to me.

  79. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So Dr Oz can accidently hit on something right once in a while since he doesn’t seem to discriminate much.

  80. What I find incredible is that Dr Oz can have all these wildly different latest-and-greatest diets year after year, and people still fall all over his latest scheme!

  81. The best dietary advice is still the oldest one best expressed as Genesis 2:17 [ although it predates the Bible having first appeared in The Epic of Gilgamesh].

    “Do not eat anything that requires technology ( Tree of Knowledge in old English) to be edible ( Tov in Hebrew)”.

    Without technology, grains, beans, potatoes, the milk of other species and refined sugars are not edible to any species of Primate.

    • @ray In Japan some monkeys became very famous because of eating potatoes RAW and washing them with salt water for the taste. What you state does not make any sense “refined sugars are not edible”? So why even a little baby smiles at the first tatse of sweet. Instinct?
      Furthermore FIRE is technology and without fire we would not eat much would we. You need more technology to cook and eat meat than to drink a cow’s milk imo…which you can do barehanded if you have a good relationship with her :-)
      I think your bible’s quote was talking about apple and Eve and not technology, sort of. :-)

  82. Fascinating subject. My best friend lost 30 pounds low carbing and kept it off for two years. When she added carbs back to her diet she gained 60 pounds in two months! This quick regain frightened me away from low carb diets for years. And I know I am not alone. Who wants to become so carb sensitive? Does your body’s ability to process carbs just completely deteriorate? What is going on with such rapid regain? It seems to me that it does not indicate a state of health!

    • It would seem to me that the rapid regain with carbs would confirm the notion that carbs make you fat. If one regains with carbs faster than anything else, it means something. Going on a low-carb diet does not hinder the body’s ability to deal with carbs over the long run – it can for a bit in the short run. But that’s just over a matter of days.

    • Maybe certain people simply do not utilize carbs efficiently, which seems to be my problem. Just a few (and I mean very few) causes me to blimp up.

      Read THE DIABETIC SOLUTION by Dr. Robert Bernstein).

  83. I’m wondering if the increased weight gain after going off a low carb diet is connected to insulin resistance. One could assume that someone that starts a low carb diet is overweight to begin with and being such more than likely is also insulin resistant.

    Someone on a low carb diet lowers their metabolism and loses weight but we don’t know if the insulin resistance that caused them to be overweight in the first place is affected. If there is no change in insulin resistance then it would make sense that adding carbs back into the diet causes them to put on weight quickly.

    Kind of like a heavy drinker that stops drinking for awhile. If he takes a drink after not drinking for a year or so he would be much more sensitive to the alcohol and wouldn’t be able to drink as much as he used to without passing out.

  84. I’ve decided to start a low carb diet recently. Since menopause I really haven’t had any problems losing weight with a balanced diet but recently it doesn’t seem to be working. I do eat a lot of “bad” carbs so I plan on cutting out as many as possible and see if it helps, although I know I’ll never be able to give them up 100%. I’ll be sticking to vegetables and some fruits for my carbs.

  85. Three years on carb restriction, my weight still is about 50 pounds under what I weighed when I began. About 6 months ago I decided I could have butternut squash or sweet potatoes several time a month as side dish at dinner: I limited my consumption to not more than 1/2 cup and gained 10 pounds in about 8 weeks. I stopped eating starchy veggies and gradually slimmed back to size 6 jeans. I’m rarely hungry, try generally to keep my calories low but do not count calories OR carb grams, simply eat when I’m hungry. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat.

  86. Yeah it does seem that carbohydrates are to blame for people getting fat, however I think a big part of that is also the lifestyle. People now days just sit all day and don’t do much else. In other countries where carbs make up a larger percentage of the diet than in the “Western world” people are slimmer. And our ancestors also probably had a larger percentage of carbs in their diets than we do and were slimmer.
    http://gainweightjournal.com/what-are-carbohydrates/