Low Carb Diets II

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 is specifically targeted towards preventing obesity. The previous food guide pyramid from 1992 emphasized a reduction in saturated fats to prevent heart disease. With an estimated 300 million worldwide expected to be afflicted with Type 2 diabetes in the near future, mostly due to obesity, we have a new priority. The guidelines recommend a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, low in fat, and low in sugar. The latter recommendation was especially contentious with the food industry.

As expected, low carbohydrate diets like the Atkins diet were not held in high regard. However, there really isn’t overly strong evidence that they are unhealthy and in some cases they have been found to actually lower blood lipid levels! As a weight loss measure, low carb diets do seem to work although keeping that weight off is another matter as I discussed previously.

The Atkins idea is that carbohydrates make you fat. When you eat carbohydrates they get broken down to glucose (except fructose) which then triggers an insulin response. Insulin allows muscles to uptake and burn glucose (instead of fat). At the same time it suppresses the release of free fatty acids from adipocytes (fat cells). Thus when insulin levels are low, the muscles mostly burn fat (except during exercise). Glucose is thus spared for the brain which cannot burn fat. This much is true. However, Atkins also claims that when insulin levels drop after a meal, you get a strong hunger response. The data is not so clear on this point.

To make up for the lack of carbohydrates, you must eat more protein and a lot more fat. Thus low carb diets are high fat diets. The traditional Inuit diet is an Atkins diet. When you begin a low carb diet, the first thing that happens is that you get depleted of your glycogen (which is the body’s only store of carbohydrates). This is accompanied by a loss of water so you lose a lot of weight quickly. Your body then goes into a state of ketosis where the liver makes ketones. The brain only burns glucose or ketones. No one knows if maintaining ketosis for prolonged periods of time is detrimental. The fact that the Inuit did it for generations probably means it’s okay.

There may be other reasons for why the Atkins diet works. For one, the diet does limit calories. Secondly, there is some data that shows that restricting food choices can result in eating less. Thirdly, until recently, there were very few snacks that are low in carbs. Finally, the quick weight loss in glycogen and water may motivate people to stay on the diet.
However, people do eventually give up and the weight inevitably returns after two years.

I personally think, from a health point of view, that controlling the total amount of calories consumed is more important than the composition of the diet. If you are in energy balance, you will basically burn everything you eat so it doesn’t really matter if it is mostly fat or carbs. When you overeat, you are going to store that extra energy as fat. The data shows that losing just a little bit of weight can greatly reduce insulin resistance which is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Exercise also seems to confer benefits that go beyond the extra calories burned. So although eating lots of fruits and vegetables is probably good for you, if eating pork rinds helps you lose weight, then stick with that.

6 thoughts on “Low Carb Diets II

  1. Nice post. I have found that simply staying with low fat and high fiber foods weight is no problem. I stay with chicken and turkey and fish, rather than red meat. Also, the high carbohydrate grains I eat are generally organic and high fiber. Organic white bread at Whole Foods has more than twice the fiber of processed whole wheat bread. Whole Food organic breads are excellent. Kashi cereals can be very high in fiber and protein. Lots of vegatables and fruit. The formula low fat and high fiber, seems to work perfectly for me. Also, for whatever reason, I take vitamins and minerals.Anne


  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/27/magazine/27FOOD.html?pagewanted=all&position=The Way We Eat: Tex MacsBy AMANDA HESSER If you walk into Chipotle on 34th Street in Manhattan at lunchtime, you will have to wait in line. Behind a counter, workers assemble burritos and tacos — and nothing else — in an impressively streamlined production line. Fresh tortillas are heated on a griddle, then piled with fillings like rice flecked with fresh cilantro, naturally raised Niman Ranch pork and organic beans. Burritos, good-tasting if bulky, are rolled by the hundred. The riotous crowd of lunchgoers sits at steel-topped tables on plywood chairs; rock music pours from speakers. It’s not just a busy day in a busy city restaurant; it’s also a chance to witness — and taste — a shift in American fast food. This past week, Chipotle opened its 419th store, on Varick Street in Manhattan. Nearly a hundred more will open this year. And while this may be a triumph for the increasing number of diners interested in healthful, sustainable food, there is a strange twist: Chipotle’s majority investor is McDonald’s. To some people, it might seem like justice that a progenitor of trans fats would appear to be repenting for its supersize sins, but it’s not. ”Fast casual” restaurants like Chipotle, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Panera Bread have experienced steady growth over the past few years. McDonald’s may be simply hedging its bets against its own seemingly bleak future. Just a few years ago, the lone hope for fast food was In-N-Out Burger, a small West Coast chain that has acted as a model of what fast food can be — made of wholesome ingredients, freshly but quickly prepared. It was the anti-McDonald’s, but it has remained a wee competitor, with just 189 locations, compared with the 13,700 McDonald’s in America. Good fast food, it seemed, simply couldn’t compete with the giants. And yet, In-N-Out won many fans, including Steve Ells, the C.E.O. of Chipotle. Ells started Chipotle in 1993 after working as a line cook at Stars in San Francisco. Smitten with the local taquerias, Ells opened the first shop in Denver. Chipotle (pronounced, like the dried, smoked jalapeño, chi-POAT-lay) was an unexpected hit….Anne


  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/01/business/01chefs.html?position=&adxnnl=1&8hpib=&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1109725234-edV5e78t18ZemwbtMPiPXQBusman's Holiday, Famous Chef EditionBy JANE L. LEVERE What do famous chefs have for breakfast when they travel? Oatmeal, mostly. For lunch? Something light, perhaps grilled fish or an egg salad sandwich on whole-wheat toast. For a quick bite? A Whopper and fries will do nicely.Yes, when they are on the road, the stars of restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and Daniel in Manhattan eat pretty much like you and me before 8 p.m.After 8 p.m., they get serious. They are adept at finding the best local restaurants, even in out-of-the-way villages, and they tuck into the foie gras and grilled turbot with gusto. But in general, they prefer simplicity at breakfast and lunch.That early in the day, “I don’t want an intellectual meal where you have to engage your critical facilities,” said Patrick O’Connell, the chef at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va. “I only wish to engage these once a day, at night. The rest of the time I like to be normal. It can be exhausting listening to your inner voice analyzing the food you’re consuming.” Some chefs do indulge in elaborate breakfasts from time to time. Daniel Boulud, the chef at Daniel and restaurants elsewhere, prepares a fancy breakfast for his family on special occasions that includes scrambled eggs garnished with chives and grated lemon zest, accompanied by steamed Yukon gold or German Butterball potatoes, plus smoked salmon or caviar served with crème fraîche. But for breakfast on the road, Mr. Boulud is content with granola, plain yogurt, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee. “Granola’s much healthier than a croissant,” said Mr. Boulud, a native of Lyon, France. Plain old cereal was the most cited choice of the 10 chefs interviewed for this article (most of whom work at two or more restaurants). Thomas Keller of French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., brings instant oatmeal in a bag for breakfast on business trips. “It’s a healthy fast food,” he said. Gray Kunz, the chef of Café Gray in Manhattan, favors Irish oatmeal with milk and brown sugar, plus plain yogurt with fresh fruit, ideally berries. At home, when he can make the oatmeal himself, he adds salt, sugar, shredded apples and cinnamon. Mr. O’Connell likes his oatmeal served with honey and skim milk. “I’m not too picky as long as they can get it to me hot,” he said. The chefs are equally unfussy about lunch, generally choosing sparse fare like fish or a salad, and asking for bottled water rather than a glass of wine. Why such restraint? “A lot of food with wine makes me sleepy,” said Wolfgang Puck, the chef at Spago in Los Angeles.Others tuck unapologetically into fat-laden fast food or calorie-rich soul food. Anne


  4. Your readers might be interested in this article I recently wrote.Nutrition Guidelines are just a GuideThe USDA recently published their dietary guidelines for Americans and the recommendation leave a bit to be desired. As Americans our health continues to slip. We have the largest and most expensive insurance and health care system in the world. The following recommendation made by the USDA is just recommendations. As we all know advice is only as good as who receives it. Our children seem to be the ones with the most to lose but the USDA has little to say regarding their eating habits. This report highlights the following recommendations for children.Infants should not eat or drink raw milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, unpasteurized juices and raw sprouts. Young children should keep total fat intake between 30 to 35 percent of calories for children 2 to 3 years of age, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Consume whole-grain products often. At least half the grains should be whole grains. Children 2 to 8 years should consume 2 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Young children should not eat or drink raw milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, unpasteurized juices and raw sprouts. Children should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. The USDA also recommends that kids consume whole-grain products often. At least half the grains should be whole grains. Children up to 8 years should consume 2 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Children 9 years of age and older should consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Parents should help children to keep their total fat intake between 25 to 35 percent of calories for children 4 years of age to adolescence, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. This sounds great, but what can we do as a country when our food supply seems filled with everything that the recommendations advise us against eating? Should the general consumer be expected to pay extra to get the food that we as a country need or should growers, butchers, and producers are required to provide the foods at a lower costs. It seems that doing the right thing in this country is very expensive. No wonder we have obesity and other problems looming over our heads every day. If you are interested in reading more about how to eat well and within you r budget then you can get access to the World’s #1 Resource for Raw and Living Food Nutrition! By looking on the internet or visiting your local health food store.SEO Solutions and one way link publicity services provided by LinkAcquire.David C Skul – CEO LinkAcquire.com and Relativity, Inc. can provide global market exposure and solutions.


  5. There are various online sources to provide you informative details on FDA approved weight loss pills as well as information on pills and tablets available in the pharmaceutical market that are capable of successfully relieving you from the grip of erectile dysfunction and depression. But the online pill destination http://www.pill-care.com is somewhat unique as it makes a whole array of information available to you, including details on the highly popular pills and tablets, testimonials as well as news on the latest tidbits of the pharmaceutical market. Log in to the website and get hold of relevant pill-care details.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s