Sunday, January 17, 2016

'Cooking Light' Is Lying to Its Readers

Cooking Light Continues to Spread Low-Fat High-Carboganda

While web surfing recently I learned that I should be dead or obese since I follow a low-carb high-fat diet.

Happily, as of today, I am neither.

My misinformation came from Cooking Light magazine, which is as relevant to modern day Americans as a telephone book.
In response to its readers' question -- "Can I Eat Carbs and Still Lose Weight?" -- Cooking Light contributing editor Carolyn Williams, RD, Ph.D., replied, "Banishing carbs altogether in an effort to lose weight isn't realistic or even desirable."

Williams did not really address the concern because low-carb is not the same as "banishing carbs altogether" (although some people do just that and survive). More commonly, people elect to follow a severely reduced carbohydrate diet, which can be as high as 50 or 60 grams of carbs per day, mostly in the form of vegetables, berries, nuts and dairy. They  not only lose weight, but also reduce or eliminate the need for Big Pharma medications (many of which are advertised in -- yes, you guessed it, Cooking Light!).

Williams also misled readers about the role of carbohydrates in causing obesity, blaming the media for training the public to "associate carbs with weight gain." In her best dietitianspeak, she declared, "Forget what you may have heard, and let me try to clarify how carbohydrates and weight loss are intertwined, how you can lose weight eating them, and how it’s even essential that you eat carbs to burn fat."

Yes, she said essential.

In Williams world, "carbs are designed to be your body’s primary source of energy, and you need an ample amount of carbohydrates each day for your brain and body to function effectively. Only when your body is adequately fueled with carbs can your body also break down fat stores."

She never revealed who exactly "designed" carbs to be the body's primary source of energy since dietary carbohydrates are not only non-essential to human health, they spike insulin and cause the body to store fat.

"If you aren’t consuming enough (carbs)," Williams contended, "you’ll feel the effects—low energy, sluggishness, brain fog, trouble paying attention, and your body will actually go into starvation mode. You’ll start breaking down lean body mass, and your metabolism will slow."

That's exactly what happens to most people who eat the standard American diet (aptly named SAD), of which the majority of calories comes from carbohydrates.

Not surprisingly, Williams fell back on the old energy balance theory popular with the moderation crowd and perpetuated by Coca Cola and other BFFs of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. "Weight loss happens when calories burned daily exceed the calories consumed," she said, "so ultimately weight loss boils down to total calories, not necessarily the specific foods you eat."

Without citing any sources, she stated, "Research even shows that the most effective weight loss occurs when people consume approximately 60% of their calories from carbohydrates" -- as if there were settled science that proves this belief is a fact.

Worse, she backed up her claim by citing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a highly controversial set of recommendations that advises humans to consume 45-65% of their calories from carbs.

To her credit, Williams conceded that the quality of carbohydrates counts; so broccoli is better than Cheetos. But her definition of quality is wanting. Williams considers low-fat dairy to be a nutritional good guy, even though it is unsatiating, relatively high in sugar and does not contain enough fat to absorb the re-added vitamins that are lost when dairy processors turn whole milk into expensive white water.

Cooking Light can do much better by its readers and acknowledge, as have many experts in the field who once advocated for low- fat high-carb diets, that the whole concept was a big fail based on bad science.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dietary Guidelines in a Post Truth Society

One of my favorite morning radio guys used the term post truth society recently concerning politicians who repeat fictitious statements until they're accepted as dogma. Thus, Muslims in New Jersey danced on rooftops, according to Donald Trump, despite the fact not one media source has footage of this happening.

And it's why the federal government and registered dietitians advise Americans to limit saturated fat to no more than 10% of one's daily calories, despite the fact there is no settled science to support this.

Because if you repeat something enough times, it becomes true. Even when it's not true.

I wish it didn't matter what the feds and dietitians had to say about healthy diets, but their opinions weigh heavily on our nation's health in myriad ways. The school lunch program, nutrition facts on packaged foods and even physician's medical advice are heavily controlled by what a handful of "experts" deem nutritious every five years.

And because medical professionals are kept hostage by licensing agencies, few dare to challenge the word of dietitians who are typically marionettes of the corporations who indirectly pay their mortgages. Thus, the task of declaring, "The emperor has no clothes," has been largely left to journalists like Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz who, at the risk of mixing kiddie lit metaphors here, persist in exposing the Wizard of Oz as just another Joe Schmo from Kansas.

Even though Americans have gotten sicker and fatter since the first iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980, the new guidelines released this week are very similar to those released five years ago and five years before that. This, despite many studies clearly showing low-carb high-fat diets have the potential to reverse many chronic illnesses caused by the low-fat high-carbohydrate diets the Dietary Guidelines endorse.

I follow quite a few medical experts who favor low-carb high-fat diets and am heartened by the groundswell movement by people with bona fide credentials to change the status quo. One of the most hopeful signs is an organization started last year called the Nutrition Coalition whose aim is "to strengthen national nutrition policy so that it is founded upon a comprehensive body of conclusive science, and where that science is absent, to encourage additional research."

In other words, to stop telling people how to eat based on sketchy, often biased, research.

One of the leaders of this truth-based nutrition movement, Nina Teicholz (New York Times best selling author of The Big Fat Surprise), is a driving force behind the Nutrition Coalition as is another of my #LCHF heroines, Dr. Sarah Hallberg, who has embarked on a ground breaking research project on reversing type 2 diabetes with her Arnett Health Medical Weight Loss Program patients in Lafayette, Indiana.

Meanwhile, I cling to a shred of hope for the future as I meet more and more ordinary Americans who are discovering via personal bio-hacking that conventional dietary foolishness is not only wrong, it's potentially dangerous. An acquaintance with type 2 diabetes recently shared, for instance, that she follows a low-carb high-fat diet because she discovered that following the American Diabetes Association diet made her sicker and more dependent on diabetes medication.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Why You Should Consider Switching to a Low-Carb High-Fat Diet in 2016

As a foodie who has spent more than five decades on this planet, I have followed almost every diet known to humans shy of eating monk fish and bananas exclusively (no, that is not an actual diet, but it could be one day). From a health, weight control and compliance perspective, my favorite diet so far has been low-carb high-fat. I could follow this eating plan for the rest of my life without feeling the least bit deprived.

The most amusing and telling RD response
to why Dietary Guidelines don't work
is that people don't follow them.
And though we all have our own metabolic idiosyncrasies and unique microbiomes, I suspect many people who love food as much as I do should also part ways with such failed diet concepts as "moderation" and high-carb low-fat recommended by both the USDA, Coca Cola and Big Food.

If you are one of the rare people who can subsist on donuts, Marlboros and Mountain Dew and still live to 100, please ignore what follows. Most people, however, need to make conscious food choices to look and feel good, choices which can be hard to make when the government-healthcare-media complex continues to push yesterday's discredited dietary advice as if it were handed down by God on stone tablets.

The historic rationale behind our dietary misguidelines is very complex, but you can find a most entertaining detailed recap here. The Readers Digest version is we have rabbits, lazy researchers and failed presidential candidate George McGovern to blame.

I happened upon low-carb high-fat eating by accident, basically after following the Medifast Take Shape for Life program and dropping 35 pounds with minimal effort. I no longer eat any Medifast foods; nor do I endorse its low-fat manufactured food approach; but what that diet did teach me was I did not need to eat pasta, potatoes and bread to feel satisfied.

In fact, by eliminating what I like to call "the whites," I could eat more of the foods I liked better, like avocados, steak, bacon, nuts, seeds, butter, and whole-fat cheese (along with vegetables and low-sugar fruits like blueberries) -- and not feel hungry between meals.

Satiety is the key to being compliant on any diet since if you don't feel satisfied you will be jonesing to eat foods that are not on plan. That is why people cheat on their diets and then binge on more forbidden foods because they feel guilty or bad about themselves.

Since following a low-carb high-fat way of eating, I don't ride that merry-go-round any more.

What's funny is that even with all the publicity in recent years suggesting studies on saturated fat were bogus and carbohydrates are the real culprits behind our nation's chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes (no longer called Adult Onset Diabetes because children are now being diagnosed with it), many people have not yet gotten the memo. This, despite the documented success doctors like Sarah Hallberg, Andreas Eenfeldt, Rangan Chatterjee, Tim Noakes and others have had with patients following high-fat low-carb diets.

Not to mention myth shattering books like Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories and Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise.

Sometime this month, the federal government is going to issue another set of U.S.D.A. Dietary Guidelines that will likely continue to make Americans fatter and sicker. Fortunately, there are many books and articles now available that refute the faulty research on which the guidelines are based and demonstrate how and why low-carb high-fat diets are healthier for most people.

So before drinking that Diet Coke and driving to the gym to work off the egg white omelet you had for breakfast, resolve on this first day of 2016 to do your own research to determine which diet is healthiest for you.

You may never have to subject yourself to a sad low-fat dinner of poached chicken breast, quinoa and steamed broccoli again.