Friday, July 25, 2008

Low Carb? Low Fat? Low Calorie? Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllppppppppppppp!

I got this today from Total Health Breakthoughs. It's definitely worth a read and I recommend that you consider signing up for their newsletter.

Myth #1: Dieting Will Help You Lose Weight and Make You Healthy
By Tim Reynolds, MD

Every day we are bombarded with medical garbage. It comes from all sources — maybe even your doctor. There are also medical myths that have been passed on from one generation to the next — unfortunately, no one has looked carefully at where the information started and whether it is in fact valid or not.

In the following weeks, I would like to explore five of those myths and raise some questions. Hopefully, you will begin to think about them (and others) more critically…

I hate budgets and I hate diets. I think I hate them for the same reason — they make me want all the things I can’t have even more. Have you ever noticed that the word DIET is a four letter word and that the first three letters are DIE?! That’s how I feel about dieting. So many times we go to the doctor and he/she says “Well you are overweight and you need to start on a diet”. Unfortunately, many health professionals do not know exactly what this means — it is also the wrong approach to take to lose weight.

Instead of going on a diet, why not change the way you look at food and the way you approach your health? Why not change your reality and realize that food is nutrition that is good for the body as long as it’s the right kind and eaten in moderation? Food is not the enemy — choosing the wrong foods and overeating is the enemy.

A major problem started with flawed research that was then capitalized upon by food manufacturers. In the 1970s and 80s, it was erroneously determined that our high fat diet was making us all fat.1 Food manufacturers quickly caught on and soon every product had a label that said “low fat”. Unfortunately, we replaced the fat with sugar. As we all ate our low fat diets, the entire country got fatter.

A variation on the theme is being seen now with carbs. Everyone wants to be on a low carb diet. So now everything at the grocery store is advertised as “low carb”. Once again, most people have no idea what this means. There is more than one type of carbohydrate and not all carbs are bad.

Natural plant fiber is made from carbohydrates. Fruits are carbohydrates but should not be considered the same as carbohydrates from a doughnut. If we only look at the carb count, once again we will be led down the wrong path due to creative advertising.

So what are we to do? How can we figure all this out? I have two simple recommendations that will help. First get back to nature. I do not mean move to the mountains (although that does sound nice) — but start eating natural foods. Think of it this way — if you can’t catch it or pick it, don’t eat it. If you follow this rule, you can have all the fish, fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits you want.

In fact, if your diet consisted of just these foods, you would never be fat. As I write this, I am at a scuba diving resort in Borneo, Malaysia. This island does not have an overweight person on it. Why? Because they only eat what they can catch or pick. They have a natural high protein, low carb diet.

Second, if you are going to eat processed foods, always check the label. You will find protein content in grams, fat in grams, and carbohydrates in grams. Under carbohydrates it will list sugar in grams. If the grams of sugar are higher than 10 (8 if you want to be strict), put it back and choose something else.

You will be amazed at what does and does not have sugar once you start looking. Remember, it is not simply the fat or carbohydrates — as it turns out, the problem is the amount of sugar it contains.

Finally, I have an 85/15 rule. If you eat like I just showed you 85% of the time, you can eat what you like the other 15%. Food is energy — it is good for you. Choose the right foods and they will keep you healthy. Choose the wrong foods and they will make you ill. You are in fact what you eat.


Fat Free Fallacy

About the Author:

Tim Reynolds, M.D., is a practicing physician and a health and lifestyle expert.

This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise’s Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative health solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit


Madam Z said...

I like the "if you can’t catch it or pick it, don’t eat it" rule. Of course, I couldn't stick to it, but it's easy to remember and to understand. I also like Dr. Peter Gott's "no sugar, no flour" dietary guideline, for the same reason. However, I can't stick to it either. But wait! Dr. Reynolds saves the day with the best rule of all: "I have an 85/15 rule. If you eat like I just showed you 85% of the time, you can eat what you like the other 15%." Now there's a rule I can at least come close to following.

Thank you, Mickey!

Mickey said...

I agree, Zelda. You know how I feel about the "all or nothing" mentality that so many people have about nutrition and exercise.

I think one reason that many people fail to lose fat is that they go on "diets" and try to eat perfectly. Then, when they eat something that's not the best for them, they figure they've blown it so why not eat the entire package.

Fat loss / weight management has to be a lifestyle and 85/15 is far more doable than 100%.