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Old 02-10-2004, 12:07 PM   #1
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what is low-carb?

Low-carb is just that..........low amounts of carbohydrates. Less than 100grams of quality carbs per day. Many people associate low-carb with only the induction phase of the atkins diet. Low-carb is the way your body is desinged to live. Your body does not "need" carbohydrates. Yes, carbs are most easily converted to energy but your body is also designed to convert fat and protein to energy. Without protein and fat, you will eventually DIE! That meets the definition of "need."
Atkins, South Beach, etc... are methods of eating low-carb and you can choose to do them or not. No matter how you choose to eat or lose weight, limiting your carbohydrate intake it the proper way for every human to eat. It doesn't matter if you are fat, thin, athletic, or lazy. The human body is desinged to digest mostly protein and fats. The primary reason to eat carbs is for the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in these foods.
Low carb is not a fad. It is simply proper nutrition.
There have been a few arguments lately about this and I just wanted to clear things up.

 
Old 02-11-2004, 10:12 AM   #2
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Re: what is low-carb?

Well you do NEED carbs. Your brain cannot use fats or proteins. Plus you said if you don't have fats and proteins you will die. Well why do you think your body makes it easiest to use carbs for energy because maybe it wants to save the fats and proteins? So really you NEED all three. Also if your body is stressed is saves the carbs for the brain. So your body uses just proteins and fats and if that goes on for a long time it leads to body weakness, and possibly death. So I guess i could be wrong and just don't understand things correctly but it seems like carbs are a NEED. Just if you aren't a very active person you don't need as many. But if you are an athlete and are putting tons of stress on your body then yes you do need more than people who are couch potatos.

 
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Old 02-11-2004, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: what is low-carb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladiehawk00
Well you do NEED carbs. Your brain cannot use fats or proteins. Plus you said if you don't have fats and proteins you will die. Well why do you think your body makes it easiest to use carbs for energy because maybe it wants to save the fats and proteins? So really you NEED all three. Also if your body is stressed is saves the carbs for the brain. So your body uses just proteins and fats and if that goes on for a long time it leads to body weakness, and possibly death. So I guess i could be wrong and just don't understand things correctly but it seems like carbs are a NEED. Just if you aren't a very active person you don't need as many. But if you are an athlete and are putting tons of stress on your body then yes you do need more than people who are couch potatos.
Your body converts fat into ketones, which your brain then uses for fuel. Humans can live long healthy lives without digesting a single carbohydrate.

 
Old 02-14-2004, 05:45 AM   #4
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Re: what is low-carb?

Quote:
Humans can live long healthy lives without digesting a single carbohydrate.
Is that so? How long?

 
Old 02-16-2004, 08:00 PM   #5
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Re: what is low-carb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prometheus
Is that so? How long?
Well, at least for a year, probably longer. There was a study done in the 1930's where two men went on a hospital supervised all meat diet that lasted for one year. They experienced no negative side effects and came out of the study in better shape than when they started.

One of the participants in the study was Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the artic explorer. With his experience and observations of arctic native cultures, he realized that many primitive cultures subsisted on almost exclusive meat diets for many months of the year. He in fact lived for nearly 5 years with the Eskimos (Inuit) eating their native diet of meat and fish and little else.

The year long experiment took place at Bellevue Hospital, New York. The study was designed to find the answers to these questions:

Does the withholding of vegetable foods cause scurvy?
Will an all-meat diet cause other deficiency diseases?
Will it cause mineral deficiencies, of calcium in particular?
Will it have a harmful effect on the heart, blood vessels or kidneys?
Will it promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut?

The results of the year-long trial were published in 1930 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and showed that the answer to all of the questions was: NO. There were no deficiency problems; the two men remained perfectly healthy. The diet consisted of ~2000 - 3000 calories per day of meats (much of it raw) including fat (much fat in fact). Fat made up about 80% of their calorie intake.

For more information, just do a search for [Stefansson Bellevue].
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Old 02-16-2004, 08:21 PM   #6
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Re: what is low-carb?

In the 20s, their knowledge about health and diet was questionable at best.

 
Old 02-17-2004, 06:13 AM   #7
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Re: what is low-carb?

I have found some the studies/observations from the early 20th century (and much earlier) very interesting. The open-minded inquiry is very refreshing . . . and I find the pairing of effect with cause more relevant in some cases.

It is astounding to me how unscientific some modern research is.

 
Old 02-17-2004, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: what is low-carb?

Here is my interest with this, Arkie and Neno. When determining what is a proper human diet, as in "Low carb is not a fad. It is simply proper nutrition." it is important to me to take into consideration human life span. I am involved in the Caloric Restriction Optimal Nutrition community of life extensionists and I am continuously reading scientific literature on human life span. Caloric restriction has been shown to increase the lifespan of laboratory animals, sometimes doubling it, and enhance health and vigor into old age. Now scientists speculate that caloric restriction may be working on behalf of protein restriction, and not overall calorie consumption. Of course, this is only speculation at this point. However, where lifespan is concerned, a high carbohydrate diet of vegetables and fruits has always outshined high protein counterparts. We can see this with the median lifespan of the Alaskan Inuits, and hunter-gatherer type groups which favor more animal protein. However, then you have to take into consideration "occupational" hazards, and still births, child mortality etc, that effect median lifespan. Clearly if you are living in an agricultural society you will have more possibilities for a longer lifespan, however, the number of centenarians living in Okinawa, eating a low calorie, plant based, high carbohydrate diet with the addition of fish and some pork as the main source of animal protein is very intriguing. If protein restriction, or caloric restricted, high carbohydrate, plant based diets allow people to live longer and healthier then isn't saying low carb is the way we are meant to eat (as in "Low carb is not a fad. It is simply proper nutrition. ") saying that humans are meant to enjoy shorter lifespans?

There is no argument from me that grains cause problems for people, but that is only one type of "carb" and I think most of the perceived health benefits of low carbing come simply from the omitting of grains, because clearly you can live long healthy lives eating 70% carbohydrates from highly nutritious vegetable matter, and fruit...perhaps even longer than animal protein based diets.

If I can't live as long eating only protein and fat, as I can eating a high carbohydrate diet of mostly plant matter, then eating only protein and fat doesn't constitute proper nutrition, in my point of view.

In other words, if I need nutrient rich, low calorie, low protein vegetables in order to enjoy a longer lifespan, then clearly that is how I, as a human being, am meant to eat.

Last edited by prometheus; 02-17-2004 at 08:19 PM.

 
Old 02-17-2004, 09:02 PM   #9
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Re: what is low-carb?

here's a summary of three studies, each following more than 11,000 individuals, finding no difference in death rates (longevity, lifespan) between vegetarians and non-v

[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=12936946&dopt=Abstract[/url]

Here's a study that says if you are too slim, that will increase mortality (cut longevity), so the calorie restriction approach would seem to have important limits:

[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=12540689&dopt=Abstract[/url]

And in fairnessto your point of view, here's one large,prospective study that found reduced rates of death from ischemic heart disease among vegetarians, although no difference in any other cause of death:

[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=10555529&dopt=Abstract[/url]

So, there is some evidence on either side of the question I believe you are posing. Certainly there is no clear, unavoidable trend in the data leading to a single conclusion.

The biggest problem with the studies I've seen--which certainly cannot be more than a tiny fraction of what's out there--is the absence of control for confoudning variables like smoking. Vegetarians--in other studies--are found less likely to smoke. Are there other such factors that confuse mortality rate comparisons? I don't think we know--unless a lot of work has been done that I just haven't stumbled on. Very possible--I don't do this for a living!

Interesting question


sean

 
Old 02-18-2004, 06:37 AM   #10
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Re: what is low-carb?

Very interesting post, prometheus. Yeah, I first heard about the caloric restriction regimes MANY years ago. (At that point, I seem to recall, an experiment with cows [nice big mammals, rather than the usual rats] had been completed.)

One doesn't know what to make of all this information. On another site someone was claiming that Okinawins eat a whole lot more pork than is usually portrayed. I don't know. But who are some of the comparator groups who were eating more carbohydrates, less animal protein, and living longer?

Another factor is a person's current state of "health". In my case, IMHO, years of eating refined carbohydrates had shot my pancreas to h*ll.
I simply could not have sustained a switch to something like caloric restriction. Absolutely no way. What did help was low carbing. In retrospect, I think it was good (and essential) to cut back on carbohydrates (most carbohydrates, not just the "bad" ones) for a while and let my pancreas and other digestive-related organs heal; and I have come to believe that even more than the low carb (or animal protein), it is the fat that has helped that along.

So in terms of longevity . . . if you looked at my life expectancy a couple of years ago, I am quite certain it is longer today (of course, we cannot prove it, though there are some positive medical indicators).

 
Old 02-19-2004, 08:05 AM   #11
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Re: what is low-carb?

Yes, Sean the biggest problem with those types of demographic studies is always confounding variables. The Okinawans have remarkably healthy lifestyles, deep cultural roots, and tight knit communities. They also eat less calories (which would always be the case with less animal meat), drink rich mineral water, and breathe relatively less polluted air than we do. Now, so do the Hunzas. I know you, Aunty, asked me what the other comparitor groups are who eat more carbohydrates, less animal protein, and live longer. Well, the only population in the world that lives longer than the Okinawans are the Hunzas, and they eat no animal meat whatsoever (if they do it is a small amount of ceremonial meat/bones and no more than once a week). These are the people who get their vitamin B12 from growing their plants in "Nightsoil" and they, as a population, are the longest lived in the world.

Back to confounding variables. You are absolutely correct that calorie restriction has important limits, and risks, Sean. CR has been shown to dramatically extend both the life and health of all animal species tested to date. Yes, that includes cows, Aunty. In all laboratory studies CR resulted in life extension, a pattern that holds until CR becomes actual starvation, whereupon it shortens lifespan. So we as CRONies try to walk the fine line between calorie restriction and starvation. That is where optimal nutrition comes in. While early demographic studies such as the one you example, suggest that lower body weight is associated with increased mortality, once researchers account for factors such as smoking and illness-induced weight loss and starvation, the data shows a correlation between lower weights and increased longevity.

NIHNC, CDC, & DHHS. (1985). Body weight, health and longevity: conclusions and recommendations of the workshop. Nutrition Reviews, February, 43(2), pages 61-3.

Lee IM. et al. (1993). Body weight and mortality. A 27-year follow-up of middle-aged men. Journal of the American Medical Association, December 15, 270(23), pages 2823-8.

Manson E. et al. (1995). Body wight and mortality among women. New England Journal of Medicine, September 14, 333(11), pages 677-85.

Solomon CG. (1997). Obesity and mortality: a review of the epidemiologic data. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October, 66(4 Suppl), pages 1044S-1050S.

Aunty, yes one must realize that individual health or individual illness has its own dietary needs but if, as this information tends to favor, humans as a whole benefit from the low caloric, nutrient rich, low protein value of plant matter, with increased longevity and vitality into old age, then that is how humans are meant to eat. That is proper nutrition. If humans as a whole can't do it on animal meat, protein and fat, alone, then saying protein and fat is "simply proper nutrition" is saying humans are meant to enjoy shorter lifespans.

Last edited by prometheus; 02-19-2004 at 08:42 AM.

 
Old 02-19-2004, 10:25 AM   #12
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Re: what is low-carb?

Prometheus...everyday you amaze me more and more with your extensive knowledge on the subject of nutrition. Plus you always back up your sources and always seem to have an answer for everything! Thanks for all of the info you provide on these boards

 
Old 02-19-2004, 02:14 PM   #13
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Re: what is low-carb?

Prometheus,

Thanks,
I've been interested in the subject of longevity through low bodyweight for several months (since the NY Times did a long feature on it.)

Of course, now there's the actual DOING it. Caloric restriction for me has always meant <2500 calories (but in my defense, I'm quite large.). Good plant food seems to be SO difficult for urban dwellers these days....especially in the dead of winter (with the "cotton" tomatoes.) I ijmagine I need to be thinking in terms of <2000 (or MUCH<) !

I agree, we need protein to replace (protein breakdown-recycling of amino acids); this is not a huge amount in a grown man. Using it for heat and energy is NOT what it was designed for...nature didn't throw amines and their nitrogen into every protein molecule simply to irritate the kidneys as acidic nitrogenous waste material.
And since the body can make fat from an excess of ANY food, how much of any animal's excess fat is useful to a human...it's hard to burn with an acidic residue (loosely called ketone bodies) and is usually the relatively safe storage location for many poisons that the body wants safely out of the way. Perhaps we might not NEED an animals stored poisons.

How low is your weight?

Last edited by zip2play; 02-19-2004 at 02:19 PM.

 
Old 02-19-2004, 02:16 PM   #14
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Re: what is low-carb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prometheus
Yes, Sean the biggest problem with those types of demographic studies is always confounding variables. The Okinawans have remarkably healthy lifestyles, deep cultural roots, and tight knit communities. They also eat less calories (which would always be the case with less animal meat), drink rich mineral water, and breathe relatively less polluted air than we do. Now, so do the Hunzas. I know you, Aunty, asked me what the other comparitor groups are who eat more carbohydrates, less animal protein, and live longer. Well, the only population in the world that lives longer than the Okinawans are the Hunzas, and they eat no animal meat whatsoever (if they do it is a small amount of ceremonial meat/bones and no more than once a week). These are the people who get their vitamin B12 from growing their plants in "Nightsoil" and they, as a population, are the longest lived in the world.

Back to confounding variables. You are absolutely correct that calorie restriction has important limits, and risks, Sean. CR has been shown to dramatically extend both the life and health of all animal species tested to date. Yes, that includes cows, Aunty. In all laboratory studies CR resulted in life extension, a pattern that holds until CR becomes actual starvation, whereupon it shortens lifespan. So we as CRONies try to walk the fine line between calorie restriction and starvation. That is where optimal nutrition comes in. While early demographic studies such as the one you example, suggest that lower body weight is associated with increased mortality, once researchers account for factors such as smoking and illness-induced weight loss and starvation, the data shows a correlation between lower weights and increased longevity.

NIHNC, CDC, & DHHS. (1985). Body weight, health and longevity: conclusions and recommendations of the workshop. Nutrition Reviews, February, 43(2), pages 61-3.

Lee IM. et al. (1993). Body weight and mortality. A 27-year follow-up of middle-aged men. Journal of the American Medical Association, December 15, 270(23), pages 2823-8.

Manson E. et al. (1995). Body wight and mortality among women. New England Journal of Medicine, September 14, 333(11), pages 677-85.

Solomon CG. (1997). Obesity and mortality: a review of the epidemiologic data. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October, 66(4 Suppl), pages 1044S-1050S.

Aunty, yes one must realize that individual health or individual illness has its own dietary needs but if, as this information tends to favor, humans as a whole benefit from the low caloric, nutrient rich, low protein value of plant matter, with increased longevity and vitality into old age, then that is how humans are meant to eat. That is proper nutrition. If humans as a whole can't do it on animal meat, protein and fat, alone, then saying protein and fat is "simply proper nutrition" is saying humans are meant to enjoy shorter lifespans.

Okinawans eat lots of fish--the longest lived okinawans eat the most fish (and seaweed!), and sleep the most soundly.
[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=12047577&dopt=Abstract[/url]

I'm having trouble finding anything in the peer-reviewed journals on the Hunza, but I suppose it must be there....can you help?

Late edit: Here's a study that says okinawa does have more centenarians per capita than other areas of japan, and that their life span correlates with less energy intake (your point), and HIGHER protein intake. (Hmmmm....) And yes, their protein was both vegetable and animal in origin. fish again.

[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=7500551&dopt=Abstract[/url]

So, eat less, but make sure the balance of your diet is high protein? That would seem to be the example here.

sean

Last edited by sean; 02-19-2004 at 02:56 PM.

 
Old 02-20-2004, 02:34 PM   #15
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Re: what is low-carb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prometheus
. . . but if, as this information tends to favor, humans as a whole benefit from the low caloric, nutrient rich, low protein value of plant matter, with increased longevity and vitality into old age, then that is how humans are meant to eat. That is proper nutrition. If humans as a whole can't do it on animal meat, protein and fat, alone, then saying protein and fat is "simply proper nutrition" is saying humans are meant to enjoy shorter lifespans.
You have quite a number of "ifs" here. And there are variables and combinations that have not been considered. Hopefully, one day, there will be enough open-minded research to figure out what the important nutritional components are for longevity and overall health. But then there are things, like culture values (which are undeniably a factor in Japanese longevity) that need to be feed into the equation, too.

Do you think "humans as a whole" are following Atkins? I don't. On the question of safety and longevity, I think most people following Atkins are on a safer eating plan than they had been following and are lengthening their lives compared with what it would have been before Atkins.

 
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