Senior Veteran (male)
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Russellville, AR, USA
Some encouraging words.....
I happened across this discussion while looking up info on diet issues and found it very encouraging. I couldn't have said it better myself. To give credit where it is due, I copied this from a site called "holdthetoast".
Here is what the lady had to say:
Here's what happened to me. In February '95, I was trying to lose weight for my wedding. Despite active work (I'm a massage therapist by trade) and a lowfat, high carb diet, I had gotten up to 175 at 5'2". I signed up at the local municipal fitness center and started doing 4 - 5 step aerobics classes a week. I cut back more on my fat, and substituted grains for meat a lot. (You know the drill -- cutting up one lowfat turkey smoked sausage in a huge casserole of potatoes, with lowfat cheese sauce made from cottage cheese and fat free cheese powder; eating pasta with fat free sauce for dinner three nights a week; using that slimy reconstituted butter powder on my veggies; buying lowfat everything; all that stuff.)
And I didn't lose an ounce. Oh, everything got firmer and higher, I looked a little better, and I felt a little better -- I was fit, but fit and fat. I went to my wedding looking like a pretty little pale pink baby blimp, as you can see from the picture. I bought new shorts to go on my honeymoon because all my old shorts were too small.
Well, by Labor Day, three months later, I had gained another ten pounds. My new shorts were too small, and I was beginning to panic. Especially since my blood pressure was also up -- borderline high for the first time in my life.
But I had been reading an old book on nutrition, one that I got at a used book sale. It was by a fella named Gaylord Hauser, one of the very first people to preach nutrition in this country -- he worked with the old film studios, with stars like Greta Garbo, and with royalty. And back in 1952, Gaylord Hauser was saying something that was the exact opposite of what we have been told for the past 20 years: he said that obesity didn't have anything to do with overeating. He said that obesity was a carbohydrate intolerance disease.
I thought to myself, "Heck, nothing else is working! What do I have to lose?" I stopped eating high carbohydrate foods -- that's starches and sugars -- and two days later my shorts were loose. That was it!! I cut back even further on carbs, and started to read everything I could find on low carb dieting.
Well!! In two and a half weeks, I had lost ten pounds -- eating eggs, meat, cheese, sour cream, real mayonaise, and nuts.
Sounds insane, doesn't it?
But that wasn't all!! I also had discovered that I felt hugely better on a low carb diet -- my energy level was higher, and much more constant. I felt oddly clearheaded, and more positive, more emotionally resiliant. Little things just didn't bug me anymore, and even big things were easier to shake off.
Best of all, I wasn't hungry all the time any more!
I had always been hungry before -- I would have that nice, "healthy" breakfast of whole grain cereal and skim milk, and by an hour and a half later, I could have eaten the carpet, I was so hungry! I'm not talking "head hungry" -- I mean real, empty, growling stomach, getting tired hungry. I had wondered, sometimes, what was wrong with me, that I was hungry all the time. I had read -- and maybe you have too -- that if I ate a "healthy diet" -- low fat and high carb -- and "listened to my body", it would know how much food it needed. Unfortunately, it seemed to need enough for an entire army division!!
But on low carb, all of a sudden, I had a "normal" appetite. I could eat a cheese omelet for breakfast, and not be hungry again until 2 in the afternoon. It was astonishing!
I even forgot to eat once or twice! My husband is a skinny thing with a light appetite, and he sometimes forgets to eat. I could hardly believe that! I would say, "What, you forget to breathe, too?" But now, I would come home planning to cook supper, sit down to check my email, and look up two hours later, saying, "Oh, yeah, I was supposed to cook..." For the first time in my life, I just wasn't emotionally involved with food.
I'd even stop eating before I was done, sometimes!! That was astounding, too. I'm a charter member of the Clean Plate Club. If it's on that plate, it's MINE, and I'm gonna eat it. But all of a sudden, I'd be too full to finish sometimes, and push my plate away.
Well, I continued with the diet, and I continued to lose weight, and to feel better. Eventually, I lost 40 lbs. -- and lost most of that without exercise. I'm not knocking exercise. I do work out, and think it's very important. But I think it's also important to note that I did 4-5 step classes a week without losing an OUNCE on my low fat diet -- but lost 35 lbs on low carb before I ever started working out again.
Am I a skinny girl now? No, I'm not. Last time I was tested, my bodyfat was at 26%, which is okay, but not skinny-skinny. It is, however, considerably better than the 33% bodyfat which is average for women my age. More important, the weight is staying off. I'd rather lose 40 lbs and keep it off, than lose 60 lbs and gain it back. And I bet you feel the same!
Just as important, I've never felt better in my life! I have more energy at 40 than I did at fifteen! Furthermore, my bloodwork -- my cholesterol, blood pressure, all that jazz -- are fantastic!! And heart disease runs in my family. (For those who want to know, at last testing, my cholesterol was 196, my triglycerides 80. My HDL -- good cholesterol, was a magnificent 69, and my cholesterol/HDL ratio -- supposed to be the most important thing -- was 2.8. Anything under 4, so I'm told, is excellent.)
Of course, I've told a lot of friends and family about this approach to eating. My sister lost 30 lbs, and had to have all her clothes taken in. As a bonus, her asthma improved! My friend Leslie lost twenty pounds using just some of the low carb principles I taught her. One day at the drug store, I spotted a total stranger about to buy Slim Fast, and was pushy enough to tell him my story. When I ran into him a year later, he'd lost 70 pounds, and gone off his diabetes medication!!
I'm totally sold on low carb dieting -- and convinced that, for many people, low fat/high carb is worse than no diet at all. In fact it's gotten to the point that when I see people in the grocery store with that cart full of low fat fake food, I want to run up to them and yell, "Don't do it, buddy! It's a lie, it's all a lie!" And that's why I've put together this program. This has changed my life so much, I just have to tell people about it.
Isn't this a Fad Diet??
"That's just a fad diet!" That's the accusation people throw at low carb dieting. But let me ask those of you who are my age -- forty -- or older, a question: Don't you remember that when we were kids, everyone knew that if you wanted to lose weight, you gave up potatoes and spaghetti?
When I discovered that low carb was working beautifully for me, I read everything I could get my hands on about this subject: Healthy for Life, and The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, both by Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller, researchers at Mt. Sinai Hospital; The Zone, by Barry Sears, Protein Power, by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, who have treated thousands of people for obesity at their clinic in Little Rock, and the well-known Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. I came to understand the biochemical principles that make this diet work.
Maybe more interestingly, I found many old nutrition texts advocating low carb. For instance, Calories Don't Count, by Dr. Herman Taller, from 1962, was fascinating. Dr. Taller got interested in low carb when one of his colleagues at the hospital where he worked suggested he try drinking polyunsaturated oil to lower his cholesterol. He started dutifully gulping six ounces a day of vegetable oil. Not only did his cholesterol drop -- so did his weight!! And he'd added an extra 1600 calories a day of pure fat! Where does that fit into a low fat diet?!
I found Eat Fat and Grow Slim, by Dr. Richard Mackarness, with a preface by the wife of polar explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Back in the twenties, Stefansson saw the Eskimo eating nothing but meat and fat, and thriving on it. He decided to see if a "civilised" man could do the same. He lived on nothing but fresh meat and water for a year, while being monitored by physicians at Bellevue hospital. Not only did he not come down with scurvy or beri-beri, he thrived. He came out of the experiment several pounds lighter, and with lower cholesterol, which was the only measure of cardiovascular fitness they had back then. Later in life, in 1955, having grown a middle-aged paunch and suffering from a cerebral thrombosis, or blood clot, he went back on his Stone Age Diet, as he called it, with his wife joining him this time. The typical dinner in the Stefansson household, according to Mrs. Stefansson, was a steak and a cup of coffee, and occasionally a half a grapefruit for dessert. They both lost weight. According to his wife, Stefansson had been slightly irritable and depressed, but became his old ebullient, optimistic self again -- and as a little, added bonus, his arthritis cleared up!
I even found an old diet book when I went to Vermont to help my mother settle her Aunt Betty's estate. We were clearing out her house when I found Eat and Grow Thin -- a diet book from 1914, outlining -- you guessed it -- a low carbohydrate program.
In fact, I learned that the very first mass-market diet book in the English language was published in 1852, and it was a low carbohydrate diet. It was written by an Englishman named William Banting. How fat was William Banting? ("How fat was he?!" I hear you cry.), He was so fat he had to walk down stairs backward, or he'd fall over. Doctors would tell him to eat less, and he'd try, but he'd be so awfully hungry that he just couldn't stick to it. (Sound familiar?) Then the doctors suggested exercise, so he went out and rowed on the Thames River every day -- and it would make him so hungry, he'd eat more and not lose weight. (Do you know this story?)
Finally, Banting went to a doctor because he was going deaf. The doctor looked in Banting's ears, and discovered that Banting was going deaf because he had fat pressing on his eardrums! The doctor put Banting on a lowcarb diet, and it worked! Banting was so pleased that he wrote a volume called Banting's Letter on Corpulence, and spent the money to publish it himself. It was a big success, and for a while in London in Victorian times, "banting" was the popular term for "dieting". Banting lived into his eighties, never regaining the weight.
What all of this told me is that, historically speaking, low carbohydrate is anything but a fad diet. In retrospect, I should have known this. When I first got interested in nutrition, twenty years ago, I read Adelle Davis, who stressed the importance of protein and essential fats, and said that overweight people should avoid most carbohydrates, especially white flour and sugar. I also read Psychodietetics, by Cheraskin and Ringsdorf, who linked mental instability to sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
I gave up white flour and sugar completely, felt hugely better, and lost weight like crazy. How I let myself be convinced a decade later that a big plate of white flour pasta is health food, I'll never know, except... It's so seductive, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I wanted to believe. It was like telling an alcoholic that it was healthy to have a six pack and a shot for dinner, or giving Dracula the key to the blood bank.
Now I know better. I know that a low carbohydrate diet is medically sound, and has withstood the test of time. And you'd have to pry my jaws open with a crowbar to get me to eat a high carb meal again.
Another thing that convinces me that a low carbohydrate diet isn't "fad dieting": It practically forces you to eat real food, with real nutritional value, rather than processed, chemical junk, or nutritionless, refined white flour products and sugary, ultra-processed cereals. Have you looked at the ingredients on some of those low fat products? They don't come from a farm, they come from a lab! How can anything that has to be made in a factory be essential -- or even beneficial -- to human nutrition? It just doesn't make sense.
Let me give you an example. Here is a list of the ingredients in Paul Newman's Own Salad Dressing, Original Recipe. This is a dressing you may have been avoiding, after all, it has 16 grams of fat in a serving. However, it only has one gram of carbohydrate. Here's what's in it:
Olive oil, vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola oil), water, red wine vinegar, onion, spices, salt, garlic, lemon juice, distilled vinegar.
Sounds like food to me! You could whip this up in your own kitchen, if you wanted to. Paul started out making it in his basement.
Now, for contrast, here is the list of the ingredients in one of the most popular fat-free Ranch Dressings on the market (which, by the way, has 11 grams of carbohydrate per serving):
Water, corn syrup, cultured lowfat buttermilk (cultured lowfat milk), vinegar, sugar, cellulose gel, potato maltodextrin, xanthan gum with potassium sorbate, calcium sodium EDTA and sorbic acid as preservatives, propylene glycol alginate, phosporic acid, artificial color, natural flavor, monosodium glutamate, parsley, green onions, DL tocopherol acetate, spice, polysorbate 60, yellow #5.
What the heck is that? I'm not sure what propylene glycol alginate is, but it sounds suspiciously like anti-freeze to me! Are we really supposed to believe that spicy corn syrup with unpronounceable chemicals is a wiser choice than olive oil and vinegar? You tell me which sounds like some bizarre fad!
Here's another example. A famous company makes both regular grated parmesan cheese and fat-free fake parmesan cheese. Here's what's in the real stuff:
Grated Parmesan cheese (part skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), cellulose powder, potassium sorbate to protect flavor.
Okay, I'd rather they left out the preservative, but this is basically real food. (If you're curious, cellulose powder is just fiber; it's used to prevent caking.) But dig what's in the fat-free stuff:
Grated cheeses (parmesan and romano from cow's milk) (part skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes) starch, rice flour, enriched flour (durum wheat flour, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, niacin, ferrous sulfate) water, malto-dextrin, cellulose powder, salt, and less than 2% whey, buttermilk, potassium sorbate as a preservative, glycerin, gum arabic, sodium phosphate, artificial color.
In other words, they've diluted the real, nutritious cheese with a bunch of refined starch and chemicals. Again, which sounds more like a fad food to you?
On a low carb diet, we eat real food, the food that mankind has survived on for centuries: meat, poultry, fish, cheese, eggs, vegetables of almost every sort, nuts, seeds, olives, fresh natural oils and real butter. How anyone who has been eating low fat processed cold cereal and white flour bagels and low-fat, sugar-filled cookies and strange, chemical salad dressings could think of these natural low carb foods as nutritional step down is beyond me.