las

Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In a Nutshell ...

A comment on another post by SJ pretty much nails the starch angst pervading the low carb webosphere on the head:
A couple of paleo/primal dieters mention that they're eating potatoes and it's the g*****mn carbocalypse.  Why is it so upsetting to these people that some people feel better when they eat a bit of starch?
Let's presume that is not a rhetorical question and answer it.  This behavior is explained by the fact that somehow carbohydrate restriction has become a religious cult, with all the trappings thereof.  All the lost suffering souls who found solace and redemption after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories in the Church of Taubes.   It makes me very glad that in 2007 when I decided to try one last time to shed the weight I did it on my own, telling nobody but my immediate family that I was even doing it, and just going from memory doing a pretty clean Atkins induction.  The Church of Taubes sucks you in.  For all their knocking of Weight Watchers, the Church is a virtual group where your voice is heard, you are accepted unconditionally and you find all the love and support you've been missing from your conventional-wisdom-steeped doctors, friends and family.  In 2009, after losing the weight, I found LLVLC forum.  There are a lot of very nice people there supporting one another in their weight loss efforts, extolling the virtues of low carbing, assuring one another that carbs are like rat poison, insulin is the devil hormone and Taubes is a genius.  When you leave the cult, you lose a lot of support and friendship you've come to lean on and it's hard to find that on the outside.  Cults are famous for targeting the disenfranchised.


However for cults to survive, they must isolate members more and more from outside influences lest their following be exposed to folks who thrive by not following their teachings.  This occurs every day on the blogs and such of low carbers who censor contrary voices despite claims to the contrary.  Efforts are made to marginalize defectors or those who question the teachings of Taubes.  Yours truly knows about this all too well.  The last thing any cult needs is for members to be exposed to former members thriving on the outside.  And that, my friends, is why a Richard Nickoley, a Paul Jaminet, a Kurt Harris, and dare I say, me, are all so threatening to committed low carbers.  Because they are powerless to prevent the flow of information outside their carefully controlled webosphere and sooner or later some of the membership is bound to try this whacky idea of eating some potatoes or rice or even bread and realize that their life didn't fall apart.  Most, if they do it right (cut back on some of the fat), will not only not gain weight and get sick, they may actually lose weight and see persisting health problems resolve. 

Eating carbohydrates and thriving flies in the face of the last-ditch dogma of the Church of Taubes:  The Damaged Metabolism Doctrine.  Yes, the DMD is contained in the New Testament of Taubes, Why We Get Fat.  Legions of low carbers faced with dwindling personal success despite persistence, look to their leaders and see much of the same.  The only thing keeping these folks in the pews is keeping them convinced of the DMD.  It's bad enough there are all these, as one member calls them, "robusto" paleos out there eating carbs.  Because most of those are young males and can be written off as possessing as yet undamaged metabolisms.  But it's damning to the DMD when the list of carb-eating reconverts over 40, many over 50 or near that, starts to get longer and longer.  How to prevent the cult from collapsing?

The leaders, both long standing and newbies who've yet to cash in,  are getting desperate to explain this phenomenon.  They must convince the remaining flock that defectors are going down a path to destruction and only seeing short term gratification.  The flock must resist mass exodus to heretical short term sin in favor of long term redemption.  You see, the defectors eating carbs are now portrayed as ADDICTS giving into their baser instincts.  They will pay with rampant glycation someday ... you'll see!    Enter the longevity cultists with their new brand -- or rebrand -- of low carb cultism .... where carbs must be not just restricted but virtually eliminated and new members are baptized in ice baths and annointed with coconut oil.

Strange days folks.


38 comments:

Unknown said...

I ran into the "it will shorten your lifespan" argument which is hard to refute given I'm 49 and have a good 30 years or more to go, guess I'm supposed to get back to him when I'm 85 and say "No it didn't."

When people do have trouble with starch I think it's probably because they were unwilling to cut back on the fat intake.

Imo the most pernicious argument they make is "fat is a superior fuel to glucose," then when you say "but I feel like crap when I exercise in a glucose-depleted state" they respond with "that's cause you haven't conditioned yourself to use fat as your fuel, you just have to try harder."

AgingHippie said...

Interesting posts on this very subject

http://paleodietnews.com/5118/paleo-diet-do-carbs-cause-insulin-resistance/
http://www.cheeseslave.com/carbohydrates-dont-cause-insulin-resistance/

and this study

http://www.clinsci.org/cs/096/0513/0960513.pdf
Glucocorticoids and insulin resistance: old hormones, new targets

Woodey said...

What you wrote really struck a nerve with me for I have been struggling internally with this very issue. I used to be a part of a religious cult movement back in the 90s called the International Church of Christ or ICOC, led my Kip McKean. Being in a cult was very damaging and I was isolated from my non-church friends and family. I had to live a life that was supposed to be above reproach, the souls of my loved ones depended on my example. We had this incredible burden put on us that if we left the church we would be leaving God and go to hell. If we left the church there was no hope for us and no hope for our family and friends. Fortunately I saw the light and left.

Fast forward to now and I’ve been noticing of late some of the same thoughts and feelings that I experienced back in my cult days being applied to the LC dieting circle I’m a part of. There are many big differences from the pressure cooker of a church I went to, but there are some similarities that have alarmed me. At first I thought I was just being overly sensitive, which would be natural considering what I had been through. Then I read your post and then it occurred to me that maybe the thoughts and feelings I am experiencing are valid. To me the Paleo/low carb community does have a cult following and some cult like behaviors, but I see it as more of a social fraternity or club than a radical religious group.

Fortunately I can walk away from the Paleo group and not have to deal with what I went through when I left the church. This is where it gets tricky, low carb has made me feel like I know the “truth” about nutrition and it’s a way of eating that everyone needs to follow. Uh oh just like the philosophy of the church, the version of Christianity we followed was the true way and everyone needed to join or else eternally perish. Another similarity is in the church you theoretically lived life to the full and were supposedly more content than ever before, eat low carb and you will experience the same thing.

I’ve also found that I putt a burden on myself that I have to eat low carb and never ever stray for fear of what others may think. I tell myself I better eat low carb or else my mom (who doesn’t eat low carb) will never join up and she will pay with her life as her health deteriorates. That’s a hell of a guilt trip; one that after I left the church swore would never put myself through again. I should be able to eat a cookie if I want guilt free. I mean come on this the only life I have and to be hung up over this is just silly.

Because of my past I do watch the leaders like a hawk and see things that just don’t add up. I see Paleo people share recipes with carbs in them and wonder wtf. I saw Mark Sisson post a recipe for Paleo chocolate bars and I’m thinking that’s not Paleo or low carb. Its lower carb than a Snickers, but it’s not Paleo. I don’t think Ogg or whatever went around eating candy, although I could be wrong. Then I found out that Mark’s definition of Paleo is anything 100 yrs or farther into the past. Ummm after taking college level Anthropology, Paleo is something that is technically much older. So is Paleo trying to bend to bring in more people? I must say yes.

Another similarity is the amount of literature that the church and low carb community has dished out to their followers. It was common for the church to release books that where “vital” or “essential” to your faith. I’ve since stopped buying low carb books and feel that I have enough knowledge in my head that I don’t need to keep myself indoctrinated with every book that comes out. I’m back in college and don’t have the money or time to buy and read everything that is endorsed by the Paleo community. Besides like you have mentioned there are a lot of quacks and people out there peddling their wares to get my money.

Thanks for your blog. It is helping me work through some things.

Woodey said...

When myself and a few of my friends heard the ICOC was planting a new church in a city that had a college in it (they loved targeting college students) we spoke up.
http://www.reveal.org/library/news/register-guard.html

SJ said...

The question wasn't entirely rhetorical; I've always been genuinely confused by low-carb zealotry. I was a low-carber back in 2001 (until my workouts started sucking) and the community on the whole seemed bizarre. These people are convinced that calories don't count? They're eating sugar-alcohol laden processed foods and think they're "healthy" because they're "low-carb"? They don't think anyone should ever eat carbs for any reason? I quickly abandoned the online LC community, but I was still active in other forums related to diet and fitness, and of course they'd pop up in those places every now and then to tell people they didn't need carbs. I used to argue with them, but eventually I got tired of banging my head against a wall and mostly just ignored them.

Fast-forward to late last year when I find out I have celiac, and I start exploring the paleo/primal blogosphere looking for real food gluten-free recipe ideas. Huh? Why is paleo associated with low-carb? What about fruit, roots and tubers? IDGI. Why are low-carb and paleo so intertwined? And why do people care SO MUCH what other people eat? Why is it so upsetting that Nikoley eats a potato? It doesn't make any kind of rational sense, but it does start to make sense when you view it in the context of a cult.

Swede said...

Haha! That's one of my favorite low carb retorts - "get back to me in 25 years and then we'll see how you are doing." I have a sneaky hunch that you'll be doing just fine.

Swede said...

Great comment Woodey, thanks for sharing your story.

That someone from your background has recognized the religious fervor that surrounds the low carb and paleo communities is very telling.

Go ahead and eat that cookie. No one will think any less of you :)

Sanjeev said...

There is memory research and social research that can inform us on what's going on with some people. Google Loftus or "false memory syndrome" to start with the memory research.

Take just one phenomenon, memory reformation/schematization. Every time you access a memory you also re-form the memory to conform to your current understanding or world view ("schema").

One who has swallowed the hook, line and sinker on high versus low carb may remember their hunger when they were eating high carb as hungrier than it was. Old hunger becomes worse, current hunger is discounted and the "carb flu" is no big deal whatsoever, insomnia and "wiredness" on low carb is not even worth mentioning (in that circle).

This is just one documented phenomenon. Imagine adding in such things as social reinforcement and group dynamics that make some people more extreme in their position on the group's core beliefs.

Woodey said...

I agree, its really a weak argument meant to throw fear. Nice thing is it only takes half a brain to see through it and discard it . Besides when our time is up, its up. On my death bed I will have a donut.:)

Sanjeev said...

> current hunger is discounted
____
goes into memory differently (tagged with "less hungry than I used to be")

> current hunger is discounted and the "carb flu" is no big deal whatsoever
___
This is all about memory. Not even considering placebo effects

Woodey said...

Thanks Swede.:) I am more than happy to share my experiences when I think its appropriate and might do some good.

If we weren't social beasts things like this would be a rarity. It feels good to be around like minded people and to have fun times with them. The down side is the herd mentality humans have and how easily it can be manipulated. Multiply that with the money factor and you have the makings for a good ole fashioned recipe for cult.

I don't want to imply that everyone in the Paleo/low carb community is a zombie or that its even a full blown cult, I've had some really good discussions with people and even made a couple of friends. But I am seeing cult-like trends and I am beginning to look at it as a business.

SJ said...

Yeah, and that's part of why it makes sense to keep a log when you make major diet or lifestyle changes, or if you change migraine prevention meds, or anything like that. There may be a perception that something is working for you when it's really not, or it may be that improvements are so gradual that you don't notice, and it's working when you thought it wasn't. That kind of error can occur without a group influence, although as you say, it can be amplified by it.

But not only are some people completely convinced that LC works for them regardless of whether or not it does, they're 100% sure that it's always the best thing for people who aren't them, that they have the one true way. That's the cultish aspect, and that's always been the part that irritates me and confuses me the most.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thank you Woodey for sharing this, I agree with Swede, it may strike a chord with others based on your experience. I'm reminded of something that I read after last year's LC cruise. I think the paleo speakers on the cruise will be surprised by what they see -- unless of course they read here or have seen pictures from past cruises. While the audiences at paleo events tend to at least trend towards lean and healthy, the low carb audience is decidedly overweight on average, and it's not just because you've got a lot of people who recently took to the LC lifestyle and are in the process of losing weight.

Inevitably you get folks who dust off their journals over on Jimmy's forum or revive dormant blogs from their dauer state with posts of rededication and determination. One such blog was made by one of the cruise organizers who also blogged on how the LC police had snagged her on the cruise! Yep! Someone caught her eating pancakes (or was it waffles) with real syrup! Now I don't care why she was eating them (apparently it was an emotional eating episode)-- WTF is anyone to question or comment on what she was eating??!!

During the two + years I spent very actively participating on Jimmy's forum, I tried to help many who seemed so desperate to get off the yo-yo binge eating wagon. You see, I don't care if I never lose another pound, being able to eat like a normal person and not yo-yo is worth it to me because that is hell. So many would post in challenges and journals about their new commitment and they would be "good" on their diet and resist the bread at dinner or whatever. And then ... gone. I don't know how many folks have disappeared and come back how many times and they seem to do the same thing each time -- insist on LC purity for themselves. For some, each time they'll be even more restrictive it seems! This is one reason I'm so hard on Amy Dungan for her LC-proselytizing on her sponsored healthy low carb living blog. She weighs more now than when she went low carb over a decade ago, and has weighed more for probably 90 percent of the last 8 years. And yet in addition to adhering to dogma, I suppose the next greatest blasphemy is to question the leadership of the cult!

Anyway, I'm rambling here. My point was that I would frequently suggest one of two things when folks were beating themselves up over not being able to stick to VLC 24/7/365: either eat a few more carbs more regularly, or do the planned cheats like I did. The shoutdowns on the cheating were incredible! Oh ... *I* can't cheat, if I even eat low carb bread I gain 5 lbs overnight. Etc.etc. And most of these people would use feeling like crap after going on a carb bender as evidence that they were just super duper intolerant to carbs. Or how about you're going to feel like crap if you eat enough of any food in one day that would normally amount to a week's worth of food.

Anyway, this is a nice discussion to be having. I'm glad I made the post and got you in on it!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

On a related note, this goes past LC to supplement pushers. Some are so convinced that supplement X is essential, and the more the merrier, that when someone reports a negative reaction to X the advice is anything BUT perhaps you're not deficient in X and shouldn't supplement. It's well you need to take Y and Z and makes sure you're not getting too much Q ... oh, and also avoid red fruits between the hours of 1 and 2pm and fast once a week and ... and ... and...

Low carbers are beginning to criticize the "religious" spread-the-word sentiment in paleo circles. It's funny they should pick up on it, but don't see it in themselves?!

Tonus said...

The 'religious response' (if you will) seems to be particularly strong in people who have had an experience that they misread as being more transcendent than it actually is. Many who discover low-carb are astonished at how easily they lose weight without having to measure out portions and without suffering hunger or other ill effects. It's an epiphany, especially for someone who has struggled with weight and health issues for many years. I know that when I started on a (moderately) low-carb diet, I thought I'd finally hit some sort of cosmic lotto jackpot.

Given time, most people who delve into LC recognize that it isn't a miracle diet, and they make the necessary adjustments. Some adjust the diet, some adjust their expectations, many are quite happy with what they're doing, and others simply move on to something else. But a fanatical few will cling to it fervently, even though (in my experience) they often do not get anywhere near to the results that their fanaticism would justify. I think it's just a psychological reaction that is ingrained in us all, and we deal with it with varying degrees of success.

Tonus said...

"It's funny they should pick up on it, but don't see it in themselves?!"

Not surprising, though. It's a common religious blind spot because religions tend towards exclusivity. It brings to mind the quote by Stephen Roberts: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

I don't mean to turn this into a religious bash-fest. I happen to see religious convictions and attitudes as an ingrained part of our psychological make-up. That is to say, we have the propensity to be religious about a lot of things, and not just religion.

Thomas said...

I don't think we need to go down the religious cult road at all. It's a knee jerk reaction and LC/paleo really isn't like that IMO.

I do think people want to feel like they have control of their physical lives, and that LC/paleo makes them feel like they have that control. So, demonize carbs for causing most chronic illnesses, like met syndrome, diabetes, obesity and cancer, and all people have to do to not have those problems is not eat or eat less carbs (and eat more fat-yeah!). Now they have control, feel better, and even feel "better than thou" (something else many people seek).

Tear that away by removing the carb danger/demon and they are back to lack of control. So people get defensive and try to prove you wrong at all costs. But a religious cult? C'mon now.

Jason Sandeman said...

I'm curious Evelyn - I am confused alot. LOL What is the eating plan you advocate?
I am starting to question the moderate/high carb plan, I want to go back to the primal sort of eating... but I don't want to gain a tonne of weight either.
I figure I have around 40 lbs to lose...

Sanjeev said...

Many movements and organizations use the techniques of cults; cultishness is a spectrum, not a single bit yes/no on/off. Yes or no is a false dichotomy here.

Steve Novella tells the tale of when James Randi gave a talk to a group of former cult members and several were traumatized because in their view he has a personality that could easily create a fully fledged cult.

KD said...

My own time spent in the pro-Taubes world was partly based on trying to convince myself that he was right. I was looking to lose about 15 pounds and while GCBC sounded air tight to this layman, cutting out the carbs didn't seem to really be doing all that much for me. On the other hand I found all the blogs and such extremely motivating since it sure sounded like I would never have another physical problem including death ;) if I just kept on track.

It soon became pretty clear what a load of bunk all that was, but I think I spent a lot of time proactively countering my own doubts by arguing with other people- I think that's an annoying, but ultimately very human thing for some of us to do. Seeing how little fun that was for my conversation partners was a part of what made me start to look more deeply into Taubes and the whole idea of low carb.

Looking back honestly, I think for me at least a lot of the time I spend on low carb forums, blogs and podcasts was like a pleasant beer buzz where I could stop worrying about how far my experience was from the low carb promises and just relax into a world where it all made sense and I was on the verge of all kinds of great things happening. That's why I'm sorry to say when I first read the actual science and healthy common sense here a few years ago my first thought was 'how did they let her into the low carb party'- you were killing my buzz!

I wish I had been more open minded earlier, but better late than never I guess. I suspect that my thinking is similar to a good number of folks out there and combined with the easy anonymity of the web that leads to lots of negativity.

Thanks for the great blog and being willing to be a lightening rod!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I don't believe that Evelyn advocates any particular eating plan. Which eating plan results in you subconsciously eating the fewest calories and moving around the most?

Are you serious about needing to lose 40 lbs? You don't look that fat. Obviously, your job means that you're surrounded by foods & wonderful aromas a lot of the time. You can't start serving up boiled plain sweet potatoes!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

You don't mention it on your "About" page, but I see from comments you're a drummer. An excellent drummer I know has a fan permanently blowing on him when he's gigging. He must be generating a lot of heat.

There's your answer. Less cooking, more drumming!

Jason Sandeman said...

Well, my fat is located at my belly. I have a nice 45" belly, so that definitely needs to be worked on.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hi Jason, As Nigel correctly states, I don't advocate any particular diet plan. I think LC is excellent for weight loss if it results in you eating less, but clearly the "average" person adjusts at some point and it stops working ad libitum. I absolutely don't get the "up the fat" movement in low carb circles. It may well be that in maintenance, LC is necessarily a HF diet, but a VLC/VHF diet amounts to not a lot of food unless one is eating a crapload of leafy veggies. FWIW, right now my macros are kinda Zonish though I'm planning some experiments once my semester is over. I eat mostly Perfect Health Diet foods, but I will have corn, wheat and beans from time to time. I have no digestive issues with these foods.

I think for someone such as yourself, who is around food and preparing it all the time, the challenge is not so much what you eat, but your mindset. I don't know any chefs who don't think their own food is good so presumably if you're not eating what you're making, at least from time to time, this would seem counterproductive in the long run. Where good food is concerned, I favor the two bite rule -- the two bites that matter most or are most enjoyable are the first one and the last one. The bites in between are hardly memorable. So when I'm eating food for enjoyment I do, and I may have more than two bites but I also know that my general "hunger" signalling is a bit whacked and that's when I think about rough calories I'm consuming (without whipping out a food scale on the table as I saw a woman in the dining room have on a cruise once!). I'm probably going on tangents here, but I'm thinking the chef-gig has more to do with weight issues than any particular food you eat. I'm thinking that if you're tasting a lot while cooking, you want to make sure you sit down and eat a proper meal other times. Stuff like that.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

While I hate to be a buzz kill, I'm happy what I write here has helped you KD. My own journey is such that in 2009 when I found this community, if you'd asked me if I would ever eat carbs regularly again I would have thought you were nuts. I always ate them from time to time on "cheats", but my "default" setting was VLC and the only product I consumed was the occasional LC wrap. I was ripe for the picking b/c I wanted to prove to myself that it was healthy in maintenance and for the long haul and there's plenty of that out there. I guess my first shock was when I expressed frustration one day and (actually jokingly) said something like if LC doesn't work to lose more weight, maybe I'll just eat a more "normal" style diet. My rationale was rather than eating certain things only on cheats, I could have them daily. I questioned which would be more healthy. Among the responses was a very rude "well good luck with that and gaining back your weight etc.etc." My next clue came a bit later, but it was in Jimmy Moore's mantra style writings on his menus blog. It was always "that's why I enjoy eating my healthy high fat, moderate protein, low fat foods" or somesuch. It's like they attached "healthy" to every other statement including website names. And of course there's the out that if it's not working, and you can't pummel the person any further for not doing LC the *right* way, convince them their metabolism is hopelessly damaged so they should accept the other wonderful changes of never ever for even one millisecond being hungry and such.

I do wonder if some of these folks aren't, like you were, at this point trying to convince themselves ...

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Thomas, we'll have to agree to disagree on this. One thing I've seen in the LC world is that low carbers are convinced it is THE only healthy way to eat for EVERYONE. Not all, but some in the paleo world seem obsessed with the growth of the "movement". There's lots of disagreements but everyone is supposed to swallow their's for the greater good of the cause whatever that is. Individuals are encouraged to convert people to paleo. Given as nobody can define one generally agreed upon version of paleo (at least LC is pretty well defined, or the influential people have defined it) that's a pretty tall order to expect of people.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Additional reply to Woodey: As if anyone needs further evidence of Sisson's business/marketing acumen, it is his subtle shift AWAY from low carb. He's not come out and said it, but in his safe starch response to Jimmy he almost equated PB with PHD. Huh? Still he's definitely steered the message to being a "fat burner" and away from that 151st gram of carb causing insidious weight gain. All without really coming out and saying anything just reading the writings on the cave wall I guess.

Woodey said...

The whole safe starches and reward food notion really bugs me. It just seems counter to the whole low carb philosophy. I'm with you on having a scheduled cheat day or just planning to add some carbs every day with your meals. But then again that would be an act of Paleo treason and you would just be branded as weak willed. No, what has to happen is the leaders need to have an epiphany and make some kind of "science" claim that says this is good to eat.

Because of my past experiences I tend to ignore most of the lip flapping the powers that be engage in, but some things are hard to ignore and this is one of them. I also have a disdain for anyone who doesn't work for a living and instead lives off of the money from their loyal subjects. Its like a priest who doesn't get a job and lives off the money from the collection plate.

Woodey said...

Also the fact that people can be afraid or intimidated from openly talking about eating carbs for fear of backlash is an indication that something is awry. Evelyn when you mentioned the low carb cruise and someone being pulled aside to help reprogram that to me is very very cult like. When we start losing ourselves as individuals and become part of the machine, then we start treading on cult grounds.

People going through re dedications and awakenings, really boils down to a shunning of the old you and a more dedicated fervor for the future. The downside to that is its emotion driven and will fail. Any form of extremist behavior is based on emotions, critical thinking and reason take a back seat to dogma and group acceptance. I have yet to meet an extremist I liked.

I've seen it happen time and time again where society looks down on others for not acting in a manner that the person judging feels is appropriate. Its very easy for people to feel elitist and I definitely sense it in the low carb community. Not everyone, I don't want to make a blanket statement, but its there and its not good.

Karen said...

If I remember correctly Dr Atkin's said to add carbs. He didnt promote staying LC unless you need it. It was low carb for weight loss then add carbs in. That would mean most people not staying LC for the rest of their lives.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Very true Karen, I think most people who try Atkins do so well on induction, they don't want to see their weight loss slow so they just stay on it and never climb the rungs. Or when they recommit, they remember the speedy induction losses and ... round and round ... before you know it if you're going to be low carb you have to be VLC. Thanks to Volek, Phinney & Westman (and Taubes), legions of folks have been convinced that some people will need to stay under 50g (and in Taubes opinion some may be unable to eat even a blueberry) for life.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

It's interesting that Jimmy repeats incessantly how he "always says" find what works for you. That's all fine and good but when every other blog post is questioning if you can eat starch w/o killing yourself, you have websites like "carbohydrates can kill", Wheat Belly making outrageous claims like oatmeal is like eating battery acid, etc.etc.etc., that "disclaimer" sounds pretty empty.

Woodey said...

I have the book Wheat Belly, but I haven't been able to read it yet. I had to get it due to the amount of buzz it received from the low carb community. I wanted to ask your opinion about the book, sounds like I got part of an answer already. That's a fairly radical (outrageous) claim to make about oatmeal. I wonder what else is in the book that is sensationalistic?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I've dealt with Davis many times here. I didn't read the whole book, but the sulfuric acid thing he said about oatmeal on his blog was in the book, only this time he blames wheat. This guy makes too many unsubstantiated over-the-top claims for me to take him seriously. If you search on "Wheat Belly" I'm sure you'll find the posts.

Woodey said...

Just started browsing online and found a lot of stuff on Wheat Belly. There is a lot I don't know about nutrition, so I tend to follow the advice from the "experts" or people I assume know what they are talking about. Wheat Belly was published and hailed as the book to end all books in the low carb community. So thinking that it would be epic and life changing I bought it and started to read it. I haven't been able to finish it, but I am beginning to wonder if it will be worth my time. I know I will read it, but I am not as enthused about it.

I really feel discouraged by the amount of division in the nutrition field and I don't know what to trust as reliable information. It just seems that no matter what is said or written there can be no harmony, and I find that frustrating. My only recourse is to try out ideas on myself and see what happens.

Eating low carb helped me lose some weight as well as lower my blood pressure, which meant no more pills. I also have more energy and don't have the crashes I used to have. I feel more alert and in all honesty younger.

What discourages me about the diet is how easily weight is gained back and I have no idea why that is. I have done other diets in the past where I have cheated and the weight gain is very minimal, but on low carb the weight gains are extreme. I mean a single meal involving carbs can cause a few pounds to be added back on, I have no clue why.

I also get tired of the thin people or the ones who carry a little weight who lose 10-20lbs then go on to say that it was lost effortlessly, therefore this is an easy diet. Sorry no I used to weight 410lbs and would like to see myself back to my pre weight gain days of 200-210. Personally I don't know if that is even possible and right now I would be happy just to be 300lbs. But my point is I am tired of the powers that be in the Paleo community saying weight loss is easy. If I only had 20lbs to lose I would be ecstatic and say the same thing. I want to see a figurehead in the low carb community who had to lose serious amounts of weight speak up and tell it like it is. It really comes across as cheap or false advertisement meant to lure in people and give them false hope. Weight loss is hard and takes time. On another note when Jimmy claims to have lost 30lbs in 30 days doing low carb my entire mind and body screams BS!!

Now I am the one rambling, but I am frustrated and have hit a snag in my diet. If you have any insights into why low carb has terribly bad weight gain results even after one meal I would love to hear it.

Sanjeev said...

> how easily weight is gained back

Lots of unanswered questions open for research here. some random musings:

I've written it before (unfortunately it's all anecdote so far): there appears to be a metabolic

"setting up the dominoes ready to fall" or "balancing a pencil on the eraser" aspect to low carb, especially very low carb plus excessive exercise.

For people who are easily swayed by short-term losses/gains the rapid initial water weight gains when one falls off low carb would feed into this well documented phenomenon: "I fell off the diet I may as well binge for a month"

And there's the whole psychology of excuses and permissiveness that comes with the message "carbs make you hungry" ... well, when you go off low carb you now EXPECT to be ravenously hungry all the time. You now have several great reasons to way overeat.

Lots of folks also report changes in the pattern of fat deposition when on low carb. If more fat depots become available for deposition, how long do they remain ready to gobble up dietary fat after the low carb ends?

And I also wonder if long term low carbing severely up-regulates ASP and related mechanisms.

Lots of research to be done (or to be found, if it's been done)

Tsimblist said...

@Woodey

Here is a link to a study that attempts to explain the water weight gains that Sanjeev mentions:
http://www.ajcn.org/content/56/1/292S.full.pdf

Woodey said...

@Sanjeev and Tsimblist Thank you for the input.

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