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02 February 2011

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Karen LH

I don't know. Maybe I'm not understanding Taubes' theories correctly, and if this worked for you, then it worked for you.

But I tried a low-carb diet once (Atkins), and it was an unmitigated disaster. I felt like hell, because I couldn't get enough fiber in my diet, and had to quit after about a week.

On the other hand, I'm just finishing up losing about 70 lbs under the (previous) Weight Watchers Momentum program, and it worked like a dream. Granted, WW doesn't espouse a strict calorie reduction (points are a combination of calories, fat grams, and fiber grams), but the program is basically one of eating less calories and fat, eating more fiber, and getting more exercise.

I have experienced the phenomenon of sugar consumption causing hunger, and my husband did see some improvement in his blood work under Atkins, but I'm not sure that a low-carb diet is for everyone.

bearing

Taubes doesn't recommend "the Atkins diet." In particular, the specific regime he recommends includes _unlimited_ quantities of leafy greens, which ought to get enough fiber into anyone's diet.

He strongly suggests that people who succeed on regimens other than "low-carb" -- for example, WW -- do so precisely because by following the regime they happen to reduce their carbohydrate load. It's tough to cut calories without cutting carbohydrates, and many measures that increase fiber intake -- such as switching from white to whole-grain bread -- also have the effect of cutting carbohydrates.

I'll write more about the dietary recommendations in another post.

MrsDarwin

I'm looking forward to the dietary recommendation post. My pendulum is finally swinging to a point where I'm ready to get serious (again) about eating correctly to lose weight and as a warm-up for Lent, and your posts always encourage me.

I have found that your rule about not eating after a certain time in the evening is one of the strongest factors in seeing a lower number on the scale the next morning, though I don't always follow that in practice.

Robin

Does he address caffeine? I've noticed that if I drink black coffee (in particular) on an empty stomach, I get a serious blood sugar crash. Adding half and half helps, but protein helps more. Since I've added more protein to my diet, it's helped with snack cravings.

I've lately gotten a little too comfortable in Akron (to use your analogy); I have to get off my tail and get moving to LA.

bearing

Caffeine might be treated in more detail in _Good Calories, Bad Calories._ I don't remember. In this book, the specific dietary recommendations -- which appear in an appendix that re-presents the instructional pamphlet from a successful clinical diet developed at Duke University -- include this advice:

"Some patients find that their caffeine intake interferes with their weight loss and blood sugar control. With this in mind, you may have up to 3 cups of coffee (black, or with artificial sweetener and/or cream), tea (unsweetened or artificially sweetened), or caffeinated diet soda per day."

Barbara C.

I'm sorry; I can't hear the term "adiposity" without thinking of the Dr. Who episode with the Adipose diet pill that made the fat literally walk away from your body.

KJ

I've been pondering weightloss as I've seen statments like "you CANNOT! CANNOT! get fat eating vast quantities of organic meat". I'm like... really? If you eat excess calories of good quality food, you won't get fat? Because in my anecdotal experience, I eat organic meats, lots of unprocessed stuff, good fats, oils... and I've been carrying 20 extra lbs around since my 3rd child. In the last six weeks, the only thing I've done is eat LESS of what I usually eat.. even keeping in things like chocolate, other high calories like EVOO etc, and I've lost 15 lbs, doing nothing but reduce calories. Have you seen the guy who lost 27 lbs on the Twinkie diet, as a test of the "calories in, calories out" theory? He was eating processed sugar crap, but restricted the calories, and lost weight. Now obviously I wouldn't recommend that diet, but it does seem to fly in the face of "it's not calories, it's WHAT you're eating", kwim"?

KJ

Whoops I should clarify, I haven't seen YOU make those statements, just others on teh interwebz. :-)

bearing

KJ, I think the common thread between the Twinkie diet and you with your "I already ate good stuff, I just ate less of it" and the Taubes work is this: If you, KJ, were already eating a diet with lots of good stuff and simply cut back on everything across the board, that means you ate fewer grams of carbohydrates, and that lowered your insulin levels enough to unlock the fat cells. The Twinkie guy might be eating ONLY carbohydrates now, and crappy ones at that, but maybe before he went on the diet -- before he restricted his diet to a certain amount of Twinkie calories -- he was eating a greater number of carbohydrate grams than he was when he went on the diet. (He didn't do the control experiment where he ate as many Twinkies as he wanted -- only the experiment where he ate a restricted amount of Twinkies).

Quality of carbohydrates does matter, as I read Taubes, because (for example) eating sugar as part of a meal with fiber, fat, and protein doesn't affect your blood sugar as much. But as I read it, the fundamental variable is something akin to glycemic load (not glycemic index) -- so cutting back on even the *best* kind of carbs can result in weight loss.

The other thing is that, as Taubes points out, the calorie balance equation still has to hold at all times. Losing weight must be accompanied by consuming fewer calories than you expend. I think it's kind of a two-part thing. You have to keep the glycemic load low enough to *allow* weight loss, and then weight loss must be accompanied by a calorie deficit (though it's unclear whether you have to consciously create the calorie deficit or not).

KJ

ok so Taubes isn't saying "you can eat unlimited non-carb foods and not gain weight"? Because that is what I'm encountering lately. And it just sets off my BS-meter.

Bearing

No, he says that hunger and cravings will diminish on such a diet. Presumably it would be possible for some people to gain some weight by force feeding themselves..

Biggie Small

K.J. What you have to realize is that you have less control over your bodyweight OVER TIME than you think day-by-day. So overeating one week might result in less unconsious eating the next week as long as your insulin-response is healty and your carbs are limited. Ref. Taubes wild animal-examples that never are overweight without reason (i.e. 100K trim African Gnus can't be wrong etc.)

Celeste

Just wanted to mention that the NY Times has a piece written by Taubes in the Magazine for this week:
"Is Sugar Toxic?"
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

I haven't finished it yet, but I'm really hoping he's wrong. ;)

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