Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Fairy Tale Advice

Want a current example of a low carb fairy tale?  A so-called, self-proclaimed "diet doctor" sends this message: eat as much "real food" as you like this holiday season, "because counting calories isn't necessary when eating real food." *

While this message might work for someone who is not/has never been obese, it is absolutely the wrong message to send to an obese, or formerly obese, person struggling to lose weight. You simply do not tell a person with eating issues that they can eat as much as they like and still lose weight. Even if it is grass-fed beef, pastured butter and raw, pastured cream, if you eat too much of it, you will gain weight.

Many thoughtful low carb luminaries recommend calorie counting (e.g., Jenny RuhlStargazey, and, most prominently of all, Drs. Volek and Phinney in their book, The Art and Science of Low Carb Living). Carbohydrate restriction and calorie counting is the key to weight loss success. Eating moderately, as Volek and Phinney point out, is also the key to maintaining that weight loss. This is especially important for people who are obese or formerly obese.

If you restrict your carbs and pay attention to calories, you will lose weight. If you consume too many calories, you will gain weight. Even if those calories come from the "real food" you are eating.

A parting comment:  Kurt Harris, M.D., has some hard hitting advice about eating too much low carb/Paleo foods and yet remaining obese, despite improved markers of health. His take in a nutshell: become lean.  Eating junk and being thin is preferable to eating clean low carb/Paleo and being fat.

*Note: I actually agree with much (but not all; I would never eat canola oil, for example) of the Diet Doctor's prescription for weight loss, as long as one is brutally honest about this point: "Eat when you are hungry until you are satisfied" (from his list of approved foods). It's just that the obese and formerly obese need to be very honest about both hunger and satisfaction. All too often, the"until you are satisfied" part is lost behind the "Eat when you are hungry" advice. And all too often, the justification for overeating is, "Don't count calories, count carbs." Eating a cup of cream a day will sabotage your weight loss strategy, even if there aren't very many carbs in that cream.

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