Thinking low carb?

Published 5:53 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

By Staff
Janet Peterman-Personal trainer
Oh no, bathing suits, shorts and tank tops – summer is here! There is no better indicator of body image than the dreaded bathing suit, no matter what cut it is. OK, you're ready to shed a few of those unwanted pounds.
How to do it you ask? I believe in the USDA pyramid, moderation, lots of water and activity. But with all the hype on these low-carb diets, do they really work? Here are some solid facts for you to make your own decisions.
1. You don't lose more weight on a low-carb diet in the long run. The scientific research has proven this over and over again.
2. When you cut down on carbs dramatically, the percent of calories you get from fat soars.
3. No health organization advocates a high-fat diet, especially if the fat is saturated fat.
4. There's no magic to a low-carb diet. People lose weight because they are eating fewer calories. The scientific research has proven this, too.
5. It isn't healthy to cut out a whole category of foods that provide essential nutrients-like fruits, vegetables and whole grains-that are known to prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease.
6. The initial quick weight loss on low-carb diets, like Atkins and the South Beach Diet, is mainly due to water loss not fat. People are kidding themselves at the scales and then they have to deal with the weight "snap-back" when they eat normally again.
7. The terms "net carbs" and "effective carbs" on food packages were created by marketers to sell products. They have no legal or scientific meaning.
8. You cannot just count carbs and forget about the calories in a food product. This is like only counting fat grams and ignoring the calories and we all know what that did to our waistlines in the 90s.
9. The rigid rules of a low-carb diet are UNLIVABLE.
10. Low-carb diets are all about deprivation-with a lot of rules about what you can't eat and a little leeway on what you can eat. Who can live with that? Who wants to? It's not normal, and it's not healthy.
11. The highly publicized research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine did not say that a low-carb diet is safe or healthy. What this very preliminary research found is that it did not raise blood lipids in the short term. But we have no idea what would happen in the long term.
12. It's irresponsible how these extreme low-carb regimes are condemning ALL carbohydrates when many of them are essential to good health.
13. This diet is not heart-healthy and the American Heart Association is very much against it.
14. The National Kidney Foundation is concerned about the rapidly rising incidence of kidney stones in women and links the problem to low-carb diets.
15. No study has shown that you can keep the weight off by following a low-carb diet. So now that you have the facts, you can decide what program fits your lifestyle needs.