Low-Carb: No Fiber, No Poop...

Here’s another reason why low-carb diets aren’t healthy. One dietician calls them digestive nightmares. Via I’m Not Obsessed:

The myth: Give up bread and pasta and the pounds will melt away

The truth: Low-carb eating plans are a digestive nightmare, because they don't provide enough fiber, which frequently results in severe constipation, says Maye Musk, R.D., a New York City-based dietician. Healthy carbs are also crucial for energy. Stop eating them and you're likely to feel tired and grumpy all the time.

The fix: Eat good-for-you carbs. To make sure you get the nutrients you need, add four servings to your daily diet, suggests Musk. Try a slice of whole-grain bread, one-half cup cooked oatmeal, one-third cup brown rice and one-half cup whole-wheat pasta. Piling your plate with fiber-rich veggies such as spinach, broccoli, peas and asparagus can also help get things moving.

Kind of the opposite of eating a vegetable-based diet—not to be gross, but I always keep a plunger handy.

Low-Carb, Anti-Fitness

Milo F. Bryant, a personal trainer and Gazette columnist, scoffs at new research—funded by The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation—claiming “vindication” for low-carb diets. He contends low-carb diets sap people’s energy. Via The Colorado Springs Gazette:

Which brings me to the results of a study released last week. It lasted two years and determined that the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet produced greater weight loss than the fish-rich Mediterranean diet and the low-fat guidelines suggested by the American Heart Association.

I have a huge problem with this study: The Atkins Foundation helped finance it. It doesn't matter where the researchers are from. It doesn't matter how much integrity they have. They are doing a study with money from a company that can and will gain financially based on the results. This study would have had much more credence if a group unaffiliated with Atkins had paid for it, orchestrated it and found the same results.

Several nutritionists and dietitians I know have almost convinced me that mutations of the Atkins Diet are great for those who aren't as active as others.

But that leads to my next point. Many of us want to be active but find it difficult to gather the energy to do so. Still, we want the weight loss. So we seek out diets such as Atkins. And it works. We lose weight. But we're not active. And Atkins doesn't provide the fuel to get there.

Granted, Milo’s article is an opinion piece, but he’s onto something. According to Dr. Fuhrman our bodies need carbohydrates more than any other substance. He explains in Unrefined Carbohydrates Encourage Weight Loss. Here’s an excerpt:

Our muscle cells and brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods, when consumed in their natural state, are low in calories and high in fiber compared with fatty foods, processed foods, or animal products.

Fat contains about nine calories per gram, but protein and carbohydrates contain approximately four calories per gram. So when you eat high-carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruits and beans, you eat more food and still keep your caloric intake relatively low. The high fiber content of (unrefined) carbohydrate-rich food is another crucial reason you will feel more satisfied and not crave more food when you make unrefined carbohydrates the main source of calories in your diet.

There are a lot of people at my gym on protein-heavy anti-carb diets, but these people are notoriously flaky. For weeks they’re thin and working hard, but then they disappear for months and when they come back they’re considerably fatter—anyone else notice this?