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?

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Frank - July 22, 2008 11:13 AM

"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?"

I think that happens to *everyone* who quits exercising!

Steve - July 22, 2008 11:36 AM

You are not likely to find ANY elite endurance athlete on a low carb diet. Lance Armstrong ate about 70% carbs (and about 7000 cals per day) during the Tour de France for example.

Cheers, Steve

Gerry Pugliese - July 22, 2008 12:01 PM

Hey Steve-

Great comment about Lance Armstrong. To me he is a supreme athlete. Not those muscled up body builders that can't bend over and touch their toes.


Rick Tarrant - July 22, 2008 11:07 PM

About ten years ago I endured the Atkins routine and lost a fair amount of weight. However, as soon as I abandoned the diet the weight came back with a vengeance.

Last month I read Eat To Live and decided to try Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week plan. I dropped 24 pounds during the month of June! The weight loss has slowed but I don't plan on going back to my old habits. For the first time I am not craving anything, caffeine, carbs, nothing.

If I return to my former lifestyle I know the weight will return as well. But I think I can live with a diet of salads, nuts, beans and the occasional fish a lot better than pork rinds and cheese!

Be well,

Magnus - July 23, 2008 5:23 AM

Hey Gerry!
I know you didn't meen it like that but "body builders" are not always what you describe them as.
If you go to a gym and you do what you're supposed to do there (i.e. working out hard) you will gain muscle. As you know resistance training should be part of any healthy lifestyle.
Resistance training is helping me in all other areas of my life including ballet training as would be suspected since it is almost always recommended by trainers in various sports and otherwise.

Gerry Pugliese - July 23, 2008 8:09 AM

Hey Magnus-

No worries. I'm not knocking resistance training. I lift weights myself and have for years.

I'm just knocking the big pumped up meat-head types. The guys that ONLY lift weights, suck down protein shakes, etc, etc.

LOL, my class ring from high school has a weight-lifter on it. No worries.


TruthofDeath - October 1, 2010 12:18 PM

Again, laughable... and that's being cordial, and nice. As if all 'muscle-heads' in the gym are so big that they cannot even operate normally. Many of those guys would run circles around these stick pole endurance athletes in a REAL physical challenge competition.

"You are not likely to find ANY elite endurance athlete on a low carb diet."

What in the WORLD are you talking about? huh? Did you think this up all by yourself? It is a known FACT that burning fat for energy is more efficient and healthy than burning carbs. There are TONS supremely competent, extraordinarily talented athletes who dominate in their endeavors while maintaining a lower-carb, nutrient dense food regimen. And who says ensdurance athletes in general are the pinnacle of health anyways, huh? Overall, many of them don't exactly have the greatest 'track' record. (haha. I am so funny, I know). I mean, lance Armstrong is an amazing human being, and his determination is to be applauded in many regards, but he is not exactly the best example for health either. Mostly because performing marathon after marathon is not really the healthiest thing to do. Our bodies are not supposed to be doing cardio for hours and hours on end like that. How about this one buster? Ever seen a supremely competitive sprinter as skinny as a pool? Um, no. You haven't. They are all quite muscular. It because of how your body reacts to intense, short spurts of physical activity.

Anyway. I could go on and on... but's it's just phenomenal how people swallow this garbage because they don't know any better. And then, suddenly, after centuries living in a world where natural farming ruled the food world, we begin to believe that a diet chalk full of all kinds of manmade concoctions and stuff like gatorade and other silly gimmicks are the key to physical stamina becasue of 'carbs'. Then a host of super weirdo and previously unheard of diseases and physical ailments being to surface. Incredible. Wake up people. You are in a carb trance.

saab - June 5, 2011 11:35 AM

I remember watching a documentary on YouTube titled, "The Story of Atkins" or something like that. On one of the clips, it showed Atkins stating, "Frankly, I don't know where fruit got such a good reputation..."

I'm pretty sure, he thinks fruits are bad because it, "has too many carbs"

For me, I, "frankly don't know where meat got such a good reputation. Yes it as no carbs, but it's got plenty of carcinogens.

Did I make a rhyme?

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