Sunday, May 3, 2009
As most of my readers know, low-carbing is a lifestyle, not a quick weight-loss diet. Early in the process of low-carbing, weight is often lost rapidly, and some of the health improvements come right away. But as weeks move into months move into years, changes come more slowly and more gradually. Reading a diary or meeting an old friend will be a reminder that the low-carb life is better, but day-to-day excitement gradually morphs into an overall feeling of wellbeing.
As low-carbing becomes a way of life, what used to be a black-and-white eating plan begins to become shades of gray. What about eating a slice of Smart Carb bread instead of using a lettuce wrap on my sandwich? I miss bread, and this bread even contains exta (incomplete) protein. Could I substitute one or two low-carb Monster Energy drinks for a couple of bottles of water? They sure taste good and give me a mental and physical boost after all.
There are all sorts of low-carb substitutes for high carb foods. There are many vendors ready to sell them to us, and lots of cookbooks to show us how to make them ourselves. We see low-carb forums with large areas devoted to recipes. And if we try low-carb substitutes, in the short term it very often does not hurt. But what happens in the long term?
In April 2009 there was a Nutrition & Metabolism Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Jimmy Moore attended and posted pictures of some prominent low-carbers on his menus blog. Please check out the pictures of low-carb experts Laura Dolson and Dr. Mary Vernon. Another low-carb expert, Dana Carpender, also seems to be having weight issues. Jimmy Moore himself has recently reported that he weighs 246 pounds (an obese-level BMI of 30.7) with a body fat percentage (measured on a bathroom scale) of 31.5.
How could this be? These are prominent low-carbers. Please click on and scroll through the websites of Laura Dolson, Dr. Mary Vernon--note the array of fruit across the top, Dana Carpender and Jimmy Moore's menus blog for a clue.
Does this mean that low-carbers are doomed--doomed to gain weight in the long run? No. It does mean that the basic low-carb formula of complete protein, healthy fat and a few low-carb vegetables is hard to maintain over time. Dr. Michael Eades recently had a blogpost that graphically demonstrated that two groups of people living under similar circumstances could have drastically different outcomes for health and longevity. The hunter-gatherers had periods of starvation and fairly short lifespans, but were healthy in most respects. The agriculturalists had access to the same array of animal proteins, but they preferred to eat carbs. They were willing to suffer from increased infant mortality, painful defects in bone formation, dental cavities and bone infections in order to get a high percentage of calories from carbs rather than animal sources.
The pull of carbs and carb-replacements is strong. For one thing, they taste good. For another, the culture we live in encourages high-carb eating. But for those who are hanging in there and eating complete protein, healthy fat and low-carb vegetables, keep up the good work! In the long run, you're doing what is best for your body and in the long run, you will reap the rewards.