Weight Loss Support - Even more confused!!!




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Altari
11-21-2007, 02:37 AM
OK, so....I'll avoid my long tale. All I'll say is I got the link for this podcast from SlashDot and what the guy says about low carb diets being the magic bullet (my term, not his) makes a lot of sense. But it also confuses me even more. I don't know what to believe anymore! Carbs? Fat? Calories? Sugar? Starch? High Fructose Corn Syrup?

I know so many people who lost and kept off weight with Atkins. But then I also hear so many horror stories about it. *sigh*

The podcast is about 20 minutes long, and really interesting...

http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/media/2007-2008/mp3/qq-2007-11-17_01.mp3


Suzanne 3FC
11-21-2007, 02:58 AM
I know a lot of people that have lost weight successfully on high carb diets, and know plenty that lost on low carb diets. Ask 10 different people which is the best way to lose and you'll probably get 10 different answers. They all work equally, according to most studies. The only trick is finding one that fits your personal tastes and lifestyle, because that is the one you are going to stick to. According to the National Weight Control Registry, most people that lose weight and keep it off do so by doing their own thing instead of following one of the "popular" diets.

Personally, I'd suggest looking at your own goals and current health, and let that help guide you to what kinds of foods you should eat. Then make sure that the route you end up on is one that you enjoy, cause you'll be on it a long time :lol:

Have you experimented with many diets in the past?

KforKitty
11-21-2007, 05:48 AM
I agree entirely with Suzanne. There's no 'magic bullet', no single way that will suit everyone. You need to find what suits you. When I started my current (yes there's been many) weightloss campaign I set myself some rules. What I'd discovered is that I'm great at sticking to a diet for months and months but any diet that's too restrictive and forbids or severely limits certain foods I enjoy I will always eventually revert back to eating those. I decided I would not eat things I don't like (e.g. cottage cheese) and stick to things I do like. I would include all food groups in reasonable proportions. So I calorie count and keep an eye on fat grams but eat what I enjoy and so far its working fine.

Kitty


timkerbelle
11-21-2007, 06:06 AM
Personally I can't lose on a low carb diet. Back in the day when I occasionally ate meat I tried it a couple of times, because it was supposed to be so amazingly effective. I stuck it out for a couple of weeks, followed it to the letter and ended up a few lbs heavier and feeling completely sick all the time. I have however had success with a relatively high fat (but controled cal) diet. I do believe that we are all different, and the key is really to find something that suits your body and your tastes.
Like Kitty was saying - if you force yourself to eat stuff you dont like, and deprive yourself of things you love, no way will you stick with it longterm.

jellydisney
11-21-2007, 07:58 AM
Ditto to all the responses so far. All the diets that are out there are just different methods to acheiving the same thing--calorie reduction which results in weight loss. A lot of people don't realize that cutting out carbs, fats, sugars, etc, is actually cutting calories--they just do it in different ways. Personally, I hate deprivation, so I just count calories. That way, no food group or food element is totally off limits. But you have to do what you think you can stick with.

Lovely
11-21-2007, 08:45 AM
Believe all and none of it.
The people above me have posted the truth. Scientifically speaking the only way to lose weight is to have less calories coming in than there are going out.
These diets are all methods by which one can do that. But, unless you can fit that diet into your lifestyle comfortably than it's not going to work for very long.

It all comes down to finding a plan that works for you, and that you can follow for the long haul. Take a good look at how you live your life, and what you like to eat. You may notice right away that certain plans just won't work, because they incorporate nothing of what you like. You may notice that you'll have to come up with your own modified healthy plan in order to achieve what you want.

Patience :) You can do this.

JayEll
11-21-2007, 09:22 AM
I'm another one who counts calories, but doesn't restrict food groups necessarily. I do better, though, when I watch my carbs carefully, because carbohydrates can be a trigger for overeating for me.

What foods do you like, versus foods that you dislike? For example, lots of the chickies on 3FC are fond of egg white omelets, but I despise egg white. OTOH I like red meat and feel better when I eat it.

Most folks who succeed seem to find one plan and stick to it, modifying it as they go if needed.

Good luck!
Jay

nelie
11-21-2007, 11:04 AM
You do have to find what is best for you.

I lost a lot of my weight restricting most carbs, then I lost some weight including whole foods carbs, then I have finally decide to follow a plan that is mostly carbs. My favorite so far is really the plan that is mostly carbs. With my hypoglycemia/PCOS, I never thought I could successfully follow a plan that was mostly carbs but it works and I feel great. So now I question the advice that those with PCOS should follow a low carb plan, I think high carb will work if they are the right carbs.

bargoo
11-21-2007, 11:16 AM
You are getting a lot of good advice . I agree the best plan for you is the one that you will follow, I have done many diets with success but have found calorie counting works best for me. Good luck.

freiamaya
11-21-2007, 01:30 PM
I was listening to an author on the radio (CBC to be exact) who is a scientific writer, and not a dietician. He has researched and explored the diet theories and history of dieting quite thoroughly and has come to the following conclusions:
1. Carbohydrates drive insulin, and insulin-response drives fat production. He says that this is scientifically proven. Fat and protien do not drive the insulin response.
2. The low-fat, high carb movement came out in the late 1970s. For decades and decades before, the common knowledge (if you will) about being fat meant that you were eating too many carbohydrates. As of the late 1970s, the thought that "fat made you fat" and high-carb, low-fat diets became all the rage.
3. Since the early 1980s, there has been an EXPLOSION in obesity rates. He feels that the higher obesity rates are directly linked to the high carb, low fat diet philosophies that have been prevalent only since the late 1970s.
4. There is a moral judgement placed on those who are overweight, instead of recognizing the physiological response to excess carbohydrates in a diet. Large people are seen as lazy and unmotivated INSTEAD of being people who are simply displaying the results of excess carb intake, and paradoxically, their excess carb intake is a result of the officially sanctioned high carb, low fat philosophy. In other words -- you can't win if you follow government guidelines because physiology and science is against you, and furthermore, you will be judged for failing!
I thought that these thoughts were profound, and controversial, too. The book is called "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and here is a link to a review of the author's work:
http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400040780
The most interesting thing I heard in the interview, is that the author begged, and I mean BEGGED for a thorough investigation of his results. He isn't trying to convince anyone, he just wants the scientific truth to come out. He isn't promoting any diet or eating plan. He has just investigated the science behind dieting as it exists in 2007.
Now, I know there is another thread on this, and I understand the controversy. So my point is NOT to say that he is right. It is just to say that there are many points of view on this subject, of which this is only one. And he has his detractors, for sure. So perhaps I've only ADDED to your confusion! Which I don't mean to do!!!!!
Maya
:)

Lekhika
11-21-2007, 02:01 PM
If I could add my two cents. I think the term diet in itself is setting any people up for failure. The term implies ( to me at least) a temporary change in your intake. What is necessary for permanent weight loss is the adaptation of a whole new way of thinking. Calorie restriction works because you're forced to really look and assess what you're putting in your body.

I started with the Fat Smash, moved on to a diet that includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, some fats (olive oil, butter sometimes) the only think I try to stay away from are refined carbs, sugar, flour, rice...And even those I allow once in a while. I think (as it's said here over and over again) you really have to find something that suits your lifestyle and your tastes. AND perhaps more importantly, something you can adapt into your life forever!

Best of luck in figuring out what works for you!

jellydisney
11-22-2007, 07:48 AM
I would be one of the "Good Calories, Bad Calories" detractors Maya. :D

Calories are calories, there are no good ones or bad ones. Carbs don't make people fat. Eating more calories than your body can burn makes people fat.

This guy is just hopping on the low-carb bandwagon to make a buck, because people like to hear the magic answer. "Oh, if I stop eating white bread and pasta, I'll be thin again." It's never that simple.

Not to say there aren't any valid points in what you posted--there is a social stigma placed on fat people. But with all sorts of people out there selling their diet plans and books, there's a lot of misinformation and "philosophy" floating around.

JayEll
11-22-2007, 08:36 AM
Hey! :wave:

I read years ago about how excess carbs stimulate fat storage. I've also read that excess carb consumption over time can lead to insulin resistance. I think the author is wrong in thinking this information isn't "out there"--anyone can find it if they look. But it does seem to be true that the low-fat movement gained a lot of attention. So what happened was that heart patients got put on high-carb, low-fat diets and then ended up diabetic. Huh.

A calorie is a calorie, but nutrition is very complex.

Jay

Heather
11-22-2007, 09:00 AM
I'll jump in...

I have read some about the research and the problem is it is very difficult to do good controlled studies on people. You can even randomly assign people to different diets, but getting them to stay on them... tough! So, we don't know as much as we'd like. Do carbs cause an insulin response. I'd be willing to say yes here, but I think HOW that affects people varies. I believe some of the new research is suggesting that some people are affected more by this than others. These may be the people who are "triggered" by carbs. Those people might do best on a certain kind of diet that limits certain carbs, in terms of cravings. Weight loss in and of itself might be a different issue. But again, the research is difficult to do well.

As for me personally, I do calorie count and don't necessarily restrict foods. But in practice I don't eat a whole lot of "empty" calories: high fat/sugar. I like getting a bigger "bang" for my buck and they don't keep me full. I do find the less I eat of them, the less I crave.

I agree with the other posters that the plan that you can do long term is the plan to do! That said, I eat a lot more protein and a lot fewer carbs than I ever thought I would when I began this journey... my goals changed over time.

nelie
11-22-2007, 09:57 AM
I have to say from what I've read and seen, the low fat craze of the 80s really drove people to look for processed foods that were low fat or fat free. This in turn drove them to eat sugar filled processed foods with minimal fat.

When doctors in the 70s/80s said to eat a low fat diet, they didn't mean fat free twinkies. They meant foods such as fruits, vegetables, etc. The same thing has happened in the low carb arena, there are tons of low carb processed foods and generally if people rely on those for their food, then they will also gain as opposed to lose weight.

I've read studies where people have stopped their diabetes medication by eating a high carb, low fat diet. The catch? The foods are whole foods, not processed junk.

And it is difficult to study dietary effects because it is true that it is hard to have a group of people follow a dietary change for a long period of time.

suechef
11-22-2007, 01:51 PM
Although I haven't read the book I listened to the interview, read the NYT article he started with, and read some interviews with him. I don't think he's jumping on a bandwagon - he has been exploring issues to do with the nature of research in other areas as well, and for the past five years or so he has been obssessively researching the fat vs. carbs issue and the science behind it What he found is that there simply isn't "good" science behind a lot of the statements we often make "A calorie is a calorie" is one of those statements. I always believed that - now, reading what he has to say about the effect on hormones and insulin of carbs vs. fat, I'm not so sure.

What I do know is that in the four years I've been losing / maintaining, my diet has changed drastically. It's been in increments. Rather than trying to do any specific diet I've just experimented with what works for me. Now I'm at a healthy weight and I'm playing with makes me FEEL good, as opposed to looking good, and what I'm learning is that if I eat lots of raw foods, lots of veggies, some fruits, lots of nuts & beans & plain yogurt - I FEEL great. And I learned that this was also the easiest way for me to maintain - I don't eat pasta, bread, cookies, crackers, sweets, rice, etc - not because someone told me not to but because by painful trial & error I've learned I feel better if I don't, and it's easy to maintain

My bottom line is, read everything, even if it doesn't fit with my preconceived notions and accepted truths, figure out what the agendas are (if any), and experiment personally to find out what works for me.

cheers,
Sue

fiddler
11-22-2007, 11:23 PM
I would be one of the "Good Calories, Bad Calories" detractors Maya. :D

Calories are calories, there are no good ones or bad ones. Carbs don't make people fat. Eating more calories than your body can burn makes people fat.

This guy is just hopping on the low-carb bandwagon to make a buck, because people like to hear the magic answer. "Oh, if I stop eating white bread and pasta, I'll be thin again." It's never that simple.

Not to say there aren't any valid points in what you posted--there is a social stigma placed on fat people. But with all sorts of people out there selling their diet plans and books, there's a lot of misinformation and "philosophy" floating around.

Maya, in one respect you have hit the nail on the head by saying that eating more calories than your body can burn is what makes you fat. BUT your endocrine system is what controls HOW FAST those calories are burned, what type of fat is manufactured, and where it is deposited. And the types of foods you consume have a significant effect on how your endocrine system functions.

There have been several long-term studies on how low-fat diets affect weight. The most famous is the 8-year nurses health study. Here are the results of that study, excerpted from the Harvard School of Public Health website:
The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed no benefits for a low-fat diet. Women assigned to this eating strategy did not appear to gain protection against breast cancer,(1) colorectal cancer,(2) or cardiovascular disease.(3) And after eight years, their weights were generally the same as those of women following their usual diets.

So he is not completely off the wall in what he is saying about low fat/high carb diets; there is respectable scientific research to support it.

nelie
11-23-2007, 01:08 AM
There have been several long-term studies on how low-fat diets affect weight. The most famous is the 8-year nurses health study. Here are the results of that study, excerpted from the Harvard School of Public Health website:


So he is not completely off the wall in what he is saying about low fat/high carb diets; there is respectable scientific research to support it.

for some reason the quote doesn't include your quote but I believe the 8 year nurses study references a 30% fat diet as being low fat. I don't know but that doesn't sound low fat to me.

JayEll
11-23-2007, 08:45 AM
nelie, I also found the reference to "30% fat or less" as being "low fat" for the purposes of that study.

I also read that in that same study, a lower rate of cardiovascular disease was found among women with the highest protein intake, compared to those with the lowest protein intake.

Altari, I hope you're not even more confused now! I think our topic has started to wander a bit... :D

Jay

nelie
11-23-2007, 11:13 AM
Yeah sorry about the topic wandering... :)

A book I highly recommend is The China Study, it is very interesting and actually references the Nurses Health study and some of the flaws with the study.

Honestly though, I tried to read a lot about dietary changes and health and then make up my own mind. I've also played with my own diet for the past few years and have found what makes me feel good, what helps me lose weight and what is maintainable for the future.

EZMONEY
11-23-2007, 01:29 PM
As long as there is good $$$$ involved there will be studies and books. I think for most folks, unless there are medical issues, it comes down to smart choices ~ calories in~calories out ~ exercise ~ BALANCE

MelKnee
11-23-2007, 07:04 PM
My husband does wonderfully on a low-carb diet. He can eat as many calories as he wants as long as he keeps the carbs low and he loses weight. I, on the other hand, get so mean and crabby if I dont have carbs that I just can't stick to that way of eating. I don't believe that one way works for everyone. It just can't. We are all different. You have to find what works for you. Try differnet things. Figure out what you feel good with while meeting your goals.

freiamaya
11-23-2007, 07:57 PM
There is no end to the debate about "good calories" and "bad calories". I pretty much have a handle on both sides of the debate. But the only thing that just keeps sticking in the back of my mind about this debate concerns, of all things, the movie "The Grapes of Wrath", starring Henry Fonda. Why this sticks in my mind is because the movie was about an impoverished starving family in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Yet the lead female character, the mother, was played by a very heavy woman. When the director was asked WHY he would cast a very heavy woman in the role of the starving family matriarch, he said that "If you are poor, all you have to eat are potatoes. This is why she would have been fat - she would have given the meat and vegetables to her family and eaten the left-overs". Now, this is from the late 1930s. I found this interesting, because the author of "good calories, bad calories" argues that common knowledge, from years ago, your "gramma's wisdom" if you will, said that if you overate carbs you would gain weight. And that the total calories in wouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor.
I mention this NOT as "scientific proof", but simply as a comment that really stuck in my mind. A starving woman portrayed by an extremely overweight woman because all she had to eat were potatoes....
Maya
:)

nelie
11-23-2007, 08:55 PM
Uhh I don't really get the eating only potatoes would make you fat, obviously it'd make you malnourished but an average woman would have to eat about 17 potatoes per day (approximately 6 lbs of potatoes) to gain weight and even then, it'd be a slow gain. I think if momma was fat, she was eating a lot more than potatoes.

I think if I ate about 5 (maybe 7) potatoes per day, I'd be pretty darn full.

Anyway, there are carbs that will make you gain weight, such as sugar because it lacks fiber and is very calorically dense.

JayEll
11-23-2007, 09:32 PM
I believe, although I don't know that there have been any studies to show this, that poorer people who are malnourished may be obese because they are starving for enough protein. They may be overeating starchy foods, fats, and inexpensive filler foods in an effort to fill their protein hunger. Foods high in protein are generally more expensive to buy. And you have to eat an awful lot of beans and rice to get as much protein as in a can of tuna. But as I say, this is only my impression--I have no data.

Jay

freiamaya
11-23-2007, 10:10 PM
I think the theory is as follows: carbs create an insulin response. The insulin response is responsible for the creation of fat. If you eat a meal high in carbs, those carbs that you do not immediately use (metabolic energy, glycogen replenishment, etc.) will be stored as fat. SO, I think the theory is that if you eat carbs in an unbalanced fashion, the excess carbs will be stored as fat. Since fat is the body's least favorite fuel source, fat deposited will be used last. Hence, a diet very high in carbs results in fat storage, which is used by the body at the last possible moment.
The theory behind ketogenic diets is that there are few carbs and little glycogen for the body to use. Fat is accordingly burned (along with muscle tissue) resulting in the formation of ketone bodies. Result -- a diet of all potatoes means fat deposits. High protein means fat useage. And I didn't say that "gramma's logic" was scientific. I'm just saying that, like the author of the book, sometimes there is truth to "gramma's wisdom".
From a personal perspective, I fell into the trap of Susan Powter's diet in the mid-90s. She advocated a high-carb, low-fat diet. I love pasta. I kept my calories down to 1800 per day and exercised 1 hour vigorously and religiously three times a week with a certified personal trainer.. SO, in keeping with the principle that high carb was good, I ate around (plus or minus 100) 1800 calories a day of pasta and tomato sauce. I kept a daily food log, and had it checked by my certified trainer for calorie consumption. I never had such FUN! I LOVED it! And after three months, I had gained 20lbs. While on a DIET. While under the supervision of a certified personal trainer, who advocated the Susan Powter method. Who I immediately fired!!!!
I'm just saying...
Maya
:)

nelie
11-23-2007, 10:11 PM
The impoverished also lack vegetables and fruit which provide nutrients and fiber. Although it isn't just the impoverished, it seems to be part of our american society.

I made lots of veggies for Thanksgiving and my fridge is stuffed with those veggies. The reason? My ILs don't really eat veggies unless I am around to prepare it for them and serve it to them.

I also grew up not eating much veggies but I ate a lot of meat growing up and I ate a lot of carbs. My family wasn't impoverished but we also weren't anywhere near middle class.

Also our society eats more meat than any other large culture (yes there are eskimos and other smaller cultures that do have a lot of meat as part of their diet) and we are the fattest ones around. Can you imagine going to a restaurant in any other country (I can't speak for Canada but I imagine they are similar to us in this respect) and being able to order a 24 oz steak? Or a 1 lb burger?

Maya,

There have been studies that show that have proven that it is truly calories in vs calories out, high carb vs low carb, if the calories are the same, the results are the same. One good thing about low carb diets though is that they limit the refined carbs which are really what cause the huge insulin response which causes hunger. If you eat a whole foods high carb diet, it is different than if you eat a processed high carb diet in that you will be hungrier and tend to eat more with processed foods.

Something also interesting although there have been studies on calories in vs calories out, in the book I read it was saying that Chinese people actually eat more calories on average than Americans but they are skinnier, even with the less active Chinese they are still skinnier. Part of the theory is that it takes more calories to convert carbs into fat than it takes to convert fat into fat and since Chinese eat a lot of carbs and not much animal protein, they burn more calories processing their food. I don't really care about the processing food aspect because I think it is just better to focus on calories but it is interesting.

suechef
11-23-2007, 10:23 PM
I'd suggest you read the book. It talks at length about things exactly like the woman in the movie - eg, a lot of the current weight problem in the west is blamed on a rich diet, lots of fat, etc., but the poor are proportionately heavier, and they eat a lot more starchy things, because they're cheaper. But one thing I think is interesting is he also talks about something that probably hits close to home for a lot of people: often when obese people claim they're only eating a certain amount, and that amount seems too low to fit the "calories in, calories out" rule, and people assume they are secretly eating more or just not accurately judging what they eat - when in fact, it's often the case that those people really aren't eating all that much; they can be eating exactly the same number of calories as someone who is slim. Which begs the question, why does one person gain weight and the other person doesn't? So a lot of the stuff in the book is about hormones, insulin, metabolism. It does not say one diet fits all, it doesn't say low carb is for everyone. It raises a lot of really interesting points, and it does so by looking at pretty much all the science that's been done (or more to the point, not done). He spent five years writing this, interviewed more than 600 scientists & other experts. He is the only writer to have won the 3 Science in Society Journalism awards from the National Association of Science Writers. His last book was on cold fusion, so he's not trying to be a health guru or anything like that.

A lot of people are upset about this book and there's been some harsh criticism because it questions a lot of the things we believe to be true (including things I wholeheartedly believed but am now wondering about), but it also digs to find out where we got the ideas we have and why we should maybe question them ourselves. Given what a struggle the WLJ is for so many of us I think it's not a bad idea to have an open mind until you've read it for yourself. He doesn't say he has all the answers - I think he would be more likely to say, he has all the questions!

Anyway, it's really very interesting and I think a hopeful, positive book for people who are trying to get healthier.

cheers,
Sue

EZMONEY
11-23-2007, 10:24 PM
Maya ~ I remember years ago, as a child about 10, asking my mom "why is everyone in that family so fat?"...she just said that they didn't have much money so they ate a lot of spaghetti...for years I thought anyone fat was not only poor...but ate a lot of spaghetti.

freiamaya
11-23-2007, 11:13 PM
MMmmmmm, PASTA....
:)
Maya

Altari
11-23-2007, 11:36 PM
Wow so much info! LoL

suechef, I agree with your take on the book. I'm going to hunt it down and read it.

One of the reasons 'low carb' has started to ring true to me is my father's diabetes. I don't remember the exact mechanics, but I remember my father losing a TON of weight when his diabetes geared up. And it was explained, if I remember it at all correctly, that his body was no longer able to process the glucose (since he had no insulin) and his body was turning to fat.

So...doesn't it seem (if that's the case) that if you deprive your body of the regular amount of glucose, it will have to turn to fat?

nelie
11-24-2007, 12:05 AM
Sue,

The studies I was referring to regarding weight loss and calories matter more than type of diet were with people of similar characteristics (age, weight, medical history, etc) that lost the same amount no matter low carb/high carb. That of course doesn't address why some people are skinny vs some people being fat. That does have to do a lot with hormones, genetics, environment, etc.

Again, personally as someone who has had over 200 lbs to lose and is getting closer, I can say I've been able to play around a lot with my diet. That is what shapes my own personal opinion and I do recommend that people find what works best for them.

My summary is the following though

High carb, processed foods (even healthier processed foods) does not work with me. My insulin "issues" (PCOS, hypoglycemia) are more prevalent if I eat a processed, high carb diet.

Low carb, regardless of food works for me in the weight loss arena, although it leaves me yearning for a diet that focuses on more whole foods.

Moderate carb, moderate fat, whole foods works for me but it is tough because I find myself going over my limit in calories.

High carb, low fat, whole foods works for me and I don't find myself going over my limit in calories. Amazingly, it is what makes me feel better out of all the 4 types of diet permutations I list. Also, amazingly, my insulin "issues" aren't an issue with this dietary guideline.

veggielover
11-24-2007, 12:40 AM
I think stuff like this are generally debatable. I've never really cared about the diet that comes as "most healthy" because that all differs in opinion, but concentrated on the diet that "works best for me". Yeah, I have saturated fats in my diet but hey, it works for me. Can't please everybody and everything...

suechef
11-24-2007, 07:25 AM
Veggielover, if it makes you feel any better the whole first section of the book has a lot about fats & heart disease, which is where a lot of the current converitional wisdom about dieting comes from and where the low fat thing really started, and he looks at the studies about fats and finds the science was very poor and that they know that sat fats are not in fact the devil.

Also, like I sort of said but not very clearly, his interest is largely in scientific methodology (and not weight loss per se), and, having read this, now when I hear anyone say "studies have shown" my immediate response is, which studies? I want details! Because so many studies have been poorly controlled or interpreted in ways that are simply "wishful science" as one scientist in the book calls it. In good science you start with a hypothesis and then try to disprove it - in bad science, you have your hypothesis, try to prove it, and if the study doens't back up your preconceived notion you either ignore it or scramble to find ways to explain that while this study didn't work, the hypothesis is still right. It would appear that the history of diet/nutrition science is riddled with this sort of thing.

cheerio,
Sue

JayEll
11-24-2007, 08:28 AM
Hey Altari! Gosh, all this and you still have to find out what works for you! :lol:

But it's a really good discussion! I'm enjoying this thread.

Regarding glucose--the way I've heard it, the brain has to have glucose and only glucose--nothing else will do. So, the body has metabolic pathways--recipes, if you will--to take any nutrient, whether protein, fat, or carb, and turn it into glucose if needed.

With regard to muscle, if you are exercising vigorously, muscles first burn glucose from the blood, then glycogen, an energy storage molecule found in muscles, and then when that's gone, fats. In fact, muscle tissue is about the only tissue that can burn fat directly.

With too few calories, as in a diet, the body burns glycogen stores, proteins, and fats. Eating adequate protein helps prevent muscle wasting because the protein is used instead of the muscle, to some extent. Exercise also helps prevent muscle wasting by keeping the muscles in use. Ideally, more fat is then used for energy than protein. Fat is a really high energy substance, which is why bodies use it for energy storage.

freiamaya, Susan Powter always struck me as a bit off... Wow, 20 pounds gained while eating 1800 cals of pasta... :fr:

nelie, one assumption in some of those studies is that everyone's metabolism is the same--and I question that. I have no reason to believe that a Chinese person's metabolism works the same as mine--being of northern European ancestry. My ancestors were eating reindeer and cold-water fish for thousands of years--while the Chinese were eating rice and soybean products. I think this may be why I have never done well on a vegetarian diet. Give me too many carbs, whether refined or not, and I balloon up!

Jay

veggielover
11-24-2007, 08:52 AM
You know Sue, I read that somewhere else too but I have so many people giving me the no-no finger, its absurd. Oddly enough, I don't feel the need to ever supplement debates with my friends with anything that starts with "studies show" because studies often cancel one another out, back and forth through time. That, and, having actually researched in a lab, I know some stats are highly flawed for reasons unknown to me. Haven taken statistics, I suspect that scientists also purposely choose the best mathematical functions that better strengthen their hypotheses....

:?: So where does this leave me? Back at square one.:D

EZMONEY
11-24-2007, 09:17 AM
.........

:?: So where does this leave me? Back at square one.:D

Well VEGGIE look at the bright side...you are no longer going in circles ;)

suechef
11-24-2007, 09:21 AM
No, not back at square one. I guess what I'm taking from this is that different people metabolize what they eat differently (surprise!), and therefore you just need to experiment until you find out what works for you.

But one point, which I'm still trying to understand the workings of, is that if you feel hungry it's because you ARE hungry - if you are not using the stored fuel in your body in a "normal" way - if your body can't access that fuel efficiently enough to make the rest of the cells in your body happy (regardless of your weight) - then your cells tell you you are hungry and you need to supplement what your body is actually metabolizing for daily use. If your cells aren't getting enough you compensate one of two ways: eating more, or doing less.

Fun factoid: ground squirrels, which fatten up at the end of the summer for their long food-less winter, will fatten up just as much in a lab (at the same time of year) with no extra food!! So, it has to be that they are metabolizing the calories differently at that time of year.

Golly, it's all so complicated.

cheerio,
Sue

LisaMarie71
11-24-2007, 09:46 AM
Obviously, as everyone has stated, different things work for different people. All I can say is my own experience, and here it is:

When I let go of trying to figure out WHAT to eat and started focusing on HOW MUCH I was eating, I lost 115 pounds. Do I eat the healthiest diet in the world? No. Am I far healthier than I was 115 pounds ago? Of course. I don't track my carbs, fat, or protein -- I track my calories. If I hadn't made it simple like that, and told myself that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit in my calories, I wouldn't have lasted more than a day or two. Believe me, I tried the low carb thing (I tried EVERYthing before this). Counting calories and calories alone is the only thing I will stick to. That's more about my mind than my body, I suppose. Regardless, it's working. I do try to make healthy choices most of the time, but if you tell me to give up sugar I'll simply laugh at you. :lol:

suechef
11-24-2007, 10:19 AM
On a sort of related note, I haven't actually read much about Atkins, so I was just at their website. I was surprised at how much emphasis there is on veggies, vitamins (from food), fiber, some fruits, healthy oils - I've always heard people describe it as just slabs and slabs of fatty meat - but that's not what I'm seeing on the site at all! Just goes to show you have to read it for yourself.

cheerio,
Sue

freiamaya
11-24-2007, 11:05 AM
It was the MOST DEPRESSING thing ever -- GAINING weight on a calorie restricted diet! And I thought, I really really thought, that her diet would be the answer for me, because to eat nothing but pasta and carbs was my absolute ideal. I LOVE them. It was a sad day when I recognized that a higher protein quotient in my diet was going to work for me.
Something else that really stuck in my mind was the following:
If the calorie in/out equation was all that mattered, how did thousands of WWI POWs survive for YEARS on 500 calories a day or less while doing daily hard labor for 8-10 hours? I'm NOT saying that they weren't malnourished. I'm NOT saying that they didn't lose weight. What I AM saying is that mathematically, if calories IN and calories OUT are SO far out of whack, no one should have survived for more than a month! Which brings us to the debatable topic (in some venues) of the concept of STARVATION MODE. Your body will adjust for a period of time (for some, longer periods than for others) to a severe restriction in calories. Which makes absolutely NO sense mathematically IF calories IN MUST equal calories OUT in order to maintain the human body.
SO, if we can accept that the body can act in ways contrary to what we believe to be true logically and mathematically, can one also give credence to the theory that the body metabolizes carbohydrates differently than it does proteins and fat? In other words, is a calorie REALLY a calorie, metabollically speaking???
I LOVE this thread -- so much great discussion!
Maya
:)

nelie
11-24-2007, 11:32 AM
nelie, one assumption in some of those studies is that everyone's metabolism is the same--and I question that. I have no reason to believe that a Chinese person's metabolism works the same as mine--being of northern European ancestry. My ancestors were eating reindeer and cold-water fish for thousands of years--while the Chinese were eating rice and soybean products. I think this may be why I have never done well on a vegetarian diet. Give me too many carbs, whether refined or not, and I balloon up!


What I got from the China Study and why it was done was why cancer rates and heart disease are so low among certain parts of China while other parts of China have higher rates. The study was interesting because it studied cancer rates and heart disease rates among people of similar ancestry. The results from that study (and others as well) were that areas which ate minimal animal protein had extremely low rates of cancer and heart disease while other areas that ate more animal protein had significantly higher rates of cancer and heart disease. Also, the book references studies of cancer and heart disease rates among those that have moved to western nations and shown that the cancer and heart disease rates become similar to those of the area they live in after the first generation. So it is to say that sure Japanese/Chinese/other asian people seem healthy if eating their natural diet but once they move to countries with high rates of heart disease and cancer, after the first generation, where they seem to adopt the lifestyle/food, they also have high rates of heart disease and cancer. Anyway, that is a short summary of a long book with lots of references. Obesity is actually an afterthought but it is true that the increase in animal protein also seems to not only cause higher rates of cancer and heart disease but also obesity.

Anyway, the China Study and the other book I read "Eat to Live" (which also talks about health among those who minimize animal protein) really struck home with me in that I should be eating mostly whole foods and animal protein really doesn't do much for me so why eat it? Of course that is my own conclusion and I do think everyone has to find out what is right for them.

I also admit even though I eat a high carb diet, I do minimize the starchy carbs. I think they do provide some nutrients but they are a bit more calorie dense so I rather eat other veggies. On Thanksgiving was the first time I had bread and the first time I had potatoes in well over a month and amazingly, I was down a pound the day after Thanksgiving. It is amazing since I have always thought of myself as carb sensitive, it is a bit surreal to be eating a high carb diet.

suechef
11-24-2007, 03:24 PM
re. the China study and how adopting a western diet increases heart disease, etc, the same holds true for cultures which exist almost exclusively on meat & dairy - Inuit, Maasai, and several others. So yes, it's something about the western diet, but it's not necessarily more meat. Note, explorers and scientists who lived among the people of the north ate the same food they did - mostly seal meat - and reported being in excellent health. I hardly eat any meat so I'm not promoting a carnivorous lifestyle, just find it interesting that the meatless Chinese story & the meaty stories of others have the same unhappy ending when they start eating western diets.
cheers,
Sue

JayEll
11-24-2007, 04:37 PM
Pizza is the kiss of death. :eek:

Jay

Jasmine31
11-24-2007, 08:14 PM
I really think everything in moderation is key. Sue there is also this I found quite a while ago:

Nutrition for Longevity (http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/83_folder/83_articles/83_longevity.html)

It is about how the Azerbaijan's live to be over 100 years old. It tells what they eat, alot of dairy products and the other foods they eat with it to help break up the fat etc.

I think the #1 problem of America is all the fast food and processed food.

freiamaya
11-25-2007, 01:25 PM
OH how I hate to point this out, but I have to!
The average life expectancy in Azerbaijan is 62.5 years, lower than the world average of 67.2 years. They rank 124th in the world. A person's reported lifespan and their actual lifespan is different. Without actual documentation, you really don't know IF someone is 102 years old. They may SAY so, and they might have others who VOUCH for it, but seriously...age reported often is a result of cultural influences, too, but that's another matter...
This is why you never see recognition of "the world's oldest person" without any documentation. Period. And life expectancy rates have alot to do with hygiene standards, access to medical facilities, and the quality of medical intervention available.
So, I PERSONALLY think that Azerbaijans live to 100+ because of diet is absolutely touted to sell a diet book--I don't think that they do live that long, at least, not enough of them live that long to form the basis of a diet program.
JMHO
Maya
:)

nelie
11-25-2007, 01:53 PM
re. the China study and how adopting a western diet increases heart disease, etc, the same holds true for cultures which exist almost exclusively on meat & dairy - Inuit, Maasai, and several others. So yes, it's something about the western diet, but it's not necessarily more meat. Note, explorers and scientists who lived among the people of the north ate the same food they did - mostly seal meat - and reported being in excellent health. I hardly eat any meat so I'm not promoting a carnivorous lifestyle, just find it interesting that the meatless Chinese story & the meaty stories of others have the same unhappy ending when they start eating western diets.
cheers,
Sue

Well actually sue, the China study wasn't the adoption of western diet that increases heart disease, cancer, etc, it was actually mainly on the increase of meat in the diet. Richer Chinese tend to get heart disease and cancer more often but they also tend to eat more meat. Could it be because they are replacing vegetables with meat? Could be. Poorer chinese tend to eat lots of carbs and little meat but cancer and heart disease are very rare. This was linked to studies done on animals were they were exposed to carcinogens then fed various levels of animal protein and showed a direct increase in the amount of cancer with the amount of animal protein given. Also, studies were done given the same amount of plant protein as animal protein and the increase in cancer didn't occur in the animals exposed to increased plant based protein, only animal based protein.

So although the China study does mention some things with adoption of western diet, the main focus was why do some native chinese people get cancer, heart disease, etc and why do others not. From a dietary standpoint, it seems like there is some correlation between the increase in animal protein and various diseases. This was a long term study done at a time when western foods in China were unheard of or possibly very rare.

Jasmine31
11-25-2007, 02:14 PM
Thanx for that info Nelie. Very interesting. I like what Suzanne said in the vegetarian forum about the mediterasian diet. Red meat once a month, chicken a few times a month, fish a few times a week, lots of vegetables and some fruit, choosing healthier fats, etc.

Maya:

So, I PERSONALLY think that Azerbaijans live to 100+ because of diet is absolutely touted to sell a diet book--I don't think that they do live that long, at least, not enough of them live that long to form the basis of a diet program.


I am not sure. I do know that eating food with other foods helps. Like when the mediterasian people came on here for questions and I asked why all the white rice doesn't seem to affect them. They said:

That's why in Asian cultures where relatively fast digesting white rice is a staple, they don't have problems with blood sugar spikes because rice is eaten with slowly digesting foods like fish, beans (including tofu), poultry, plant oils and fiber-rich vegetables.

freiamaya
11-25-2007, 02:22 PM
I agree that diet is important. My only concern is that
1. Azerbaijanis in general do NOT live to +100 years old and
2. This should not form the basis of a dietary plan.
As for the studies of Chinese diet, etc., here is an interesting story I learned at University.
For YEARS, the French reported very, very low rates of heart disease and few deaths from heart attacks despite their consumption of red wine, cheese, and croissants. Why was this? Studies were done, and diet books proliferated -- "Eat like the French", "A Diet of a French Woman", and so on.
Something about the French diet resulted in low rates of heart disease. Was it the quantities of food? Was it the variety? Did red wine have an impact and "neutralize" the effects of the cheese? The debate rages on.
What was NOT mentioned was this:
At that time, French insurance laws stated that death from Heart Disease was considered a self-inflicted death. As a result, life insurance policies would be VOIDED if a patient died from heart disease.
Knowing this, doctors would NOT state that heart disease was the cause of death for a patient. If they DID, then the family would not be able to collect life insurance.
Result: studies of death rates showed that there were FEW incidences of heart disease and related deaths in France. Laws have changed now, and the reported incidence of heart disease and deaths as a result have skyrocketed. The key word is "REPORTED". It was always there. It just wasn't reported.
SO, all this is to say that studies that are conducted often do not take the local cultural issues to heart, and that to say that, for example Azerbaijanis live to 100+ because they eat grains, or Chinese live to 100+ because they eat soy is simplistic.
JMHO
Maya
:)

Heather
11-25-2007, 02:44 PM
Very interesting discussion this has become (though I fear our original poster is not getting the answers she's looking for! :))

When I read this thread, many of the issues seem linked to causality. We say this diet LEADS TO this, or INCREASE that, or CAUSES such and such. All of these are causal claims.

But the problem is that it's nearly impossible to determine causality without experimental research -- research that holds all other variables constant except for the ones of interest. In the area of nutrition, it is nearly impossible to do that kind of research. How do you vary diet only and keep everything else (including genetics and other lifestyle and cultural factors) the same in cross-cultural research? I think you can't.

So, if Azerbajanis or the French or the Japanese or Italians live longer or have less heart disease, we can see correlations to the type of diet, but we can't determine that the diet CAUSED the longevity (provided it's true to begin with) because we haven't been able to isolate the factors involved with real experimental research.

There has been research on various aspects of nutrition, and some of it is experimental and some of that does seem to indicate that eating certain foods causes better health (e.g., lower incidence of heart disease). But even that research is a long way from showing how diet in and of itself causes these effects.

In addition, as many people are pointing out, there may be genetic factors that haven't yet been taken into account. Maybe the cause of a longer life, or lower heart disease, among certain groups is an interaction between their diet AND their genetics. In other words, maybe a certain diet works best for certain people, and another diet works well for others. Some preliminary research on diets that try to reduce insulin responses seems to suggest that it is helpful for some people but not others.

Of course, this becomes highly problematic for those of us trying to change our diets and become healthier -- what are we supposed to do if the research hasn't fully answered our questions?

Well, we do the best we can. We read and make choices that seem to work with our lifestyles, and we check with our doctors to make sure our numbers look okay. But we also need to recognize that the answers aren't going to be immediately apparent. I can feel healthy and have great numbers, but I don't know for sure how things will look 30 years down the road. And if I just feel good, how do I know it's because of my diet alone? What about the additional exercise? And what about issues like the "placebo effect"?

I guess this is all a long-winded way of saying that the answers we desperately seek may not be out there yet, and probably won't be in our lifetimes. We do the best we can. But at the same time, we have to be careful not to overstate our own cases, or to presume that we know more than we do...

(quietly gets off soapbox...)

freiamaya
11-25-2007, 02:45 PM
Absolutely right! And the BEST diet is the one that works for you!
This has been/is an awesome thread!!!!
Maya
:)

nelie
11-25-2007, 09:43 PM
I totally agree Heather. I think we can take information and use it how we choose to. There is no perfect answer. It is like when studies come out saying "soy is good for you" but then everything starts to contain soy. Green tea is good for you, so then companies market green tea pills. Hoodia is an awesome example of that in that it does suppress appetite in its natural form but harnessing that appetite suppression capability in a product has been impossible for manufacturers that have tried.

For me, I figure I've chosen the way I will eat and if I'm healthy and live a long life, then maybe my diet contributed to that but who knows? If I die of some disease at a fairly young age, could it be my diet? Who knows. I just do the best that I can and follow what I think is right for me and works.

JayEll
11-26-2007, 07:55 AM
And lest we lose sight of the point... or maybe we already did! :lol:

Weight loss! Yes, it's best to do that in a healthy way--but one chick's healthy way isn't necessarily someone else's. I found that I couldn't manage to stay with a program that had me cooking a lot, or a program that had me searching out special foods, or eating foods that I didn't like. So Altari, if you're still with us... make some lists! Things you like, things you don't like, what your schedule allows, and so forth. Look for a program that will fit well with your lists, because to be successful, it has to be something you can stay with. Let us know what you decide!

Jay

ckatgo
11-26-2007, 08:14 AM
I agree that diet is important. My only concern is that
1. Azerbaijanis in general do NOT live to +100 years old and
2. This should not form the basis of a dietary plan.
As for the studies of Chinese diet, etc., here is an interesting story I learned at University.
For YEARS, the French reported very, very low rates of heart disease and few deaths from heart attacks despite their consumption of red wine, cheese, and croissants. Why was this? Studies were done, and diet books proliferated -- "Eat like the French", "A Diet of a French Woman", and so on.
Something about the French diet resulted in low rates of heart disease. Was it the quantities of food? Was it the variety? Did red wine have an impact and "neutralize" the effects of the cheese? The debate rages on.
What was NOT mentioned was this:
At that time, French insurance laws stated that death from Heart Disease was considered a self-inflicted death. As a result, life insurance policies would be VOIDED if a patient died from heart disease.
Knowing this, doctors would NOT state that heart disease was the cause of death for a patient. If they DID, then the family would not be able to collect life insurance.
Result: studies of death rates showed that there were FEW incidences of heart disease and related deaths in France. Laws have changed now, and the reported incidence of heart disease and deaths as a result have skyrocketed. The key word is "REPORTED". It was always there. It just wasn't reported.
SO, all this is to say that studies that are conducted often do not take the local cultural issues to heart, and that to say that, for example Azerbaijanis live to 100+ because they eat grains, or Chinese live to 100+ because they eat soy is simplistic.
JMHO
Maya
:)

I think the fact they found it self inflicted is interesting. (granted these are insurance companies...I personally can't stand them) I read a book a while back called "Fat Land" some of you may remember it. In the book it purposes that one reason the French don't seem to gain weight it that the concept of restraint is built into there society. The book stated that when the clothes manufactures wanted to change clothes sizes to be more cloth for the same size on the label the French government stopped them. It's a whole lifestyle thing, I think.

Interesting...:smug:

suechef
11-26-2007, 10:24 AM
Heather,

Very very well said.

I think we should greet any research / study results, no matter who it comes from, with a very healthy dose of scepticism - personally, unless I know a fair bit about the conditions of a study I'm never again going to say, "oh I just saw there was a study on such and such". Studying just about anything diet & nutrition related is clearly very very difficult, there are just so many variables.

What we DO know is that there are significant health benefits associated with weight loss (if we're overweight!). So, figure out a way to eat that makes you feel good, gives you energy and doesn't leave you feeling hungry and depressed and obssessed with food, and then get on with life!

cheerio,
Sue

carolr3639
11-26-2007, 12:50 PM
No, not back at square one. I guess what I'm taking from this is that different people metabolize what they eat differently (surprise!), and therefore you just need to experiment until you find out what works for you.

But one point, which I'm still trying to understand the workings of, is that if you feel hungry it's because you ARE hungry - if you are not using the stored fuel in your body in a "normal" way - if your body can't access that fuel efficiently enough to make the rest of the cells in your body happy (regardless of your weight) - then your cells tell you you are hungry and you need to supplement what your body is actually metabolizing for daily use. If your cells aren't getting enough you compensate one of two ways: eating more, or doing less.

Fun factoid: ground squirrels, which fatten up at the end of the summer for their long food-less winter, will fatten up just as much in a lab (at the same time of year) with no extra food!! So, it has to be that they are metabolizing the calories differently at that time of year.

Golly, it's all so complicated.

cheerio,
Sue

How can squirrels gain weight with no extra food? Did they give an explanation?

suechef
11-28-2007, 09:41 AM
I don't remember the details about how the ground squirrels do it, but presumably they are metabolizing their calories in a different way. Makes sense, many of us are pretty familiar with people who can eat more than we do and stay skinny, and also people who eat less and stay not-so-skinny - metabolisms vary. Given that the critters need to add fat for hibernation, I guess they've evolved some kind of failsafe mechanism so that if there isn't an optimal amount of food in a particular year they can make the absolute most of the food they do get, or they'd all die in a lean food year.

cheers,
Sue