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Old 07-15-2008, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default Reduced carb or a calorie is a calorie?

Okay Calorie Counters, What do ya make of this?

I met with a nutritionist earlier today and she told me I needed to go on a reduced carb diet. So far I have been eat an avg of 1650 calories with a 55%carb/20 protien/25 fat ratio. She wants me to eat between 1400-1750 calories and stay under 130g of carbs a day.
I hopped on yahoo a minute ago and there was a big article called "Are Fat Calories More Fattening Than Carbs? " and the final answer was a calorie is just a calorie (with the exception of evil transfat calories)...
What do you think ladies should a go low carb or stay the course?

Last edited by hmtklein; 07-15-2008 at 06:08 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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I think it's the quality of the food that is important. All carbs and fats are not created equally. Whole grains, fruits & veggies are good carbs. White bread and highly processed foods are not. You can be on a 1200 calorie diet of crap, but that's not really doing your body any favors. IMO, that's more important than the ratios.

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Old 07-15-2008, 05:49 PM   #3
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If you're insulin resistant or have some other factors I can't remember right now - a lower carb diet can really help that.
Did you ask the nutritionist why? I know when I drop carbs (not extreme, but sticking only to good carbs) I have more energy and I drop a lot of bloat, especially in the abdomen.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by murphmitch View Post
I think it's the quality of the food that is important. All carbs and fats are not created equally. Whole grains, fruits & veggies are good carbs. White bread and highly processed foods are not. You can be on a 1200 calorie diet of crap, but that's not really doing your body any favors. IMO, that's more important than the ratios.
Completely agree! I do both calorie and carb counting. I get to eat all the good types of carbs from veggies and try to stick to a 1200 calorie diet. I try to eat low fat as well about 30g a day. So far, I it has worked for me.
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:01 PM   #5
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I know that for some folks, watching their carb count is very helpful in aiding weightloss. For me, it doesn't help one way or another. I count calories, sodium, fiber, and protein. I honestly believe it is what you can live with and what suits your body. I probably get 50% of my calories from carbs...but I agree with everyone else that they have to be higher quality carbs. I just don't get them from eating junky stuff.
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:18 PM   #6
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I lost all my weight on low carb. Please let me clarify, low carb does not mean no carb...it means eliminating the bad carbs (white processed foods).
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:26 PM   #7
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I am with Anne on the idea that the quality of food is what matters. Were you given a reason for the low carb - are there health issues that warrant this approach or just the preference of the nutritionist.

I eat 55-60% carb but I focus on quality. Although I do have my occasional indulgances. It has worked for me

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Old 07-15-2008, 06:35 PM   #8
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Because of my insulin resistance, my doctor recommended two years ago, that I reduce carbs (but shouldn't go "too" low carb). He said there was research that that reducing carbs seemed to be more effective for insulin resistant folks than other methods.

I have to say I didn't give his recommendation a lot of thought, until a year ago I talked to the woman doctor heading our weight loss clinic (great reputation, but the program is expensive, and most insurances won't cover it, even the ones that cover weight loss surgery). She and her husband each lost about 100 lbs on a "modified" Atkins (higher carb, and more care to have the fats be the healthy vegetable fats, not so much meat fat - but you can't restrict fat too much on a very low carb diet, it can even be dangerous).
She also told me that I could try to get rid of my severe PMS cravings by getting rid of my period or at least reducing it to a few times a year (another story). She gave me a lot of great advice, including the option to "reverse" Atkins and gradually decrease carbs to the best level for me rather than the reverse of starting at 20 and gradually adding carbs in.

It was a lot of great advice, but I was still wary (and stubborn). Through my food journals I proved to myself that on 1800 calories of high carb foods, weight loss is very unpredictable. I lose very little or nothing at all (I'm also a lot hungrier, so I'm more miserable). On a lower carb 1800 calories (with NO processed crap at all) I lose. Not alot, but I lose. I'm also remarkably not hungry - I even can "forget" to eat. That may not seem like a miracle to anyone but me, but I can tell you that I never once in my life, before lower carb, forgot to eat.

I don't do verly low carb (under 60 g of carbs). I'm on a medication that lowers blood sugar, so too low carb isn't smart for me (or I think anyone, but I'll mind my own business when it comes to that). When I go very low carb (even under about 80 g) I lose fast. Well, maybe not fast to a 22 year old, but very fast for my insulin resistant, disabled, gigantically fat self. But I suffer for it - suffer to much to do it intentionally ever again. I get dizzy, nauseous,light headed, too weak to exercise and very, very, very irritable; pretty much what I remember Atkins induction and the mayo clinic diet (a fad diet that was very popular, but did not really come from the Mayo clinic), doing to me when I tried them when I was in my late teens or early 20's.

So, I've come to believe that a calorie is not necessarily a calorie, but a calorie is not something to be ignored either. A person who eats 6,000 calories of ANYTHING is probably going to gain weight, unless they're a super athelete or something.

For me, I do have to watch portion size and calorie level. I follow an exchange plan. Since each food within an exchange category has approximately the same number of calories, it is a way to count calories AND other nutrients. It's a short-hand way to insure a relatively balanced diet, especially if you choose a lot of variety (an egg or an ounce of chicken, fish, and lean beef are all protein exchanges, but they're not completely nutritionally equivalent. Eating no protein except eggs, probably isn't such a good idea).

Some people apparently don't have to count calories when going low carb or "right carb" (like the South Beach Diet), but I do. When it comes to carbs, I will overeat good carbs just as easily as bad carbs, and I refuse to reduce carbs to the point that it shuts my hunger off completely (and makes me feel sick).

The Duke Diet Book and the website Hillbilly Housewife both have low carb exchange plans, but I chose a slightly different way to adjust my carb level using an exchange plan. I pulled out a few of the starch servings and made them optional servings that I can either use as a starch or a protein. I try to make sure that when I choose a carb, it is as healthy a carb as I can. Legumes are better than whole grains for me, and whole grains are better than processed grains. For me, this flexibility works.

I think for some people a calorie is a calorie (assuming the food is generally wholesome). They would lose, gain, or maintain the same weight and feel no more hunger eating low carb as high carb...

But I think for some others a calorie is only kind of a calorie. The calories might affect weight to the same degree, but the carb calorie makes the person hungrier - so much hungrier that they are less likely to stay within an appropriate calorie alottment. In this case a calorie is a calorie for the math, but not for the comfort of the person. A type 1 person and a type 2 person might lose the same abount of weight on 1500 calories, but the type 2 person is going to be a lot crabbier.

Then I think there is a third type for whom a calorie is not a calorie. It may be like change in your pocket. 25 pennies are worth the same as a quarter until you try to use them in a vending machine.

To tell you the truth, I can only guess that I am type 3. I didn't do my 1800 calorie experiement long enough to satisfy any scientific requirements. There's a good chance that I am "only" type 2, but I'm willing to take that chance, because dieting without constant, nagging, obsessive hunger has tremendous value to me. Not feeling like I have someone whispering in my ear "eat, eat, eat" 24/7 (even invading my dreams) is of great value to me. I really feel like I am a different person, almost like I imagine a schizophrenic
would feel if the voices suddenly stopped.

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Old 07-15-2008, 06:45 PM   #9
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Yeah, I believe as some others have said that certain types of carbs will ruin your progress even if you stay within your goal calories.

I used to think all calories were created equal so I went on a 1100-1200 calorie diet. Breakfast was good and nutritious. Lunch often consisted of a bag of those 100 calorie snack packs, some sunchips and crackers with peanut butter. It didn't take long before I realized my weight wasn't going anywhere. I started eating more protein and a little bit of carbs still for lunch (but not majority carbs) and after about 3 days, it kicked in. Some foods are just easier for your body to metabolize than others... and excess carbs are often converted into fat and stored.

That said, I am NOT a big fan of an extremely low carb diet. BLECK!
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:55 PM   #10
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Moderate complex carb intake like 130g a day is about what I eat. It's been working for me, so I recommend it.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:07 PM   #11
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for me I have noticed that when i eat starchy carbs my weight loss slows down. I dont gain but I dont lose. I was eating alot of BLTs in the earlier this summer and guess what my weight loss stalled. Now i try to limit my bread to just every few days. I eat lots of veggies and those are carbs also. SO for me it think its bread and chips that are a NO NO.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:31 PM   #12
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I am hypothyroid and really have to watch my carbs or I gain. I also get very bloated as soon as I eat them. So a calorie is not a calorie in all cases. If you are all your calories in fast and junk food, your metabolism would soon assume you were starving. At least give the dietician's recommendation a 2 week surprise. You might be surprised with the results. What are you eating for carbs now?

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Old 07-15-2008, 07:46 PM   #13
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I believe a calorie is a calorie, weight wise. health wise, you need nutrition and you're not going to get it from empty calories, especially carbs. Good carbs are great, not that white stuff you don't need. I count calories, but I also eat for health. I think sometimes we focus so much on weight loss we forget about eating the things our bodies need to run the way they should.
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:27 PM   #14
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Is what you are doing now working? Are you happy with the rate at which you losing weight? Is it a reasonable rate--not to fast and not too slow? Are you having problems with hunger? Do you have cravings that are really hard to resist?

If what you are doing is working, you're happy with your weight loss, and you aren't having problems with hunger or cravings, then I'd say don't change anything. If the diet you are on now is working both physically and emotionally, then I always think it's best to stick with it until it stops working. That way, you've got a alternative in your back pocket that you can go to if you plateau or start having problems with hunger, etc.

On the other hand, when my weight loss stalls or I'm having a lot of problems with hunger/cravings, that's a clue to me that I need to change something in my diet. So if you are having problems like this, why not give your nutritionist's advice a try and see if it helps. If it doesn't, you can always go back.

I don't believe that a calorie is a calorie--I think there's a big difference between eating a 100-calorie pack of refined carbs, 100 calories of fruit or veggies, 100 calories of yogurt, 100 calories of chicken, and 100 calories of nuts. But I also don't bother with a low carb diet. Carbs have been an important part of my diet for the entire time I've been losing weight and have always been at least 50% of my calorie intake, if not more. Right now, I average around 50% carbs, 35% protein, and 15% fat. I'd like my calories to be a little higher in fat and a little lower carbs, but I'm not so concerned about it that I've made any significant progress in achieving that. Also, most my carbs are either whole grains or fruits and veggies. No white rice, white bread, or white potatoes for me. Also, I try to keep added sugar to a minimum. I lost 35 lbs, got to my goal weight on this diet, and have maintained for two years on this plan.

That said, I also think it depends on how ambitious your goals are. I do think I might be able to lose a little more weight if I went to a low carb diet, but I my carbs. I'm happy enough with what I weigh now that I don't care to give them up to be a little thinner. But if you are still able to lose on your current diet, you can always wait until you get to the point where you aren't losing to decide if you want to try to go lower by reducing carbs.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:00 PM   #15
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I don't eat low carb, but I eat good carb. Big difference. Even if you kept your ratio the same as it is now, but switched the type of carbs you ate (whole grain, fruits and veggies), you would see a difference.
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