How many times have you told someone you were on a low-carb diet or how many times have you suggested a low-carb diet to a friend or relative that was trying to lose weight or improve health and got the following response?: Oh, I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t want to eat that much meat and all those eggs.
If you’re like me, you hear it all the time. I can’t recall how many times a TV talking head or a radio DJ asked MD and/or me that very thing on live TV/radio. Somehow the great unwashed masses have it in their heads that a low-carb diet is nothing but meat, meat and more meat with a little butter and cheese thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t matter how many times MD and I (and others) make the case on national or local TV and radio, no one seems to listen.
Now comes a study in Nutrition Journal that gives the lie to the low-carb-diets-are-all-meat notion.
Researchers provided questionnaires to a subset of members of the Active Low-Carber’s Forum (ALCF)–an online support group started in 2000 that currently has more than 86,000 members–requesting information about their history of weight loss using the low-carb diet. An analysis of the data reveals that
the membership of ALCF is currently 83% women, which is reflected in the makeup of respondents to the questionnaire. The age distribution showed 61% of respondents between 30 and 49 years of age. We did not request physical data on the questionnaire but asked for goals in weight loss. the responses indicate that the starting weights must have been very high with more than half of the people surveyed indicating that they had wanted to lose more than 50 pounds and 22% intending to lose 100 obs or more. In summary, the survey population was largely middle aged women whose goal was to lose a large amount of body mass.
Although the paper (click here to read in full) discusses a number of aspects of low-carb dieting, the most interesting part to me is the section describing what these people eat. Instead of replacing the starch in their diets with meat, bacon, butter or other fatty foods, the majority of respondents replaced their starch and sugar with vegetables and salads.
That’s right, vegetables and salad.
Contrary to the popular belief held by most non-low-carbing people and by the vast majority of the medical profession people starting on low-carb diets don’t just go face down in the meat and forsake everything else. Instead, according to this paper, they increase their meat intake minimally and their vegetable and salad intake considerably. This study jives with what I have found in over 20 years of clinical practice with patients on low-carb diets. Despite the widespread opinion that it is all meat, in reality it is not much more meat than people ate before, but a whole lot more nutritionally dense foods of plant origin.
This paper is written for primary care doctors to show them that low-carb diets aren’t the fad diets most think they are. The hope of the authors is that the paper will help physicians see through all the negative publicity generated by misguided opponents to these diets over the years and make them realize that the low-carb diet is a valid means of weight loss and lipid improvement.
Make multiple copies so that you’ll have them on hand to shove under the noses of any naysayers you may encounter. I certainly will.