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Consuming A Lower Carbohydrate Diet Is Associated With Being Over Weight

 A study in the July issue of The American Dietetic Association concludes that if you eat 50-65% of your calories from carbohydrates, you are at the least risk of gaining weight.
REALLY?! How does that sit with those of you who have had the opposite experience?
Well I guess this research helps prove a point but I’m not sure what point? So I read between the lines and here’s what I came up with.
“Sugar intake increased from 46 to 103 grams/day as carbohydrate intake increased.” This does not tell me that people are eating healthier carbohydrates from whole grains. I would say quite the opposite. Sugar provides no nutritional benefit, except calories which is what we try to reduce to help people lose weight. My focus when trying to help people lose weight and feel better is always real food, not low fat high carbohydrate foods that provide nothing for your body but calories and not low carbohydrate foods that are not rich in nutrients.
But what really gets my goat is this. They make the statement that eating high amounts of carbohydrates will lower risk of obesity but they do not discuss how these statements  fit into the puzzle:
1. “Intake of fiber, protein, total fat or any of its subtypes were not associated with overweight or obesity (data not shown)”. I found this quote to be interesting and would have liked more information about it. This would have been an interesting title, don’t you think?  
2. “Decreased risk for overweight and obesity was seen when people consumed higher amounts of carbohydrates (290-310 grams) vs. those who ate lower amounts of carbohydrates.” I have two problems with this statement.                                                                               a) The assumption is that everyone has the same metabolism and everyone will respond to the same high carbohydrate diet the same way. Read any low carb researcher’s (Richard Feinman, Eric Westman, Jeff Volek…) study and you will see that this is not true.
             b) They only study naturally thin people and eliminate people who are overweight. People who are overweight do not metabolize food the same way someone who is not overweight will metabolize food. I would try to continue this study and determine any genetic components that would help us better understand underlying reasons for the results. It is too simplistic to assume that just because a thin person eats certain foods that another individual who is completely unique will get the same result. Although that is what the Diet Industry would like you to believe.    
3. The conclusion the authors make is that “Consuming a lower carbohydrate diet is associated with being over weight”. HOW COULD THEY MAKE THIS CONCLUSION? They did not test a “real” low carbohydrate diet that consists of 25-50 grams of total calories and find that when one eats this diet, they gain weight. The range of carbohydrates that they say will lower risk for obesity is a large range 47-64%. Forty-seven percent is much lower in carbohydrates than a diet that is sixty-four percent.  So, aside from their conclusion and money spent, my opinion is that the actual results do not support their conclusion. The conclusion, based on how they elected to do their study is that people who were healthy and not overweight ate moderate to high amounts of carbohydrates. The only thing I can assume is that they tested a certain population and it happens that those who consume low amounts of carbohydrates were not included. Am I surprised that the information is twisted? No.
What the study actually tells us is that if you are thin keep doin’ what your doin’. Not sure the results are worth the time, effort or money it took. The study cannot tell us if these people will develop diabetes in the future or after years of a high carbohydrate diet and their metabolism slows they will develop high triglycerides and have an increase in heart disease. Who knows maybe clinically they already have signs of pre-diabetes. The authors only used diet re-call, there were no clinical tests done. Lately, in our practice at The Center for Balanced Health we are seeing many thin people following a high carb, low fat diet and clinical tests show they are pre-diabetic and have other risks for heart disease, metabolic syndrome etc…
I’d like a low carb researcher to send a questionnaire to people who are maintaining a healthy weight following a low carb diet and see what the results are. My bet is that you would see similar headlines as the title of this blog above but slightly different, “Eat Less Carbohydrates To Lower Your Risk For Becoming Overweight”
More research needs to be done to help people who are overweight understand what system in their bodies needs repair. Dr. Atkins always said that the very low carbohydrate diet (25-50 grams) is a “corrective diet”.
Healthcare professionals need to take the time to listen to what clients say about how certain foods can trigger cravings or hunger and be willing to act on these complaints. For many people who are overweight there are underlying metabolic issues, blood sugar and insulin disorders, yeast, thyroid and any hormonal imbalance that will challenge the theory that eating less and exercising more will result in weight loss. If this describes you, you may want to sit down, relax and read my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix”. You might find the information in the book refreshing, helpful and just the support you need.

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.