Fat Knock Out, Low-Carb Conundrum, and a New NY State of Mind

Mr. Foreman is still fighting fat, Atkins wins one and New Yorkers get a dietary shock.

Knock Out the Fat
Mr. Lean-Mean-Fat-Reducing-Grilling-Machine George Forman is still fighting the good fight. His latest project, Knock Out the Fat With George, is a Web show that features four contestants on their six-month weight-loss journeys. The infomerical, uh, I mean “webisode” is hosted by a real-life husband and wife team who are fitness experts and share plenty of workout tips. They also demonstrate how to use George’s latest invention at length. (Preview: Now with hovering grill plate to melt the cheese on your turkey burger!)


Because practically every American household can call a George Foreman their own, I have to give him creativity points for finding ways to improve upon the grill. But if the contestants—a college resident hall director, opera singer, sports promoter and male flight attendant—do “knock out the fat,” then more power to ‘em! By the way, that sports promoter will be a hottie—you heard it here first.

TKO, Georgie.

In Atkins Agony
Despite my reluctant attempts to acknowledge this recent research, the Fit Bottomed Girls cover what happens in the fitness world. So, I’m going to say it quickly (kind of like ripping off a Band-Aid), to get it over with: There was this big, long-term study that found that people on a low-carb diet lost more weight then those on a low-fat diet. The Atkins followers also improved their cholesterol more. I think a small part of me just died.

Toothpaste For Dinner

I hate to be a petulant child, but waaa! Yes, yes, people on a Mediterranean diet and low-fat diet did lose weight, and they all improved their cholesterol levels, but Atkins was the—according to this particular study—best. There, I said it. Feel free to vent your rage or support of this study in the comments below while I devour a small loaf of sourdough.

Lamenting low-carb’s win.

Sticker Shock
New Yorkers are in a new state of mind these days. Mainly, what’s running through their heads is “That smoothie/burger/muffin/baby back ribs/[insert your favorite eating-out food] is how many calories?! instead of “Get out of my way you dumb tourist.”(I’m not from New York, but I’ve been there enough to have that thought plenty of times.) What has all of NYC in an uproar? A recent law that requires all chain restaurants to post the calories of their menu offerings—in the same font and size as its price. Boo-yah!

There’s been some fighting back and forth about business’ rights and the New York Health Department being too Big Brother, but as of last Friday, violators of the law could be fined up to $2,000. Take that 390-calorie banana chocolate chip cake. There’s nowhere for you to hide anymore.

Eating at home just became more enticing.

—Jenn

Photo grabbed from http://www.georgeformancooking.com/, http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/.



Comments

  1. kjl says

    Jenn, I am so with you on the Atkins thing. If it makes you feel any better, my personal “study” (which would consist of observing my friends and family members who have tried low-carb diets) demonstrated that no one I know who lost weight by cutting out carbs kept it off in the long term. This includes my mother-in-law, who lost over 100 pounds over the course of a year, and then proceeded to gain all of it and more back over the course of the next year. As we all know, losing weight has to be a LIFESTYLE change and not just a diet to be followed for a short period of time!

  2. C says

    I did adkins. I lost alot of weight but I also got gout as a result. No matter what the studies say, it isn’t for me!

  3. tfh says

    I like your personal “study” kjl.

    But not as much as I like carbs. Is it wrong to believe every study whose results you don’t like was flawed?

  4. John says

    “There was this big, long-term study that found that people on a low-carb diet lost more weight then those on a low-fat diet. The Atkins followers also improved their cholesterol more. I think a small part of me just died.”

    There is more to health than cholesterol levels. There are also triglycerides, C. reactive protein levels, arterial blockages, etc.

    I just don’t buy that a diet high in saturated fat and low in grains is healthy in the long term for any group of people. After all, Atkins himself dropped dead of an apparent heart attack. Check out his death certificate on themsmokinggun.com

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/atkinsmed4.html

    “The below report from the New York City medical examiner–which was inadvertently provided to a Nebraska doctor who is vehemently anti-Atkins–shows that the 72-year-old physician had suffered from a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and hypertension”

    It wasn’t healthy for him in the long run, and it isn’t healthy for any of us.

  5. every gym's nightmare says

    ahhh i see you have discovered the wonder that is toohpastefordinner.

    Bleh-low carb. I’ll keep my memory, thank you very much.

    sometimes losing weight the fastest isnt the best the best choice in the long run. i prefer health to a few extra pounds i could lose in another month while still enjoying my beloved whole wheat bread.

    http://www.groundedfitness.com

  6. Jenn says

    kjl: Amen, sista! Diet is a four-letter word.

    c: Gout is so not cool. Yea, I’d rather have a few pounds than that.

    tfh: There are so many studies out there, and they all keep changing. It’s impossible to keep up!

    john: Thanks for the detailed comment and info. I’m hoping they’ll do more research on Low-carb diets and its effect on those other health markers. And yes, when the diet creator dies of heart attack, it’s not a good sign.

    Every Gym’s Nightmare: Those cartoons, along with nataliedee.com, rock. I wish I was half as funny as they are. And, I’m with ya on the whole-wheat bread.

  7. Alexander Morentin says

    Re: The Atkins Study

    Hi Jenn,
    I wouldn’t worry about this study too much.
    There are few points of interest to consider.
    1. The study was sponsored by the Atkins Foundation.

    2. The weight loss was inconsequential. Over a 2 year period, the Atkins group lost 12 lbs., the Mediterranean group lost 10, and the low-fat group lost 7.3 lbs.
    Nothing of any major significance.
    “The gains were meager and the effort to achieve them great.”

    3. Typical low-fat dieters eat packaged “low-fat” foods that are filled with highly processed sugars, hidden carbohydrates, hidden fats, and chemical preservatives, which cause a spike in insulin and storage of body fat.

    4. There is no mention of exercise in the study. If you exercise on a regular basis your body requires higher levels of quality carbohydrates to function at optimal levels.

    I can go an and on, but you get the point.

    The only way to achieve lasting weight loss and fitness success is to eat quality whole foods and exercise effectively on a regular basis.

    There are good carbs, good fats, and good proteins. Also, there are bad fats, bad carbs, and bad proteins.
    You have to eat the good stuff and stay away from the bad stuff no matter what kind of a diet or eating regimen you are on.

    P.S. Check out my post, "Sex, Lies, & Fat-free Ice Cream" to discover exactly how food companies are able to legally hide dangerous fats and processed carbs in the foods we eat.

    Keep up the great work. You are doing a fantastic job. :D

  8. Anonymous says

    First off, why don't people get it. The so-called "Atkins died of a heart attack" was MADE UP to discredit him. The doctor that ILLEGALLY released his death certificate wasn't even his attending physician. He ILLEGALLY obtained it. GEEZ. Read more people. He had fallen and hit his head. He had a HEART CONDITION – a GENETIC defect. He did NOT die of heart disease. Upon admitting him to the hospital he weighed 195lbs and was 6ft tall. He ballooned up due to his COMA and organ failure, because he slipped on ice and hit his head and went into a COMA.

    As for low-carbing and the extensive research that PROVEN that low-carb dieting ALWAYS comes on top for all sorts of lipids, cholesterol and TRIGLYCERIDES – I had to laugh at that one. Basic science says if you eat a lot of sugar and STARCHES (hello carbs) – your TRIGLYCERIDES GO UP. There are been a TON of studies proven this. They just aren't broadcasted to the world, because of the "low-fat religion" that prevelant. Here's a few of PROVEN studies:

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/9/969?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10
    &RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=atkins&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/
    3/1/24

    Read people. There is plenty of proof.

    BTW – for those who say "they know someone who was on a low-carb diet and gained their weight back"….how many of us know someone who's been on Weight Watchers about 100 times.

    Someone mentioned lifestyle change and no matter WHAT you do, it's about making a change for good. The fact is ALL diets fail except for 3-5%. That's low-fat AND low-carb.

    The purpose of this study was NOT weight loss but to show that low-carb dieting is GOOD for cholesterol and lipid levels and it did INDEED prove that. I thought the weight loss was pretty poor for ALL of the diets.

    Low-carbers just want this lifestyle listed an a SAFE alternative to low-fat dieting. Not all diets work for all people.

  9. cynthia says

    I gotta agree with Mark on this one. It’s about making lifestyle changes (and I don’t mean cutting out entire groups of foods for the rest of your life). Although it seems no one wants to hear it, the “secret” to losing weight and being healthy is exercise and making healthy food decisions. I know, I’m such a stick in the mud sometimes! :)

  10. Jenn says

    I agree with many of the commenters – it’s always more important to make changes you can live with in the long term than to make sacrifices in the short term. Deprivation doesn’t work for me :o)

  11. Runner Girl says

    That makes me want to move to NYC! Atkins works? well I guess my lame looking bunless burgers are looking pretty cool right now!

    Still, bring me my bagels.

  12. Live Well says

    Atkins, oh Atkins. My uncle is allergic to wheat (could you imagine??) so in my book he’s okay to do Atkins (that’s how he eats anyway). *SIGH* Can’t believe it “won.”

    But I also agree that once a person veers away from it, the pounds come running back!!

  13. Elizabeth says

    just to echo a lot of the comments, cholesterol is surely not the best indicator of a healthy internal system… what about long term organ health?? or the many other indicators of heart problems… not to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but i feel like the emphasis on cholesterol as the indicator of good health is linked to the advent patented statens… just sayin’…

  14. Jenn says

    To Mark, Alexander, Anon, Cynthia, Jenn, Runner Girl, Live Well and Elizabeth, and really anyone else who wants to weigh in on the debate:

    Phew. Nothing like posting on the Atkins diet to get a fiesty and informative string of comments going! I’m loving your opinions. Please continue to share your thoughts while I make a batch of brown rice to nosh on.

  15. Sagan Morrow says

    From that article about the law in New York- I love how the one proprietor says “well x dish is supposed to be split between x amount of people…” I wonder how much we’ll be hearing owners of these places chiming in on that same sentiment when outraged customers start complaining about the high calorie counts for all of these dishes? I can’t wait to see what the outcome of all this will be. I wish that my city would adopt this law!

  16. Alyssa says

    I haven’t done any research on this myself but I’ve been told by a few of my biology professors (I’m a biology major) that carb/low carb diets will (most likely) lead you to regain the weight once off the diet. The reason for this is that the body knows that it is being deprived of something it wants, in this case carbs, and as a result when the amount of carbs available increases again instead of treating the carbs as it normally would the body begins storing (causes weight gain) much more than it normally would in case it is ever deprived again. The body doesn’t see the lack of carbs as a way to lose weight, but instead sees it more as a threat to survival (though realistically it is not) and will react accordingly (by storing energy, ie fat). This type of dieting does help lose weight since when the body burns calories it will typically burn carbs the first 10-15 minutes of activity, then fat after that point. When on a low/no carb diet there are no carbs to burn first so fat is burned immediately. However, unless you plan on staying on this diet the rest of your life, I don’t see it being worth anything.
    If anyone can expand/correct this please do, the information I was given was quite vague and this type of stuff interests me.

  17. Jenn says

    Sagan: I sooo wish my city had this law, too. And yes, the whole split portion excuse is BS. I want to know the calorie count for the entire portion. Not just 1/3 of it.

    Alyssa: I’m no RD, but in my experience, deprivation is not good when it comes to any food group. When I totally restrict myself from something, I’m more likely to binge on it later. And that’s no good.

  18. Anonymous says

    There’s a GREAT lecture by Gary Taubes about how weight loss works.

    Google video link

    It is long, so here are the major points I remember from it:

    * Taubes claims that calories in vs. calories out is not the most accurate way to look at weight loss.
    * He explains why low-carb diets (not necessarily as restrictive as Atkins) work and stressed WHY these are not just diets you can go off of. These are lifestyle changes, not diets; if you go back to eating the same amount of carbs as before, you will gain weight.

    Lengthy scientific explanations follow; I’m not an expert in the field so I can’t judge the accuracy for myself. But the arguments are compelling, and those of you staunchly against restricting carbs should take a look.

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