Why low-carb is wrong

2004-08-01 22:56 - Rants

I must begin this rant by saying that I am a person of healthy weight, and I always have been. I am not, and have never been, obese. So I have a slightly different perspective when it comes to eating, and of course dieting, than people that are or have been. But still, some things anyone should be able to agree on.

So, these days the Atkins diet is all the rage. So much so, that it even invades the life of someone like myself, who is not nearly on a diet. I have to carefully search for the foods that I enjoy rather than the bastardized, diet-ized versions that are now so common. The very fact that everyone is trying to have their cake and eat it too, literally, really burns me up

Now I titled this to say that the low-carb approach is wrong. Be sure to understand me properly, I do not claim it doesn't work. I argue how and why it works, and I say that it is more portrayed incorrectly. I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that have lost weight and become healthier while subscribing to the Atkins style of dieting. Of course, anorexia makes you lose weight too. I don't think any mentally competent person is going to argue for anorexia as the weight loss solution the world has been seeking.

If you want to know the right way to lose weight, it's based in knowledge. Knowledge is power, after all. Specifically, you need to know how your body works. What happens when you eat things, and when you exercise, and how can you control your life to alter your weight? It's quite simple and all outlined in the book called The Hacker's Diet. Reference a recent post of mine for a little insight into what it really means there, to refer to a diet with the hacker term.

Hacking's essence is in solving problems. In this case, the problem is being obese. Obesity is a bad thing. It makes you rather ugly, and can cause serious issues with your health, over time. So clearly, it is a problem, and it could use a solution. As I alluded to in that article, hacking is about solving problems in elegant or special ways. I take pride when I am doing things to do them the right way. I attribute that as being a hacker trait. Each problem, and each solution, has particular things that make a solution the right one. Do not fail to note that "the right solution" is not always a singular thing. Many solutions can be right, depending on the problem and situation the definition of right changes.

So let us think and ponder. What is the right way to solve obesity? Just like putting out a fire, to end obesity, the formative agents must be removed. A fire takes oxygen, fuel, and heat. When you have enough of each, tada, fire! Obesity is simpler. Obesity takes calories.

I subscribe to the idea of evolution. I find great beauty and elegance in the evolutionary process. I believe that long ago, we were simpler animals, struggling for survival along with all of Earth's creatures. Life in those times was much much more harsh than that which we today are familiar with. There were no supermarkets, and no refrigerators. If you wanted to eat, you had to catch something (an animal) or find something (a plant). And it had to be something that wouldn't kill you or poison you. What did that mean? It means it took a whole lot more effort for our historic bretheren to put a meal together than it does for us today. When you walk around all day just to look, then run around to catch an animal doing it's best to not be caught, you expend a lot of effort.

Specifically the kind of effort that going through the local fast food joint's drive through does not take. To compound matters, that fast food is going to be significantly more calorie-dense than whatever you may have managed to kill or pick up in the wild.

The Hacker's Diet shows us that dieting means two things, which all of us really know already: exercise more, and eat less. Both are very general concepts. You must fill in the specifics with things that work within your lifestyle. While it is true that the low-carb approach will fill the eat less part, is it really the right way? It's easy to get fat on things with little or no carbohydrates. News flash: it's not the hamburger's bun that's making people fat. It's the fat!!

So you want to lose weight? Reduce your carbohydrates by simply reducing everything you eat! Personally, I get minimal exercize (about a dozen or two blocks of walking a day) and eat a ton of carbs. A bowl of cereal and a waffle or bagel is a typical breakfast, lunch is almost always a sandwich with bread of course. Dinner varies but pasta and pizza are very common. The key is how much I eat. I don't eat much. My meals are all small. This started back in college. I was the typical male teenager when it came to eating, in high school. My stomach closely resembled a bottomless pit. When college rolled around, though, I was subjected to the horrors of college dorm cafeteria food. I hated almost all of it, and avoided eating it unless the hunger pangs were too much to bear. (Alright I'm exaggerating but you get my point.) It became common for me to eat only the barest minimum to fight off hunger, with an empty-calorie snack here and there. When I moved out of the dorm and started preparing my own stuff, it was never terribly healthy but always small. I'm too lazy to prepare big fancy dishes. Plus, I had just gotten used to small meals. Hence thinness. It's not difficult! Just quit eating so much!


2004-08-02 15:23 - tegs
What would your reaction be if you knew I usually laugh the entire time I read one of your opinion blogs? =)

2004-08-02 15:25 - tegs
or rants.. what's the difference? ;)
Everything in moderation
2004-08-03 14:44 - Lieuallen
You are correct, sir. "Carbs" are not necessarily bad. Neither are fats or proteins. Anything in excess often leads to adverse effects. Too much oxygen is very bad for your lungs!

I often feel that among society's larger ills are a lack of common sense, self control and responsibility for one's actions.
They say...
2004-08-04 12:44 - arantius
...that the world needs a clown. I'll just need to take pride in being the clown. Now, I must be going. The world needs me!!
Too much of anything!
2004-08-07 20:50 - arantius
And yes! Too much of anything can kill you. Even water.

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