There has been a lot of coverage on low carb and low fat diets recently and on any one day we are being told that low fat will make you fat and low carb will give you a heart attack or at very least raise your chances of getting a heart attack. Ofcourse all these articles are at one level nonsense. The news article, this week, based on the BMJ published study didnt tell anyone that the whole study was based on very poor evidence and was only a statistical study so about as much use as a blow to the head with a lead mallet unless you transfer that into clincial trials.
So the science is confusing and them made even more confusing by the press who want great headlines and sell copy…All well and good but we , as a nation, are getting fatter and fatter. The simple answer is to blame food companies or greed but as the experts know the problem is far more complex than these knee jerk reactions by thin people who would be thin whatever they did.
The current and continuting response by government to all the evidence is to treat us all alike which is the biggest piece of nonsense ever. So an obese diabetic is being told to eat in the same way as my slim and very fit 17 year old son who works out in the gym three or four times a week. The lady who is a stone overweight is being told that she needs the same diet as the man who works 8 hours in the building site but just a little less!
We are all different and there is no diet that will suit all of us all the time. Indeed just to confuse things we know that we may need to change from one diet to another diet at different stages of our life to maximise our health and therefore what worked at 20 may not work at 40 or 50.
So where should we start. Should you go low fat low carb or low calorie or just not care?
To be honest the journey of finding the right diet for the individual is hard.
I would recommend the following start position if you are struggling with your weight and have been for years. Firstly think carefully about whether you want to lose weight for now or for life. Then and only then decide on what you want to do. The options are very different if you want a complete change that will last.
Short term quick change can be delivered with the promise of eating less and that can be a lot less or a little less. The problem for sustainability with eating less is the natural decline of the metabolic rate. This is simply the rate at which your body uses calories and as you limit your food intake your body will over time limit its calorie burn. The body is not stupid. If you want to use eating less as a long term means of losing weight for life then you must do the following
Eat less and less – you must keep reducing your calorie intake OR
You must somehow preserve your metabolic rate with the less calories and that can only be done in the Gym with heavy weights. You must also keep your levels of protein high to preserve muscle mass which is one of the keys to retaining metabolic rate. When you starve yourself by eating less your body will first turn to muscle as an energy source and this will eat into your metabolic rate.
The other choice is to simply cut out starch and sugar. That is not cutting out green leafy vegetables or nuts or seeds. So this is sometimes called the low carb option but for many they confuse that with not eating green vegetables ….The brilliance of this method of eating is that your calories stay sensible and you eat healthy portions of protein. You are just cutting out the unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients which have e no nutritional benefits other than quick and cheap energy. Because you are not starving yourself you will not lose metabolic rate and you will actually preserve muscle.
It is really not complex but you do need to be brave because if you read the nonsense in the papers ( as presented by the journalists) you would think that you would be killing yourself.
30 June 2012