The age-old debate – less carbs vs less fat – has been undergoing much new study since Dr. Atkins first proposed a low carb diet back when my mom was trying to drop pounds for my bar mitzvah. (Yes, for a couple years there, she was doing that yo yo thing simply to look hot for my and my brother’s bar mitzvahs. When I look at the photos of those events, it’s clear she, too, was a by product of an era when thin was beginning to be in. Shame – some things have only gotten worse with time.)
Most good research on weight loss has concluded that (1) most other studies are too short to be of value; (2) most long term studies show significant weight loss early with substantial weight re-gain later, esp for the more extreme diets; and (3) calories in, calories out is the only way to reduce weight effectively.
And here’s a new study, reported in the NY Times, that demonstrates no superiority between diets: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/health/research/10diet.html?ref=health
Now, you might be thinking that high protein/low carb diets are better because they raise HDL. maybe so, but the article here does not tell us to what extent. We know that simply losing weight lowers LDL and in some cases raises HDL. So the actual difference b/w the two diets may be “significant” but not a lot, that is, not enough to be clinically significant. We just can’t tell from this piece of news.
However, there are better and more effective ways to raise HDL, and to lower weight. It’s called exercise and balanced eating. We know all about exercise, right? Do we really know what balanced eating is; my guess is, no.
Balanced eating is any form of eating that includes those bedeviling foods that one can’t help but call – carbs. yes, carbs – fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Hundreds of studies show the vast benefits of diets high in these items. Yet, any low carb diet restricts these – esp the grains- early and even throughout the diet period. Thus, the diets are boring and eventually unsustainable. Now, one does not need to go to the full lengths of the books to achieve favorable results. In fact, most high protein diets start feeding you more veggies and some ‘special’ fruits after a while. If carbs are kept to below 40% of your caloric needs, not only are you risking some nutritional deficiencies – esp if you’re eating low enough calories to continue losing weight- but maybe even risking losing out on some very well-proportioned and as yet undetected phytonutrients that will help you fight off all kinds of diseases. They may even help your bad breath.