The Low Carb Diet Craze

from Deena's "Nutritional Guide" Booklet

Fad diets come and go, but this one is exploding. Can you really lose weight by feasting on beef, eggs and bacon? And should you?

"Most Americans don't eat enough fruits & vegetables, and now you have diets like Atkins that say don't eat sweet potatoes, don't eat carrots, don't eat corn," says Franca Alphin, administrative director of the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center. "Those foods are so beneficial. It's really frustrating." The low-carb diets, they insist, eventually fail. "The more unusual a diet is, the more different from the standard of what people normally eat and find around them, the more apt they are to go off the diet & regain the weight," says Dr. Bruce Zimmerman, a vice president of the American Diabetes Association & an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic.
Excerpts from: Time Magazine: NOVEMBER 1, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 18

Make Way for the Atkins Diet! Danger Ahead?
"Diets with a very low carbohydrate and therefore high fat content are advertised to the public, commercially and through the mass media, for loss of body weight and improvement in health. Although high fat, low carbohydrate diets are claimed to lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, The American Diabetes Assn. and the American Heart Assn. recommend low fat, high complex carbohydrate intakes..."...In summary, restricted feeding of a high fat, [sugar]-free, low carbohydrate diet failed to improve a number of [risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,] despite a slowing of weight gain... In the absence of weight loss, a high fat, low carbohydrate diet not only may be ineffective in decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes but may promote the development of disease in previously lower risk, non-obese individuals." Emphasis added.
From: The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 133, 2003. By: Axen, Kikeakos & Sclafani, Dept. of Health and Nutrition Sciences, & Dept. of Psychology, Bklyn. College of the U. of New York, Bklyn., N.Y. 112110.

"Historical records of extremely high protein intakes in humans show that daily intakes of protein above 45% [of energy intake] in adults are associated with weakness, nausea, diarrhea and ultimately death, whereas daily intakes of 20-35% protein are without ill effects.... "A high protein diet has been shown in human and animal studies to increase calcium excretion...From these findings the authors suggest that excess habitual diets [frequent consumption] may augment calcium excretion in the urine, particularly in the elderly. [As] high protein diets lead to increased urinary calcium loss [this] could be hazardous particularly for females due to its involvement with bone health."
By: Yuzo Hayashi, NPO Communication Ctr. for Food and Health Sciences, Tokyo 135-0004, Japan. In: The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 133, 2003. This is the Official Pub. of the Amer. Soc. for Nutritional Sciences.

Popular High-Protein Diet May Increase Cancer Risk in Women
An examination of the Nurses' Health Study of 88,410 women has revealed that "[there was] approximately two-fold higher risk of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma among women who consumed a higher amount of beef, pork or lamb..."
The analysis was by Drs. Zhang, Hunter, Willett et al, of the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Channing Lab., the Dana-Farber Cancer Insti., and Brigham & Women's Hospital, all of Boston, Mass.

A diet is more than a fad. In fact, it's more than a diet--when skinny people are on it. Yet there they are, jogging into Noah's Bagels in Santa Monica, Calif., proudly ordering bagels with the innards scooped out, disposed like toxic waste and replaced with full-fat cream cheese. In Chicago restaurants, the unpaunched are gorging on porterhouse steaks but banishing the baked potato back to Idaho. And Jennifer Aniston has been publicly chastised by her former trainer, who thinks Aniston's low-carb, high-protein diet is too extreme. When even the scrawniest cast members from Friends are on a diet, something is happening…

Carb paranoia struck when people discovered that all the fat-free food they loaded up on during the last diet craze was making them fat. Diet plans like the Pritikin Program of the early '80s and Susan Powter's Stop the Insanity! in 1993 caused a run on processed low-fat food like SnackWell's and frozen yogurt. But those treats, it turned out, were chock-full of sugar and a whole mess of calories. Result: you gained weight. The reaction in recent years has been to eliminate sugar by dropping carbohydrates from the menu altogether. So instead of the 1994 book Butter Busters, we now have Sugar Busters! and a series of the most guy-embraced diets ever, regimens with Henry VIII as a role model and beef jerky as a food group…


"These diets work primarily by making people feel sick," says Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, chief of endocrinology, diabetes and nutrition at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. "If you go on a strict high-protein diet, you feel nauseated and a little sick to your stomach after about four to five days, so you lose your appetite and eat less." By this theory an all-chocolate-and-cheese diet would work too, because eventually you'd find you can stomach only so many calories of Hershey's and Swiss each day. It would also be delicious.

Another Negative in High-Protein Diets
"Because a high daily consumption of [carbohydrate]-containing food is assessed to decrease the risk of cancer of [the intestinal system,] different types of carbohydrates were investigated for their antimutagenic activity...", observe Dr.-scientists Hensel and Meier*.
Note that generally, high-protein diets discourage eating carbohydrate (starchy) foods. Since these foods reduce mutagenic [pre-cancerous] activity, high protein diets may INCREASE the risk of cancer of the digestive tract.
In their investigations incidentally, they found that pectin, which is in apples, are the most protective of the substances tested.
*From the European journal Planta Med., vol. 65, l999. The doctors are at the Institut fur Botanik und Pharmazeutische Biologie Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat, Erlangen, Germany.

I hope this information is enough to assure you that the Low Carb Diet Craze is not healthy. You may lost weight and chances are - you will. But you won’t be healthy. In fact, no fad diet is healthy. Some are not all that unhealthy for a brief season, but it is too easy to grow tired of diets and once you go off one, you usually gain back what you lost. Sound familiar? Your best bet is to change your eating habits based on nutritionally sound advise.
Deena Ministries is a ministry of Owings Presbyterian Church in Owings, SC.
©2009 Deena Ministries
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