7

votes

LC Diets Work Accidently?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM

I had a lightbulb moment this morning (which is good because I was up late last night thinking about this topic).

I realized that the thing called a "LC diet" for me mostly meant giving up grains and sugars (my diet was mostly OK prior; I've never been a fan of industrial foods). Without knowing what a NAD even was, I started avoiding two acknowledged NADs. Just by dent of going LC. (I also now pay close attention to the meats and fats I eat, hopefully avoiding (at least partially) another NAD.)

Today I tuned in to the comment section on the Guyenet thread, and was a bit thunderstruck. I hope Dr. Harris doesn't mind me quoting him:

I read GCBC and it's no secret I was inspired by it. I think low carb diets work very well most of the time. I no longer think they works because "total carbs" is the variable, however. I think low carb works by lowering food reward and NADs by accident. Just like low fat diets and even vegan diets can work even with high carb content. [...] My own "therapeutic" diet, that I had great success with, was easy to teach and easy to describe as a "low carb" diet. The problem is that I do not think it worked by being low carb in the scientific sense, regardless of prior usage by Atkins or my friend Dr. Eades.

(emphasis mine)

My lightbulb moment, and Dr. Harris' comments, have gone a long way toward clearing up the confusion I've been having. I'm going to stick (for now) with the LC diet I've been on for the last 10 years, because it works for me, and it's a very simple mnemonic to remember. But, I think I might be getting over my carb phobia.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:47 PM

carbs aren't the enemy, grains/refined carbs are. food reward theory supports overeating leading to leptin resistance leading to insulin resistance. a low-carb Paleo diet just happens to be lower in food reward. it all makes sense now

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 04:44 PM

"I think every diet works because it reduces some or all NADs. The big problem for most folk is longer-term compliance. – Beth-WeightMaven" For me Taubes work is critically important. Not the solution he presents, but how the current mainstream science is nothing but a theory that appears to be failing miserably. It was hard to be long term compliant when in the back of my mind I believed there was real science behind low fat.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 04:38 PM

I think there are many secondary contributors of which food rewards may be one. But I find Guyenet's real world examples of evidence as to his hypothesis are the primary driver of obesity somewhat weak. People often lose perspective in their specialty. I assume his hypothesis is close to his primary area of interest. That doesn't make him wrong, but it does make him more suspect. Kruse is a neurosurgeon who thinks the main driver is, essentially, the brain. These are not coincidences. All this is fine as long as the hypothesis are passionate beliefs loosely held.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on August 11, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I think *every* diet works because it reduces some or all NADs. The big problem for most folk is longer-term compliance.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:44 PM

And to be sure I can lose weight on higher carb but its completely unsustainable because of the cravings they set off in me. Not talking grains or NADs here. Fruit and potatoes and that sort of thing. I feel like an insane person and I break down and gorge or binge or something to that effect. I know it seems strange that a banana can send someone off the rails but it can and does. I don't believe it's up in my head either. I believe it is from the insulin response or my response to the insulin response or something related to my insulin output.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:40 PM

I guess I just see too many people like me to buy that carbohydrate intake is superfluous. Now I also know that my body overreacts in a big way to sugar. Did glucose testing some years ago for a study at UCSF and doc made me come back and do it again because he though someone screwed up. He said he'd never seen someone put out so much insulin in his entire career. So yes I messed up a bit but I am not alone in that.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I have tracked and manipulated everything. I keep calories low in some idiotic attempt to lose some additional weight. I can maintain my weight with moderate carbs (up to ~75g) but calories must remain pretty low, below what my calculated BMR would indicate. I don't know why. To lose I must go to almost 0 carb at this point although when I was heavier I could manage 30ish. I have done extensive controlled studies on myself and the numbers just don't seem to mesh with all the new theories.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Yes, Melissa, I have often pondered your experience with carbs, fat, and protein. Definitely not one answer for all of us.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Bodies are so ridiculously weird and amazing! I gain weight no matter what my ratios are if I go over 1400 calories per day. I can do zero carb, low carb, moderate carb and combine with different levels of protein and fat. I gain weight the quickest if my fat intake goes over 40/50%. In my case, too much fat does make me fat.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 11, 2011
at 07:23 PM

are you tracking calories? I think the only way we can know is if we do exactly the same amount of calories with each type of diet.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:14 PM

I agree with you. In fact, when I went from LC to ZC and improved so much, it wasn't an issue of grains or refined foods at all. I still don't really know if it is vegetables per se or the sheer quantity of carbs, but it wasn't NADs.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Well, I'm a female that does better on moderate carb. Too low makes me crazy and depressed. I lost most of my weight keeping my carbs at about 50% of my intake. I really think there are so many variables that there is no ONE answer that covers everyone on carbs.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Shari, I really think (many/most) females respond differently to LC than males do. IMHO, this is often lost in the woodwork, or outright denied.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:40 PM

i had a similar "saul on the road to damascus moment" last fall.

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4 Answers

8
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on August 11, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I've been on some version of LC for over 15 years now and I have not found this to be the case for me. I have tried every combination of foods, different carb levels, etc. I would love to eat at a higher carb level and maintain my weight or even lose some more but that does not seem possible for me. Even now I cannot eat the supposedly benign sweet potato in any amount without setting off hunger, cravings and gaining weight. I cannot eat more than 75g of low carb/low glycemic veggies without gaining weight and setting off cravings. This idea may be applicable to some but not all. If it works for you I think it's great. I wish for everyone to be able to ingest as much plant matter as they possibly can. Life is so much better that way IMO. But I think Dr. Harris and SG and all the rest who are on the current anti-LC wagon are just wrong at least for people like me.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:14 PM

I agree with you. In fact, when I went from LC to ZC and improved so much, it wasn't an issue of grains or refined foods at all. I still don't really know if it is vegetables per se or the sheer quantity of carbs, but it wasn't NADs.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 11, 2011
at 07:23 PM

are you tracking calories? I think the only way we can know is if we do exactly the same amount of calories with each type of diet.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:40 PM

I guess I just see too many people like me to buy that carbohydrate intake is superfluous. Now I also know that my body overreacts in a big way to sugar. Did glucose testing some years ago for a study at UCSF and doc made me come back and do it again because he though someone screwed up. He said he'd never seen someone put out so much insulin in his entire career. So yes I messed up a bit but I am not alone in that.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Shari, I really think (many/most) females respond differently to LC than males do. IMHO, this is often lost in the woodwork, or outright denied.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I have tracked and manipulated everything. I keep calories low in some idiotic attempt to lose some additional weight. I can maintain my weight with moderate carbs (up to ~75g) but calories must remain pretty low, below what my calculated BMR would indicate. I don't know why. To lose I must go to almost 0 carb at this point although when I was heavier I could manage 30ish. I have done extensive controlled studies on myself and the numbers just don't seem to mesh with all the new theories.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Well, I'm a female that does better on moderate carb. Too low makes me crazy and depressed. I lost most of my weight keeping my carbs at about 50% of my intake. I really think there are so many variables that there is no ONE answer that covers everyone on carbs.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:44 PM

And to be sure I can lose weight on higher carb but its completely unsustainable because of the cravings they set off in me. Not talking grains or NADs here. Fruit and potatoes and that sort of thing. I feel like an insane person and I break down and gorge or binge or something to that effect. I know it seems strange that a banana can send someone off the rails but it can and does. I don't believe it's up in my head either. I believe it is from the insulin response or my response to the insulin response or something related to my insulin output.

4
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on August 11, 2011
at 06:55 PM

While interesting, the theory cannot explain all of the variables. I agree that vegans/veggies who are on high grain/high carb diets are able to lose weight (while being fully immersed in NAD's, which goes against the NAD theory mentioned above), but it usually involves a severe calorie restriction. I used to eat about 1200 calories per day and spent at least an hour a day at chronic cardio when I was a vegan/veggie on a high carb diet. Now that I am on LC, I can eat 2700 calories a day without spending a minute in the gym if I don't want to. Carbs have there own impact in my opinion.

Please correct me if I have misunderstood the question.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on August 11, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Yes, Melissa, I have often pondered your experience with carbs, fat, and protein. Definitely not one answer for all of us.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 11, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Bodies are so ridiculously weird and amazing! I gain weight no matter what my ratios are if I go over 1400 calories per day. I can do zero carb, low carb, moderate carb and combine with different levels of protein and fat. I gain weight the quickest if my fat intake goes over 40/50%. In my case, too much fat does make me fat.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on August 12, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I don't agree with all of this, because when I lost the bulk of my extra weight, it was on lower-carb but I still ate bread. Eventually, careful tracking led me to see the pattern between wheat and weight gain and cravings. So, I gave much of it up because it is just so much easier to not have cravings. At the time, I was still eating plenty of peanut butter and other NAD foods.

0
F571bcba0e6196c3e53f599924eecab6

on August 11, 2011
at 11:26 PM

Guyenet (sort of) mentioned this in one of his posts on the food reward series:

Food reward is the concept that makes sense of these seemingly contradictory findings, as fat and carbohydrate are both major reward factors. Reducing one or the other appears to decrease the body fat setpoint, leading to reduced hunger and a new lower weight plateau.

and:

One of the things I like about the paleo diet is it reduces food reward (especially industrially processed items) and other potentially problematic foods, while remaining highly nourishing and not necessarily imposing limits on macronutrients.

Still, I think he's only referring to obesity and weight loss - and I guess there might be some other benefits on a LC carb diet besides the weight loss, obviously.

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