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.
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.
asked bysmcdow (641)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.