Resist This Nonsense About Carbs

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Someone recently sent me a link to an online article titled 8 reasons carbs help you lose weight. There’s no author named, but the source of the article is Health.com. Based on other anonymous articles I’ve read from the same source, I’m guessing Health.com is funded by the producers of grain products and is dedicated to scaring people away from low-carb diets.

If you read this article carefully — heck, even if you read it casually — you’ll soon realize the anonymous author is attempting some journalistic sleight-of-hand, taking the supposed benefits of a type of fiber and applying them to carbohydrates in general. Here’s the opening of the article:

Eating a diet packed with the right kind of carbs is the little-known secret to getting and staying slim for life.

When we talk about the right kind of carbs, we mean Resistant Starch. Hundreds of studies conducted at respected universities and research centers have shown Resistant Starch-such as grains, beans, and legumes-helps you eat less, burn more calories, feel more energized and less stressed, and lower cholesterol.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted on resistant starch? Boy, I’d sure like to see a list of references. The few studies I’ve seen were designed pretty much like the studies that concluded whole grains prevent diabetes: that is, they replaced white flour products with products made from resistant starch, which is a type of fiber. Then when the subjects who consumed resistant starch showed better glucose control, they credited the resistant starch.

They could just as easily credit the better glucose control to giving up white flour. But of course, that’s not the message this article wants to convey. Quite the opposite, in fact:

Sound too good to be true? Here are eight evidence-based reasons you must get carbs back in your life if you are ever to achieve that coveted sleek, slim look.

Got that, people? No way you’ll ever be sleek and slim if you don’t get carbs back into your life. (You can almost picture Paul McCartney singing to a muffin:  “Got to you get you into my life…”)

That’s what I mean by sleight-of-hand. Resistant starch was magically transformed into the generic word carbs. And in case you’re tempted to chalk it up to verbal carelessness, here’s the next paragraph:

Eating carbs makes you thin for life. A recent multi-center study found that the slimmest people also ate the most carbs, and the chubbiest ate the least. The researchers concluded that your odds of getting and staying slim are best when carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric intake, or 361 grams.

Here we go again … yes, studies have shown that people who restrict carbs are fatter than the population as a whole. People who go to Weight Watchers are also fatter than the population as a whole. People who drink diet sodas are fatter than the population as a whole. That’s because people who go on diets of any kind are (surprise!) fatter than the population as a whole. If the unnamed researchers really believe the key to staying slim is to consume two-thirds of our calories from carbohydrates, I’d like them to explain why we saw a significant rise in obesity during the past three decades, when the only macronutrient we increased in our diets was carbohydrates.

Carbs fill you up. Many carb-filled foods act as powerful appetite suppressants. They’re even more filling than protein or fat. These special carbs fill you up because they are digested more slowly than other types of foods, triggering a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly. Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories.

Amazing … once again, our anonymous author takes a benefit of fiber and simply applies it to the generic word carbs. Fiber may actually provide extra satiety, by the way. Farther down in the article, we even get an explanation as to why:

Carbs high in Resistant Starch speed up your metabolism and your body’s other natural fat burners. As Resistant Starch moves though your digestive system, it releases fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in your belly.

Yup … fiber turns to fat in your digestive system, and fat is satiating. That’s why I eat plenty of fat in my meals.

These fatty acids help preserve muscle mass-and that stokes your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster.

Hmmm … sounds to me like I could derive those same benefits from a few strips of bacon and some eggs fried in butter.

Researchers set out to fatten up two groups of rats, feeding one group food that was low in Resistant Starch. A second group was fed Resistant Starch-packed food. The rats fed the low Resistant Starch chow gained fat while losing muscle mass. Rats that ate the high Resistant Starch meals preserved their muscle mass, keeping their metabolism moving.

Okay, let me get this straight:  If you feed rats a diet that replaces their high-carb rat chow with a type of fiber that turns to fat in the digestive tract, they preserve their muscle mass.  If you feed rats regular ol’ high-carb rat chow, they get fatter and lose muscle mass. So this proves you must get carbs back in your life if you are ever to achieve that coveted sleek, slim look.

I’m holding my face right now with both hands, fighting myself like a blogger version of Dr. Strangelove, trying to avoid banging my head against my desk.

Carbs control blood sugar and diabetes. The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.

Right … because they replaced white flour with resistant starch. Here’s an idea: replace white flour with sausage and avocadoes, then compare glucose levels.

Resistant starch may provide some minor metabolic benefits, just like other fibers. The jury’s out on that one, as far as I’m concerned. But here’s why I think this particular article was produced by someone in the grain industry: As I pointed out before, article gushes about the wonders of resistant starch and then attempts to transfer those wonders to carbs in general.  Now take a look at the photo that accompanied the article, which I copied and pasted. A slice of wheat bread with a heart — got to love your carbs, people!

So I looked it up. A slice of wheat bread provides exactly one-quarter of a gram of resistant starch … assuming you don’t cut out a heart shape from your bread, in which case it would be even less.

Enough said.


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116 thoughts on “Resist This Nonsense About Carbs

  1. tracker

    “Here are eight evidence-based reasons you must get carbs back in your life if you are ever to achieve that coveted sleek, slim look.”

    This sentence made me laugh. I guess the body builders missed that one… what with their fat and protein packed paleo diet and all. I guess they’ll never be slim now and will have to go and cry into their barbells.

    It was a laughable sentence. Sounds like something the PR department at General Mills could’ve written.

  2. Jason Sandeman

    I’m sorry, did I read that right? 361 g of carbohydrates? So, that mimics about what the SAD diet is like today. I followed that diet, believing it was “healthy” and sch, and I got a windfall – diabetes!
    I just LOVE the carbs help you with your blood sugar. The best thing I fight against all day is when someone who is well meaning tells me that I “don’t have the right” to eat fat as a diabetic. (Sorry, it doesn’t translate well from French. It is more like “you shouldn’t”) because of the problems eating it will cause.
    I am so stoked though, now that the carb lovers there tell me I can control my diabetes with “Resistant Starches”, I can go back to the SAD diet, and maybe get another winfall – DOUBLE diabetes! Yes!

    Yup. People are consuming that number of carbohydrates, and look where it’s gotten us.

  3. Sarah

    Maybe resistance starch is a good tool for losing weight, but how much of it is in regular everyday carb foods? Barely any.

    Bingo. That’s why the article was clearly an attempt to transfer the properties of resistant starch to carbs in general.

  4. Ellen

    I’ve been following your blog for a year, and I just had to say now, after recommending it to yet another friend:

    I love you. 🙂

    (No, no, no, I’m not a stalker and I’m already spoken for. Just think of this as gratitude and admiration!)

    That’s how I interepreted it, thank you.

  5. Andy

    I read this article the day it came out and almost fell out of my seat. Using carbs to control your blood sugar? I don’t even….

    If there were expletives after that ellipsis, I understand.

  6. J. Stanton

    Expect to see this sort of propaganda ratcheting up as ‘paleo’ and low-carb become more and more popular.

    There is a lot of taxpayer money being shoveled into agribusiness in order to overproduce corn, soy, and wheat…which means there is a lot of corn, soy, and wheat that needs to get eaten.

    We’re already forced to add corn ethanol (which takes more energy to produce than we get from burning it) to our gasoline. I’m surprised the government hasn’t required us all to have feeding tubes installed so all those surplus grains can simply be gavaged into us.

    JS

    Oh yeah, they’re going to fight the paleo/low-carb movement with everything they’ve got.

  7. Andrea Tharp

    That Health.com article was almost as unintentionally funny as the statistic I keep hearing that “95% of Americans don’t eat enough whole grains!” OMG ONOZ!
    What’s enough? Enough to be on insulin? Enough to “need” their high carb diet products like special K …..Oh – puhleeze!

    We’ve increased our carb intake since 1977, but it’s still not enough. Now that’s an interesting persepective.

  8. Zoe Harcombe

    Another fab blog – health.com is partnered with healthwise.org, which offers all kinds of medical solutions to people who get sick when they eat 361g of carb a day!

    Nothing like building a loyal customer base.

  9. skib

    Regarding the funding by grain producers, health.com is owned by Time Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner and the people that brought us that lovely frowing bacon+eggs magazine cover.

    OK, so I don’t know exactly where the grain producers come into that — but they can’t be far.

    I’m guessing there’s an advertising connection somewhere, but since I don’t spend much time on Health.com, I can’t say for sure.

  10. skib

    Argh, frowing=frowning. I suppose there would be a lot of advertising dollars in media from the various grain producers and food-like substance manufaturers, but I’m guessing the connection is even deeper than that.

  11. tracker

    “Here are eight evidence-based reasons you must get carbs back in your life if you are ever to achieve that coveted sleek, slim look.”

    This sentence made me laugh. I guess the body builders missed that one… what with their fat and protein packed paleo diet and all. I guess they’ll never be slim now and will have to go and cry into their barbells.

    It was a laughable sentence. Sounds like something the PR department at General Mills could’ve written.

  12. Jason Sandeman

    I’m sorry, did I read that right? 361 g of carbohydrates? So, that mimics about what the SAD diet is like today. I followed that diet, believing it was “healthy” and sch, and I got a windfall – diabetes!
    I just LOVE the carbs help you with your blood sugar. The best thing I fight against all day is when someone who is well meaning tells me that I “don’t have the right” to eat fat as a diabetic. (Sorry, it doesn’t translate well from French. It is more like “you shouldn’t”) because of the problems eating it will cause.
    I am so stoked though, now that the carb lovers there tell me I can control my diabetes with “Resistant Starches”, I can go back to the SAD diet, and maybe get another winfall – DOUBLE diabetes! Yes!

    Yup. People are consuming that number of carbohydrates, and look where it’s gotten us.

  13. Sarah

    Maybe resistance starch is a good tool for losing weight, but how much of it is in regular everyday carb foods? Barely any.

    Bingo. That’s why the article was clearly an attempt to transfer the properties of resistant starch to carbs in general.

  14. Ellen

    I’ve been following your blog for a year, and I just had to say now, after recommending it to yet another friend:

    I love you. 🙂

    (No, no, no, I’m not a stalker and I’m already spoken for. Just think of this as gratitude and admiration!)

    That’s how I interepreted it, thank you.

  15. Andy

    I read this article the day it came out and almost fell out of my seat. Using carbs to control your blood sugar? I don’t even….

    If there were expletives after that ellipsis, I understand.

  16. J. Stanton

    Expect to see this sort of propaganda ratcheting up as ‘paleo’ and low-carb become more and more popular.

    There is a lot of taxpayer money being shoveled into agribusiness in order to overproduce corn, soy, and wheat…which means there is a lot of corn, soy, and wheat that needs to get eaten.

    We’re already forced to add corn ethanol (which takes more energy to produce than we get from burning it) to our gasoline. I’m surprised the government hasn’t required us all to have feeding tubes installed so all those surplus grains can simply be gavaged into us.

    JS

    Oh yeah, they’re going to fight the paleo/low-carb movement with everything they’ve got.

  17. Suzan

    Beneath the title of that article and that book should read this description:

    How to lose weight – then gain it all back later, and with a bonus! – Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance!

  18. Tammy

    Ok, first off I did the SAD diet for the first 32 years of my life (300-400g carb a day) and it made me sick. Literally sick all the time. Second, I couldn’t eat a bean even if I wanted to, for as long as I can remember I’ve had an aversion to beans, they just make me gag. Thankfully for the last 9 years, I’ve gotten off the carb bandwagon Atkins style and got slim and healthy !! Go figure ?

    My wife puts beans in her chili and some soups, but she soaks them first. I still don’t eat too many of them. I had a very bad experience once eating a bowl of vegetarian chili just before a long flight.

  19. Andrea Tharp

    That Health.com article was almost as unintentionally funny as the statistic I keep hearing that “95% of Americans don’t eat enough whole grains!” OMG ONOZ!
    What’s enough? Enough to be on insulin? Enough to “need” their high carb diet products like special K …..Oh – puhleeze!

    We’ve increased our carb intake since 1977, but it’s still not enough. Now that’s an interesting persepective.

  20. Galina L.

    Ya, I read that article a while ago myself. My eyebrows kept rising and rising … Until I almost got a natural face-lift. Another benefit of resistant starch! You may try it next time (I am sure it will be the next time and another illuminating article) instead on restraining yourself from banging your head.

    I have been wondering for a while, why I am from another planet then participants of some research that demonstrates, for example, that insulin suppresses appetite, or Dr.Bernstein’s followers are from the different universe than diabetics from Dr.Shai’s study. There are so many references on Kitavans who consume a lot of resistant start and stay healthy while smoking, that I finally realized what is missing from SAD. We should start smoking again! Kitavans do it and live a happy and healthy lives! Or may be they are just from some different planet.

    I like the eyebrows idea. Since I’m balding, I may be able to raise mine to the top of my head.

  21. Dave Wilson

    I’ve toyed with the idea of, when I do indulge in a baked sweet potato, I should bake it and then refrigerate it, and reheat it when I want to eat it. Somewhere I read an article which claimed that the act of refrigerating the starch once it is gelatinized causes it to reform into a resistant starch in which form it stays after you reheat it.

    Interesting. I’ll have to read up on that.

  22. Lyford

    The whole “everyone keeps getting fatter so we need to eat less fat and more carbs” is a vicious positive feedback loop. Positive feedback loops are inherently unstable and cause systems to spiral out of control. You need negative feedback to damp the oscillations.

    It’s like a couple with a dual-control electric blanket, but they’ve each got the wrong control. She gets cold and turns it up, which makes his side warmer. So he gets too warm and turns it down, which makes hers colder, so she turns it up again…ad nauseum.

    That’s what’s happening with the nutritional guidelines. Every time they turn down the fat and turn up the carbs, people get fatter. So they turn down the fat some more. At some point, you’d think someone would actually look at the results of the process and say, “hmm, something’s not right here.” But whenever they do, the answer is always the same freakin’ answer.

    It’s hard to let go of sacred cows. (Or eat them. Mmmmm…sacred prime rib…)

    That’s what the USDA committee has done. It’s like telling people to hit themselves in the head with a mallet to cure headaches. Head still hurts? Better hit yourself a little harder.

  23. Zoe Harcombe

    Another fab blog – health.com is partnered with healthwise.org, which offers all kinds of medical solutions to people who get sick when they eat 361g of carb a day!

    Nothing like building a loyal customer base.

  24. TxCHLInstructor

    Not all carbs are the same, any more than all fats are the same. One of the problems with analysis of carbs in diet is the presence of confounders. A big example of that is fructose. Fructose was heralded as the preferred sweetener for diabetics (at least 50 years ago) because it had a low glycemic index. Only fairly recently was it discovered that fructose is metabolic poison. The body has at least 3 separate mechanisms for limiting the damage done by fructose, but you can overwhelm (and I suspect, completely destroy) those mechanisms by drinking just one can of Coca-Cola per day.

    For a normal person, it is quite possible that a judicious choice of the types of carbohydrates (e.g. eating lots of fresh fruit) is not particularly unhealthy, and such a person could conceivably eat a relatively high-carb diet indefinitely without serious health issues. If, however, you have managed to damage your metabolism (like I did by gaining to a peak weight of 350+ lbs), I strongly suspect that in order to maintain good health and HWP, you have to avoid the worst of the carbs (e.g. Fructose) completely *AND* limit total carbs for the rest of your life.

    It still grates on me that there are very few meaningful dietary studies testing low-carb diets. One of the fundamental laws of science is that if you measure the wrong things, the answers you get may be accurate and repeatable, but still worthless.

    My thoughts exactly. If I hadn’t discovered Captain Crunch and Coca-Cola as a kid, I could probably eat more starchy carbs today without any problems.

  25. Chris Barton

    But, but…wait! It’s on the internets, so it must be true!

    This was a headline story on Yahoo the day I read it and I had the same must-not-bang-head-on-desk reaction. No author, no cited sources. Unbelievable.

    Thank you for writing about this one, for your blog, and for Fat Head!

    Thank you for reading.

  26. Isabel

    Diabetic friend: I hate taking this insulin. I’ve gained 60 lbs since I started taking it.
    Me: I’ve lost 60 lbs on low carb this year. I’ll bring you lunch tomorrow so you can see what I eat.

    Next day-

    Me: Look, I brought you a giant slice of quiche with spinach and cheese and ham in it. It only has 30 carbs in it.
    Diabetic friend: I can’t have just that for lunch! I need at least 45 carbs so I can take my insulin!

    Geez, by all means, do as you please.

    Oh my lord … must eat carbs, must take insulin. Let’s thank the medical community for that one.

  27. My Paleo Life

    Health.com is owned by the same colpany that owns timemagazine.com, Time Inc.
    (Whois.domaintools.com/health.com)
    Wether they are funded by Big Grain, or that this is some sort of advertarticle or propogand piece is up in the air.
    Interstingly, I have now seen ‘gluten free’ cereal at my local grocery store. They are jumping on the band wagon to cram the stuff down our throats.

    Gluten-free cereal … that’s funny. I say just give up the cereal.

  28. skib

    Regarding the funding by grain producers, health.com is owned by Time Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner and the people that brought us that lovely frowing bacon+eggs magazine cover.

    OK, so I don’t know exactly where the grain producers come into that — but they can’t be far.

    I’m guessing there’s an advertising connection somewhere, but since I don’t spend much time on Health.com, I can’t say for sure.

  29. skib

    Argh, frowing=frowning. I suppose there would be a lot of advertising dollars in media from the various grain producers and food-like substance manufaturers, but I’m guessing the connection is even deeper than that.

  30. Rhonda Witwer

    You asked for the references – ok here goes. There’s 20 years of references by independent researchers from all over the world and a lot more published science than you give resistant starch credit for. It may be a type of dietary fiber, but it is triggering metabolism changes that other types of dietary fiber don’t appear to do.

    Out of the 92 published human clinical trials with natural resistant starch, many different areas are under investigation. A total of 340 studies have been published (in vitro, animal, and human studies, plus a smattering of reviews, summaries and explanatory articles) on one type of resistant starch – RS2 from high amylose corn. You can find a good summary at http://www.resistantstarch.com. Full references are provided – go see for yourself. To specifically answer some of your questions—

    The improvements in insulin sensitivity were not due to changes in glycemic impact of the foods. Resistant starch was added on top of a normal diet (measured as 30 grams of dietary fiber/day). The glycemic impact was standardized and the same. In other words, the effects cannot be because of taking high glycemic carbs out of the diet – it had to be because of the RS added. Insulin sensitivity was improved 33% and glucose clearance was 44% higher in healthy people. (Robertson DM, Bickerton AS, Dennis AL, Vidal H and Frayn KN: Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005) 82:559–67.)

    You stated “Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories.” The reference is Bodinham CL, Frost GS, Robertson MD. Acute ingestion of resistant starch reduces food intake in healthy adults. British Journal of Nutrition. (March 2010), 103(6):917-922. doi:10.1017/S0007114509992534. And, yes, the control group was matched for glycemic impact of the foods. Once again, the results cannot be attributed to taking flour or high glycemic carbs out of the diet, but rather to the additional resistant starch added on top of normal, everyday foods.

    Another published study tested insulin resistant people (pre-diabetics) and found that 40 grams of dietary fiber from resistant starch increased insulin sensitivity by 19% while the control population had decreased insulin sensitivity by 14%. Again, the glycemic impact was standardized and the same in both populations (Johnson KL, Thomas EL, Bell JD, Frost GS, Robertson MD. Resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity in metabolic syndrome. Diabetic Medicine (April 2010):27(4):391-397)

    The field of dietary fiber is undergoing an explosion of research because different dietary fibers act differently within the body. Some provide bulking and do an excellent job at promoting regularity (wheat bran, soy fiber, cellulose, etc.) but because they aren’t fermented, their effects are limited to their bulking. Other types of dietary fiber do an excellent job at thickening or viscosifying the contents of the intestinal tract. They are the best at reducing cholesterol and glucose absorption because these benefits are driven by its thickening effects. Fermentation within the large intestine is the third major mechanism of fibers. Inulin and resistant starch and other fermentable fibers are being used to identify the physiological effects of fermentation. It goes way beyond delivery of nutrients and proves the theory of nutrigenomics (what you eat turns genes on and off within your body resulting in measurable changes in biochemical markers and hormones).

    Dietary fibers have a wide range of effects on satiety and appetite. Some fibers impact satiety because of their bulking and physical mass (cellulose, soy fiber, wheat fiber). Others impact satiety because they thicken within the stomach and delay stomach emptying (guar gum). Some don’t impact satiety at all. Published human clinical trials show that natural resistant starch significantly impacts satiety and helps people eat less food. Even the National Institues of Health are investigating the metabolism effects of resistant starch. These references are:
    1. Willis HJ, Eldridge AL, Beiseigel J, Thomas W, Slavin JL. Greater satiety response with resistant starch and corn bran in human subjects. Nutrition Research. (February 2009) 29(2):100-105.
    2. Nilsson A.C., Ostman E.M., Holst J.J., Bjorck I.M.E. Including indigestible carbohydrates in the evening meal of healthy subjects improves glucose tolerance, lowers inflammatory markers, and increases satiety after a subsequent standardized breakfast. Journal of Nutrition (2008) 138:732-739.
    3. Anderson GH, Cho CE, Akhavan T, Mollard RC, Lohovyy BL, Finocchiaro ET. Relation between estimates of cornstarch digestibility by the Englyst in vitro method and glycemic response, subjective appetite, and short-term food intake in young men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (April 2010) 91(4):932-9.
    4. Bodinham CL, Frost GS, Robertson MD. Acute ingestion of resistant starch reduces food intake in healthy adults. British Journal of Nutrition. (March 2010), 103(6):917-922. doi:10.1017/S0007114509992534.
    5. Dr. Ron Krauss at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California has a study underway. Information on this trial can be found at: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01027325?term=%22resistant+starch%22&rank=6

    The Health editors have certainly simplified resistant starch and are trying to relate it to commonly consumed foods. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – resistant starch has a lot of health benefits. Removing carbs from your diet is one option – resistant starch in foods provides additional options for managing your blood sugar and weight.

    So we’re back to certain kinds of fibers providing metabolic benefits, which is good news. But I’m sure you can see why I consider it a journalistic sleight-of-hand to transfer those benefits to carbs in general and whole-wheat bread (which contains barely any resistant starch) in particular. Given the number of people (myself included) who don’t tolerate gluten and react badly to lectins, I certainly wouldn’t recommend everyone run out and start consuming wheat and soy just to get some resistant starch in their diets.

    How do you add resistant starch to a meal in a clinical study? Is it part of a whole food, or added in like a supplement?

  31. Drew @ How To Cook Like Your G

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t every one of those studies they cited compare resistant starches to non-resistant starches — AKA carbs?

    FWIW the “slow carb diet” getting all the press now due to The Four Hour Body is based on replacing all carbs with resistant starches, primarily legumes. I know lots of paleo fans avoid legumes too, but the science seems to support the idea.

    Sure, if the choice is between refined carbs or what basically amounts to fiber, I say go for the fiber.

  32. john

    Reading “standard” nutrition articles next to one by someone like Chris Masterjohn (who actually provides references, which actually support what he says) makes you wonder how anyone could fall for all the current crap out there. People way too often just want “answers” from some authoritative figure.

  33. Lori

    An internet search has turned up two things: 1) this article has been discredited all over the web; 2) it looks like health.com has taken this article off its website.

    Who owns health.com? Health Publishing, Inc., which seems to be owned by Time. Tom Angelillo, President of Health Publishing, is also President of Southern Progress Corporation at the same address. Wikipedia says “The company publishes such magazines as Southern Living, Cooking Light, and Sunset.” I’m not familiar with the first two mags, but southern cooking isn’t exactly known for making you slim and trim, and cookinglight.com has a bunch of carb-heavy recipes.

    References:
    http://whois.domaintools.com/health.com
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Progress_Corporation

    A technique that’s a useful tool in the BS detector kit is thinking about how you’d convey this information yourself. Me, I’d define resistant starch, describe how it’s different from regular starch, describe my own results on the diet (or those of people I know), cite sources, and describe the studies in more detail (e.g., what two things were being compared). In other words, I’d plant a flag I could defend.

    Still makes me wonder why there’s no actual byline. It strikes me as a PR piece written by one of the advertisers.

  34. Suzan

    Beneath the title of that article and that book should read this description:

    How to lose weight – then gain it all back later, and with a bonus! – Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance!

  35. Tammy

    Ok, first off I did the SAD diet for the first 32 years of my life (300-400g carb a day) and it made me sick. Literally sick all the time. Second, I couldn’t eat a bean even if I wanted to, for as long as I can remember I’ve had an aversion to beans, they just make me gag. Thankfully for the last 9 years, I’ve gotten off the carb bandwagon Atkins style and got slim and healthy !! Go figure ?

    My wife puts beans in her chili and some soups, but she soaks them first. I still don’t eat too many of them. I had a very bad experience once eating a bowl of vegetarian chili just before a long flight.

  36. Galina L.

    Ya, I read that article a while ago myself. My eyebrows kept rising and rising … Until I almost got a natural face-lift. Another benefit of resistant starch! You may try it next time (I am sure it will be the next time and another illuminating article) instead on restraining yourself from banging your head.

    I have been wondering for a while, why I am from another planet then participants of some research that demonstrates, for example, that insulin suppresses appetite, or Dr.Bernstein’s followers are from the different universe than diabetics from Dr.Shai’s study. There are so many references on Kitavans who consume a lot of resistant start and stay healthy while smoking, that I finally realized what is missing from SAD. We should start smoking again! Kitavans do it and live a happy and healthy lives! Or may be they are just from some different planet.

    I like the eyebrows idea. Since I’m balding, I may be able to raise mine to the top of my head.

  37. Dave Wilson

    I’ve toyed with the idea of, when I do indulge in a baked sweet potato, I should bake it and then refrigerate it, and reheat it when I want to eat it. Somewhere I read an article which claimed that the act of refrigerating the starch once it is gelatinized causes it to reform into a resistant starch in which form it stays after you reheat it.

    Interesting. I’ll have to read up on that.

  38. Lyford

    The whole “everyone keeps getting fatter so we need to eat less fat and more carbs” is a vicious positive feedback loop. Positive feedback loops are inherently unstable and cause systems to spiral out of control. You need negative feedback to damp the oscillations.

    It’s like a couple with a dual-control electric blanket, but they’ve each got the wrong control. She gets cold and turns it up, which makes his side warmer. So he gets too warm and turns it down, which makes hers colder, so she turns it up again…ad nauseum.

    That’s what’s happening with the nutritional guidelines. Every time they turn down the fat and turn up the carbs, people get fatter. So they turn down the fat some more. At some point, you’d think someone would actually look at the results of the process and say, “hmm, something’s not right here.” But whenever they do, the answer is always the same freakin’ answer.

    It’s hard to let go of sacred cows. (Or eat them. Mmmmm…sacred prime rib…)

    That’s what the USDA committee has done. It’s like telling people to hit themselves in the head with a mallet to cure headaches. Head still hurts? Better hit yourself a little harder.

  39. TxCHLInstructor

    Not all carbs are the same, any more than all fats are the same. One of the problems with analysis of carbs in diet is the presence of confounders. A big example of that is fructose. Fructose was heralded as the preferred sweetener for diabetics (at least 50 years ago) because it had a low glycemic index. Only fairly recently was it discovered that fructose is metabolic poison. The body has at least 3 separate mechanisms for limiting the damage done by fructose, but you can overwhelm (and I suspect, completely destroy) those mechanisms by drinking just one can of Coca-Cola per day.

    For a normal person, it is quite possible that a judicious choice of the types of carbohydrates (e.g. eating lots of fresh fruit) is not particularly unhealthy, and such a person could conceivably eat a relatively high-carb diet indefinitely without serious health issues. If, however, you have managed to damage your metabolism (like I did by gaining to a peak weight of 350+ lbs), I strongly suspect that in order to maintain good health and HWP, you have to avoid the worst of the carbs (e.g. Fructose) completely *AND* limit total carbs for the rest of your life.

    It still grates on me that there are very few meaningful dietary studies testing low-carb diets. One of the fundamental laws of science is that if you measure the wrong things, the answers you get may be accurate and repeatable, but still worthless.

    My thoughts exactly. If I hadn’t discovered Captain Crunch and Coca-Cola as a kid, I could probably eat more starchy carbs today without any problems.

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