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The Battle of the Diets - Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat

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  • The Battle of the Diets - Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat

    YouTube - ‪The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?)‬‏

    I really, really enjoyed watching this presentation. It's from 2007 and was uploaded in 2008, and I don't know why I found it only last weekend.

    The main take-away message is: Low-Carb seems to work much better for people who are insulin resistant - determined by either fasting glucose levels or triglycerides/HDL ratio - while low-fat seems to work better for those who aren't.
    MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

  • #2
    Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
    ...The main take-away message is: Low-Carb seems to work much better for people who are insulin resistant - determined by either fasting glucose levels or triglycerides/HDL ratio - while low-fat seems to work better for those who aren't.
    The former is key to understanding what Taubes is doing with GCBC and WWGF... What would support low fat besides assumptions?

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    • #3
      Even though I don't think I eat high fat (not a fan of fat "slathering", well, sometimes when it's merited) I don't think perpetual low fat works for ANYBODY. Moderate fat, which is what I reckon you get when you don't purposely avoid fat, but don't seek it out at every turn (ie: me) is what has worked the best for me.

      A constant low fat state would wreak havoc for me, and I bet it goes for most.

      Low carb is good for the vast majority, especially overweight folks and sedentary folks. I "need" my starches for my workouts and because I love to eat them. I don't mind having one to three "low fat" days a week for that reason.
      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

      Comment


      • #4
        One other point made in the presentation was that people had a hard time adhering to either extreme diet (Atkins, Ornish). The latter is about as low-fat as you can get, but people ended up with almost 30% fat, if I remember correctly. If that's all healthy fat (little poly-unsaturated, no trans fats) I think it's quite possible for many people to do great on such a diet. Provided of course, as I mentioned above, that they're not prone to insulin resistance. If we further assume "clean" carbs (no wheat/gluten/lectins etc.) I think such a diet is even compatible with a true paleo or paleo-equivalent approach.
        MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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        • #6
          Originally posted by DFH View Post
          The former is key to understanding what Taubes is doing with GCBC and WWGF... What would support low fat besides assumptions?
          ? The black swan for Taubes et al is: What do we do with people who eat a high-carb diet and aren't becoming insulin resistant? Notice that in the study in a given weight group (BMI between 30 and 35) there was a spectrum of markers for insulin resistance, and those with less insulin resistance had no problems losing weight on the low-fat diet (which, as I said above, was more moderate-fat, but still high-carb), while those with high insulin resistance (metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetic) did better on the Atkins diet (which wasn't really low-carb, but moderate carb). This means that reality is much more complex than "carbs drive insulin drives fat". Rather than focusing on carbs as the *cause* for obesity, we should try to find out what makes some people react worse to carbs than others.
          MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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          • #7
            Maybe I just don't come out from my rock enough but I don't see that many paleo type folks advocating VLC (sub 50gr per day)....

            It seems to my like people are desperately trying to paint paleo/primal as a zero carb cult despite the fact that most paleo folks aren't really VLC and don't think carbs are teh debil.
            Last edited by jspradley; 06-27-2011, 09:21 AM.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
              ? The black swan for Taubes et al is: What do we do with people who eat a high-carb diet and aren't becoming insulin resistant? Notice that in the study in a given weight group (BMI between 30 and 35) there was a spectrum of markers for insulin resistance, and those with less insulin resistance had no problems losing weight on the low-fat diet (which, as I said above, was more moderate-fat, but still high-carb), while those with high insulin resistance (metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetic) did better on the Atkins diet (which wasn't really low-carb, but moderate carb). This means that reality is much more complex than "carbs drive insulin drives fat". Rather than focusing on carbs as the *cause* for obesity, we should try to find out what makes some people react worse to carbs than others.
              I know about that already. Taubes is not clear enough who he is writing about, people who are insulin resistant. His books make sense to those people. Of course it is more complex, but Taubes is still on the mark for the people he is writing for. HOW you get insulin resistant is a complex topic. What to eat when you are IR isn't so complicated-minimize carbs.

              I still want to know what supports "low fat" for weight loss. Taubes perceived defects is not an reason to do the opposite thing.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by jspradley View Post
                Maybe I just don't come out from my rock enough but I don't see that many paleo type folks advocating VLC (sub 50gr per day)....

                It seems to my like people are desperately trying to paint paleo/primal as a zero carb cult despite the fact that most paleo folks aren't really VLC and don't think carbs are teh debil.
                If you have a lot of weight to lose, VLC still makes sense.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
                  This means that reality is much more complex than "carbs drive insulin drives fat".
                  That's how it works. That's the mechanism. You also have to eat them to get appreciable amount of glycerol phosphate. Otherwise the fat doesn't accumulate, because free fatty acids can't be bound into triglycerides.

                  Rather than focusing on carbs as the *cause* for obesity, we should try to find out what makes some people react worse to carbs than others.
                  Why "rather"? Certainly it would be interesting to know more about why some people's tolerance to carbohydrate is higher. It's most probably genetic variation. And, as it happens, I only just read Taubes's Good Calories: Bad Calories, and he's perfectly clear that there is a great deal of variation.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by DFH View Post
                    If you have a lot of weight to lose, VLC still makes sense.
                    Very true. That's kinda the way I see it...VLC stuff is great for repairing your metabolism and losing a lot of fat and then you can introduce more carbs back in...or not if you'd prefer...

                    I think as much as paleo/primal goes against the mainstream of what is considered healthy then VLC goes even further and it's an absolutel affront to the worldview of many closeminded people so they of course project their closemindedness onto other. Fook 'em I say!

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                    • #12
                      I wonder if the people arguing against VLC ever had like 100+ stubborn lb to lose.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                        That's how it works. That's the mechanism. You also have to eat them to get appreciable amount of glycerol phosphate. Otherwise the fat doesn't accumulate, because free fatty acids can't be bound into triglycerides.
                        Taubes has already admitted that he was wrong about glycerol phosphate - it's not a rate limiting factor. The main study which is discussed in the talk also shows that many people gained weight on their version of Atkins, and if you look around in this forum you'll find many people who complain that their weight loss is stalling or reversing even on a zero-carb diet. There is very conclusive evidence that the human body does not require carbs to store fat - and I think that if we really needed carbs for that, we would have become extinct a long time ago.

                        Originally posted by Lewis View Post

                        Why "rather"? Certainly it would be interesting to know more about why some people's tolerance to carbohydrate is higher. It's most probably genetic variation. And, as it happens, I only just read Taubes's Good Calories: Bad Calories, and he's perfectly clear that there is a great deal of variation.
                        Sure, you can find many statements of Taubes where he says something to that effect. But then again you'll also find many statements where he suggests that it's as simple as "carbs drive insulin drives fat". There's some dissonance going on there, that's for sure. His answer to "why we get fat" is surely "because we eat too many carbs", and that's simply wrong. You might say it's too simplistic, but IMO it's guilty of what he complains about all the time: It suggests a causality where there is only an observed correlation.
                        MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by DFH View Post
                          I wonder if the people arguing against VLC ever had like 100+ stubborn lb to lose.
                          If you ask those who lost a similar amount of weight doing low-fat in the study discussed, I guess you wouldn't get the answer you're looking for. ;-)


                          Let me clarify something, before this get's out of hand and I end up being viewed as an anti-Taubes guy:

                          A) The Atkins/Low-Carb diet "won" in this study.
                          B) I agree with that outcome and the methodology, and there are many situations where I would recommend it.
                          C) What I disagree with is that low-carb is *always* favorable. The study showed that for some people it wasn't really necessary. So what I'm complaining about is basically people who claim that there's one perfect way to eat that everyone should adhere to.
                          D) Another interesting point about the study that I'd like to emphasize again: Those who were on the Atkins diet ended up consuming 30% of their calories as carbs instead of the 15% that were "prescribed" in the book. This suggests that there's no need to go ultra-low in carbs for most people - and it also shows that for most people it's not sustainable anyway, and neither is low fat. So in reality, most of us can chose between moderate carb and high carb.
                          MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
                            Sure, you can find many statements of Taubes where he says something to that effect. But then again you'll also find many statements where he suggests that it's as simple as "carbs drive insulin drives fat". There's some dissonance going on there, that's for sure. His answer to "why we get fat" is surely "because we eat too many carbs", and that's simply wrong. You might say it's too simplistic, but IMO it's guilty of what he complains about all the time: It suggests a causality where there is only an observed correlation.
                            So what?

                            This has already been answered. Taubes answered this when Dr Oz challenged him on his show. Here is a Youtube clip and some notes....

                            A few observations:

                            Notice that Taubes is careful to qualify who he is talking to-people who tend to have trouble losing weight, not everyone.

                            Every time Dr Oz loses this argument, he changes the subject to the other benefits of eating carbs or exercising. He can’t counter the statement that people who have trouble losing weight would do better to cut the carbs...

                            “The Man Who Says Everything Dr Oz Says is Wrong”
                            Taubes is not the beginning or end of everything we need to know about diet and nutrition and isn't claiming to be. If his statements are not for you, don't worry about it.

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