The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate in...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: Dieting doesn’t work, “they” tell us. But wait, the Mediterranean diet prevents health problems in the tiny tots! What gives? We’re here to help you sort through the confusion: Want to Gain Weight? Go on a Diet You’ve probably heard that many people gain back any weight lost during dieting. It makes sense: just about any diet will help you drop some poundage, but as soon as you go back to your normal ways, the ‘libs come back like the feisty clingers that they are. It gets worse (don’t worry, then it gets better): Scientists have determined that not only do some dieters gain back weight some of the time, dieting is just about the only surefire way on earth to gain weight. That’s no joke or exaggeration. When the researchers examined over 30 different significant diet studies, the only similarity they could find – the only conclusion that could be reached – was that dieting is the absolute best predictor of excess weight gain. If you want to gain weight, it’s really easy. Simply go on a diet. Okay, here’s the good part. If you want to lose weight, don’t diet! You have science on your side, friends! How can this be, you ask? Unfortunately, “diets really do make you fat almost 100% of the time” does not have an inverse relationship to “eat whatever you want and never diet and you’ll be thin”. Whether you diet or whether you decide that a life of Dunkin Donuts and McRib sandwiches is for you, both extremes will get you plenty of junk in more places than the proverbial trunk. The key is neither dieting or saying “to heck with it, bring on the fettucine!” To maintain a healthy weight, you have to live like a healthy, lean person would. And how is that? 1 – Whole, unprocessed, recognizable foods (bad: french fries; not good: crackers; whole and unprocessed: brown rice) 2 – Fresh, mostly green things (bad: ready-made meals, burritos, pizzas; not good: ready-made vegetarian lasagna; a fresh, mostly green thing: salad or steamed veggie plate) 3 – Not much (bad: a huge burger with a soda and fries; not good: a low-fat pasta dish with a breadstick and sugar-free ice cream; not much: a small plate comprised of mostly vegetables with a little fresh lean protein and a bit of good fat) You can see how the bad things are clearly bad. And the “not good” things are things we often think of as at least partly healthy (this is the category into which many of us fall, and why we often feel so frustrated). But to be healthy, you must do more than add in a few good things – you must live, eat, and breathe 90% good things. Are you up for it? This Yummy Pic Belongs to PurpleCloud Mediterranean Diet: Why It Works Hey! Didn’t we just say diets don’t work? Well, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet, per se. … Continue reading “The Only Proven Way to Gain Weight: Go on a Diet!”Read More
The Tuesday 10: Lose Weight Even If You’re Busy And who isn’t busy? We’ve been talking quite a bit so far this week about how fast-paced and hectic our lifestyles are (especially in April, it seems). The idea of losing weight typically generates rather glamorous images: personal trainers, hours in the gym on complicated equipment, expensive groceries and making a veritable career out of cooking dinner. Statistically, we’re both the busiest and fattest bunch of people on earth, so it’s not hard to see why the thought of weight loss carries such impossibly glamorous, time-sucking connotations. Fortunately, our idea of what’s required is not really accurate – whether you want to lose ten pounds or fifty. Of course, diet pills and exercise gadgets you see on infomercials don’t work – it’s not quite that easy. But losing weight is surprisingly simple if you apply a few tips consistently. Here are ten of my favorite ways to get started today: 10. No More Frivolous Bread What’s the harm of one roll at dinner, right? A lot more than you think. Bread baskets are ubiquitous, and they’re also worthless. Make it a habit to avoid these freebie wasteful calories, period. After a few weeks you will notice a difference. It’s too easy! This Is Elan’s Flickr Photo 9. Don’t Eat Until You’re Stuffed This seems obvious, but many of us are guilty of over-eating. I was surprised to learn recently that liver disease is an alarming new problem (truly an epidemic), but not because of excessive alcohol consumption. It’s because of excessive food consumption! It’s really true that restaurant portions are two to three times more than you need – and that’s standard. Here’s how to deal: eat until that point where your stomach is no longer growling, but you could still eat a bit more. From now on, simply stop when you get to that point. It only takes one or two times to realize how incredible this feels. The busiest person can eat less. 8. Get It To Go I’m not talking about take-out. Anytime you dine out, get half the meal into a doggy bag before you even start. You don’t have to cook all your meals to lose weight; just eat less when you are out. Hey, you’ll save cash, too! This Is Dyxie’s Flickr Photo 7. Don’t Drink Calories Many of us consume several hundred empty, sugary calories daily without realizing it – lattes, sodas, “energy” drinks, sports drinks, smoothies and so on. Unless these drinks are replacing a meal or supplementing a really small meal, don’t drink them. I like to have frequent protein and fiber smoothies, but they typically replace a meal, or I make sure to get in a really intense workout session. What to do: stick with water and the occasional glass of wine or a light beer. Make calorie-rich drinks a treat, because they really are more like dessert and should be viewed as such. That daily latte is packing on as … Continue reading “The Busy Person’s Guide to Losing Weight”Read More
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
The Bees are proud to bring you all kinds of fascinating, humorous, important and compelling news bites today. Would you expect anything less? We hope not! Check out this clickativity:
Eating for Two?
Moms-to-be: think you need to gain 30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy? Think again. Conventional medical wisdom gets challenged by our pals over at Calorie Lab – so, naturally, we’re all over it! Many women have a hard time losing the “baby weight” after a pregnancy – could it be that women have been taught to gain more than they should? Japanese doctors routinely recommend women gain, at most, 15 ‘libs.
It’s Squeaky-Clean, But Is It Happy?
Dr. Mirkin is at it again: this time, mercilessly debunking the colon cleansing obsession that seems to have taken hold of America. Fiber is one thing; taking up second-home residence in el bano is quite another. Ahem.
Eating Sticks of Butter at 3 a.m. Again?
Yeah, it’s a problem. We’ve all heard the bizarre stories about what Ambien does to people. The FDA issues yet another drug warning for certain sedatives. Is it just us, or does it seem like the FDA’s modus operandi consists of approving new drugs in a hurry and then issuing warnings for them when things inevitably go wrong? When people start eating packs of cigarettes as a result of taking a drug, you know Uncle Sam’s food and drug agency is in danger of jumping the shark…
Thomas Lampe Flickstream
Web It Out:
For those of you interested in good causes, please take a moment to visit Mark’s friend and colleague Dr. Rutledge Taylor’s Youtube clip about the malaria crisis. That’s right – the malaria crisis. Did you know malaria kills more people than AIDS? And that it has killed more than all wars combined? While this heart-wrenching clip is quite unsettling (sensitive viewers please take note), all the same, it’s an incredibly important issue. You can visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for more information about this issue, as well.Read More
This is part 2 of our interview with low-carb blog star Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb. Yesterday we discussed the benefits and health myths of a low-carb lifestyle. Jimmy Moore stops in… On the plate for today: cheating, pasta, and those darn vegetarians! Ok, the question everyone asks: Don’t you ever miss pasta? Do you ever cheat? “You know, I have always found the ‘don’t you ever miss’ questions people have for me so incredibly fascinating. Is there some mysterious super-secret book of foods everyone should be eating floating around out there that mandates human beings must eat pasta, bread, potatoes, and sugar? The fact is, I do not miss ANYTHING from my old diet that would lead me to start ballooning up over 400 pounds again. Nope! Not gonna happen if I can do anything about it (and I can!). However, I have found two excellent pasta substitutes that are low-carb and taste awesome. For Italian dishes and traditional pasta, I enjoy the Dreamfields brand because it really does taste like authentic pasta, unlike some of these other imitators that have much higher carbs and are totally disgusting. Another pasta substitute I enjoy, especially in soups and Oriental dishes, is Shirataki noodles. These Japanese wonder noodles are one of the hottest new health foods out today because they are very low in carbs, fat, and calories. Made from yam root (sounds grosser than it is) and loaded with fiber, these noodles give me all the pasta goodness I need. As for cheating, on principle I am against it when it is done spontaneously. That kinda defeats the purpose of making this a permanent ‘lifestyle change’. But I do advocate something that is controversial within the low-carb community called a ‘planned splurge’ or ‘controlled cheating’. The basic concept is to allow yourself one meal about every 6-8 weeks while you are losing weight when you are allowed to eat whatever you want. No restrictions on carbs, calories, portions, or anything else. I used this strategy to get me through the toughest moments and it helped me in the long run. If you are having deep cravings, as all of us who have kicked our carb addiction will tell you comes at you with a vengeance, then having the knowledge that there is a date coming up soon when I can satisfy that craving gave me the strength to resist temptation. This is a powerful tool that I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they can never live without whatever food they love. Don’t get me wrong – this is for ONE meal, not a whole day or a whole weekend. One single meal and then right back on plan again. Making this a permanent way of eating is absolutely crucial to your success at not just losing the weight, but keeping it off for good. What if a vegetarian wants to do low-carb? Contrary to popular belief, a vegetarian can most certainly fit right in to the low-carb … Continue reading “Part 2: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb”Read More
Apples: I’m very pleased to bring you a can’t-miss interview with everyone’s favorite low-carb blogger, low-carb rock star Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb. Jimmy’s wildly popular blog (and new low-carb links site) features everything you could ever want to know about the low-carb philosophy from the guy who lost over 200 pounds and remade his health. As you know, I subscribe to a healthy low-carb lifestyle, and based on my background in biology and professional sports competition, I recommend a reduced-carb approach wholeheartedly. My personal recommendations: 1. Drench yourself in good fats. 2. Eat plenty of lean protein. 3. Eat green and colorful vegetables with reckless abandon. The important thing to understand is that low-carb (whether Atkins or a host of others) does not really mean high-protein. It simply means avoiding carbs – for some, that means all grain-based carbs, while for others, it means refined and processed carbs. As Jimmy points out, everyone is unique and there are many ways to go about a healthy diet. However, low-carb definitely doesn’t mean subsisting on bacon. I’ve been saying for quite a while that sugar is the new fat (and low and behold, here’s a terrific cookbook Jimmy reviewed that says just that). While we were all busy avoiding fat during the 80s and 90s, we were, in truth, just making ourselves sicker, fatter and miserable. It’s safe to say that the fear of fat has come full circle (and it’s about time). But there’s still a lot of confusion about healthy nutrition and weight loss. Is Atkins really effective? Isn’t it just an all-meat diet? What about whole grains? As many of you know, last week was quite a wild one in the world of health with the release of the Stanford study on low-fat versus low-carb diets. Let’s put it this way: Ornish ain’t happy. It’s been quite a controversial and interesting several days for Jimmy, me and dozens of other health bloggers and nutrition experts, to say the least! Jimmy took a moment to chat about the reasoning, benefits and myths of low-carb living. We’re featuring his thoughtful responses to your popular “low-carb questions” today and tomorrow. (On the agenda for tomorrow: Can vegetarians go low-carb? What about cheating?) I think the great thing is that blogging, and the communities that develop, are helping people take responsibility for themselves and get control of their health. Jimmy Moore, before and after: Here’s what the man has to say about carbs – and what the lack of them can do! What are the top 3 benefits you have found for going low-carb? “Do I have to limit it to just THREE?! Okay, here goes: Numero uno: It’s the most delicious and healthy diet plan you’ll ever go on. One of the most frustrating parts of weight loss is feeling deprived, hungry, and absolutely miserable. Why do we put up with feeling that way when there is a much better way to lose weight and get healthy? It’s livin’ … Continue reading “Jimmy Moore: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb & Lovin’ It”Read More
Yesterday I discussed the much-buzzed-about Stanford Atkins study…at length. As many of you know, I am very much in favor of a diet that is high in good fats, lean protein, and green vegetables – and very low in carbohydrates, particularly refined and grain carbohydrates.
“Atkins” and “low-carb” are controversial, attention-getting words because they tend to elicit images of bacon, butter and grease. While I am big on low-carb, I’m also big on doing it sensibly.
I think it’s clear that those on low-carb diets do experience both weight loss and health benefits – confounding to conventional nutrition wisdom, but evidently true nonetheless. However, that doesn’t mean a steady diet of sodium-stuffed sausage and chemical-laden deli meat is a sustainable or sensible path to health. If not done correctly, the Atkins diet is more of a vanity diet than a ticket to great health. (The good news: done properly, you can look good and feel good!)
Recently I talked about what I eat in a day, and though you might call it “low-carb”, I think of it as simply eating the way humans should eat (humble, I know). The focus is on fiber from greens, lean meat, good fats from fish and certain vegetable oils, and yes, even some saturated fat. So long as fat isn’t refined, I think much of our dread of saturated fat is overblown. (You all know how I feel about cholesterol – I think inflammation is far more deadly for humans.) I’m inclined to believe it’s the proportion of “good” to “bad” fat that is more important than fretting over the amount of saturated fat in your steak.
The irony, of course, is that a “controversial” diet that doesn’t worry about fat – even saturated fat – and proposes avoiding anything processed, refined or grain-based, is probably closer to nature’s ideal design for the human diet than we’ve been in a long, long time.
If you live on bacon, you will lose weight. You’ll also run the risk of kidney stones…and seriously annoying your friends. But grass-fed steak? Butter on your vegetables? A hearty omelet? I don’t think there’s anything remotely unhealthy in any of these foods. The allegedly healthy alternatives we’ve been sold on for years now – bran flakes, bread, fat-free egg substitutes – aren’t any better for you than French fries, Lucky Charms and cheeseburgers, in my opinion.
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[tags]low-carb, Atkins, Stanford Atkins study, fiber, saturated fat, processed foods[/tags]