I am currently reading Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories. I’ve been vaguely familiar with the idea of low carb diets for a while – and tried Atkins which was effective to both lose weight and regulate my crazy appetite though I didn’t follow it for very long or adhere to much more than the second phase during that time.I did read the Atkins diet at the time but didn’t really take much of the science in and skimmed all the personal testimonies so got through it very quickly without retaining much.
Recently, I’ve been getting more interested in understanding why things work or are good for us, as well as wanting to clean up my life (and how to properly). I read the Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf as I’d come across the idea of a paleo diet as a healthy eating lifestyle and reviews I’d read indicated that this was a good balance between easy reading and science. This is really about the problems of food we haven’t evolved to eat – eg gluten and lectin in grains, but also the issues of carbohydrate vs fat and protein consumption on our health. I’ll be looking further into the more paleo side of this later but it did drive me to look further into getting a better understanding of the science behind restricting carbohydrate consumption aside from the (pretty damn conclusive) fact that hunter-gatherer man did not eat a diet high in carbohydrates. I’m still working my way through the book, which covers both the science and the history of the competing studies, but I’m lead to believe this is a very good summary (I’ve only quoted the final findings):
Summary of Good Calories, Bad Calories by Greg of Guts and Black Stuff
1. Dietary fat does not cause obesity, heart disease or other chronic diseases.
2. Refined carbohydrates, through insulin secretion, do.
3. Sugars, especially those including fructose, are particularly harmful.
4. Refined carbohydrates are the dietary cause of heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely (but not only) dietary cases of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic diseases.
5. Obesity is not caused by overeating or sedentary behavior.
6. Calorie restriction does not cause long-term weight loss, it causes hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by a hormonal imbalance, which can be driven by diet (e.g. insulin secretion).
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage.
9. Carbohydrate intake drives insulin, and is therefore proportional to our body composition.
10. Carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease energy.