Just In Case You Did Not Know Carbs Are OK
This popped up in my on this day on Facebook today. Since I am training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September I thought this would be a great to post today. RunDisney does attract a lot of new runners a lot who do not know carbs are a runner’s best friend.
You can lose weight and eat carbs. You can’t run without carbs in your diet you will bonk. Gels and gummies are not your only options. Personally I do use Applesauce pouches on my training runs.
I urge you to do some research. If gels and gummies are not your thing, there are alternatives out there. Healthy alternatives and not so healthy but cheap ones like hard candies, and eating real food for fuel.
I am posting some of my responses to some discussions from my Medical and Physiological Aspects of Eating Disorders class. I thought this information might be useful to some of you.
Atkins Was Wrong
It is a myth that all carbohydrates are “bad” for you. As a runner, I would never cut carbs out of my diet. I admit I tried Atkins long ago and it is not healthy to eat meats like bacon and eggs and skip fruits and breads. Where are you going to get any fiber in your diet? Most importantly how will you function this diet will leave you sluggish and tired. Atkins makes Carbohydrates the enemy. Dana Ellis RD states “Carbohydrates are a component of foods such as breads, grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables that break down into glucose. It is this glucose, which directly feeds your muscles and cells allowing you to sustain an active life-style” (Ellis, Why Carbohydrates Are Good for You!). Most importantly, Atkins advocates eating foods like bacon, butter, and red meats that should be eaten sparingly that could in fact clog arteries. I know that it is the protein satiating the appetites of those on Atkins.
Frontline examined not only the Atkins diet but also low fat diets. To elaborate further the Frontline television program went on to elaborate what is a good carb and what is a bad carb stating “So refined starches spike your blood sugar, get hungry, eat more get fat. That’s what happened in the low fat era. The Atkins Diet claimed to solve this problem it said you could lose weight by skipping the bread and satisfying your appetite with protein and fat, a juicy steak unlike refined carbs burns slowly and keeps you full for longer ” (Palfreman, Diet Wars," Frontline). This diet advocates letting the dieter eating forbidden foods full of fat.
We all know already that that once you bleach flour you essentially alter what is good about it therefore making it refined and unhealthy, but stating that all carbs are bad is not a good message to send furthermore advocating eating high amounts of sodium and fat laced meats is worse. Gary Taubes the author of What is It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie seems to doubt what Atkins is preaching. Taubes states “In the course of my research, I have spent my mornings at my local diner, staring down at a plate of scrambled eggs and sausage, convinced that somehow, some way, they must be working to clog my arteries and do me in” (Taubes, What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?). His doubt is why his article doubting low fat diets and advocating a diet that eliminates most dietary fiber and increases saturated fats is why his sentiments are wrong. He even goes as far to state that “The bottom line is that for the better part of 30 years Atkins insisted his diet worked and was safe, Americans apparently tried it by the tens of millions, while nutritionists, physicians, public- health authorities and anyone concerned with heart disease insisted it could kill them, and expressed little or no desire to find out who was right” (Taubes, What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?). What person would say that about a diet that tells you to eat bacon and pork chops?
The truth is there is factor that makes the Atkins Diet seem successful but also makes it dangerous ketosis. Peter Lavell states, “The idea is that as carbohydrate stores in your body fall, your body burns fats instead. A by-product of the burning of fats is the production of substances called ketones, which have the effect of suppressing appetite. (The high protein intake also makes you feel full.) This suppression of hunger means you're more likely to stay on it, compared to other diets where you have to grapple with hunger pangs. Meanwhile you're burning off that fat so you lose weight (Lavelle, Can Atkins Kill You?). Taubes counter argues rather succinctly and curtly by quoting others that, it is normal but at the same time if one does not feel hungry, a normal physiological response that is fine. What Taubes forgets to mention is that when addressing ketoacidosis often confused with ketosis that it can be harmful. Lavell says “But the approach of almost eliminating carbohydrates from the diet has many nutritionists worried. They say that the ketones are bad for you and can cause constipation or diarrhea, halitosis (bad breath), headache, and fatigue. More seriously, ketones are acids and can alter the acid-base balance of the body” (Lavelle, Can Atkins Kill You?). Not exactly, life threatening but it should make one wonder is Atkins safe.
I have made it known I disagree with Taubes. I do not think the Atkins diet will kill you overnight either but in the long term it is not good for the dieters health.
Lavelle seems to give the most practical diet advice “It's another reason to stick to the approach that sensible dietitians and nutritionists recommend - reducing overall kilojoules by eating less saturated fat and more, grains, fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly.
This type of diet also tends to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, say the authors. Give Atkins and its spin-off diets the thumbs down” (Lavelle, Can Atkins Kill You?). Forget the different diets out there many of them are flawed and are a short-term solution. The problem is that we need to learn to eat right without debating whether it is best to cut out the fat or eat more of it and cut the carbs. Common sense should tell you eating bacon and steak that is not only fattening but also high in sodium is bad for your heath. I am not surprised Dr. Atkins had hypotension and other heart problems and died from a brain bleed following a fall. Common sense seemed to prevail for Steve Talbot host of Frontline who had success in the end with a low fat and low carb diet. He seemed to learn moderation is key and exercise more. Carbs are not bad for you neither is meat per say, it depends on what exactly it is you are eating and how much you eat. As Talbot says, “I’ve learned all diets are ultimately gimmicks they give you a quick hit of weight loss, but after that it is just common sense eat healthy food in moderation and get up off the couch. It’s not the kind of message that sells many diet books. Nobody ever got rich marketing self control” (Palfreman, Diet Wars," Frontline). Taubes overlooks the truth that when it comes to dieting and that it is simpler to change your lifestyle in a way that is manageable so you can maintain your new lifestyle, not just cut out certain food groups. Atkins and low fat diets are nothing more than a short-term solution that becomes problematic in the end. It is better just to exercise and watch what you eat.
Ellis RD, Dana. "Why Carbohydrates Are Good for You!"Http://nutrition.mednet.ucla.edu.Mednet. Web.> <http:>.</http:>
Palfreman, Jon. ""Diet Wars," Frontline." Diet Wars. PBS. 08 Apr. 2004. Television.
Taubes, Gary. "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? - New York Times." The New York Times. 07 July 2002. Web. 06 July 2011. <http:>.</http:>
Lavelle, Peter. "Can Atkins Kill You? - Health & Wellbeing." ABC.net.au. 23 Mar. 2006. Web. 06 July 2011. <http:>.</http:>
Here is another post where I mention carbs and exercise.
As we learned in our text, most studies find no relation between a sedimentary lifestyle and obesity. In the end, it is all about calories in and calories out. Truthfully, exercise is the best way to burn extra calories to lose or support weight loss in conjunction with a healthy diet. So I agree wholly with your sentiments on exercise. Personally, after losing a substantial amount of weight and trying to do so and failing for many years, I do not believe in diets per say anymore, just eating in moderation and watching portions. I just do not believe in the low carb hype anymore myself. I am an athlete so I know what happens when you do not get enough carbohydrates in your diet you crash. I think there are many healthy and natural ways to get carbs in your diet that wont make you gain weight but people are never told broccoli and beans are good sources of carbohydrates just fiber. I felt that Frontline had a more responsible approach to dieting than the Taubes article did. Cutting anything out of your diet completely or dramatically reducing your intake to under what's needed by your body is a bad idea even for carbohydrates, fat and sodium. I liked Frontlines approach everything in moderation than Taubes support of eating high fat greasy meats Atkins diet. It is good that the message you took away from all this that diet is all about balance and that exercise is necessary even if you do not need to lose weight exercise is good for your heart.
My point is if you want to lose weight its simple take in fewer calories than you burn, try to eat more vegetables and fruit, and cut back on the junk. It's not complicated you do not have to change your entire lifestyle to lose weight. Simply eat smaller portions and exercise to increase the amount of calories you burn in one day.