Why do people think low-carb diets are a good idea? What’s the truth behind the low-carb hype? What’s the truly optimal diet for achieving an ideal weight while also obtaining health and longevity?
If there’s one thing I hope you’ll take away from this e-book, it’s this: the low-carb diet’s ability to bring about quick weight loss is far outweighed by the serious health problems that accompany such an animal foods–heavy diet.
Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study and Whole, has a new e-book – The Low-Carb Fraud – that looks at the Low-Carb diet phenomenon and the hype and misconceptions surrounding them. He also reviews the hype and flawed logic behind the Paleo diets.
The two main points Campbell refutes are
- the low-carb proponents assertion that all carbs are bad for you
- when they compare the low-carb diet to a “low fat” diet, their definition of low fat is the same or worse than the Standard American Diet (or SAD)
Campbell focuses his rebuttal on the writing of journalist Gary Taubes, author of two books about low-carb diets.
He acknowledges that there is some truth to the low-carb proponents argument about bad carbs. However
In order to use this evidence in support of the low-carb movement, Taubes performs a bit of sleight of hand, the crux of which is: refined sugar is bad, therefore all foods that contain sugars (i.e., carbs) are bad. This is poor logic even in the classical sense.
The other fallacy Campbell points out where Taubes gets things wrong is the low-carb proponents definition of low fat.
The low carb-advocates’ argument in favor of a low-carb (but high-fat!) diet rests on the mistaken idea that increased dietary fat doesn’t matter—that dieters have been diligently pursuing the government’s low-fat recommendations for years, and yet no one’s getting any thinner or healthier. In fact, low-carb advocates claim, these government-recommended low-fat diets in effect cause obesity.
These pronouncements rest on the assumption that those “low-fat” dieters are actually following a low-fat diet. But this is simply not the case. It’s a myth. This so-called low-fat diet is anything but low in fat.
In looking at the studies Taubes and others use to compare the low-carb diets to “low fat” diets, the differences in the percentage of daily fat intake are minor. The low-carb diets advocate getting around 40% of calories from fat. The person eating a typical SAD gets around 37% of calories from fat. In the comparison studies used by the low-carb proponents, the amount of calories from fat in the low fat diets rarely is below 30% and is usually higher.
In comparison, a true low fat, whole food and plant-based (WFPB) diet gets only 10% of calories from fat. However, the low-carb advocates never compare their diets to a WFPB diet.
Along with rebutting the ways low-carb advocates get things wrong about carbs and low fat diets, Campbell’s concern is the impact these low-carb diets have on health.
By feasting on bacon and steak and butter, low-carb dieters actually did drop pounds. Which would be great, except for one important thing: the low carb diet is not good for human health. Report after report has shown the ill effects of a high-protein, high-fat diet. It’s just as bad, if not worse, than the Standard American Diet it seeks to replace.
The low-carb diet advocates only focus on weight loss. However, study after study has shown that a WFPB diet provides optimal health and prevents or reverses chronic diseases.
If you are thinking about a low-carb or paleo diet to lose weight after the holidays, please read this book first. Then consider the WFPB alternative instead.