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  1. #1
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Default Starch (Carbs) Is the Devil! ... So is sugar!

    I have proof!

    I was really leaning up and losing weight on various low carb diets. Finally I cut out all white bread, pasta, sugar, potatoes, and had very small quantities of white rice a couple times a week. I didn't even eat fruit really. The only sweetener I used was stevia. Then I read the synopsis of 'Wheat Belly' on the forum and stopped even eating whole wheat bread or wheat noodles. Mostly I ate whole proteins (fish, chicken) and some raw vegetables. Coupled with exercise, I dropped noticeable weight in just 2 weeks on top of the gradual loss from my more liberal 'low carb' diet.

    Then I started adding back small quantities of starches and carbs - some potatoes here, a pastry there, and BAM it's back.

    Anyhow, anyone have any first hand anecdotal experience with starches and carbs and the effects on your body?

    I know there are a few related threads but I just wanna see if people honest to goodness see direct/noticeable differences to their weight and physique via carbs.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

    Johari/Nohari

  2. #2
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Yes I am in agreement; Gary Taubes was my initial inspiration with his book published ~1yr ago, Why We Get Fat, and the Atkins diet ended up being my guide for how far to cut carbs.

    The past year has been an interesting journey. I lost 30lbs in roughly 5 months, then more or less "stalled" and crept back up to a 25lb loss. At some point along the line I tried other stuff including "cheat days" one day a week (eating pizza, pastries, donuts, pancakes, ice cream, etc), that actually got me out of a metabolic "funk" when I was reducing my calorie intake progressively to try and break the stall, but it didn't help with the weight loss.

    So I stuck to a modest low-carb diet and basically held my weight for a while (at that point a ~20-22lb loss from my start), then I stumbled across an anecdote. I seem to consistently drop in weight day after day if I eat gratuitous amounts of fat, particularly butter, either throughout the day or most notably before bedtime. For a week straight I'd indulge in a slice of butter mid-day and again before bedtime and see typically a consistent ~0.2-0.5lb drop day after day. Ended up back at my ~25lb total loss. Then I stopped, mostly because the holidays were creeping up and I kept having the urge to cheat. After several weeks of occasional cheats I ended up at the ~15lb total weightloss point, now I'm trying to work back down. The holidays make it very difficult.

    One thing that I have noticed is I most often don't lose much weight (or "stall") if I eat too much protein. That's what I was doing back in the spring and summer when my weight loss stalled; relying on protein-rich foods but not necessarily fatty foods, and that's a mistake that is easy to make.

    I've found a lot of good advice from the various low carb forums but there are a few "stars" in the blogosphere, the one I find myself following is Dr. Michael Eades. A few articles by him:
    Tips & Tricks for Starting or Restarting Low-Carb Part I
    Tips & Tricks for Starting or Restarting Low-Carb Part II
    Metabolism and Ketosis
    Thermodynamics and the Metabolic Advantage
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  3. #3
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    I'm insulin resistant so thinking that sugar and carbs are devils food is more than anecdotal experience here.

    I had a hate-hate relationship with food for over 5 years, whenever I ate I felt like crap, so I tried not to eat very much or very often, but I couldn't stop totally and when I did yield and eat I didn't know what to avoid, t'was a circle. Then cause my insulin was oudda whack I started putting on weight no matter what I did. In the past 6 or so months, since finding out about the insulin resistance, I've dropped 15 kgs without doing anything that special, I avoid high GI-carbs and sugars much but not all of the time, and make sure to balance the carbs and sugars I have with proteans and on the other side of that my pants keep falling down, and the bonus is I feel normal after eating.

    I did this so I could eat and not be in pain, the weight stuff was never my aim, it was a side effect so to speak.

    Carbs are the devil.


    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Then I started adding back small quantities of starches and carbs - some potatoes here, a pastry there, and BAM it's back.
    Potatoes are higher-GI than most other veggies, go with pumpkin or even sweet potato and the results are better.

  4. #4
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    And for the sake of discussion fodder, inevitably the conventional USDA/doctors wisdom of "Fat is bad, particularly Saturated Fat, causes cholesterol, causes heart disease omg it causes u 2 die!@#@!#!@#" gets brought up in these kind of arguments.

    So I'm going to pre-empt that discussion by posting some more links:

    Rapid Health Improvements with a Paleolithic Diet -- Talks about paleo, but specifically the role of Saturated Fat in true "paleo" diets which the study he quotes seemed to shy away from. He's grinding his axe with the anti-saturated fat crowd here.

    Friday is my Bad Day - Heart Scan Blog -- This is from Dr. William Davis (author of Wheat Belly)'s other blog, when he's not acting as a nutritionist but playing his actual professional role of Cardiologist. To sum up, Carbohydrates are what stimulate your body's production of "bad cholesterol" (no longer defined as just LDL, but, Small/Dense LDL)

    More on that last point -- what Small/Dense LDL is and why it's the actual trigger for heart disease, not just the crudely-measured (and usually just calculated in some hack of a formula) "LDL" we get on our blood tests:
    Unforgiving small LDL particles - Heart Scan Blog
    This article also debunks the concept of "Cheat Day" diets, like Tim Ferriss and his "4 Hour Body" with his "slow-carb diet" where you do a controlled binge one day a week. Note that it's mainly an issue of what happens to these carbs if you don't need/use them; athletes who burn through their carb calories in a matter of minutes aren't likely to see the bad health markers so much as a sedentary person will.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  5. #5
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Well, that depends. For example, if you're a person which doesn't gain weight easily and you also exercise a lot, carbs are absolutely necessary. Let's not focus exclusively on fat loss; carbs have their place, but they need to be used by a person that expends a fair amount of calories a day.

    Personally, I'm a fan of 40-30-30 percentages (carbs, fats, proteins), but I also exercise a lot - I have 8% body fat, and if I try to take away carbs from my life, I just end up feeling low-energy and having headaches. Maybe for someone with lower caloric expenditure you could hazard something like 30-40-30.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  6. #6
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    I've personally found it to be a question of adaptation and time. I became occasionally faint/felt like crap for the first 3 months of Atkins dieting but now I can do exercise with no problem with a ratio like 5-65-30. I certainly thrive well in a sedentary lifestyle with that kind of ratio (5-65-30 or close). Much more clear-headed, none of the rollercoaster moods I'd get with a high-carb diet. I don't eat nearly as much either, and this shows up on my grocery costs at the end of the month.

    Wheat all by itself seems to affect me in other ways... removing wheat literally cured the indigestion problems I've had for about 6 years and have taken medicine for all that time. Eating wheat on occasion I tend to notice what I guess is best described as "whole-body inflammation" where any muscles or tendons I've strained recently, even minorly, start to ache out of nowhere, my sinuses start to feel swolen (I used to notice this every time I ate at Subway when I first started out in the "working world" 9 years ago, and I eventually gave up eating Subway but never correlated it to the wheat until recently). And if I eat wheat a couple times in a day, the indigestion comes back. Going wheat-free another day and it's gone. Corn and rice do not appear to trigger these symptoms.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  7. #7
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    It seems to really depend on the person - some people get great results, some people feel like crap even after the "transition" period.

    I don't think ultra-low-carb is necessarily universally good, although for some people it seems to work very well. I'm guessing most people eat way too many carbs to start off with, and mostly bad ones at that, so cutting carbs down is probably a good idea for most people - it just seems like a balance would be healthier than the radically low carb diets (no fruit, no sweet vegetables, blahblahblah). But I haven't actually tried cutting carbs (other than generally being aware that white breads/etc are bad), so I can't really contribute the anecdotes you want.

    Curious if anyone's actually done randomized diet trials with low carb? I realize these things are hard to do because most people lie/cheat if they're given a controlled diet, particularly a highly restrictive one that they're not emotionally invested in. But anything looking at correlation is almost useless because there are so many other confounding things that could affect overall health while affecting your diet choices. Just curious if there is any reasonably-thorough data out there.

    Based on the reading I've done, it seems like the healthiest "general" diet would be maybe 1/2-2/3 plants with a good chunk being leafy ones, with the rest maybe equal parts meat and healthy sources of carbs. Different people will have different metabolisms and needs though, of course. It does seem like a lot of people who have digestive issues have improved symptoms with lower carbs, although I'm not sure if there's any real data on that beyond anecdotes.
    -end of thread-

  8. #8
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    There have been plenty of randomized trials with low-carb, I follow Dr. Eades' twitter feed and he often posts links to results from studies and trials. From what I recall a lot of them deal with specific health maladies; the latest one deals with low-carb diets (the study was done with a low-carb diet being adhered to only 2 days a week) being superior to all-week calorie-restricted "mediterranean diets" in improving breast cancer risk factors.
    Link: http://www.newswise.com/articles/int...cer-prevention

    Here's another linked from his twitter feed-
    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/112/abstract
    "Ketogenic diet" is synonymous with Very Low Carb diet, fwiw. I don't see anything in that study indicating they had control subjects though.

    Um, here's another study at least-- http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v1...by201162a.html
    It more or less says "low-carb diets result in less cravings for food, less bother with hunger"

    Probably takes some searching but they're out there. Low-carb forums might have links folks have posted/shared around (search for "study" or "trial")
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  9. #9
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    cool, thanks! I'll have a look. It's hard to avoid the "cheating" issue - maybe they've come up with better ways recently. The 2-days/week trial sounds interesting, I would assume that would be way easier to stick to and so less cheating.
    -end of thread-

  10. #10
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    cool, thanks! I'll have a look. It's hard to avoid the "cheating" issue - maybe they've come up with better ways recently. The 2-days/week trial sounds interesting, I would assume that would be way easier to stick to and so less cheating.
    Yeah one of the keys for me as far as avoiding "cheating" is to simply make sure I eat enough. Oftentimes easier said than done though, as there aren't a whole lot of "convenience" foods out there for low-carbers to pick up quick for breakfast like there are high-carb foods. A lot of the processed "Atkins" bars and foods are junk, usually substituting sugar and carbs with sugar-alcohols, which I've heard some folks have hard evidence (mostly diabetics who actually monitor their glucose levels) are processed similar to sugars in the body, and/or they have laxative effects (Maltitol in particular--Breyer's Carb-Smart ice cream was a favorite of mine, but I stopped buying it because it... um... yeah)
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

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