Many people are at least peripherally familiar with low-carb diets, such as Atkins and the South Beach Diet. They seem to work for people. But are these diets really best?
A lot of confusion about low carb diets stems from our primary belief that, at the end of the day, what matters most of all is calories.
We are told again and again by our doctors and health authorities that the kinds of food we eat are less important than the amount of food we eat. In other words, if you balance out the calories you eat with enough exercise, it doesn't matter whether you're eating carbs, fats, proteins, or tubs of paprika. We get this notion that "calories count" from the Caloric Balance Hypothesis, which you can explore more in depth elsewhere on this site.
The alternative theory about obesity, the Lipophilia Hypothesis, tells us that the best diets must be carbohydrate restricted. Amazingly, calories do not matter after all. What matters is what goes on inside the fat tissue. To get rid of excess fat, we need to somehow liberate that fat from the fat tissue. But if you have too much insulin circulating in your system, triglycerides will remain trapped in the fat tissue, and you won't lose that fat even if you starve yourself and exercise like the devil. Low carb diets, on the other hand, lower insulin levels, allowing triglycerides to escape from the fat tissue. Thus, you lose weight.
The implications here are pretty wild. Theoretically, Lipophilia claims that you could gorge yourself on 6,000 calories of bacon a day, for instance, and lose weight. On the other hand, you could eat a starvation ration of 1,000 calories a day and never lose fat, if enough of the calories are "insulinogenic" carbohydrates.
The 4 essays below convincingly demonstrate the following points. Click on any link to read:
1. Low carb diets can work even when calories are unrestricted.
2. Low carb diets reduce serum insulin levels.
3. Low carb diets appear to be the best diets for treating many of the "diseases of civilization" associated with obesity.
4. Non-dietary methods of controlling insulin also appear to lead to weight loss and a reduction in the risk of getting other diseases of civilization.
Did you enjoy this article? It's been over 4 years since I wrote it or edited any of the other content you'll find on this site. :]
During this hiatus, I've had the privilege of talking about these concepts with many renowned authorities in the fields of diet and health, including Gary Taubes... as well as many of his critics.
After researching and thinking for four years, I came to a startling revelation about how to simplify the fat loss question. I call this concept "The Black Box."
I explain it all in a free short report, which you can download via the form below. Check it out! It's a legitimately new idea, and a lot of people (including many respected obesity researchers) have found it compelling. Thank you! - Adam