Why Low Carbohydrate Diets Work:
A Guide to This Website

Low carbohydrate diets work, and low calorie diets do not. This is our thesis.

This website is an extended editorial comparing two theories about obesity. One theory -- the one most of us believe -- tells us that calories count and that the key to weight loss is to eat less and exercise more. The other theory justifies low carbohydrate diets and tells us that calories do not, in fact, count. We will make the case that this second theory is right.

***Before you read further, please stop and read this!

It's been ~4 years since I've edited this site, and my thinking on these topics has changed significantly based on lots of conversations I've had with both low carb supporters and critics. I HIGHLY recommend you download my new, free (for a limited time) report that more simply and accurately presents these ideas. It's very short and very cool.

Please download it now via this form. Thank you! - Adam***



From this page, you can reach anywhere on the site. Please note that we have designed the site to accommodate visitors entering at any point, so some key concepts may be repeated. That said, we have striven to make each page unique and fascinating.

Thanks and enjoy!


I. Home page
II. How to use this site
III. Introduction
IV. The Caloric Balance Hypothesis (Overview) Technical Explanation of the Caloric Balance Hypothesis

Predictions:

  1. Over eating and inactivity--i.e.failed calorie counting--cause us to get fat.
  2. Appetite control and increased activity--i.e. successful calorie counting--cause us to lose fat.
  3. To maintain a constant weight over time, one must consciously regulate calories in/calories out.
  4. The body is a simple machine: a calorie is a calorie.
  5. An epidemic of overeating and inactivity has caused the obesity epidemic.
  6. Says nothing about why obesity associates with diseases of civilization like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, malnutrition and gout.
  7. Low carbohydrate diets and other measures taken to improve blood insulin levels only lead to weight loss if calorie counting leads to calorie restriction.
  8. Obesity is a psychological problem.
  9. Says absolutely nothing about how, why, when, and where excess calories 'turn into' fat and nothing about why some people get fat while others don’t.
  10. People who gain/lose fat as the result of drugs, genetics, diseases, brain injuries, natural body development, hormonal or metabolic shifts or other biochemical activity only do so because these factors somehow change their calorie intake/expenditure.
  11. Health authorities almost unanimously support the Caloric Balance Hypothesis because the evidence supports it and/or because competing hypotheses, like Lipophilia, have been disproven.
V. The Lipophilia Hypothesis Technical Explanation of the Lipophilia Hypothesis

Predictions:

  1. Overeating and inactivity are consequences of getting fat.
  2. Appetite control and increased activity are consequences of losing fat.
  3. Unconscious homeostatic mechanisms maintain our weight over time, just like they maintain other aspects of the interior milieu, like body temperature.
  4. All calories are not equal. The body is a complex machine.
  5. The switch to a low fat/high carb diet has caused the obesity epidemic.
  6. Obesity associates with diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, malnutrition, and gout because they all stem from a common cause: chronic hyperinsulinemia.
  7. Low carbohydrate diets and other measures taken to improve blood insulin levels can lead to weight loss even when calories are unrestricted.
  8. Obesity is a physiological problem that can often be fixed simply by a low carb diet.
  9. Provides a very specific explanation of how, why, when, and where fat accumulates as well as why some people get fat and others don't.
  10. Weight changes resulting from medications, genetics, hormonal changes, and so forth must be caused by indirect changes to fat tissue metabolism.
  11. Health authorities almost unanimously support the Caloric Balance Hypothesis only because they are unaware that the Lipophilia Hypothesis even exists and because they have, by and large, ignored the science supporting low carbohydrate diets.
VI. Comparing the hypotheses Essay about how good science works.
VII. Evidence: weight gain
  1. Overeating calories does not make us fat.
  2. Sedentary behavior does not make us fat.
  3. Obesity may associate with a positive caloric balance, but that does not mean that excess calories necessarily cause obesity.
  4. Increased levels of the hormone insulin does cause weight gain, independent of changes to diet or exercise.
VIII. Evidence: weight loss
  1. Calorie restriction does not lead to weight loss over the long term.
  2. Exercise does not lead to weight loss over the long term.
  3. Weight loss may associate with a negative caloric balance, but that does not mean that calorie control necessarily causes weight loss.
  4. Decreasing levels of the hormone insulin does lead to weight loss help, independent of changes to diet or exercise.
IX. Evidence: weight maintenance
  1. It is next to impossible to consciously maintain caloric balance over the long term.
  2. The simplest explanation for why we maintain weight is that our belly fat (and other fat tissue) is regulated by hormones.
  3. Scientists admit that animal weight is hormonally regulated -- why won't they admit that the same applies to human beings?
X. Evidence: a calorie is a calorie?
  1. Energy in and energy out are dependent variables.
  2. The body sees the energy from different foods differently, so being a calorie counter is not enough.
  3. Carbohydrates break down into sugar.
  4. Proteins break down into amino acids.
  5. Fats break down into triglycerides and free fatty acids.
XI. Evidence: obesity epidemic
  1. Obesity can be found in 'non-toxic environments.'
  2. The poor are more obese than the rich, even though they exercise more.
  3. Obesity is often found linked with malnutrition.
  4. People who eat high fat low carb diets do not become obese.
  5. Only some people get fat in our so-called 'toxic environment.'
  6. The thrifty gene hypothesis has been thoroughly refuted.
  7. Non-western cultures who adopt a western diet get fatter and sicker.
  8. Epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other 'diseases of civilization' in cats and dogs.
  9. Obesity associates closely with other 'diseases of civilization.'
  10. We eat less fat and more carbohydrates than we did before the obesity epidemic.
  11. The most elegant and simple explanation for the cause of obesity in our population is that the epidemic was triggered by our collective switch to a low fat high carbohydrate diet.
XII. Evidence: diseases of civilization
  1. Alzheimer's Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Childhood Obesity II
  4. Coronary Artery Disease II
  5. Coronary Heart Disease
  6. Diabetes Type 2
  7. Gallstones I
  8. Gallstones II
  9. Gout I
  10. Gout II
  11. High Blood Pressure
  12. High LDL Levels
  13. Hyperinsulinemia
  14. Insulin Resistance
  15. Low HDL Levels II
  16. Low Self Esteem
  17. Obesity (Mild)
  18. Obesity (Moderate)
  19. Obesity (Morbid)
  20. Overweight
  21. Reactive Hypoglycemia II
  22. Sleep Apnea II
  23. Stroke
  24. Syndrome X II
  25. Tooth Decay II
  26. Tooth Decay III
  27. Type II Diabetes
  28. Varicose Veins II
XIII. Evidence: low carbohydrate diets
  1. Low carbohydrate diets can work even when calories are unrestricted.
  2. Low carbohydrate diets reduce serum insulin levels.
  3. Low carbohydrate 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.
XIV. Evidence: body versus brain
  1. The argument that obesity must arise from a behavioral defect -- i.e. that everyone who is overweight must either be lazy or gluttonous or both, and that therefore things like emotional eating make us fat -- is absurd on its face.
  2. Evidence abounds that physiological mechanisms, not psychological ones, regulate our fat tissue.
  3. Behavioral theories to explain obesity cannot account for why obesity associates with disease.
  4. As Gary Taubes has pointed out, we explain vertical growth (i.e. "getting taller") as resulting from hormonal factors and driven by physiology; whereas we explain horizontal growth (i.e. "getting fatter") as resulting from gluttony and sloth.
XV.Evidence: how calories become fat
  1. Our fat tissue is metabolically active. It is not a garbage bag or piggybank for excess calories.
  2. Lipoprotein lipase activity can explain many mysteries about how and why we fatten where we do; for instance, why men get a beer belly and why women develop fat thighs instead.
  3. Lipophilia gives us a testable mechanism about how new fat is formed. Caloric Balance, however, offers no mechanism by which excess calories 'turn into' fat tissue.
XVI. Evidence: Unexplained weight gain/loss
  1. Alpha Blockers
  2. Anticonvulsants
  3. Antihistamines
  4. Antihypertensives
  5. Antipsychotics
  6. Antiretrovirals
  7. Bardet-Biedl
  8. Beta Blockers
  9. Brain Damage
  10. Cohen Syndrome
  11. Corticosteroids
  12. Couvade Syndrome (a.k.a. male pregnancy)
  13. Cushing Syndrome
  14. Growth Hormone Deficiency
  15. Hibernation
  16. Hypogonadism
  17. Hypothyroidism
  18. Insulin Therapy
  19. Lipodystrophy
  20. Lithium
  21. Menopause
  22. Metformin (Glucophage)
  23. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  24. Nicotine
  25. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  26. Pregnancy
  27. Progestational Steroids
  28. Puberty
  29. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  30. Sulfonylureas
  31. Thiazolidinediones
  32. Tricyclic antidepressions (TCAs)
XVII. Evidence: health authorities oblivious
XVIII. Conclusions
XIX. Solutions
XX. Low Carbohydrate Diet Plans
  1. Atkins (Overview)
  2. Atkins (Phases)
  3. Rosedale Diet
  4. Scaradale Medical Diet
  5. South Beach Diet (Overview)
  6. South Beach Diet (Phases)
  7. Sugar Busters
  8. Stillman Diet
  9. Zone Diet
XXI. Low Carb Diet Shopping
  1. Alcohol
  2. Bakery
  3. Cruciferous Vegetables
  4. Frozen Foods
  5. Lunch
  6. Meats and Poultry
  7. Root Vegetables
  8. Seafood
  9. Vegetarian and Vegan
XXII. Glossary
  1. Antioxidants
  2. Calories
  3. Carbohydrates
  4. Cholesterol
  5. Essential Amino Acids
  6. Fats
  7. Glucagon
  8. Glycemic Index
  9. Glycogen
  10. GPDH
  11. High Density Lipoproteins
  12. Insulin
  13. Leptin
  14. Low Density Lipoproteins
  15. Sugar Substitutes
  16. Very Low Density Lipoproteins
XXIII. Good Calories, Bad Calories
XXIV. Other resources for low carbohydrate diets
XXV. About Us
XXVI. Privacy policy
XXVII. Disclaimer