I've been on a plateau for almost a year. I think I will give this program a try.
I want to thank Dr. Ellis for sharing this information.
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Here is my Version of Low-Carbohydrate Diet Again
From: Greg Ellis
Date/Time 2002-05-23 08:20:12
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Last week when I posted the plan, I felt like an Indian giver when I removed it but all hurdles have been removed now and I can post it freely. We were concerned about my Atkins evisceration since I am thoroughly (more, much more, in another chapter) exposing the fatal flaws in his program. He was, and is, challenged by the medical community, but they are so wrong too. It turns out that both Atkins and the medical boys and gals are wrong about some things and right about others. That whole story is in another chapter. But no one has ever taken Atkins apart the way I am doing, pointing out every flaw in his plan. Now, Atkins doesn't speak to you guys, he speaks to the overweight. My plan will speak to your needs as well as those of the overweight because the fundamental design platform is that it is based, not on any ideas of mine, but exactly, precisely, and accuractly upon how the body, itself, works. This is the unique aspect of my plan: I found out how the body worked and then all the plans arose around that understanding. My plan is not some idea I concocted based on my beliefs. It is, instead, based on the functioning of the body down to its genes. That is why it works so well. It is a plan that cannot fail -- the only failure would be in the user failing to follow the plan -- but the plan cannot fail because it is based on the Laws of Nature.
As I said on the last post that it is a bit out of context without all the other supporting chapters but at least it gives some sound guidelines to those who are interested. It also will answer many questions about why other diet plans (particularly low-cho) fail although this is not the specific chapter on the other diet plans. And remember, as you'll read, dieting is NOT the key factor in weight control.
The only request that I have is that this is kept among the Comrades -- I've enjoyed answering questions for the Party members and am so excited about how all of you train and workout and push yourselves to the limit. I have been removed from that dialogue for many years now that I have been working with sick people. As Steve Maxwell will tell you, my roots are in workouts that make you vomit. I have trained for 43 years now, and opened one of the first Nautilus centers in the country in 1972. I am a muscle physiologist and know muscles and how to condition them from every angle. My interest in nutrition arose as a means to further enhance muscle performance. So it is good to be among some "kindred spirits" again and that's why I am posting this because if it can help anyone of you now, I want to be able to do so because it took me a long time to learn and understand this stuff and there is no sense in you having to reinvent the wheel when I can save you all that work.
Again, the formatting in book style will be lost because of the post.
Dr. Ellis’s Version of the Low-Carbohydrate Diet
Even with the growing popularity of the low-carbohydrate diet, your choice to follow it will elicit negative comments from family, friends, and even doctors. Here’s your defense: A low-carbohydrate diet used for weight loss has been proven to be:
1) Lower in fat than a diet of mixed foods (but, between you and me, who cares about the false dangers of fat after what you’ve learned in Chapter 6?),
2) Adequate in all important nutrients,
3) And lower in calories than a normal mixed diet or a low-fat diet. Also, rather than raising cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as is so often incorrectly claimed, this diet tends to lower cholesterol and significantly lowers triglycerides.
What more could you want in a diet? Tell them to buy a copy of my book and read it. This may not shut them up, but what I’ve written will counter every negative comment that they could possibly conjure up. When you eat as much low-carbohydrate foods as you choose, you will not go hungry. Also, if you eat the right type of foods, you will eat the right amount of food. But here’s the caveat: Automatic reduction in food intake will most likely occur for about only 50% of the people who start following a low-carbohydrate diet, making calorie counting unnecessary, at least in the early stages of weight loss. I still encourage you, therefore, to count your calories just in case your body doesn’t automatically decrease its calorie consumption.
Later, as bodyweight decreases, Metabolic Adaptations, aimed at preserving the status quo bodyweight, kick in, leading to the over-consumption of calories. At this point, it may become necessary for almost everyone to count calories in order to continue losing weight. Remember, the leaner you become, and the more you deplete your Fat Mass, the more likely it will be that you’ll have to really pay attention to the number of calories you consume.
I want to emphasize one point: Even though I recommend eating as much fat as you like, in reality you’ll be eating less fat than you formally consumed because you’ll be eating less food (and fewer calories) overall. If you’re reluctant to follow a full-blown low-carbohydrate diet, the best alternative is to cut-out sugar and any products that contain sugar. I’ve found that many people lose weight, though not as fast, simply by cutting sugar and making no other changes in their diet.
This means that you must cut-out sugar in tea and coffee, cakes, cookies, sweets, and ice cream. And by cutting sugar, you also cut down on fat because fat and sugar are often companions in manufactured foods.
The next food to reduce or cut-out if you want to reduce carbohydrates, but aren’t ready to do the full-fledged low-carbohydrate diet, is bread, particularly refined breads: any bread made with white flour because of its low nutrient content. Combining sugar and bread reduction contributes to weight loss, because you’ll eat fewer calories.
It’s possible that you haven’t been eating a very healthful diet; a low-carbohydrate diet, or a diet lower in sugar and refined flour foods, has health enhancing benefits because it contains all the nutrients your body needs and because you lose weight on it.
How Much Carbohydrate?
The number of carbohydrate grams that comprise a “true” low-carbohydrate diet varies, depending on your activity level and tastes, the amount of weight you want to lose (because of carbohydrates’ affect on appetite and hunger), and the demands of your family during meals. (And it also depends on the author of the low-carbohydrate diet book, as we’ll learn. Our task is to now clearly define the best number of carbohydrate grams to consume for best results and settle all of the confusion.)
The authors who have written on low-carbohydrate protocols rarely prescribe a diet comprising more than 60-85 grams of carbohydrate a day, and I agree with this, although, if you follow my complete program, you’ll have more flexibility with how many grams you can consume each day. Sometimes active athletes can consume up to 125 grams a day although their performance would be better if they ate fewer. I know that consuming 13% of your calories as carbohydrate always works well. Just calculate your predicted calorie burn (or use the Caltrac to determine it) and do the math. For example, if you burn 2,500 calories a day, 13% of that is 325 calories. Divide that number by 4 to arrive at carbohydrate grams: 81 in this example.
Many writers, including Dr. Robert Atkins as well, argue that carbohydrate grams are the critical factor in weight loss.
They’re wrong, and he’s wrong, of course.
These writers argue that you must find the “right” level of carbohydrates for weight loss, which may be as low as 10-45 grams a day. In my opinion 10-45 grams is too low for most people to tolerate; they’ll never stick to consuming so few grams of carbohydrate. Based on your weight loss goals and dietary tastes, find a working point for yourself. I’ll help you establish this number.
Remember, however, it’s not the grams of carbohydrate that directly create weight loss; it’s the effect of a carbohydrate-restricted diet which leads to a reduced appetite, reduced hunger, and a subsequent reduced calorie intake. These, in turn, combine to lead to weight loss.
Carbohydrate gram intake is not the critical factor, a fact, of course, that is in conflict with Dr. Atkins’ false belief.
I’ve recently been nosing around some of the low-carbohydrate forums on the web and it’s so sad to read the comments by these misinformed souls who have bought into Atkins’ notion that carbohydrates control bodyweight and body fat.
The pages are riddled with disappointments and failures, far more than even I imagined. The solutions offered by their fellow forum mates? Everything but the only one that works -- a calorie imbalance. These dieters describe painfully their endless and tortuous efforts to discover hidden grams of carbohydrates in their foods, believing that when they finally uncover the hidden 2 grams that the fat will magically melt off after reducing their carbohydrate intake by the formerly hidden 2 grams.
They need to direct their frustration, disdain, and anger, not at the 2 grams, but to Atkins and others who have so terribly misinformed them.
As a guide, if weight loss is your main goal, I suggest 60-80 grams a day after an adaptation period of at least several weeks. I’ll describe, later in this chapter, the exact steps to follow during this adaptation period.
Therefore, if you’re currently consuming 200 grams of carbohydrate a day, you might reduce this number to 150 grams a day during week 1, and then to 100-125 grams a day during week 2, and so on until you reach the level of 60-80 grams a day.
During the first 3-8 days, if you really drop your carbohydrate grams low, say to the 15-20 grams recommended by the Atkins’ plan, you may experience a decrease in energy which, after this initial period, rapidly changes to an increase in energy that’s even-keeled and balanced throughout the day.
The energy drop occurs because, at first, your body is unable to use the fat fuel coming from both the fat you’re eating and from your body’s fat cells as a source of energy. Enzymes process the fat to provide energy, and it takes a week or more for the enzymes to really turn-on and produce optimum energy from the fat fuel sources. It takes at least 4-24 weeks for these fat-burning enzymes to reach maximum levels in the cells of your body.
OK, be prepared for another proclamation from the Nay Sayers: Ketosis. Now, as we’ve learned, most people, including most physicians, believe that ketosis is dangerous and unhealthy. They’re wrong, of course, as it’s only unhealthy for people who are uncontrolled diabetics. In a normal person, ketones are a perfectly safe fuel for muscles, organs, and the brain. In time, even if one becomes ketotic, his body increases its enzymes to process ketones, and his blood levels will decrease. Don’t fear ketones.
What to Do After Reaching Your Weight Loss Goal
After you’ve achieved your bodyweight and body fat goals by following Dr. Ellis’s 100/100 Plan, you can gradually increase your carbohydrate intake as long as you maintain calorie balance. Don’t go over about 25% of total daily calories (about 100 grams for someone living on 1,600 calories a each day and 190 grams for someone burning 3,000 calories). Always avoid sugar because it not only makes you fat, but it’s also unhealthy. But even if you do eat a bunch of carbohydrates for a day or two, or during a vacation or holiday break, as long as you maintain calorie balance, it won’t upset the apple cart. Maintaining calorie balance is the critical step.
Be careful, because if you eat too much food or too many carbohydrates (or a combination of both), it’s easy to turn-on the fat-making machinery, and you’ll start loading on those fat pounds all over again. And because of fuel-partitioning, carbohydrates convert to fat and are stored as body fat, creating a condition of starvation within muscles, organs, and the brain and then these tissues send out hunger signals. These signals drive one to overeat and become fat and also to suffer swings in energy that result from insulin’s actions and changes in blood glucose levels.
Limitations of Current Low-Carbohydrate Diets
Before laying out, step-by-step, my own low-carbohydrate plan, let’s get some more basic education about other low-carbohydrate plans. This will prepare you for understanding just how effective the low-carbohydrate plan that I’ve designed will be for you.
The notion of low-carbohydrate eating is beginning to enter the public’s consciousness. Several books have been published since 1990 that describe low-carbohydrate protocols: all of them, of course, recommend a low-carbohydrate protocol, but each prescribes its own unique twist. Maybe this is to sell more books, or perhaps the authors feel that they’re privy to some divine knowledge that makes their program more effective than those of other best-selling authors.
Be assured, though, there’s no special twist. The success of a low-carbohydrate diet on bodyweight loss depends on its stimulus of reducing calorie intake.
No one has any idea whether eating 20 grams of carbohydrate a day is more effective than eating 80 grams, even though they tell you they do. But, unfortunately, they’re just blowing smoke at you. But, this point is moot anyway because I can tell you that few people have the desire or discipline to consume only 20 grams of carbohydrate a day for extended periods of time.
The first low-carbohydrate author whose book attained mainstream popularity was Dr. Robert Atkins. His Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution was published in 1972. In 1992 he re-published his original book with updates from his last 20 years of experience. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet by the Drs. Heller appeared in 1991. In 1995 Dr. Barry Sears published The Zone (not really a low-carbohydrate diet). Most recently the Drs. Eades released their book Protein Power, not really a weight control book. And Suzanne Somers is flitting around the edges of a low-carbohydrate diet, but it’s hard to tell what she’s actually promoting because she has used three different books to tell her story.
Other less publicized books hit the market in earlier years: Dr. H. L. Newbold released Type A Type B Weight Loss Book in 1991. Some of the classics are Dr. John Yudkins’ Lose Weight, Feel Great (1964), Carlton Frederick’s New Low Blood Sugar and You (1985), and Dr. Wolfgang Lutz’s Dismantling a Myth: The Role of Fat and Carbohydrates in Our Diet (1987). These three books are the most sensible ones ever written and present the fundamental information necessary to understand low-carbohydrate eating and its positive effects, primarily on health, with less focus on the use of this diet for bodyweight control. There’s no hype or special twists, just the straight scoop, particularly from Yudkin.
The writers’ emphasis, of course, and as usual, is on the dietary control of body fat reduction and overweight, a plan guaranteed to almost always fail in the long-run, and they teach nothing about the total weight control picture as I’ve presented in this book.
In addition to these popular lay and scientific books, there’s also an extensive base of scientific literature which supports the low-carbohydrate plan, in contrast to what many researchers claim. In 1992, at a national weight loss conference, an attendee asked one of the world’s top weight loss experts, Dr. Pi-Sunyer, a question about low-carbohydrate diets and he responded that no research existed on low-carbohydrate diets. This stunned me because I have a large file of research papers on this subject. Ostriches aren’t the only ones with their heads in the sand.
Some of the recent so-called low-carbohydrate diets aren’t really low in carbohydrate. Dr. Sears’ Zone program emphasizes a calorie mix of 40%-carbohydrate, 30%-protein, and 30%-fat -- the 40/30/30 Plan that’s become so popular. The author argues that this mix is ideal and that he uses it as a drug to induce hormonal changes, particularly in insulin levels, in order to create other changes in the body.
The Carbohydrate Addict’s program emphasizes low-carbohydrate during the day, except at dinner; at that meal, one can eat all the carbohydrates he desires in the period of 60 minutes. It, like Sears’ Zone program, is also a low-fat diet, keeping fat intake at, or, below 30% of one’s daily calorie intake. This percent of fat intake is, of course, the so-called “healthy range,” the one that, theoretically, prevents heart disease and overweight.
Unfortunately, these plans, with such high levels of carbohydrate -- above the Ellis “starting-to-be-effective,” low-carbohydrate threshold of 25% of total daily calories as carbohydrate -- stymie the enzymatic and hormonal changes stimulated by a real low-carbohydrate diet. This high level of carbohydrate intake induces the hormones and enzymes that cause carbohydrate-to-fat conversion and the subsequent storage of this newly manufactured fat as body fat. Talk about a roller coaster!
By the way, for all of my bodybuilders, there’s a recommendation that’s circulating around suggesting that eating low-carbohydrate fare for five days and then eating carbohydrates during the weekend is an effective plan. I don’t remember the name of the “know-nothing-num-nuts” who recommended this diet, but it’s absurd. Talk about turning off and on the light switch. Turn-off the “fat-making-from-carbohydrate” enzymes for five days and then throw the switch and turn them back on by feeding them exactly what they’re looking for and you’ve got fat making to the max.
The basic underlying assumption to this method, as I understand the author, is to increase the release of insulin that he proposes will drive amino acids and glucose into muscles, a rapid influx, he says, that will increase muscle size. The commonly held belief is that insulin is anabolic (building) to muscle. Unfortunately, insulin is more strongly anabolic to fat tissue (it’s a fat-storage hormone), and although the muscles grow, the fat tissue “grows” at a faster rate. Like the Carbohydrate Addict’s Plan, avoid this regimen completely.
My point about the low-carbohydrate diet is this: the diet works because it leads to low levels of glucose and, hence, to low levels of insulin and, thus, the diet increases insulin’s counter-regulatory hormones (those that have actions opposite to the ones of insulin). The two principal counter-regulatory hormones are growth hormone and glucagon. These hormones activate and charge the metabolic machinery so that all the cells in the body begin to burn fat as fuel while helping to preserve and increase Lean Body Mass.
The ideal diet composition is low in carbohydrate because insulin levels continue to decrease with decreases in carbohydrates. Therefore, a 40%-carbohydrate of total daily calories diet composition as in the Zone plan and a large carbohydrate meal each day, as in the Addict’s plan, is much too much. Yes, these plans work better than 60%-carbohydrate plans, though not nearly as well as 20%-carbohydrate plans or, better yet, 13%-carbohydrate plans.
I feel that these authors are afraid of challenging the “powers-that-be”; consequently they make sure that fat intake is no higher than the so-called “heart-healthy” level of 30% of daily calories, believed by most as a healthy way of eating.
These authors don’t want to offend the “Establishment” proponents of the fat theory of heart disease. Of course, they, themselves, probably believe that fat is at the root of heart disease because they haven’t uncovered the fragile house of cards upon which the fat theory of heart disease is built. I, on the other hand, am interested in optimizing fat loss and muscle building, first, something that cannot be done on a high-carbohydrate diet.
I believe there’s also a fear of recommending a high protein intake because of its supposed association in causing harm to the liver, kidneys, and calcium balance. This fear, however, is totally unfounded and without scientific support. In fact, high protein is extremely important to the liver and its ability to rid the body of poisons and environmental toxins.
Skipping the little-read books by Yudkin, Fredericks, and Lutz, one is left with the Atkins’ program as the best-known low-carbohydrate protocol, sad as that is.
There are several major problems with his program, problems that I’ve discussed in a previous chapter in this book. Other problems include, first, that his program recommends cutting carbohydrates down to less than 20 grams in its initial phase, the Induction Phase. I’ve found this much too severe for most people. I believe he uses this method to induce the rapid, initial weight loss caused by the dehydration power of a low-carbohydrate diet. Rapid weight loss is a great sales pitch.
In contrast, the Ellis System suggests spending the first week determining how many grams of carbohydrate you eat each day and, at this point, not reducing carbohydrates at all. During this period, one begins to familiarize himself with the carbohydrate content of foods. This allows him to adapt gradually to a new way of eating and living, reducing the potential for stress at this critical juncture. Clearly, there’ll be no rapid weight loss but I’m not trying to trick you, promising miraculous and rapid weight loss, I’m trying to teach you an effective, life-long bodyweight control strategy.
Most important, during this time is that you can adapt psychologically to the idea of the program. I have heard from many people that they toss and turn in bed the night before beginning the extremely restricted-carbohydrate plan, petrified by the changes this will make in their lives. This psychological stress, along with the low-carbohydrate protocol, often causes the adrenal gland to secrete its stress hormone, cortisol, which has a slight effect on body fat distribution and inducing the release of the body’s major stress hormone causes many changes that are not something you want to experience.
Since the purpose of the low-carbohydrate diet is to reverse the normal hormonal picture from one of fat storage to one of fat burning, I view Atkins’ extreme recommendation as counter productive to weight loss goals. More about this later.
“Hitting-the-Wall” or Reaching a Plateau in Weight Loss Before Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals
In working with the Atkins’ recommendations (or any low-carbohydrate program) over many years, I’ve learned that people “hit-the-wall” with their weight loss. Some may lose 5 or 10 or 20 or even 30 pounds, but bodyweight loss does stop, often at a point considerably before one reaches his goal weight.
When weight loss stops, or doesn’t even occur in the first place (as sometimes happens in the Atkins plan) it’s usually a function of many of the fatal flaws in his version of the low-carbohydrate diet.
One of the main weaknesses (secondary, of course, to Atkins’ failure to recognize the legitimacy of the calorie theory) of the Atkins’ plan is its preoccupation with the appearance of ketones in the urine. This over-emphasis upon ketone excretion sets the individual up to fail because he will, inevitably, cease to spill ketones into his urine. When this occurs, the ketone sticks no longer turn purple (even if they ever did in the first place). Since this occurs to everybody and there’s no explanation by Atkins that this is one of the characteristics of long-term compliance to a low-carbohydrate diet, people, naturally, become confused.
Atkins argues that one must be in ketosis to achieve weight loss. When ketones fail to appear in the urine, Atkins advocates further reductions in the intake of carbohydrate grams from 60-80 (or lower depending on what Phase the dieter is in) to 40 or to even less than 20 grams. Even with further reductions in carbohydrates, however, the individual who has followed the diet for more than a few weeks fails to turn the sticks purple because he’s no longer excreting ketones in his urine!
Most important is the fact that he doesn’t lose weight.
Enter: extreme frustration and confusion.
What Atkins’ book doesn’t tell you is that, as the body’s cells begin to burn ketones as fuel (ketones become the number one source of energy), there are simply no ketones left to spill over into the urine. The individual’s liver continues to manufacture ketones, but he doesn’t know this because the ketones are burned up and, hence, aren’t available to spill over into the urine.
Another error (the main failing) of the Atkins’ plan is that Calories Do Count. This, of course, is in contrast to his notion that they don’t.
Because of Metabolic Adaptations, including decreases in metabolic rate and bodyweight, the individual requires an ever-decreasing number of calories to maintain the ever-decreasing bodyweight, if it occurs. The failure to institute calorie restriction (or increased calorie burning) prevents continued weight loss because the individual is, now, simply in calorie balance, and no more weight can be lost -- no matter how low the carbohydrate -- unless he either eats fewer calories or begins to burn more calories through increased physical activity or combines both methods.
Remember the figures that I provided in an earlier chapter: when one loses weight, he must decrease his calorie consumption by 10-50 calories for every pound that’s lost. This value varies, of course, depending upon how much fat the body contained when beginning to lose weight. Fatter people can decrease their calorie intake by the lesser amount of the range; leaner people must decrease their calorie intake by the higher amount of the range.
Metabolic Adaptations become more powerful as the Fat Mass grows ever smaller.
Of course, this is a major shortcoming of almost all diets today. This nonsense that Calories Do Not Count is so pervasive that it serves as the framework of many of the popular low-fat and low-carbohydrate regimens.
Most people think that just fat makes you fat, not that eating too much food makes you fat. It’s logical to think that fat makes you fat, but biochemically, it’s just not true. What’s true is that carbohydrates, not fat, contribute more to fat making than does fat (although there’s a large group of scientists who believe the opposite). This is because of the conversion of glucose into fat as discussed previously (these scientists disagree that this happens although an extensive amount of older and recent research confirms this fact). Fat only adds to the Fat Mass when it is consumed along with carbohydrates or consumed at levels higher than needed to maintain calorie balance (the failure to understand this relationship is what led to all of these scientists’ wasted research and their mistaken conclusions).
Dropping to a very low intake of carbohydrate grams can also lead to extreme fatigue in the first week or two when following a low-carbohydrate diet because one simply doesn’t have the metabolic machinery to process fat as the cell’s source of fuel, as I’ve described. The enzymes that break down fat (from triglycerides to free fatty acids and then to ketones) are in short supply. It takes at least 2-3 weeks for these enzymes to increase and, I believe, 3-6 months until they reach maximum capacity.
There are three primary ways that people fail to lose weight following the Atkins’ version of the low-carbohydrate diet:
1) 30-50% of people beginning a low-carbohydrate diet (or maybe even more since I began my visits to the web forums) don’t automatically reduce their food intake; in fact, some even increase their food intake and gain weight.
2) Because of Metabolic Adaptations, a certain percentage of people lose weight but “hit-the-wall” well before they reach their weight loss goal. Unfortunately, they make no adjustments to the reduction in calorie burning that they are undergoing and, hence, fail to lose any more weight. Reducing carbohydrate grams to ever lower amounts, as recommended by Atkins, doesn’t stimulate further weight loss because it can’t since carbohydrates are not the main factor in weight control, in contrast to Atkins’ belief that they are.
3) A certain percentage of people (a small percentage) approach their weight loss goal but, again, because of Metabolic Adaptations (a decrease in Resting Metabolic Rate, an increase in the efficiency of using calories, and an automatic decrease in physical activity), weight loss ceases. The body wants to return to its Set-Point bodyweight and institutes hunger drives. Even though the low-carbohydrate diet reduces hunger, the decreasing Fat Mass tries to override this reduction in food intake caused by low-carbohydrate eating and stimulates appetite and hunger. A battle of physiological control mechanisms rages. Although this increase in appetite and hunger is minimal, the Atkins’ version of the diet promotes unlimited eating of protein and fat. In other words, the individual has been granted a license to eat. Therefore, there’s no effort on his part to restrain food intake, and he may actually begin to increase in bodyweight from overeating protein and fat. These individuals, then, set themselves to the task of further reducing their carbohydrate intake but are doomed from succeeding in their weight loss battle. All the confusion and frustration causes them to give up on one of the best Biological controls of food intake -- the low-carbohydrate diet.
More on the Fatal Flaws in the Atkins Version of the Low-Carbohydrate Diet
Atkins implies that simply starting his diet will inevitably lead to success in reaching ideal weight as long as an individual consumes the “correct” number of carbohydrate grams for his specific needs, the Critical Carbohydrate Level. This “correct” intake, he says, allows one to sustain ketosis/lipolysis which leads to the dissolving of fat through ketone loss.
But how does “dissolving” occur? Fat (as fat or as ketones) doesn’t dissolve. It’s a fuel, it burns. It’s a source of energy and is only used (but not dissolved) to supply energy to the body’s cells when one eats less food than he burns. Wood, in a fireplace doesn’t dissolve, it burns, releasing waste products and providing energy (and heat, a product of burning).
Fat is not released solely as heat, wasted and spewed out into the environment as Atkins implies. It supplies energy for cellular work.
Sure, redirecting fuel to burning in the active tissues, as occurs with carbohydrate restriction, instead of into storage as fat is a good move. But, ultimately that process simply reduces food intake and allows one to avoid the inevitable increase in body fat and bodyweight that occur from a calorie imbalance that favors weight gain.
Reducing carbohydrate grams doesn’t lead to some magical evaporation of body fat into the ether as the Atkins scenario implies. Reducing carbohydrate intake, but continuing to eat luxuriously, makes it all sound so easy, so wonderful, yet this notion defies every known Universal Law operating in Nature.
Great magicians would be proud of the Atkins’ program for its ability to deceive by the mistaken manipulation of biochemistry.
Lowering carbohydrates, Atkins claims, brings on the release of the alleged Fat Mobilizing Hormone, a hormone that is unknown to modern science. Atkins has held this belief for more than 30 years now and continues to promote the supposed existence of this non-existent hormone as one of the “scientific” foundations of his plan.
With the reduction in carbohydrates to the correct level, Atkins tells us, we’ll have on-going weight loss, just like that. No need to worry about calorie balance, Metabolic Adaptations, or any of the other issues associated with our modern-day efforts to control bodyweight. Using his plan allows us, it seems, to defy every known and established principle in the weight control equation just by dropping our carbohydrates.
It’s all hogwash.
Another Atkins’ claim regards the extraordinary number of successes that occur as a result of following his program. Again, just as easy as pie -- just drop the carbohydrates and a 90% success rate is a guarantee. He should become a muscle magazine publisher -- he’d fit in well.
I wonder what all the poor weight loss failures who desperately beg for advice on the low-carbohydrate web forums have to say about that one?
Atkins assures his readers that their obesity is a metabolic defect and isn’t a consequence of gluttony, despite the true scientific facts showing that obesity is not a metabolic abnormality but the result of an imbalance between calorie intake and calorie burning.
Remember, the conversion of carbohydrate into fat is a function of eating carbohydrates and happens in everyone. It’s not a defect but a normal biochemical response programmed into the metabolic machinery of every cell of every mammal. The high insulin release and the insulin resistance that occur in disease states are a function of the long-term crippling combination of too much carbohydrate and excess food consumption and a failure to be physically active. But, this isn’t a defect that one was born with, it’s purely a function of the failure to live within Nature’s Laws.
I would agree with Atkins, however, on the point that obesity does not result primarily from gluttony. That fact notwithstanding, it still doesn’t free one from their active (or inactive) participation in their overweight condition because, as we’ve learned, overweight is more a result of sloth than of gluttony. These facts are well established as of 2002. I don’t want to blame you, but I blame, rather, our modern lifestyles that have forced us into a highly sedentary existence that is inconsistent with the maintenance of a low bodyweight.
To release ourselves from the bondage of this slothful, inactive pattern, we must actively pursue a vigorous and physically active lifestyle. After having been informed about the real reason for the ever-increasing overweight condition (physical inactivity) those who choose not to move can, then, be blamed for their contribution to their overweight condition.
Atkins lets you off the hook for your overweight condition, joining with the modern-day chorus of others who proclaim that losing weight is fun and easy and that it’s something that occurs outside of your responsibility. This absolution is a denial of the reality of what it really takes to succeed. This, of course, is another reason why people fail on his version of the diet because, as is commonplace in all existing diet plans, people are never taught the 100% complete weight loss and weight control equation and the responsibility that they must assume to avoid failure.
No, in my view, Atkins is painfully wrong in absolving the individual from any role in his obese condition.
Atkins claims that there’s a critical carbohydrate intake beyond which weight gain will occur. This is totally false and highly oversimplified. Telling people, what I believe are false tales, undermines their efforts. These statements defy all known Laws and, therefore, when people believe them and use them in their lives, it leads to many failures and implicates his misinformation as responsible for much human pain and suffering.
And, I see his Induction Phase as nothing more than a charade to falsely pump-up his so-called successful diet. It’s specifically designed to take full advantage of the water loss effects of the low-carbohydrate diet that induce a false euphoria in the dieter as to the potential success of his plan. The rapid weight loss that he claims is fat (a reflection of the rapid dissolution and “melting-off” of large amounts of fat tissue, he says) is, in fact, largely water and not fat at all as so many studies have shown.
For some who don’t lose (he does admit that some people don’t lose), his claim is that the cause is Metabolic Resistance, another hokey use of words to mystify and cover-up the complete weakness of his regimen and its abject denial of the Energy Balance Equation. Metabolic Resistance is nothing more than the failure to reduce calorie intake enough to effect losses of bodyweight -- nothing more. In a November 1999 Roper Starch Independent Poll, 76% of those who followed the Atkins diet said that they still wanted to lose more weight. This completely confirms everything I’ve said about people not reaching their weight loss goals when following the Atkins plan.
How the Other Low-Carbohydrate Programs Deal with the Inevitable Plateaus in Weight Loss
In the Protein Power regimen of the Drs. Eades, similar recommendations, like those of Atkins, are made for dealing with plateaus in weight loss. Unfortunately, this is addressed as a side issue in the Questions and Answers section of the Eades’ book.
In my experience, weight loss plateaus are the main problem, and I believe much more detail is required to address this problem as I have thoroughly done in my chapters on Metabolic Adaptations.
However, these authors, like others, don’t have the solution to the problem. Eades’ answer to the plateau problem suggests that the first consideration is to check whether muscle mass has increased. This is, indeed, an appropriate first step because this type of eating does slightly increase muscle mass, leading to an increase in bodyweight. This is good because muscle is functional tissue and a valuable addition to the quality of one’s life.
The second step they recommend is to determine whether one is truly following the diet -- that is, not eating more carbohydrate than needed. This is also a good idea.
The third step, and the point where the Eades get into trouble, is the suggestion that one eat less food (reduce calorie consumption).
Now, this is OK to a point, but it’s still dieting, and a 100% emphasis on dieting is bound to fail. The Eades say the best way to reduce calorie consumption is to cut-out fat.
Amazingly, these low-carbohydrate proponents now recommend a low-fat diet (this is the very technique that most weight loss gurus recommend and that the Eades program opposes). It’s preached that cutting-out fat will do the trick and that, when weight loss begins again, one can begin to eat more.
This is an absurdly silly recommendation. Calorie needs decrease along with weight loss, therefore, more eating can only, inevitably, lead to weight gain or no further weight loss depending upon how many more calories one eats.
Cutting-out fat led to the consumption of fewer calories which, in turn, led to weight loss. Eating more will stop weight loss and lead to weight regain. And finally, the Eades suggest cutting the carbohydrate intake down to 10-20 grams “to get things going.”
In this plan, as in all the others, there’s no teaching about Metabolic Adaptations, no “putting-it-to-the-numbers” as I’ve done. It’s just a willy-nilly hodgepodge of “try this or that” with no overarching theory or guidelines.
We already know the Energy Balance Equation, therefore, the ideas suggested by these authors will not work because there’s no prioritizing of the Energy Balance Equation!
They can’t work, and they always fail: Very few people can stick to 10-20 grams of carbohydrate a day. They don’t lose weight and, consequently, quit the program.
All these authors work on what I call the “minutia principle,” which means that they deal with insignificant, meaningless notions instead of working with the big issues -- the ones that really matter and can effect changes.
In the example, above, the “minutia” thinking is that there’s a significant difference between eating 40 grams of carbohydrate a day versus 20 grams. This is nonsense. There’s no research to support these notions and the concepts just confuse people and set them up for failure.
This is imbued in the Atkins’s concept of ketosis/lipolysis (I wish he would get the order straight. Lipolysis is the breakdown and release of fat from the fat cells. Ketosis is the production of ketones from the free fatty acids released by the fat cells that occurs in the liver. Therefore, lipolysis always precedes ketosis.)
This process is controlled by a number of physiological changes. The first is the insulin to glucagon ratio. Physical activity and total calories consumed also determine the rates of lipolysis and ketone production rate. To suggest that any scientist, or that anyone for that matter, has the slightest idea that a difference of 20 grams in carbohydrate intake will change significantly the rates of lipolysis and ketosis and lead to a dramatically improved rate of weight loss is absurd. These types of detailed studies, using variations in the criteria I’ve listed, have never been undertaken.
And since ketones measured in the urine are a totally unreliable measure of ketone production, particularly after months on the low-carbohydrate diet, they cannot serve any useful function to the dieter.
People must deal with big things, such as how many calories they burn. They must not get caught up in minutiae.
There is a Big Missing Ingredient in the Dietary Approach to Weight Loss: for both Low-Fat and Low-Carbohydrate Dietary Protocols
The key missing ingredient in all these programs is that the emphasis remains on diet and not on increasing calorie burn.
All the low-carbohydrate plans are more successful than cutting calories or low-fat diets because it’s easier to eat less when one reduces carbohydrates. But most people don’t reach their goal weight or goal body silhouette without increasing physical activity.
In summary, low-carbohydrate plans are more effective than low-fat plans, but they’re not the complete answer. The major contribution to weight control and muscle building depends on increased physical activity. All the proponents of low-carbohydrate plans miss the point: Calories Do Count. And cutting the amount you eat by any significant amount is harmful to the body and minimizes your chance of reaching your goals.
The low-carbohydrate advocates criticize low-fat programs as doomed to fail, yet their own protocols ultimately fail too because their emphasis is primarily on dietary changes, and not on physical activity. And, most often, the dietary change that they recommend misses the main point: the importance of calories as the primary factor to manipulate in losing bodyweight.
Why Follow the Ellis Version of the Low-Carbohydrate Diet?
As we’ve learned, weight loss and weight control are strictly a function of the Energy Balance Equation and its two parts, Calories In and Calories Out. We’ve also learned that overweight and over-fat arise primarily from performing too little physical activity and then, secondarily, they’re a function of issues pertaining to diet. Further, we’ve learned that weight problems rarely have anything to do with metabolic defects and are, in fact, related to behavioral and environmental pressures that an individual can, if he chooses, control.
The primary focus, therefore, to an effective program to control bodyweight is to burn more calories each day and to integrate that approach to one that modifies slightly one’s calorie intake. An important contributor in using this second step is a diet that uses Biological methods to help control appetite and hunger and for this purpose, then, a low-carbohydrate diet is an effective strategy.
Here’s the order, listing the most important factor in weight loss and weight control first, followed by those that are less important: 1) the Energy Balance Equation rules supremely, and the Calories Out side is more important than the Calories In side. What’s this mean? Burn more calories as the first step, 2) reduce calorie intake using a diet of any composition as a second step, and 3) use a diet composition that’s low in carbohydrates to help control calorie intake as a third step. Please note the order and realize that the low-carbohydrate diet is down on the list a few notches in its order of importance in weight loss and weight control.
Why is this important? It’s because by using the most important factors first in designing your plan, along with integrating other effective secondary and tertiary strategies with it, you’ll have, in hand, a program that possesses maximum levels of flexibility and a high potential for success.
In this way, you can choose to emphasize some parts, or mix and match several parts, to individualize your program to meet your needs. You can even vary your emphasis on different parts throughout the year, say, concentrating more on exercise for six months and then on diet for the other six months. This is a very powerful and effective approach. It prevents the inevitable boredom.
We must de-emphasize the belief in the idea of an overarching importance of carbohydrates to weight control as preached by Atkins. By rejecting his belief, we’re no longer imprisoned to follow the very restrictive, and daunting, Atkins’ low-carbohydrate diet that dramatically reduces the number of carbohydrate grams that you must consume each day for the rest of your life to succeed at weight loss and weight control.
My plan, therefore, is much more flexible than other low-carbohydrate diets, precisely for the reason that my plan recognizes the low-level contribution of diet composition to weight loss and weight control.
Let’s look, for example, at the Atkins’ plan. He states on page 221 of his book, “On this diet, your rate of weight loss is generally proportional to your exclusion of carbohydrates.” And on page 216, “This book is primarily about diet, and quite frankly, my experience has been that diet matters more than any other single thing.”
Atkins repeatedly explains to us in his book that he has performed a good deal of scientific research. His research, it seems to me, has missed the mark. Weight loss isn’t proportional to carbohydrate restriction, but is, in fact (in contrast to Atkins’ opinion), related directly to calorie restriction or, more precisely, to a calorie imbalance. Further, weight loss is more strictly related to calorie burn than to calorie intake and, therefore, it’s not primarily a function of diet, as he believes, but of physical activity.
These true, and well-researched scientific facts, blow him and his so-called research away.
And so, Atkins places diet and its composition at the apex of the weight control equation, whereas I (and most other nutritional scientists) place it several levels below. I’m right, of course, and Atkins is wrong, as I’m sure you’re now convinced.
The Atkins’ diet is divided into four phases: 1) Induction, 2) Ongoing Weight Loss, 3) Pre-Maintenance, and 4) Maintenance. Each Phase is dictated by a specific number of grams of carbohydrate intake for each day. It’s believed by Atkins, of course, that carbohydrate gram intake is the absolute controller of bodyweight. He provides us with this table (CC = Critical Carbohydrate):
Carbohydrate Gram Levels and Metabolic Resistance
Metabolic Resistance Ongoing Weight-Loss Level (CCLL) Maintenance Level (CCLM)
High 15 or less 25-40
Average 15-40 40-60
Low 40-60 60-90
Inspection of the table shows the quite rigid, impossibly un-doable, limitations in respect to daily carbohydrate intake required to lose weight and to keep it off. One is condemned to a lifetime of an imprisoning, discouragingly low intake of carbohydrate-containing foods.
Atkins, of course, defines this regimen as “luxurious, endlessly varied, rich, and satisfying.”
Far from it!
What is it, actually?
Casual conversations with many former Atkins’ dieters, both successes and failures, tells quite another story. They complain of how sick they are of eating eggs at breakfast and steak and hamburger for dinner. People simply aren’t going to open his recipe book and cook gourmet low-carbohydrate meals on a daily basis.
From the chart, we see that few people can, ever again, eat many carbohydrates.
My experience has taught me that many people can eat between 60-90 grams of carbohydrate a day and stay on that quantity for extended periods. But, that amount of intake is allowed for only a small fraction of those in the categories listed in the chart.
In my plan, I de-emphasize the importance of carbohydrates in weight control. Therefore, going off the diet during the holidays or at other times, and even indulging in more carbohydrates each day, as long as the other parts of my program are followed, is not a death blow.
Atkins claims that it’s a fact that about 40% of metabolically overweight women can’t lose weight unless they’re eating less than 30 grams of carbohydrate a day!
Lordy, can you imagine? How many can succeed? Not many.
And worse yet. Since carbohydrates don’t rule and calories do, many won’t lose weight and will even regain it even while suffering on only 30 grams of carbohydrate a day. That’s a lot of suffering for no reward, isn’t it? What kinda’ existence is that?
My version of the low-carbohydrate diet recognizes that there’s a threshold of carbohydrate intake at which positive results accrue from using diet composition as one of several strategies for bodyweight loss and control. That threshold is when carbohydrates drop below 25% of one’s total daily calorie intake. That’s far more liberal than the restrictive protocol advised by Atkins. For example, for one who burns 2,000 calories a day, he gets to eat 500 calories as carbohydrate: that’s 125 grams. A 2,500 calorie burner gets to consume 156 grams of carbohydrate a day.
Would you receive better results eating 13% of your calories as carbohydrate? Probably. But, are you planning to enter a bodybuilding or fitness contest any time soon? If not, then reducing carbohydrates to such low levels is entirely unnecessary, unless you need to do it to help control your appetite and hunger.
Controlling appetite and hunger is the most important reason for following a low-carbohydrate diet. By finding out how many grams of carbohydrate you need to eat to control hunger will individualize the program for your needs. That’s the right way to use the diet composition tool. With such a wide range of carbohydrate grams to choose from, and realizing that it’s a game of time, eating more on one day and less on another day is another strategy that will prove effective.
Let me give you an example. Just yesterday I became possessed by the junk-food demon. At breakfast time I went to the local convenience store and bought an ice cream bar, a blueberry muffin, and a chocolate-covered cream donut. Halfway through the ice cream bar, I threw the rest out. And then, I ate the crunchy part off the top of the muffin. By the time I got to the cream donut, I broke it in half to get to the cream and took two bites of that and that was all that I needed to be satisfied.
When I got home, I didn’t eat the food I normally eat for breakfast. Then, I took my four-mile walk wearing a 40-pound weighted vest. My carbohydrate grams were higher, but my calorie intake wasn’t. It made no impact on my bodyweight.
I told my wife of my breakdown and the next day she wanted to join me in the carbo-feast. We returned to the store, but I had no desire for a repeat performance and left without anything.
Am I concerned? Am I hunting for hidden grams of carbohydrates? The answer is a double No. Why? Because my plan provides a wide range of flexibility to satisfy all of my needs.
This is a plan that is far less restrictive than the one developed by Atkins because it’s based on true scientific facts and has its priorities straight.
It’s your choice: no dietary freedom, stuck for the rest of your life failing at weight loss because you bought into Atkins (and other low-carbohydrate diet gurus who believe that carbohydrates, and not calories, control the weight control equation).
You’re stuck consuming what they claim is a “luxurious” diet when the reality is that it’s boring, restrictive, and virtually impossible to stay on. And worst of all -- it’s often ineffective at weight loss and weight control.
I’ve also encountered many who say that they lost weight the first time around on the Atkins’ plan, but then, after regaining weight, they return to it and fail to lose. They, of course, give up on it because it’s too boring, too restrictive, and it doesn’t work anymore. Now, there’s only one reason that his version of the diet doesn’t work anymore and that’s because the dieter is not creating a calorie imbalance.
It’s that simple.
It doesn’t work because the dieter is eating more of the “luxurious” foods than he ate before. Of course, he won’t lose weight, because calories control. I’ve observed this phenomenon often and it seems that the longer one practices the Atkins’ version of the low-carbohydrate diet, the less effective it is. And why wouldn’t it be, because Atkins’ gives the dieter a license to eat, the so-called metabolic advantage that he can lose more weight, calorie-for-calorie, on the Atkins diet than on any other.
Atkins recognizes that the rate of weight loss slows as one gets close to his ideal weight and he understands that this occurs on any diet. He advises his readers to take two or more months to lose the last ten pounds. Of course, he tells his readers that as long as the carbohydrate content of the diet is less than their Critical Carbohydrate Level for weight loss, that weight will continue to “melt away” until one reaches his ideal weight. He claims that this is a function solely of a reduction of carbohydrate intake into the right zone.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it, he says.
None of this is true, of course, because if one doesn’t effect a reduction in calorie intake to a level below calorie burning, further weight loss is impossible.
But, Atkins ignores the underlying changes in metabolism, and the overeating of protein and fat, and addresses Metabolic Adaptations in one sentence. Overeating? He doesn’t address it at all. He doesn’t provide his readers with methods and techniques to overcome the reductions in metabolism that occur with weight loss. He claims that resistance to weight loss is resistance to ketosis. This can’t be so, because there are those who consume a low-fat diet, and who do lose weight. I guarantee you that they’re never in ketosis, yet they do lose weight.
How do you explain the fact that they lose weight if ketosis is the critical factor in losing weight and they aren’t in ketosis? Well, it’s easily explained when you realize that a reduced calorie intake relative to calorie burning is, in fact, the only factor involved in losing weight. Ketosis has nothing to do with it. Ketosis occurs because the fat cell is releasing fat faster than the body can handle it. These fats are toxic and the liver turns them into ketones which are less toxic. Then, ketones become the primary fuel.
In a low-fat diet, the fat cells release fat more slowly and, therefore, there’s no need to convert it into ketones to protect the acid/base level in the blood. Sure, the low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in helping one to reduce weight than a low-fat diet but ketones are not the sole arbiter of fat loss.
I, on the other hand, devoted two chapters to helping my readers thoroughly understand Metabolic Adaptations, plus, I included techniques that my readers can use to win at this game.
And one of my solutions isn’t a dramatic reduction in consuming an imprisoning level of carbohydrates. Using my version provides flexibility and avoids the efforts to calculate Atkins’ so-called Critical Carbohydrate Levels.
Atkins ramps these up by five gram increments, claiming that eating only five more grams than the Critical amount will lead to weight regain.
Eating at the Critical amount leads to weight maintenance, he says, and eating below the Critical amount leads to weight loss.
All of this, of course, I charge, is absolutely untrue because carbohydrates aren’t the controlling factor in bodyweight control.
On page 250, Atkins says, “I defy anyone to propose a more luxurious diet on which you can stay trim and healthy than the Atkins program.”
Dr. Atkins, I accept the challenge and I propose a far more effective, a far more flexible, a far less restrictive, a far more luxurious, and a far healthier program than the one you’ve had on the table for thirty years.
My plan focuses on the most important factor, the calorie, a point you’ve missed entirely, and on increases in physical activity, and then, and only then, on the dietary part, including sensible changes in diet composition.
And, even better, is that my program will succeed where yours fails because your program is based on incorrect “so-called scientific facts” that are as invalid today as they were the day you proposed them.
How to Follow the Ellis Version of the Low-Carbohydrate Diet
I’m going to present now a specific strategy for you to follow, but I don’t want to lock you into the idea that this is the only way to follow a low-carbohydrate diet. I’m not opposed to starting out the way Atkins recommends by immediately severely limiting carbohydrate intake. If that’s what you want to do, then that’s fine. I’m pointing out that it’s not necessary to start out this way for success. And further, you’ll suffer from all of the “symptoms” the critics dredge up if you severely restrict carbohydrates. But, if that’s what you want to experiment with, be my guest. These symptoms will all pass and are, in no way, dangerous. So, again, my Plan provides an extraordinary amount of flexibility so that you can follow a variation that fulfills your needs.
Let’s review how to use Dr. Ellis’s System and its Low-Carbohydrate Eating Plan:
Week 1 Step 1: Review the contents of this book. Study the charts that list the carbohydrate grams for different foods.
Step 2: Learn which foods are essentially free of carbohydrates.
Step 3: Continue your regular diet for the first week and count how many grams of carbohydrate you eat each day, creating your baseline. Continue to review this book and imbed its ideas into your mind. View yourself in different situations (at work, at home, at parties). Think about what you can eat during these times.
Step 4: Keep telling yourself that this is not a no carbohydrate diet. Keep telling yourself that you can eat some of the foods you’re used to. Most people’s first reaction is that they can never again eat any foods containing carbohydrates. Not true. You are supposed to enjoy this eating plan. They ask, “What about... [such and such foods]?” You can eat carbohydrates -- just not as many.
Week 2 Step 5: Begin your low-carbohydrate eating plan. Your goal, if you are trying to lose weight and you are physically inactive, is 60-80 grams a day. So for this week, cut to about 100-125 grams a day. Continue reviewing the book, and think about adding a mild walking program to your daily activities.
Week 3 Step 6: Cut your grams down to 80-100 a day, and begin your walking plan. Continue reviewing the book, and start planning some complex meals that are low in carbohydrates. A thick beef stew with rich red-wine gravy is an example of such a meal. Use carrots and potatoes to flavor the broth; just don’t eat too many.
Week 4 Step 7: If weight loss and control is your goal, cut down to 60-80 grams. You should have lost some weight by now. Keep in mind that most of the weight that you lose (about 70%) in the first week or two is the result of water loss, so weight loss will be much faster in the first two weeks, but this weight loss is not fat. Now, in the 3rd and 4th weeks, weight loss will slow up. Keep weighing yourself everyday. You should be walking now. This adds some muscle weight, so don’t expect the numbers on the scale to drop very fast. Your waistline, however, should now be getting smaller.
Step 8: Think about adding some weight training to your plan. Go to a sporting goods store and look at the 110-pound barbell sets and a good flat bench. Review some of the basic books on strength building. Study my Spectrum Training System about weight training. Don’t look at any of the complex gym sets now. Up to about ten exercises with a barbell will work wonders.
Week 5 Step 9: Keep with 60-80 grams. Watch the scale. Its numbers often stay the same for weeks at a time even though you’re losing fat. Don’t get discouraged. These numbers will drop eventually unless you’re eating too many calories and/or you’re too inactive. And remember, bodyweight fluctuates by several pounds a day because of water, so don’t get discouraged if one day you are 3 pounds heavier than the day before. You must look at weight loss averages over several days and weeks.
Week 6 and beyond Step 10: Now you’re in for the long haul. The newness and excitement ARE OVER. It’s everyday now -- every long day. But this is where the results come. Build your program into your new lifestyle. Continue the mind treatments. It’s all in what you think. This is the time you’ll be challenged. If weight loss has stopped and you haven’t reached your goals, you should not eat less right now, but increase your physical activity. If you eat more carbohydrates at a party or during a holiday, you’ll repay the water debt. You didn’t gain fat, it’s water. Just get back on the plan and you’ll flush the water out in a couple of days. This is where many people crash, believing that they gained 3 pounds of fat overnight. This, combined with the slower rate of weight loss that occurs as you move more deeply into the program, are the two biggest reasons for giving up. Don’t give in. If you don’t lose weight for several weeks, then you are probably at weight maintenance. Tweak the 100/100 Plan a little so that you burn some more calories, and maybe eat a bit less.
Even though I’ve devoted many chapters to the discussion of what types of food to eat, I want to reaffirm the more important part of the Energy Balance Equation: physical activity.
Carbohydrate Grams in Foods and a Sample One Week Menu
The following foods are virtually carbohydrate free and you can eat them as you wish, but only if you don’t eat more calories than you need.
Carbohydrate Free Foods
Meat Fish Fowl
Ham Sardines Cornish Hen
Pork Flounder Turkey
Lamb Sole Duck
Veal Trout Goose
Bacon Salmon Chicken
Beef Tuna Quail
Venison Herring Pheasant
Cheeseburgers (no roll) Bass Chicken roll (no filler)
Corned Beef Bluefish Turkey Loaf
Dried Beef Cod Smoked Turkey
Hamburgers Haddock Turkey Wings
All meats are OK All fish are OK All fowl are OK
Shellfish Eggs Cheese
Crabmeat Fried Mozzarella
Squid Omelets Cream cheese
Lobster Scrambled Cow and goat
Shrimp Soft Boiled Cottage cheese
Mussels Hard Boiled Cheddar
Oysters Deviled Swiss
Clams Poached Aged and fresh
All shellfish are OK All eggs are OK Most cheese is OK except spreads with carbohydrates
Tomato Turnips Dandelion greens
Onion Avocado Artichoke hearts
Cauliflower Brussel Sprouts Hearts of palm
String or Wax Beans Snow Pea Pods Leeks
Broccoli Sauerkraut Bamboo Shoots
Scallions Eggplant Bean Sprouts
Spinach Kale Water Chestnuts
Asparagus Kohlrabi Chard
Cabbage Chard Rhubarb
Zucchini Pumpkin SpaghettiSquash
Summer Squash Collard greens
Lettuce Chicory Fennel
Romaine Sorrel Peppers
Endive Parsley Celery
Escarole Chives Alfalfa Sprouts
Arugula Cucumber Mushrooms
Radicchio Radishes Olives
Salad herbs, such as dill, thyme, and basil, are allowed, along with garnishes such as bacon bits, grated cheese, hard-boiled egg, and sour cream. All spices are acceptable as long as there is no sugar included in the product.
Fats and oils are also OK to use on the program. Many are important to good health. Use sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and omega-3 oils . Monounsaturated olive oil is a good product. All vegetable oils are permitted (preferably cold pressed).
Butter is also permitted but not margarine. Recent scientific research has implicated margarine as a dangerous product, one which significantly increases your risk (rate) of getting heart disease -- it’s a health risk! Mayonnaise is allowed as is the fat on meat and under chicken skin.
Water Spring water
Essence Flavored Seltzer Club soda
Decaf. coffee and tea Herb tea (no sugar)
Diet Soda Clear broth and bouillon
Iced tea (no sugar) Lemon and lime juice
Carbohydrate Content of Common Foods
The following is a list of the carbohydrate content in some common foods that people consume daily. (Note: The abbreviation gr. CHO equals grams of carbohydrate.)
Food Serving Size gr. CHO
Biscuit 2 small sweet or 3 med. plain 15
Bread (all except starch reduced) 1 slice, 1 ounce 15
Breakfast cereal (varies with brand) 2 tablespoons 20
Bagel 3 inch diameter 30
Bun, plain 2 oz. 25
fruit 2 oz. 30
iced 2 oz. 40
Cake, plain 2 oz. 35
cream 2 oz. 35
rich fruit, iced 2 oz. 40
Corn flour 1 oz. raw 25
Macaroni 2 oz. uncooked, 6 oz. cooked 50
Rice 1 oz. uncooked, 4 oz. cooked 20
Roll, bread 1-2 oz. 30
Spaghetti 2 oz. uncooked, 6 oz. cooked 50
Tapioca 1 oz. uncooked, 4 oz. cooked 20
Vermicelli 2 oz. uncooked, 6 oz. cooked 45
Food Serving Size gr. CHO
Apple medium, 4 oz. 10
Apricot medium, 2 oz. 5
Apricot, dried 6 halves, 1 oz. 10
Avocado ½ medium 5
Banana 4 oz., 1 medium 25
Blackberries 1 cup 18
Blueberries 1 cup 22
Cherries 4 oz. (1 cup) 15
Currants, black or red 2 oz. 5
Dates, dried 6 medium, 1 oz. 20
Figs, dried 2 medium, 1 oz. 15
Grapes 10 grapes 10
Grapefruit ½ fruit 10
Lemon 1 large 9
Melon 6 oz. 10
Orange 6 oz., 1 medium 18
Peach 4 oz., 1 medium 10
Pear, dried 2 halves, 1 oz. 15
Pear 5 oz., 1 medium 20
Pineapple 1 cup 21
Plums 1 medium 8
Prunes 2 medium, 1 oz. 5
Raisins 1 oz. 20
Raspberries 1 cup 17
Strawberries 1 cup 12
Tinned fruit in syrup 4 oz. 25
Tinned fruit juices, unsweetened 5 oz. 15
Orange juice 8 oz. 26
Grapefruit juice 8 oz. 23
Apple juice 6 oz. 20
Grape juice 6 oz. 30
Pineapple juice 6 oz. 25
(count all green vegetables as 0)
Food Serving Size gr. CHO
Artichoke, Jerusalem 4 oz. 5
Beans (cooked) 1 cup 33
Beans (snap, cooked or raw) 1 cup 7
Carrot 3 oz. (1 stick) 7
Corn 1 cup 31
Lentils 1 oz. raw, 2 oz. cooked 15
Parsnips 4 oz. 10
Peas, green 4 oz. 10
Potato 3 oz. (1 medium) 20
Tomato 4 oz. (1 medium) 5
Tomato Juice 4 oz. 5
Turnip 3 oz. 5
Dairy & Nuts
Food Serving Size gr. CHO
Milk, whole 8 oz. 11
Milk, skim or non-fat 8 oz. 13
Buttermilk 8 oz. 10
Cottage Cheese 4 oz. 4
Cream Cheese 1 oz. 1
Yogurt, plain 8 oz. 20
Yogurt, fruit 8 oz. 32-49
Ice Cream 4 oz. (½ cup) 16-20
Almonds 1 oz. 7
Cashews 1 oz. 9
Peanuts 1 oz. 6
Mixed 1 oz. 7
Sweets, Sugars, Jams, and Soda
Food Serving Size gr. CHO
Chocolate 2 oz. 25
Custard 4 oz. prepared 10
Honey ½ oz. 13
Jams ½ oz. 10
Jellies, sweet 4 oz. 20
Molasses ½ oz. 10
Milk Puddings 4 oz. 25
Sweets 1 oz. 20
Sugar ½ oz. 15
Syrup ½ oz. 13
Soda, regular sugared 8 oz. 26
One Week’s Sample Menu
Breakfast Afternoon snack Breakfast Afternoon snack
Scrambled Eggs Cheese or meatCoffee or tea Bacon & tomato Cheese or meat
One piece bread/toast One piece bread/toast Coffee or tea
Tea or coffee Tea or coffee
Mid-Morning Dinner Mid-Morning Dinner
Tea or coffee Baked fish Tea or coffee Lamb chops
Cottage cheese SaladCheese Peanut butter & cracker Green vegetables
Butter 1 med. potato
Lunch Milk Lunch Butter
Tomato soup Coffee or tea Melon Cream cheese
Baked ham Grilled steak Coffee or tea
Cauliflower Green salad
Breakfast Afternoon snack Breakfast Afternoon snack
Poached eggs1 piece toast Cheese or meatCoffee or tea Cheese egg omelet Cheese or meat
ButterTea or coffee Bacon or sausage Coffee or tea
Tea or coffee
Mid-Morning Dinner Mid-Morning Dinner
Tea or coffeeCheese Beef or vealSaladSpinach Tea or coffeeCottage cheese Beef/vegetable stew
Chocolate soufflé Tomato/onion salad
Coffee or tea Coffee or tea
Vegetable soupBaked meat Stuffed tomatoes
Carrots Cheese salad
Green vegetables 1 cup milk
Breakfast Afternoon snack Breakfast Afternoon snack
Grilled hamCream cheese Cheese or meatCoffee or tea Fried eggsSausage or Cheese or meat
OrangeTea or coffee baconToast w/butter Coffee or tea
Tea or coffee
Mid-Morning Dinner Mid-Morning Dinner
Tea or coffeeCottage cheese Roast turkey w/gravy Tea or coffeeCottage cheese Barbecue brisket
Lunch Butter Lunch Small potato
Sliced lambGreen vegetable Coffee or tea Egg or tuna salad Coffee or tea
SaladRoll Peas or green beans
Breakfast Afternoon snack
Ham steak & eggs Cheese or meatCoffee or tea
1 piece bread
Tea or coffee
Tea or coffeeCottage cheese Wiener- schnitzel
Peppers in olive oil
Lunch Coffee or tea