Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More on conflicting opinions

I have long been fascinated by Dr. Neal Barnard's Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and check out the website periodically to see what has changed.  If you haven't heard of this group, they advocate a vegan low fat diet, and claim the healthiest way to lose weight effectively is through calorie restriction.  

There is a fairly extensive recipe section on the site which is worth looking at, in the interests of being fair and balanced.  What initially put me off was that they saute onions in water (admittedly there are many other recipes that don't use onions and therefore don't involve this technique).  My initial thought was that if you want to convince people to go vegan, you'll be a lot more successful if you make the recipes appealing.  I found it hard to believe that this would be tasty, and, again in the quest for balance, I tried it.

I was as disappointed at the outcome as I expected to be. 

Today, I found myself checking out this site again, and soon found myself on a subsequent link titled Atkins Diet Alert.  The majority of the links in the Expert Opinions section are broken, but there is a 2004 article referencing a study performed by an obesity researcher named Gary Foster, from the University of Pennsylvania.  The conclusion includes a quote by Foster:

Ideally, five years down the road, with lots of scientific data behind us, we would be in a position to recommend diets tailored to individuals such as, say, diabetics, meat lovers, or those with difficulty sticking to a low-fat diet.
Since we are now a little more than five years down the road, I decided to google Dr. Foster, and found a 2010 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, titled "Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low-Fat Diet."  This study concluded that:
Successful weight loss can be achieved with either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet when coupled with behavioral treatment. A low-carbohydrate diet is associated with favorable changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors at 2 years.
There is also a commentary written by Dr. Ornish, another well-known low fat proponent.   The last paragraph is, in my opinion, really important for everybody who might be wondering where the Grain Ride fits into the wide spectrum of weightloss methodologies:
It's not low-fat vs. low-carb.  Atkins-type diets may have some benefits because the typical American diet, and many low-fat diets, are very high in refined carbohydrates. Even better is to consume a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates as well as low in saturated fat, trans fats, and animal protein, includes beneficial fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, and high in fruits and vegetables in their natural, unrefined forms.
The Grain Ride approach, after all, is not the same as the Atkins Diet.  It's not about high protein or high fat.  It's also not about calorie restriction.  

The main principles of the Grain Ride approach are elimination of processed foods, refined sugar and foods with a high starch content, including wheat.  

All the other rules are, to a large extent, details.

No comments:

Post a Comment