Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome describes a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.
You're probably wondering how is this related to this blog.  Let me explain.

The Mayo Clinic isn't alone when it warns that:
The weight loss may or may not continue long term, depending on your commitment to following the eating plan. If you abandon the low-carb diet and return to your former eating habits, you may regain any lost weight.
This is commonly cited by those who oppose the low-carbohydrate approach to nutrition.

But doesn't that logic hold in exactly the same way for any other lifestyle change that you might take on, and later abandon, including stopping smoking or recreational drug use, and even any weightloss program? 

In my opinion, the Mayo Clinic misses the point completely.  This is not about following a diet for a set amount of time and then reverting to the original way of eating that got you into trouble in the first place.

It's about recognizing that there is something structurally wrong in the way our modern society eats.  The evidence is in the cardio-vascular disease statistics.

Stroke and heart disease are two of the top three causes of death.  As for diabetes, this CNN article tells us it is:
The fifth-leading killer of Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association. A sobering two out of three people with type I or type II diabetes will die from a heart attack or stroke -- the combined leading causes of death among diabetics.
This is why I have been writing so much about triglycerides and cholesterol lately.  It isn't really about losing weight in and of itself.  If there were no health risks associated with obesity and diabetes, I would feel very differently about weight.

The Standard American Diet is responsible for worsening people's blood lipids.  Once your bloodwork is under control, you have lessened your risk of heart and stroke.

What most people of all persuasions can agree on is the excessive consumption of highly refined starches and sugary drinks.  While saturated fats are still the biggest sticking point, even the low-fat camp are becoming grudgingly supportive of calls to reduce or eliminate sugar and even carbohydrates. 

It makes no sense at all to take a temporary break from eating carbohydrates and sugars, especially when you look and feel so much better, and particularly when the most potent predictors of heart disease are pointing in the right direction.  Why would you sabotage your health?

Of course this doesn't mean you can never touch a piece of bread or an ice cream again.  But it does mean that this is mainly about a long term lifestyle change that will improve your health.

This is why if you are thinking about low carb eating as a temporary phenomenon, I am suggesting you may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and the carbohydrate-driven Standard American Diet is your captor.

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