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NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,257
11/18/13 6:33 P

Becky, while it might seem intuitively true that zero carb is dangerous (no vitamin C, no fiber), can you cite a study that demonstrates that it's "medically dangerous"?

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/17/13 12:19 A

I agree with most of what has been said, as far as the types of carbs, and that the idea to cut out all carbs is ridiculous for most people.


We do not NEED carbs. You can live just fine on 0 carbs a day, if it is possible to do so. It would require you to eat just meat, mayo, oil, and not much else. Even a large egg has .6 grams of carbohydrate. For this reason 0 carb is impractical for 99 % of us, and undesirable to an even higher percentage.

However, I eat 7-10 % carbs every day. There is no side effects. My brain works, and I have enough energy to walk 45 minutes every day. I know people who only eat about 2 lbs of meat a day, and are thin, and healthy as far as their doctor is concerned.

It is funny that we can't just point out that not many people will stick to 0 carb, because it is boring, and carbs come in almost all foods. Instead, we have to repeat myths about the brain shutting down. What happens for people who are fasting? At what time does the brain shut down? 12 hours, 24 hours? We have all gone long periods without any food at all. I ate 1 meal a week when I was 18. Stupid, and probably more harmful than even a 2000 calorie xero carb diet, but my brain did not shut down in the 7 days between meals. Common sense should prevent things like this from being repeated. Think before you repeat things that you have heard.

Only a small percentage will stick to even very low carb, and I think we should just stick to telling the OP that he should get a second opinion. My guess is that the OP already has doubts, which is why they posted this. No need to repeat myths to try to convince someone not to do 0 carb.

To the OP - this is what happens when people just hear that carbs are bad, or fat is bad. They eliminate it. If you do wish to try LOW carb, then find a program , read some books, so that you understand why low carb works. It may not even have much benefit for you.Do you like meat, eggs, high fat foods/oil/butter, as well as low glycemic fruits, veggies, cheeses, buts etc.? If not, you won't stick to it.

Treat your friends advice as misconstrued, and ignore the 0 carbs, and learn what low carb is before yo make any dietary changes. You should also talk to your doctor, to get the other side of the argument, and their concerns. Check out 4-5 options, and see which diet would fit into your life, and you think you could stick to, and then understand why eating that particular way will lead to weight loss. Then, set some goals, and see if eating this way, achieves those goals.If it is something that you feel good eating, and meets your health, and weight loss goals, then just keep eating that.. whether it is Atkins, vegan, or high carb. It doesn't matter what diet you get healthy on.. being healthy is your goal.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 11/17/2013 (00:26)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
11/16/13 11:54 P

I pay attention to the type/quality of my carbs. There's nothing wrong with cutting JUNK carbs (chips, cookies, pop) completely... in fact, to do so would be a GREAT idea. I find it helpful to cut back on refined and starchy carbs (white bread, white rice, potatoes, pasta) as they have quite a few calories for their relatively limited "staying power" (they just don't keep me full) and instead get my carbs from veggies, fruit, beans and legumes.

My carb intake almost always falls within the suggested Spark range, though is almost always at the very low end of that range - and it works fine for me. I don't see any particular advantage for myself personally to try and go lower-carb than that. The way I see it, it's the quality more than the quantity that is important.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,617
11/16/13 9:17 P

I am not a fan of eliminating or severly restricting any one macro nutirient.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
11/16/13 9:14 P

Well, to begin with NOBODY cuts carbs completely. Even the induction phase (or whatever it's called) of programs like Atkins allows a minimal amount, and it goes up from there. I suspect that your co-workers just don't know what they're talking about exactly, and are equating "carbs" with grains and grain products, potatoes, and sugar, without realizing that carbohydrates are also the major nutrient in everything from green peppers to carrots to broccoli to tomatoes to green beans, to chickpeas; and that things like dairy and nuts contain carbohydrates as well.

So the question I think you're really asking is, do you have to go *low* carbohydrate for losing weight (which might be 20ish percent of calories from carbohydrates and with little to nothing from that first "grain and ..." list), or is the 50% better (and probably not restricting type of carbohydrate much, beyond the obvious junk food).

I'd say the answer to that is up to you. Semi-controlled studies have shown little to no difference over the long term between populations who use low carb as a weight loss strategy and those who use more traditional (portion control) methods. However, that still leaves a lot of room for individual variation. In general, the people here who advocate for low carb had mostly failed using other methods, or had done it for health reasons (diabetes management, often) or because it sounded for one reason or another like an appealing way to eat. If any of those apply to you, then it may be a good way to go. However, if they don't, there is no reason whatsoever to believe your co-workers when they say you are doomed to failure. I, along with plenty of others commenting here and most likely the majority of people who've lost weight on this site overall, did it without changing my way of eating very much at all: I kicked my junk food habit into a dark corner, incorporated a few more healthy options to fill in the gaps, and reduced portion sizes quite a bit where needed, but otherwise I'm eating almost exactly the same sorts of foods as I was a year ago.

Weight loss isn't exactly easy, I don't think, no matter how you choose to do it, but sometimes it's simple, and when it is I think that's a huge advantage toward a person's success that is often overlooked. Making known-to-be-better choices, instead of trying to make perfect ones. Focusing on the known absolutes (for me, that if I kept eating out of those same bowls and ate the right amount of snacks, that there was no way I was going to gain weight) instead of the incomprehensible minutiae (did I gain a half a pound today because of water retention or was it because I gave in and had a peanut butter sandwich two days last week instead of my avocado salad)? Keeping things as close as is reasonable to what you did before, unless you know you have a good reason to change it up. That sort of thing. This is how you're going to be eating for the rest of your life, if things go well, with only minor changes. It should be as comfortable as you can make it.

So I for one would never suggest that someone who's just setting out for the first time to lose weight should try low carb, unless they already believe they have a strong reason to do so (or simply really want to). It's simply not true that the average person can't lose weight and keep it off any other way, and it adds a complexity to weight loss (again, for most people) that could even make things harder, absent some kind of strong motivation towards it.

Now all of that said (maybe not for the OP, but anyone else reading), some of the criticisms of it really are a bit ridiculous. There's also little to no evidence to suggest that the more reasonable forms of low carb are unhealthy. So if it is something that you (the general you) are strongly interested in doing for the rest of your life, by all means give it a try.

BERRY4 SparkPoints: (257,259)
Fitness Minutes: (108,458)
Posts: 13,359
11/16/13 8:53 P

1 - your body needs them

2 - fruits & veggies are "nutrient" rich!

3 - everything in moderation

4 - monitor how your body responds to various food items and consider taking a 21-day break from anything that "upsets" your system . Then gradually introduce said item(s) back in and see if symptoms flair up again. That should be your "signal" that something doesn't work for you!

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (240,796)
Fitness Minutes: (41,029)
Posts: 26,415
11/16/13 8:10 P

Here is an article by Dietitian Becky - well worth reading:


ROBBIEY SparkPoints: (387,356)
Fitness Minutes: (130,041)
Posts: 11,587
11/16/13 8:00 P

I eat lots of carbs and I have lost weight. Carbs provide energy to workout

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
11/16/13 7:14 P

Oh boy.
Where to even begin.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (240,796)
Fitness Minutes: (41,029)
Posts: 26,415
11/16/13 6:44 P

People who advise/instruct others to banish certain food groups without medical reasons, and without a medical/dietetic degree, really need to be ignored - they do a lot more harm than good.

Carbs aren't the problem - the problem is the TYPE of carb - like donuts, soda, cakes, sweets, processed foods. These are what should be avoided, or at least, consumed very seldom.

Listen to Dietitian Becky! It is good, solid, QUALIFIED advise!


GYPSYGOTH SparkPoints: (94,944)
Fitness Minutes: (72,557)
Posts: 45,743
11/16/13 6:42 P

If you cut out ALL carbs, your brain won't work (literally), you won't have any energy, and you will die of malnutrition. Seriously; if you never ate any vegetables you would very quickly find yourself short of all of the vitamins and minerals we need to consume to live. Ridiculous advice indeed!

I eat lowER carb these days, but still strive for 7 servings of fruit and veggies every day. I think that, as everyone here has said, avoiding refined, processed foods is good advice, and will lead to weight loss if you replace them with the same amount of whole foods: fruit instead of sweets, or a baked potato instead of french fries, etc.

Don't listen to those crazy fad diet people! Just eat real food, and move your body, and you will get healthier every day.

SHARON46 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (96,050)
Posts: 7,314
11/16/13 6:35 P

Carbs are thought to be the no word in lifestyle change but as a diabetic I know they are important to you diet, but you must eat the good carbs. Fruits and vegetables are important carbs. what you should stay away from the refined sugars.

11/16/13 6:23 P

Advice to "avoid carbs completely" is inappropriate, inaccurate and medically dangerous.

Sine this is all new to you, I encourage you to begin with your Sparkpeople program. Stay at the lower end of your carb range or slightly lower. This would be about 40-45% of your calories coming from carbs. Use nutrient packed carb foods like fruit, beans, lentils, whole grains, lowfat milk, yogurt, sweet potatoes, lima beans, sweet peas, etc.

Hope this helps.

your SP Registered Dietitian

AGILEDOBE Posts: 428
11/16/13 6:12 P

You don't have to go into ketosis to eat a low carb diet. It would have to around 10-15% to reach ketosis. I average 20-25 % and feel just fine, but I am losing 2# rather than 1# per week. It is the poster's choice to determine what % carbs to go with. For those of us who are insulin resistant, this plan works better than 50% carbs.

Edited by: AGILEDOBE at: 11/16/2013 (18:12)
MAVIS2014 SparkPoints: (1,365)
Fitness Minutes: (460)
Posts: 14
11/16/13 4:47 P

I did low carb for a while several years ago. It works but it affected my mood, and personality horribly. My husband did it, and it messed up his kidneys. I wouldn't stick to anything like Atkins or low carb too long. I like SP, because it encourages healthy eating. Its similar to WW in my opinion. Good luck!

JUSTIMEEM Posts: 137
11/16/13 3:55 P

I like carbs.
Carbs are good when you take them from GOOD sources (the good carbs).
My diet always exceeds the 50% but I manage to loose weight because I eat healthy and I avoid the bad carbs (processed foods).
I would advise you to follow SP's nutritional guidelines they've set for you and not go on the low carb diet.

The best sources for healthy carbohydrates are found in:
Raw and lightly steamed vegetables,
Legumes, beans, nuts and seeds,
High fiber 100% whole grains,
Raw, whole, fresh fruits,
Most low fat dairy.

Think of the difference between a sandwich made on white bread and one made with 100% whole grain bread.
Good carbs - carbohydrates full of fiber. They get absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels.
Bad carbs - refined and processed carbohydrates. They strip away beneficial fiber. Sugars, "added” sugars, refined “white” grains.

Edited by: JUSTIMEEM at: 11/16/2013 (16:05)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,256
11/16/13 3:44 P

I like Carbs and I don't feel good, when I exclude them. That is how I personally feel about Carbs.

The two posts before mine were excellent and filled with wonderful information.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,206
11/16/13 3:29 P

the thing to remember about carbs is that both kale and krispy kreme are carbs, but they're on different ends of the spectrum. if you have diabetes or another medical condition, you may need to watch your carbs. but if not, what carbs you choose reallys make the difference. the junkier the carbs you choose the better the idea of limiting them. but if you're picking things on the kale end of the spectrum, then i don't really see any point to limiting them.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 11/16/2013 (16:19)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,912)
Fitness Minutes: (86,262)
Posts: 2,489
11/16/13 3:06 P

I lost 58 lbs in 8 months without cutting carbs. It's not necessary and if you're doing it for weight loss you're almost 99% guaranteed to put weight back on after you lose it when returning to your normal diet. Unless you plan on keeping up low carb as a lifestyle, I wouldn't advise it. There's also a lot more to it than just cutting the number of carbs you eat. It will require a specialized diet best under the instruction of a certified dietitian. If you want to be more successful at keeping the weight off that you lose, eat in a way you plan on eating for life.

There are carbs; whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, lentils, low fat dairy, etc.

and then there are CARBS; heavily refined grains, cookies, cakes, pastries, sugary breakfast cereal, white bread, white flour, added sugar, candy, etc.

It's the second type you'll want less of in your diet. These heavily refined grains and high sugar foods cause you to crave more and eat more of them even when not hungry. They don't fill you up and cause insulin spikes that actually increases hunger.

Your co-workers may not realize cutting *all* carbs would mean not eating any vegetables or fruit. Carbs are often the victim of generalizations. Perhaps they meant the second type of carbs. Even people on low carb diets eat a certain amount of carbs. Cutting these "lesser" carbs out of your diet completely is not always necessary. I still enjoyed treats/indulgences in moderation and lost weight successfully. I did have to start with a sugar detox (cutting way back on added sugars) and occasionally still use them if sugar starts creeping back into my diet and I begin to crave it again.

If you go low-carb you'll also have to endure ketosis (where your body switches from burning carbs as fuel to fat) which can be up to 2 months of pure misery. I've done it myself. The compliance rate of this type of diet is dismal and ranks incredibly low out of all the popular diets for weight loss even if it does boast a higher rate of loss for the first 6 months. The people who are successful with it treat it is a lifestyle, not a diet.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/16/2013 (15:26)
11/16/13 2:55 P

I am just starting to really get into dieting and a couple of the people i work with advised me to try a cut carbs completely where SP says it should be 50%.....fruits and vegetables count as carbs... im so confused..... HELP!!! :(

Edited by: H-FRECHETTE at: 11/16/2013 (15:07)
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