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Low Carb on Its Way Out continued...

"But you can't fight statistics," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a dietitian in New York, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). "Just as with the low-fat craze, the low-carb movement hasn't really changed our rate of obesity. All the low-carb aisles in supermarkets aren't making Americans smaller. All they're doing is making [food] producers' wallets bigger."

ADA spokeswoman Cynthia Sass, RD, says that consumers have finally become clued in to the underlying flaws in the "good food, bad food" approach to eating. "When you single out one nutrient and try to make healthy eating all about that, it doesn't work," she says. "When we were fat-phobic, taking fat out meant putting sugar in. Now, taking carbs out means putting fat in. There are low-carb foods on the market that have more total net calories than their original versions because the manufacturer has replaced those carbs with fat."

The plus side of the low-fat to low-carb pendulum, predicts Sass, is that consumers may have learned a little more about the idea of balance in food choices from these wild back-and-forth swings. "It doesn't have to be all or nothing, it's really about how much you're taking in of any nutrient compared to what your body needs," she says.

So what might replace carb counting in the hearts, minds, and waistlines of weight-conscious Americans?

The New Satiety Diet

The satiety diet involves eating more of the kinds of foods that make you feel full but don't make you fat. Penn State nutrition expert Barbara Rolls, PhD, calls it "volumetrics," and will release a companion book to her 2003 release, The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan: Feel Full on Fewer Calories, in the spring. Diet experts think it's an idea whose time has finally come.

"People have often associated volume with calories, but that's not true," says Sass of the ADA. "Now they're starting to get the message that two foods can have the exact same nutritional value and calorie count, but one may have a much greater volume -- which means it makes you feel full faster. People like this, because it's satisfying, takes longer to eat, and makes you feel like you've had more food."

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