Many Low-Carb Dieters in 'Calorie Denial'
WebMD News Archive
May 7, 2004 -- Low carb is America's latest miracle weight-loss
diet. But this craze has put most Americans into "calorie denial," a
new survey shows.
A nationwide survey involving 1,000 telephone interviews --
released by Slim-Fast Foods Company -- shows that half of Americans believe
that weight loss is possible by cutting carbohydrates with no need to count
Low-Carb in a Nutshell
The Slim-Fast researchers found that, among low-carb
- Almost half -- 46% -- believe they can lose weight just by cutting carbs
without cutting calories.
More than half -- 52% -- believe that they can lose weight and
also keep it off long term by cutting carbs but not cutting calories.
One-third -- 34% -- believe that they do not need to control
More than half -- 55% -- do not worry about getting all the
essential nutrients they need in their diets.
Don't Be Scared of Potatoes
"The low-carb phenomenon is unfortunate," says Elaine
Magee, MPH, RD, the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic.
"Some really good, healthy foods are being banned. You cannot deprive
yourself. You cannot simply ban so many foods. It's unhealthy. And it does
not work in weight loss."
To lose weight, "you simply have to choose wisely, have
balance in your diet," says Magee. "We've lost the idea of eating
fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans. And guess what -- those are carbs,
what I call 'smart carbs.' They are great foods!"
We also need to curb our appetite, says Magee:
"When you stop eating before you're stuffed, you end up
eating a reasonable portion of food," Magee tells WebMD. "If you eat
for the right reasons, you truly do get comfortable fairly quickly. Then you
end up eating smaller meals during the day. That's what helps us lose
"Besides, where's the joy in cutting so many foods from our
lives?" asks Magee. "We need to experience joy in eating but at the
same time make health a priority. I'm personally not able to eliminate sugar
and processed carbs from my diet -- sugar or some white-flour products. But I
eat it in small amounts. Living a healthy lifestyle is about finding the
balance, where you can trim."
Potato chips, french fries, ice cream: "Many people think
they have problems with high-carbohydrate foods, controlling the amounts they
eat," she says. "Well, it's not just carbs that are the problem, it's
fats and carbs -- that combination is what's killing us. There's nothing wrong
with a potato -- until you fry it in fat. Potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin
C. We need to remind ourselves of that."