There are many proponents of low-carb dieting, much research in support of it, and a slew of people with real results (just do a Google image search). Still, there remains skeptics. And for understandable reasons. Two legitimate questions are often posed against the efficiency of low-carb dieting in weight loss:
- If low-carb eating is so effective, why are so many people in America still overweight?
- How is it possible for cultures who eat high amounts of carbs to stay so lean?
Dr. Peter Attia, who runs a popular blog on health and nutrition, decided to tackle these two questions in separate, detailed articles. They are both worth a read, and offer interesting perspectives and possible answers to these issues.
The root of the answers to both questions is education, or the lack thereof. We, as Americans, just don’t know how to eat. It’s not our faults, really, considering the recommendations by the USDA, AHA, AMA, and ADA, organizations we should be able to trust. Not to mention how hard it is to find healthy options while traveling, or attending social and/or business events where it seems everyone is choosing from the same faulty menu. When it seems you’re the only one who’s aware, it can be hard to stay strict. And if you just don’t know . . . well, then you don’t really have a chance!
Specifically, the reason a lot of Americans are still overweight despite how effective low-carb dieting is supposed to be includes not only misinformation and the faulty system, but how the immediate joy of certain foods can lead astray even those who are knowledgeable and have access to good foods. Dr. Attia goes into detail about these reasonings and even gives helpful analogies from more devastating diseases. But the gist is that we’ve built a culture around high-carb, processed food, one that has become so engrained that people will continue to partake even with knowledge of the detrimental effects.
As for eating habits and body types overseas, Dr. Attia encourages us to look at the foods other cultures consume on a more qualitative level. Sure, people might consume high amounts of rice and bread, for example, but how much of their carbs come from sugar? And we must consider how much people of these cultures eat overall. Even though their entire diet could be composed of carbs, when compared to many Americans, they are still taking in less carbs in total. Because, let’s face it, Americans can EAT. So, in fact, their diets could very well be considered ‘low-carb’ because, by our standards, they are ‘low-everything.’
Dr. Attia also goes into detail about the ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acid intake of American diets versus other cultures, which our CEO and The Bulletproof Executive have also discussed. In short, the lower your 6:3 ratio, the lower your overall inflammation, and the better your outlook on a slew of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. And, comparably, American diets have a very high ratio. The connection with insulin sensitivity could also be contributing to obesity, regardless of relative carb intake.
There are a lot of benefits to a low-carb diet in terms of preventing and fighting chronic disease and obesity. But it’s not just keeping the carbs low, but looking at the quality of foods and how different levels affect your body. So the next time someone tries to question the value of a low-carb diet, maybe you’ll now have more ammunition to defend your position. Or maybe you disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts, whether your diet consists mostly of grass-fed beef, whole-grain oats, or peanut-butter jelly sandwiches.