Monday, October 29, 2007


I bought Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, but as Jenny says it is dense going. Still, it is good to know that the legwork is done to discredit low fat diets.

My A1c (average blood glucose) and weight have crept back up a little, and I've been experimenting with how to respond. My first thought was that my metabolism was slowing because of menopause and I should take the approach that my body just needs less food. But that hasn't had any effect. My peak training period for the half ironman, when I was putting in 15 hours a week, didn't have much effect either. Jenny has concluded that low carb diets over the long term slow metabolism. I'm not convinced, beyond that I find it helpful to eat carbs just before and during exercise. I was struck by an article in Newsweek that suggests different people get more or fewer calories from their food depending on the bacteria living in their intestines. I already half knew that (though not why)--I can digest the supposedly indigestible carbs in Dreamfields Pasta. But that doesn't lead to any useful strategies, it is just more evidence that what we eat is only a small part of the story.

I've wandered into reading fat acceptance blogs just when there is a gripping controversy going on in the community. I won't link right to it because you need to accept the culture first, but I recommend Shapely Prose as a starting point. For scientific information, check out Junkfood Science (though I don't agree with her about several topics). Reading that community reminds me that depriving myself is a negative pattern to get into, and so I have decided to eat more, or at least more freely, while being more careful to keep my blood glucose in strict control. That is what worked for me in the past.


Jenny said...


I just wanted to say that I do not claim that Low Carb always slows metbolism. My point is that it CAN, in some people. And when this happens it can be tough to stick with an LC regimen.

One huge problem with all diet writing is that it doesn't take into account how different we all are.

Our metabolic problems are not the same, any more than our genes are. And because of that indivuation, all studies that report Averages which are what most do, are pretty useless.

If I lose 100 pounds on a diet and you lose 0 pounds on that same diet, telling the world that the average weight loss on the diet is 50 pounds completely misrepresents the truth.

It's a shame more people who do nutritional research seem to have been sleeping during statistics class, as there are a lot of much better ways to represent data than the ones most researchers choose.

Pem said...

Thanks for the correction. I'm thinking not so much that low carb slowed metabolism for me, as that lots of exercise (up to 15 hours a week training for the half-ironman) did. And also that if I fall into limiting myself I probably actually eat more in what I grab because I am hungry. Last week I was down one pound, which doesn't mean anything except that I'm not being stupid.