Good Calories, Bad Calories

Chapter 23- The Fattening Carbohydrate Disappears

This chapter outlined the  disappearance of the idea of fattening carbohydrates from 1973-1980 despite the past hundred year’s belief and research that indicted carbohydrates as being the main fattening agent in a diet. During the late 60’s and early 70’s there were a number of obesity syposiums and conferences bringing together the world’s cutting edge nutrition researchers and research. The most common theme to these symposiums was the repeated success of practitioners at reducing obesity with low carb diets and the relative lack of success of other approaches such as simple calorie restriction and behavior modification. Despite this body of research and evidence Keys already had a strangle hold on the public and many of the medical and nutritional powers of the day with his diet-heart hypothesis. The verdict was that any diet that reduced carbohydrates almost inevitably raised dietary fat and this was bad for the heart, even if such a diet had striking evidence that it could lower the obese to a healthy weight and remain there, it was still inherently dangerous.

The chapter then went into a brief history of the Atkin’s diet, probably the most well known low carb diet in our day and age. While the diet has done much good and is based on much of the research spoken of in this book the somewhat antagonistic approach that it took in relation to the popular nutritional ideas of the day only served to lump it and all low carb diets with other fad diets such as The Grapefruit Diet and the Ice Cream Diet.

Read Chapter 24 (the last chapter!) this week.

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