I wanted to share this little video with you.
I believe it’s from 2008 when the results of a study on 3 diets had just been published.
The diets were:
- Low Carb
- Low Fat
The clip is from Good Morning America (I think).
I’m not offering this clip as proof of anything (I didn’t think the study was that great). It’s simply something interesting to watch. I’ve covered the effectiveness and safety of low-carb nutrition already on this blog and plan on doing more in the future. Stay tuned!
Of note is the girl’s quote at 27-30 seconds. Watch it first and I’ll tell you why I thought it was interesting.
So the quote I was talking about above was “Low-fat, ‘cuz you need carbs“. The girl was asked which of the 3 diets she would do.
The truth is that protein is ESSENTIAL. There are of course ESSENTIAL fatty acids. And carbs…….they’re not ESSENTIAL. Carbohydrate is the one macronutrient in the human diet you could knock out and still live a perfectly healthy life.
I say this of course to emphasize a point, NOT to recommend a ZERO carb diet. I don’t.
I do recommend either cycling your carb intake or taking a glycemic-controlled approach like GLAD. A permanently high carb diet means chronically elevated insulin and running the risk not only fat-gain, but heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the long term.
P.S. If anyone out there has any more footage of Dr. Atkins on TV, I’d like to see it. There was an appearance on Larry King that I’ve never seen and doesn’t seem to be on YouTube. If you have any links etc. let me know.
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Nice article Mark. The key to real success is not zero carb or high carb. The answer is in the middle of the extremes: eat as many carbs as you need to work out like a maniac.
Speaking of fat thing, those comments in the video were incredibly annoying. I loved your reply to that. The girl reminded me of my 300 pound roommate who avoids good fats.
Any diet will work as long it’s not some acai berry bullshit diet. The real key to making a diet stick is psychological. Atkins works, mediterranean works, high carb works. As long as the diet has you eating nutritious, healthy foods, and eating under your daily calories burned, you lose. Simple as that. I was able to go from 24% body fat to 13% body fat with just dieting, but 13% to 7% took a change in psychology for me. I was an emotional eater. It didn’t matter how strong my will power was to stay on the diet. About 3 weeks in, I would eat something that wasn’t perfect. Then I would have a little more. Then, since I had already wasted the day, there was no point trying and I would eat a jar of peanut butter. Etc… Very bad, but there was nothing I could do. I hated myself for it, but I did it anyways… I had read every fat loss book out there, and knew exactly how to lose fat. I had lost the same 15 pounds over and over and over for two years. Finally, I slowed down and realized I needed help with cravings, not with my dieting ability. I picked up a book called “Shrink Yourself”, and along with my dieting knowledge, it did wonders. So anyways, once I broke myself of that self destructive path and learned strategies to stop my emotional eating, I conquered my fat loss problems forever.
I really liked the look on Dr. Atkins’ face when the low-fat gent made his remarks… That was the nicest “bitch please” look I’ve seen a man give someone who deserved it!
I have experienced not only weight or fat loss on a low carb, high protien diet, Ive gotten imensely strong as well. Mark, I have your TSPA program, and Ive experienced incredible gains in strength. Many folks complain about feeling lethargic on such a diet, but because Im an endomorph, and had fat stores already in place, it is my belief that the stored fat, which research has proven to me is your bodys favorite food (why wouldnt one see the obvious. If your body stores body fat, its because excess carb is stored as adipase tissue, and likes to hoard it, or store it for protection and later use) gives the dieter a huge advantage when cutting. Ive sent you video clips of me doing heavy benches on Facebook, and all the ones Ive got posted on my profile are on LOW-CARBs. We got a guy at the prison who lost 85lb in 8 months, and that was with no cardio or weights on a low carb diet. My body builder friend, who is on my Facebook video of me benching 365lbs is a Sergeant who I work with in the prison system in Florida, is 5’9 and weighed 235lb when he started his cut phase 3 years ago. He dropped to 170lb for the show, but his arms still stayed at 20inches, and he looked bigger at 170 then he did at 235lb, and the guy is 48 years old! His diet was meat and veggies. Only carbs before workout. He got phenomenal results, and has maintained that weight for years. So, Im a firm believer. By the way, looking foward to the new TSPA program. When is it due out?
A history of the Atkins Diet, part one of five:
Your sites sick, has helped me more than any other. Thanks
Quick question, I’m in highschool and pretty serious about putting on slabs of muscle. Right now, I’m on the verge of being underweight and blame my diet. Carb cycling seems a little unpracticle while in school, but do you think its worth it, or should I try another diet? I don’t want to see my abs go away, but want to get litterally twice as big as I am now.
Cool video. Great info about diet myths.
This is a great article. I lost 67lbs on The South Beach Supercharged diet in 10 weeks. That may not be typical for everyone, but I had to do something fast. I was a walking time bomb at 53 with high BP, blood sugar, cholesterol, liver enzymes and everything else you can imagine. I am no longer on any meds. I took up weight training in June, and people tell me I look incredible, and I feel so much better.
I’m all for the low carb!!!!!!
I am not a fan of ketosis because it burns muscle if you work harder than a quick lifting session (ie do sports or cardio). I run track so I much prefer to eat large amounts of carbs. I think I have 250 – 500 carbs per day depending on how hungry I get. Atkins definitely works, but not if you are going to work out at the same time. It’s the best sit around the house diet though. The best diet is moderately low carb by far if you can do the exercise. That’s all speaking from personal experience though.
I read an interview done with Dr. Scott Connelly (originator of MET-Rx) quite a while ago. He also mentioned that carbohydrate was the one nutrient that was not essential. He stated that the human body can create carbohydrate but not protein or essential fatty acids. That was really interesting to me at the time, so when the girl in the video mentioned needing carbs I knew that she was making an inaccurate statement and you responded to her statement like I thought you would.
All of this diet info is a bit confusing. Guys like Dr. John McDougall claim that a starch based diet is best and I’m sure he has studies and anecdotal evidence to back it up and yet books like Not By Bread Alone by Stefansson and some websites seem very convincing that a human can live on protein and fats alone. Both sides can’t be right can they?
Marty Gallagher believes in protein and fiber carbs but even he seems to think that saturated fat is bad for the most part and that lean meats and skim milk and eggs whites are best. And, yet others say saturated fat is good for you and that fat aids in absorption of nutrients and that a food like egg whites will be converted to sugar if one doesn’t eat the entire egg and that whey isolate will also be converted to sugar without some fat. I understand whey isolate is high in protein and low in lactose which is good and yet I thought whey concentrate still contained “growth factors” that were healthy. Okay, I’m getting a bit off track.
It’s just frustrating that doctors and fitness experts can’t seem to agree exactly what the best diet is and what supplements including which protein powders (if any) are the best.
I didn’t realize Dr Atkins and Dr. Ornish had had a debate like that before. It’s interesting how each is so sure he is right. Which brings me back to my question, “Both sides can’t be right, can they?”
hey mark I know my comment is not really about the video but I want to ask you about the diet. I’m 15, 129 pounds and 5’3”. I want to be a pro wrestler when I’m over 18 or maybe after college. I have to be in the best shape. I want to gain muscle mass and not gain fat and loose any fat I have while still keep growing taller and wider because I seem like a late-developer. Should I use your workout plan in your book, Total Anabolism 3.0? and should I use low carb diet or what please reply and thanks.
I definitely agree that low carb is the way to go, and I think that the low fat craze of the 80’s and 90’s was one of the worst ideas of those decades. That being said, I think that it really depends a lot on the person dieting to know exactly how low the carbs should go. Some people can make magic happen on a ketogenic diet, while others seem to need a higher level of carbs. I think it’s best to start of will a moderate low carb diet and then go from there.
For me personally, I didn’t respond well to ketosis and need a diet with a little higher in carbs. However, I do also like cycling my carbs depending on what type of activity I’m going to do. For example, if I do sprint intervals specifically to raise catecholamines in my body, then I’ll want to have been fasted for at least 4 hours. I also tend to save a lot of my daily carbs for after I lift.
Keep up the good work Mark!
I’ve been reading up on your site for months and am quite impressed with pretty much every article. Just one question: If carbs are not essential, why don’t you recommend a zero carb diet?
Either way, I’ve been experimenting your M.A.N.S diet as best as I can at this time, and this diet is showing results.
Long live Dr. Atkins for going against conventional dogma.
P.S. It would have been nice to see his six pack though. I’m usually pretty skeptical of most nutritionists.
For those who want a bit more scientific source of information, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this lecture by Gary Taubes: https://www.dhslides.org/mgr/mgr060509f/f.htm
I’m at work so YouTube doesn’t work for me, but I’d assume the Good Morning America clip is about a study presented here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eREuZEdMAVo (Stanford School of Medicine lecture)
“All of this diet info is a bit confusing. Guys like Dr. John McDougall claim that a starch based diet is best and I’m sure he has studies and anecdotal evidence to back it up and yet books like Not By Bread Alone by Stefansson and some websites seem very convincing that a human can live on protein and fats alone. Both sides can’t be right can they?”
A health conscious vegan and vegetarian diet will almost always deliver better results than the typical modern diet of processed crap. The vegan propagandists use observational studies to “prove” the supposed superiority of thier “plant based” diet cult, but these “studies” are comparing health conscious vegetarians to modern couch potato slobs. Well duh…ANY freakin diet will beat the SAD diet.
But when they compare plant-based to low-carb in higher caliber studies (Such as intervention studies) we get a whole different picture. LC wins every time.
Kinda like this study…(See video)…which was performed by a vegetarian researcher, who says it’s a “bitter pill for him to swallow” that his study showed an LC diet worked better than his much loved plant based diet approach. Not only in terms of weight loss, but also in terms of blood lipids and inflammation.
LC has actual science on it’s side. Vegan has mostly dogma on it’s side.
@T-Dog – Yes both sides can be right and are right. People have gotten fantastic results with both sides: low carb and high carb. Start with a diet of 20% fat, 40% carbs, and 40% protein then adjust from there as you see fit. If you feel tired and lethargic, then up your carbs or daily calories. If you feel fine, then cut your carbs or daily calories. You say it’s frustrating that doctors can’t agree on what diet works best, but the answer is that no one diet works the best. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. All the diets that work have the “secret ingredient”: consume less than you burn.
You are going to hate me for saying this, but again, it is just the truth and how things are. About your saturated fat dilemma ~ The people who say saturated fat is good… They are right. The people who say saturated fat is bad… They are right. In reality, both of those statements are right only in context. One thing you should now put in the back of your mind and keep it there is the following statement: the dosage makes the poison. There is no ubiquitously “good” food. Take a good food like brown rice. If you are eating 4 cups of brown rice at every meal, then it is no longer a good food. Hell, even water is bad if you over drink it or under drink it. So back to your saturated fat question, eat 5 to 10 g of saturated fat, 50 – 100g of EFAs / Polys / Monos per day and you’ll be good
Hey Mark and everyone,
I had a few more thoughts to add. I also remember that in the Dr.Scott Connelly interview he mentioned that as a nation America was actually getting fatter. He believed it was because of the low fat craze of the 80s and 90s (as Sean G mentioned above). Dr. Connelly said that a lot of companies started making low fat foods and people got the idea they could eat as much as they wanted as long as they kept the fat low. But, of course, these foods often still contained a lot of sugar and calories. Some people believe that the low carb fad could go too far as well. Do we really need low carb beers and low carb tortillas and other low carb products? Do we need a KFC “sandwich” made from putting cheese and bacon between two chicken filets? Can someone really eat all of the steak and eggs and cheese they want? I don’t know.
It’s funny. In the 80s I read that a person would be better off eating the bun than the hamburger. And, now I read that if you buy a fast food hamburger that you should throw the bun away. Ah, funny.
I was reading about a group of people called Kitavans who eat a high carb diet and yet are lean and suffer from virtually no “diseases of civilization”. They eat fruit and tubers like yams. They seem to be able to handle fructose (from fruit anyway) without it affecting their health. But, they also eat fish (protein) and coconuts (high in saturated fat and medium chain triglycerides I believe). They do not eat wheat or refined sugar or refined carbohydrates. So, even though they technically eat a high carb diet, it’s not a stereotypical high carb diet. I imagine most guys are mainly interested in what diet will make them lean and muscular but I still thought this was interesting.
Thank you Jeff Stevenson and johnny552 for your posts. That was interesting and good information.
went through a month or two on low carb,high protein,plenty of essential fats,fish oils,nuts etc..lost weight,got weak.up’d the carbs with low g.i fruits and other carbs,strenght came back straight away and i’m not as tired.i suppose theres’s a balance for everyone.
johnny552 – I wanted to say thank you for mentioning that “Shrink Yourself” book. I checked it out and have been reading it non-stop. Like you, I’ve spent a lot of time accumulating lots of diet and fitness knowledge, but I still need to overcome the addictive way I eat certain types of foods. All the great advice in the world that Mark can give us through MuscleHack can’t be put to use for those of us who have emotional and mental hang-ups stopping us from making progress. I feel lucky that I came across your comment mentioning that book. With so much information out there these days, people need to make sure to spread the word when they come across something good, so thanks for informing us about “Shrink Yourself”.
As far as this article goes, I believe it. I’m going to start low-carbing again. I believe in much of what Atkins says, that the majority of the beliefs about food and fat is WRONG. After my last appointment, my doctor told me to watch my cholesterol. I have never been a big red meat or eggs type of person, but I do eat sugar and sweets like crazy. My cholesterol is high from that garbage, not from fat. So I guess I can experiment on myself. I’m going to add more fat into my diet and try to overcome my sugar addiction and we’ll see if my cholesterol improves.
Hey that was some great info T-Dog. Thanks a lot for posting that. I wasn’t past my teenage years during the low fat craze so I never really paid attention to any dieting maxims of the time such as “eat all you want as long as it’s low fat”. That’s funny how people would eat just the buns. Just the opposite of the fad dieting now days. I agree with you that the “eat all you want as long as it’s low carb” is also wrong. Maybe those mentalities would be better put as “eat all your body needs to be healthy and no more as long as it’s healthy”
This is just speculation at this point, but I would guess that one thing that contributes to health degeneration is trans fat: the fat that has one normally functioning end and one dead inactive end. The active end bonds in the body and then the inactive end doesn’t do the job of what a nontrans fat should. Again, just speculation. I don’t really know or have any scientific evidence to cite other than two case studies: I’ve looked at the labels of the food from my two 100lb+ overweight roommates and everything they eat has trans fat in it, whereas I never eat anything from a box or with trans fat in it (minus the trace amounts found in all foods). Oh and just so you guys all know, there is a brand of fake butter (trans fat butter) that sets the serving size small enough so they can legally put a big “ZERO TRANS FAT” sticker on the tub. Complete bullshit I know.
Scott, Glad I could forward that book on. It made such a difference in my life like no other book that only covered nutrition could. Maybe I would have weaned myself from cravings and emotional eating on my own, but I think it would have taken much longer. The support was appreciated.