Carbs don't matter, it's only the calories

This might migrate to IMHO or MPSIMS, but the debate is, I guess, do you agree? Do you have comparative experiences?

as long as you are healthy perhaps, but as a diabetic, it is the carbs. Well actually it is the carb conversion into glucose and stored as fat that gives us issues.

I could eat a pound of beef, and a pound of bread, and the bread would spike my glucose, if I cant metabolize the glucose, my body goes to hell fast. THis is one reason a diabetic who is insulin dependent needs to know the carbs they are eeating, so they can calculate how much insulin to add.

Did they look at diets with different types of carbs? All carbs are not equal. I’m pretty convinced by the work done on Glycemic Index, that unrefined carbs are not the same as refined carbs-- ie, that they convert to glucose at different rates and so affect your appetite over time differently.

I’m not seeing how that’s relevant to the study’s findings.

How hungry you are and how many calories you eat aren’t related. This wasn’t a study about how many calories you want to eat.

Having followed Atkins at one point I don’t think the actual proponents of low carb diets say any different. There is nothing special about carbs other than the fact they make you feel hungry. They do say that by eliminating insulin spikes associated with white/processed high carbohydrate foods, you will feel less hungry and it will be MUCH easier to reduce your calorie intake. It is a cornerstone of these diet plans that you eat at least 6 times a day, and eat whenever you feel hungry.

This certainly conflicts with my personal experience. I wonder if it’s because the calorie intake is too low and the body is holding onto too much fat.

When I did a low carb diet, I didn’t attempt to watch my calories at all - I ate when I felt hungry, which was less frequent than it would normally be because blood sugar rise and crash cycles weren’t inducing false hunger. But I regularly ate large amounts of calories, and yet I lost around 180 poinds in 9 months (probably over 200 in fat, since I also gained a lot of muscle mass in the process). I certainly didn’t feel “grumpy” or anything bad at all - I was easily in the best health of my life by far.

This study does seem better than previous ones, where they defined a “low carb” diet as one where you get 20-30% of your calories from carbs, which anyone into low carbing knows is ridiculous. 4% is a not unreasonable number, although too high for maximum weight loss. But I wonder if eating a restricted calorie diet actually harmed their weight loss by kicking in starvation mechanisms where the body clinged desperately to its fat. I don’t know what my average calorie intake was, since I never counted - but it had to be significant with me eating lots of high calorie foods.

An out of whack insulin metabolism has other effects than induced hunger, although that’s a big one. Higher levels of water retention and blood lipids leads to higher blood pressure and poorer cardiovascular health, and when it gets bad enough, eventually leads to diabetes.

When I did the (fairly extreme) low carb thing, my doctor didn’t approve at all. She took a panel of tests to use as a baseline and I came to see her again in a few months. My cholesterol had gone from high to being in the perfect range (including significantly increased HDL for a much better ratio), my blood pressure had come down, my triglyceride count had decreased by 80-90% (I can’t remember the actual numbers, but it was dramatic). As much as she wanted to try to find something wrong with me to prove her right, she couldn’t.

I also felt great. I couldn’t get sick even if I did stupid stuff like run in freezing rain, I had more energy than I’ve ever had before, my recovery time after excercise was decreased substantially, my strength and endurance increased. It was pretty much a total health transformation. And I have both the anecdotal (how I felt) and the quantifiable (blood lipid count, blood pressure, weight, etc) to show a dramatic change - so whenever I see a study that concludes that there’s no difference I have to wonder what’s wrong with the methodology.
Edit: Actually, in regards to the calorie intake thing, years after my initial weight loss I experimented with a very low calorie low carb diet to see if it produced even more dramatic results, eating typically in the 1200-1500 range. It didn’t have better results. It produced weight loss at roughly the same rate (although I only did it for a month before a nasty neck injury got me to stop since I couldn’t excercise), but my muscle mass and endurance did not build at the same rate, I didn’t feel as good. I think eating as much as your body tells you to eat is the best way to go while low carbing. Hunger actually feels significantly different after a few days of low carbing… you no longer get the false hunger of a plumetting blood sugar level, but you end up getting a less frequent but more intense feeling of hunger that’s substantially different.

That makes no sense. I can eat as lots or little calories and that will not affecgt how hungry I am?

I didn’t say it was.

Calories are not all the same. Calories from different macronutrients and at different times of day do not have the same effect.
Casein protein is not the same as whey protein, which isn’t the same as no protein supplement.

Eating more calories for breakfast helps with weight loss and blood glucose.

Protein supplements help with weight maintenance.

I’m guessing you are only referring to obesity (not other issues like CVD or diabetes). However even for obesity a calorie is not a calorie. Protein increases metabolism and decreases appetite. Soluble fiber is better than glucose. Breakfast is better than dinner.

I’ve been on low carb diets and for me at least it was like withdrawl from meth*. As to weight loss being due to low carbs or low calories I couldn’t say, since giving up all the high-carb foods I usually ate led to reduced intake by itself.

*not having ever used meth, I am going by what others have reported.

High protein/low carb works mainly (IMHO) as there are few snack foods that aren’t heavy on the carbs.

Thus one eats plenty, but snacks rarely. It seems to work.

I have opposite personal experiences, and the best evidence there is points to carbohydrates and the insulin response as the main factor in excess fat storage.

I feel great on my very high-fat, low-carb diet. If it made me grumpy I wouldn’t do it since I’m aiming for optimal health *and *well-being, not weight loss. I’ve never been someone who got a lot of pleasure from food or sweets, though. I don’t miss sugar, it tastes overly sweet to me now when I do indulge.

That’s certainly my experience. I eat a lower-carb diet at Passover every year, because so many of the carbohydrate-type foods I normally eat are forbidden then. By the eighth day, you don’t want to be around me- I’m irritable, and as mean as a rattlesnake. I feel better once Passover is over and I go back to a normal diet. Low-carb diets definitely throw my rather precarious brain chemistry out of whack.

I think it depends on your metabolism. Some people do well on a high-carb, low-fat diet. Others do well on a low-carb, high-protein/fat diet. Others will prefer something different.

That’s why there are so many “one true diets” - they all work for some people, just not for everyone.

I’ve drastically reduced/changed my carb intake in my efforts to eat more healthily. I definitely feel better when my diet is high-protein than when I eat carbs. I’m not doing any extreme low-carb, but I can really tell the difference if, say, I have a potato or bread at lunch: blood sugar crash nap city.

A million times this.

The real simple formula is taking in fewer calories than you expend will make you lose weight - but there are a million ways to do that, and most reasonable diet plans (south beach, weight watchers, simply counting calories) work, if you stick to them for long enough.

Someone who weighs 350 lbs, and is starting a workout plan, will crash and burn on a 1200-1500 calorie plan, because they’ll be exhausted and hungry - that’s how much I eat to lose weight, and I weigh 140 lbs. If I’m working out a lot, I can eat more than that and still lose weight. So 350-lb guy and I shouldn’t use the same plan, it’d be ridiculous.

Also, some people handle carbs better than others, in terms of hunger. If my diet is too high in grains, I get hungrier more often. Balance is good. But other people can eat more than I can, or even less. And of course the type of carbs matter, like other people have mentioned above. There’s a big difference between having oatmeal for breakfast, and having white toast.

Yep. When I feel my best, I’m getting carbohydrates solely from vegetables, the occasional nut, and some dairy. Unfortunately for me, sometimes my digestive won’t let me eat anything but mashed potatoes and saltines (slight exaggeration, but close enough). I’m in such a phase right now and THAT is making me crabby as hell.

If you take anything for which you have become accustomed and remove it from every day life, would you not be grumpy too?

Other way around. Have you ever been hungry and not eaten to remedy it?

It’s possible. Weird, I know.

Yeah, let’s trust an article that is written about protein supplements, on a website that makes it’s money selling protein supplements. With no citations, no backed studies, and put them on equal footing with webmd.


I think that it goes beyond the snaking. Bread and potatoes are tings that tend to come in large portions with meals. If you cut or greatly limit them you are reducing the calories you eat.