The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 01: January 11, 2002: Page 5
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      Richard's Random Thoughts
The World Around Me...

Richard Here's the scene... I am sitting at my desk at work. Everyone around me is still discussing how they spent their Christmas holidays. I'm trying to enter some lengthy data into a program I've been working with, but it's difficult to concentrate. The location of my office door means that people parade back and forth in order to get where they're going so I hear "snippets" of many conversations all day long. Usually they are like "white noise"... I don't really hear them. But today is different. There's a central theme to each one with a commonality. Food. What they ate over the holidays. Who brought what to the family's Christmas eve gathering. What dessert was served with Christmas dinner. I realize this topic is taking center stage over the sense of family, or friendship. Hand-in-hand is the talk of the inches put on... and what they'll be doing about that. I hear a clerk mention "I'll be eating Special K all month..." Minutes later another walks by with a can of Slim Fast in her hand.

What's wrong with this picture? I've seen it over and over... spend two weeks eating pounds and pounds of sugar, and then turn to more carbs at the end of the binge to try and "undo it."

That night, I went home and mentioned it to my wife. Well, more often than not, we just shake our heads now. But as we watched a bit of television that evening, part of the answer became clear... January TV commercials. Ad after ad was for Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, and "healthy cereals". They all want you to get a "new" start for the New Year. Of course that makes great marketing sense, as well as good, honest advice. It's natural to associate the New Year with new beginnings. But how honest is it to expect consumers to get a "fresh start" eating the very thing that got them into this predicament? CARBOHYDRATES.

Slim Fast
On a side note, I can't help but chuckle at Slim Fast's new ad slogan, "It's your life. Feed it right." Feed it right? Slim Fast gets only 17% of its calories from protein, and a whopping 72% of its calories from carbohydrate — 40 grams of carbs, 35 of which are pure sugar. Almost 88% of the carbs are sugar. Would you pour an 88% solution of pure sugar into your child and brag that you are "feeding him right?!" Whatever dietary path you follow, it's hard to believe anyone that really understands what's IN it could go along with this.

If you've tried Slim Fast, you probably failed and blamed yourself. No doubt you were starving — really starving. Sure, on the TV commercials it all looks pretty easy, but in real life one "nutritious" shake is not going to satisfy your hunger — it's going to kick it up. There is so much sugar in these shakes and so little fiber, your blood sugar levels are going to go through the roof — especially if you happen to be hyperinsulinemic, or hypoglycemic. So you can look forward to intense cravings, fatigue, unproductivity, mood swings, and more cravings. Yet, they remain a multi-billion dollar industry because they are successful at putting the failure blame on you. So you keep trying...

When I awake the following morning, I pick up our local newspaper and a few pages in, see the headline, "Fat change for dieters, even fast-food items that sound healthy can put up weighty numbers."

With my usual trepidation, I read on... It is, of course, yet another article about how to handle the problem of America's steadily increasing girth. At the top of their observations, they've offered their "Summing it up" bullet points:
  • "Nix the notion that the bird is always a better choice than the beef"
    — They want you to be aware that all meat has an equal chance of being filled with fat.. best to skip it. We know it's the BUN you should be skipping.
  • "Customize your order"
    — Very good advice. Drop the bun, drop the beans, rice, etc. (The article's author would like you to "drop the cheese.")
  • "Be wary of sauces"
    — Again, good advice, because most of the fast food sauces are full of sugar, though they are fearful of mayonnaise and oils.
  • Forgo forever anything marketed as "crunchy or crispy"
    — The article tells us this is "code for fried" and we can't have fat, now can we? Of course when crunchy means fried in batter, we agree you should avoid it. (Fat or not, it's good to avoid too much fried food as the oil used is nearly always trans-fat and dangerous.)
But wait — not all hope is lost. They've bundled this article with another titled, "Drive-Thru Best Bets" that begins with the opening line, "It doesn't matter if you're on the low-fat diet, the reduced-carb diet, the grapefruit diet, or any other diet of the moment." Now, sadly, they've lumped low carbing in with "the grapefruit diet" (ever notice how it always gets included with either the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet?!), but at least it's not ignored and an accompanying chart gives carb grams as well as fat... and in some cases, even shows some sandwiches eaten without the bun.

Every one of my local groceries now has at least a small area (and some large ones) devoted to low carb items — usually Atkins brand, but more and more others are breaking through. Low carb isn't going anywhere (because it works) and more and more doctors, media outlets, and merchants are beginning to notice.

So as you are hit with a barrage of television promotion showing you the thin and beautiful life you COULD have if you'd just stop eating bacon and start drinking Slim Fast, remember, you won't be fooled again...

Oh yes... and the next day at work... one of my struggling low-fat friends popped her head into my office and asked me, "Hey, can you help me track down and buy those Dr. Atkins tapes I've heard about?" Maybe there's hope for us all...


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