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    The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    March 3, 2004    PAGE 7       > About LCL Magazine      > Cover Page      > Inside Cover      Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12     

Featured Articles
 Combining Sense and Soul
 St. Patty's Day Feast
 Leprechaun Treats
 The Story of St. Patrick's Day
 Low Carb Kitchen Hints & Tips
 Change: The Essence of Life
 Interview: Jonny Bowden
 Quashing the Weather Excuse
 St. Paddy's Day Chuckles!
 Getting Back to Basics
 Make It Low Carb!
 Snapshot: O'Charley's



    Low Carb Energy magazine

Gram's Crunchies

                   An Interview with Jonny Bowden: Part Two

Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N.S., is a respected expert in the fields of fitness and nutrition. He is the author of "Jonny Bowden's Shape Up!", "Jonny Bowden's Shape Up Workbook!", and most recently, "Living the Low Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone Choosing the Diet That's Right for You". His work has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Fitness, Family Circle, Marie Claire, Allure, Men's Health and Walking.

He frequently appears on television and radio as a fitness expert and is also a popular speaker at media events and seminars. His course, "Becoming a Personal Trainer," is a frequent sell-out at the Learning Annex in New York.

With our last issue, we debuted Jonny's association with Low Carb Luxury Magazine. Jonny's writing a regular column in each issue, and will take your questions about fitness and about low carb. (If you missed Part One of his interview, click here to read it.)

Have a question for Jonny? Send it to: While not all questions can be answered, we'll do our best to publish all we can. We are grateful to Jonny for taking the time out of his busy schedule to lend a bit of advice to our readers!


Low Carb Luxury Magazine: In your personal experience, has the low carb revolution been as big as the numbers seem to indicate? Are there some big names out Hollywood way who are getting on board?

Jonny Bowden: I think it's bigger. I just think that most people don't understand how to do it properly, which is why I wrote the book "Living the Low Carb Life: Choosing the diet that's right for you from Atkins to the Zone". Most people think a low carb diet is the same thing as the first two weeks of the Atkins induction plan. That's only one of many places on the low carb map. I've heard so many crazy descriptions of what people are doing these days, thinking they're doing the low carb diet — all protein, for example. First of all there is no one "low carb diet". Second of all, I don't even like the term low carb anymore- I prefer "controlled carb" which is a better umbrella for a myriad of programs with a lot more diversity than you would think. And third, in my research for the book, I found that most people who have done this successfully over time have evolved their own modifications of the "off the rack" plans — they may start off with one of the structured plans as a kind of "training wheels" but they wind up with a very individualized program that better suits their individual metabolism and lifestyle. And that's the way it should be. It's certainly the way I work with my private clients, and it's what I show you how to do in the last chapter of my book as well.

LCLM: What first turned you on to the low carb way of eating?

JB: It was a gradual thing. I was lucky enough to study nutrition with some of the greatest teachers on the planet, and to first learn about the hormonal effect of food firsthand from Dr. Barry Sears. Over the years I have taken seminars with Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, Robert Crayhon, the great nutritional anthropologist Loren Cordain, and a host of other people whose expertise ranged from diabetes to cancer. I read voraciously, especially when I'm researching a book. And over the years it became pretty clear to me that the high carb/low fat way of eating is the true "fad diet", from a historical and evolutionary point of view. Lower carb food — or at the very least lower sugar food — is the natural fuel on which our bodies were designed to run best, and we can see that very dramatically from studies of hunter-gatherer societies in the last century and from the research of nutritional anthropologists.

It didn't hurt that in my own personal experiments with food I found that lower carb reduced my cravings, made me feel better and helped me maintain my ideal weight and that some version of my basic plan worked with all my clients as well.

LCLM: In our experience, one of the most reported stumbling blocks to successfully low carbing is temptation of high carb foods all around us. In the fitness side of your practice, what do you find to be a commonly reported obstacle?

JB: Lack of fast results. As I say in the book, one of the great myths is that exercise is a terrific way to lose weight. It's actually not. Exercise is terrific, absolutely everyone should do it, it will keep you healthy and youthful and it's probably the best predictor of whether you will be successful in maintaining weight loss, but compared to diet, exercise by itself really isn't responsible for much weight loss.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks I find is illustrated by the person who writes to me — almost daily it seems — and says, gee, I've been walking on the treadmill three times a week for a half hour each time for about a month and nothing's happening! Expecting to lose weight as a result of walking three times a week is a very unrealistic expectation. In most cases, it's just not gonna happen.

LCLM: What is your response to those who claim low carbing is unhealthy or dangerous?

JB: Ah, I love those people. I especially love debating them in public forums. They're usually dietitians who are about as clueless about nutrition as my Golden Retreiver. Sometimes they're doctors, who are taught as much about nutrition in med school as an accountant is taught about tennis. I take on what I call "the top myths about low-carb dieting" in my book, "Living the Low Carb Life", I discuss the notion that protein causes bone loss, that high protein diets cause kidney disease, that ketosis is dangerous, and all the other stuff. And I back up absolutely everything I say with a significant bibliography of scientific references and studies In fact, there were so many of these studies that we couldn't fit them all into the book without going over the page allowance, so I created a a PDF file which you can go to on my website, It's called "For Your Doctor" and it lists the studies, the medical or nutritional journals they appeared in, the dates and the authors so that anyone can go back and read the original articles on Pub Med (the Institute of Medicine Library) or a similar site.

Many people are taking my book to their primary care physician, in order to start a dialogue about their weight and their health, which I think is a really positive thing. The better docs are beginning to give this stuff a second look as the research is coming out, though there's still a lot of prejudice out there. The dietitians are the worst, though even some of them seem to be slowly coming around. Shape Magazine, for example, where many many people unfortunately get their information, has a policy — and I know this for a fact — of refusing to review or discuss a book that's about low-carbohydrate dieting, even one with as much science and supporting evidence as mine. The editor in chief simply will not permit anything even moderately positive to be written about low-carbohydrate dieting in the magazine. It's pretty unbelievable.

LCLM: Has low carb become "trendy" at the expense of keeping a watchful eye on its healthful aspects?

JB: That's a great question. In my book, I talk about my fear that over the next twenty years we as a nation will become ever more obese and unhealthy but this time, instead of walking around with low-fat junk food, we'll be carrying our low-carb cotton candy, our low-carb hot dogs on our low-carb buns and drinking vats of low-carb slurpees. If that happens we will have traded one idiotic sound byte for another. We need to get away from the notion that "carbs are bad" and from the notion that as long as something doesn't have carbs, it's fine to eat. That's what we did in the 80's with fat and look how that turned out.

There is just no substitute for being conscious about our food choices. Yes, most of our junk food happens to be processed carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are junk food. And just because something is low-carb does not mean it is healthy — it doesn't even mean that it's non-fattening!

LCLM: How do you see the future of "low carb"?

JB: I hope that we will reach a point — and this may be a way off — where we significantly dial down the contribution of junk food to our daily diet. I don't see this happening right away, because there are huge political and social obstacles to that scenario. But I do see the country gradually awakening to the contribution food makes to our health crisis and demanding that our food suppliers begin to be more responsible.

In the immediate future, I see an enormous groundswell of people — such as the ones reading this website — who are tired of eating garbage masquerading as healthy food and are willing to go out on a limb and try some new ideas about healthy eating even if those ideas haven't yet been entirely accepted by the dietary establishment. We need to remember that this way of eating has been around for as long as the human genus has been on the planet, some 2  1/2 million years.

After all, let's remember that the cavemen didn't eat "low fat" wooly mammoths.

Copyright © March 2004  Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury

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