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.
Jonny will take your questions
about fitness and about low carb! Have a question for Jonny? Send it to: email@example.com.
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!
Question from Rebecca Pulte:
Copyright © September 2004 Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury
Thank you for your insight into the low carb world. I appreciate it so much
since I am just starting to follow a low carb lifestyle.
My question is — Several restaurants that I frequent claim to have low carb
foods. For instance Einstein's Bagel claims to have a low carb bagel and
Great American Hero claims to have a low carb sub. How do I know if it's
really low carb when I don't have access to the ingredients in the food?
Thanks for your help!
Actually, you don?t. I wish the answer was different, but truth be told, you
have no idea whether their idea of ?low carb? is the same as yours, assuming
they?re trying to be honest (some aren?t even doing that.) There is no accepted
definition of ?low carb?, which allows — for example — a manufacturer to say
that their 50 gram per serving bagel is ?reduced carb? because the regular
bagel was 100 grams!
I'm not saying that?s the case here, but you get the idea. Low carb bread in general
is an oxymoron, (though some brands — like Atkins — do make it.) Personally, I?d
be suspicious of the average restaurant trying to hype ?low carb? on foods that are
mostly carbs to begin with. In this case,
I?d have to say ?buyer beware?. If it seems too good to be true, it probably
Question from Paige Kuether:
My husband and I have been happy low-carb eaters for almost two years.
We have both lost weight and love eating the way we do. We both went for
our check-ups this Spring. I lowered my cholesterol considerably but my
husband's went up — enough to make his doctor concerned.
My husband is very upset; I am worried too. He does not want to change
his eating habits. I'm confused because we eat almost exactly the same
foods and we both exercise. Why would his cholesterol go up?
What should he do differently?
First, there are a couple of things you should understand about cholesterol.
Cholesterol is one of those blood measures which is pretty variable in response
to a low-carb diet. For some people it goes down, for some people it stays the
same, and for a few people it goes up.
More importantly, the total number is utterly worthless. You need to know the
fractions: HDL (?good?) and LDL (?bad?). What frequently happens is that LDL
(bad cholesterol) will go up a little, but HDL (good cholesterol) goes up much,
much more. The result is that the total number has gone up a bit, but the ratio
(far more important) has improved significantly. The total number will not tell
you this and may actually conceal the fact that things have gotten better.
It?s even more complicated than that: We now know that even the ?bad? cholesterol
(LDL) has different subtypes. The ?A? fraction is fairly harmless and the ?B?
fraction is not. What several studies have shown is that frequently on a low carb
diet there is a significant shift from bad (B) to harmless (A). And remember,
one of the worst risk factors of all, triglycerides, virtually always goes down
on a low carb diet.
The point is that there is much, much more to heart disease risk than the
relatively meaningless total cholesterol number. If you look more closely,
you may see that your husband?s overall risk profile has actually improved.
If however, this does not turn out to be the case simply adjust the fat
content of his diet to favor more omega 3?s and reduce saturated fat a bit.
This is probably not necessary if he?s eating a good mix of fats, but it?s
nice to know you can do it just in case, and not have to give up all the
wonderful benefits of low-carb eating.
Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N., C.N.S.
Certified Nutrition Specialist