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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Shaun Kassity:
Copyright © November 2004 Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury
I have lost 80 lbs in the past 13 months low carbing. I am now interested in
building some muscle but several people have told me that it is almost impossible
to do following a low carb diet. Can you tell me the truth? And if they are true,
what would be the best type of program to follow?
You are listening to the wrong people. Muscle is made from protein, not from
carbohydrates. You need protein and good fat and fiber, and just enough carbs
to get through your workouts.
Many bodybuilders train on high protein diets.
Charles Poliquin — who in my opinion is the top expert on personal training in
the United States, having trained over 13 olympic champions, three olympic teams,
and countless bodybuilding champions — uses a high protein, high fat, moderate
carb diet, and believe me, you couldn?t get your arms around his biceps.
muscle you need to eat more calories than you are burning, lift weights heavy
enough to cause you to ?fail? somewhere between 8 to 12 reps, do multiple sets to
failure, and eat just enough low glycemic carbs to get through your workouts.
Many trainers — notably Lyle McDonald, author of The Ketogenic Diet — will
simply up the carbs somewhat on training days and go back to low carb on the
Question from Barbara:
Just starting the low carb dieting, and am confused about sugar and sugar
alchols — I understand I can subtract the fiber carbs from the total, but
how about the sugar carbs and the sugar alcohol carbs — or is sugar carb and
sugar alcohol one and the same?
Sugar and sugar alcohols are two entirely different animals. You should be aiming for
foods that have the least amount of sugar possible — preferably none. Sugar alcohols on
the other hand, are molecules that share some of their structure with sugar, but are a
different class of compound. Some, like Xylitol, are quite healthy.
The general thinking
from many manufacturers in the low carb world is that they don?t raise blood sugar or insulin to any great degree,
so they don?t need to be counted and can (along with fiber) be subtracted from the total carbs. Personally,
I?m not so sure. One of the sugar alcohols — maltitol, used in most of the ?candy? bars —
actually does raise blood sugar, though not as much as ?real? sugar does. Most other sugar alcohols
also raise blood glucose (xylitol very little and erythritol not at all in most people.) Diabetics,
and perhaps others, are very sensitive to some sugar alcohols, though many non-diabetics
In general, most sugar alcohols (unlike sugar) are pretty benign, but I don?t
think we know all we need to know about them yet. I would use them judiciously and
carefully, perhaps counting ? the carbs from sugar alcohols as part of your overall
carb count. In some people they seem to stall weight loss, but in others they seem
to make it easier to stay on a program and don?t appear to cause any problems. Experiment
and see which group you?re in.
Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N., C.N.S.
Certified Nutrition Specialist