The two most prominent dietary concepts these days are apparently contradictory. They are the low fat-high carbohydrate diets exemplified by the Pritikin program and the high fat-low carb diets called Ketogenic, Atkins, or Paleo. There are differences between the high fat-low carb diets but the differences pale in comparison with the vast differences between them as a group and the high carb-low fat diets.
What is a Diet?
In popular culture, the term diet means a program for losing weight. But in a more sophisticated understanding of the term, it means a life-long eating system. In this article, we will use the term diet to refer to a long-term eating system.
To make everything clear, both a high carb and a low carb diet can be useful in losing weight. So many people in the developed world need to lose weight that it really doesn’t matter if they choose to lose weight by eating a high fat or a low fat diet. The key is to take in few enough calories so that the body will consume its fat stores in order to maintain health.
Shifting the Weight Gain-Weight Loss Paradigm
There is little disagreement that high levels of insulin produce excess fat or obesity. The high fat advocates say that fat in itself reduces insulin and gets the body to use its own fat cells as fuel. The low fat people say that carbs in and of themselves don’t raise insulin levels. They say that the key is in which carbs we consume.
The old paradigm was that carbs led to insulin which led to obesity. It stressed that all carbs were guilty even though some carbs are worse than others. The newest thinking on the subject says that the paradigm should bypass carbs altogether. That the formulas should be that insulin leads to obesity so the key would be how to reduce insulin.
What Everyone Agrees On
It is interesting that, as much as the high carb and low carb people disagree on so much, there is still a lot that they do agree on. It is generally in the area of agreement that we can see the general failure of most weight loss diets and the difficulty most people have in staying on any long term eating program.
As affluent as our developed societies are economically, many people suffer from the effects of elevated levels of stress. It could be that by reducing stress alone, we can recapture the health that our ancestors enjoyed.
The best way to reduce stress is by playing games. There are so many games on the market that friends can get together to play them regularly and have a great time doing so.
Online casino gaming has also become a way for many people to reduce stress. Many players like to take the many casino bonuses that online casinos offer. The Fair Go casino bonuses give players the chance to play with the casino’s money. Mobile gaming makes it fun and romantic to play all curled up on the sofa or in bed with your partner.
There is a big difference between playing casino games at a land based casino as opposed to an online casino. When you play online, it is easier to set time and budgetary limits on yourself. Since you play at home for the most part, you have all of your other responsibilities to take care of. When you go to a land based casino, you’ll probably play longer than you should and for more money than you should risk because what else is there to do. Eat? Drink? Sleep?
Everyone agrees that sugar in any of the many forms it can be used as an additive to processed foods is bad. There is no compromise here. So, sugary soft drinks and bakery products are bad.
Generally, the white foods are considered bad by everyone. Pritikin advocates for whole foods and the low carb people advocate for little if any rice, potatoes, and flour.
Everyone on both sides of this spectrum advocates for eliminating all processed foods. There is evidence that just eliminating processed foods has tremendous beneficial results even for people who are not trying to lose weight.
If you go into your cabinets and pantry, you’ll surely find that most of the food you have is actually processed food with many added ingredients to extend shelf life, add flavor and texture, and generally to make the foods more palatable to a wide audience and also to make the foods available to a broad consumer base. Check your food labels – you maybe shocked by what is added to our foods.
So, canned foods are out. Any packaged food is out. A lot of frozen foods are out. And most sadly of all, alcohol is out.
If there is any one category that explains why so many people go back to their old ways of eating, this is it. Most people can’t live without the convenience of processed foods.
Everyone in the nouveau-nutritional fields says that you have to exercise at least three times per week. Exercise gets blood flowing, it helps our bodies eliminate waste, it tones muscles, and it helps diabetics to reduce their need for insulin.
Some people advocate for less strenuous exercise such as walking and swimming while others push more intensive exercise but everyone insists on the importance of exercise.
Everyone is Different
We are all the same, sort of, but we are also different. The high fat plans work well for many people. The high carb plan works well for other people. When you are trying to lose weight, the real key is, as it has always been, reducing calories. So, if you eat a high fat diet or a high carb diet and you keep your calories to the level you need to in order to lose weight, you will lose weight.
A Long Term Eating Program
Both systems are too extreme for most people long term. Still, there are many people who stay with these programs long after their health has improved or they lost all the weight they hoped to lose.
On the surface, there still seems to be more support for a high carb lifetime eating plan so long as the carbs are whole foods and you eat as little processed food as possible. Still, for most people, going out for pizza with friends is still part of the “good life” and not something they’re willing to give up on….forever.
The high fat advocates also talk about intermittent fasting which is non-existent in the Pritikin system. Intermittent fasting and a high fat diet are said to cause ketones to form in the body which lead to “autophagy” – the process where they body has learned to use its own fat stores for enery. Needless to say, the high carb people don’t talk at all about autophagy.
Both extremes are probably very good for many people looking to lose weight. Both are probably too extreme for most people to stick to for the long term. After losing weight, the key is to keep the weight off and neither extreme nor any other lifetime eating system has a surefire method for keeping weight off. This takes a lot of determination on the individual’s part.