Lowcarbezine! 9 May 2001

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Hey, Gang --

You'll notice that this week's newsletter is shorter than it has been in
the past -- our new mail server seems to want it that way; won't let me
write past a certain length! Still worth the price, right? ;-D  You'd
think it would be easier writing less, but it's hell deciding what to
leave for another issue!

Read on!



All contents copyright 2001 by Hold the Toast Press.  All commercial
reproduction and/or use is expressly prohibited.  As always, feel free
to forward Lowcarbezine! to any family or friends you feel might enjoy
it, provided that you forward it in its entirety.

Lowcarbezine! welcomes reader input!  If you have a question, a recipe,
a product review, a low carb success story, send it on in!!
mailto:dana@holdthetoast.com   All submissions become the property of
Hold the Toast Press.  If you don't want us to print your letter, just
let us know, and we won't!   However, please note -- although I really
do read all my email my very own self, I get a *lot* of mail --
generally over 200 posts a day (not all of them about Lowcarbezine!), so
I can't promise to answer every post personally. Or I'll never get the
next book written!

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About Ketosis

I don't know what percentage of you are on ketogenic diets -- Atkins,
Protein Power and the like -- but it's got to be a lot of you.  So I
thought I'd clear up a couple of misconceptions about ketosis and
ketogenic diets.

Most importantly, you need to know that the fact that you're passing
ketones in your urine only means that you are burning fat.  It does not
tell you *what fat you are burning* -- the fat stored on your body, or
the fat you've been eating.  This means that it is entirely possible to
be in ketosis, perhaps even in pretty deep ketosis, and not be burning
an ounce of body fat -- and hence, to not be losing any weight.  Heck,
you can be in ketosis and *gain* weight.  This is a point that Dr.
Atkins has not made terribly clear in his books, although it is
mentioned in passing.  

Another point about ketogenic diets which has not been made very clear
is that calories *do* still count on a ketogenic diet.  It is as true
today as it ever was that there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, and
that you must take in 3500 calories less than you burn to lose a pound
of fat.  So why bother with low carb/ketogenic diets at all?  Because
from what we've been able to gather from the research, you burn *more*
calories on a ketogenic diet than you do on a low calorie diet that
includes lots of carbs.  In the Schneider's Children's Hospital study,
the children on a low carb diet lost twice as much fat as the kids on a
low fat/high carb diet, while eating 66% more calories.  However, they
still were eating only 1,860 calories a day, not 5,000.  

What these two points mean, when taken together, is that if you are on a
ketogenic diet, are in ketosis, but are not losing weight, you are most
likely burning the fat in your diet, and you are eating too many
calories for your body.  

Here's the rub:  Deciding which calories to cut.  It's easy to just cut
fat calories, as we all know, since fats have more calories than
protein, or those few carbs we're eating.  However, fat is far more
ketogenic (more likely to induce ketosis) than protein, since far less
of each fat molecule can be turned into carbs by the body.  Here's my
thinking on the subject:  

You *need* a certain amount of protein every day to repair tissues, and
since you're eating very few carbs, you also need an extra margin of
protein to produce the glucose you actually *need* without breaking down
muscle tissue to do it.  How much protein you need is an individual
thing, but a rough estimate can be reached this way:  Take your
*healthy* body weight in pounds (It is *essential* that you actually use
a reasonable, healthy weight for this calculation.  Do *not* use a
weight which would make you fashioably anorexic-looking.), and divide
that weight by two.  This gives you the rough number of grams of protein
you need each day for tissue repair.  Now, add about 10-20 grams for
gluconeogenesis (your body making the glucose it needs.)  This is the
number of grams of protein you should be eating in a day.

So say a reasonable weight for you would be 130 lbs.  Half of that is
65.  Add another ten to twenty grams, and you get 75-85 grams of protein
that you need each day.  More than that won't hurt you, but it may
lessen your ketosis.

Now, remember that most of your protein foods have about 7 grams of
protein in a "unit" -- an ounce of meat, poultry, fish, or cheese has 7
grams of protein, as does one extra large egg.  A cup of yogurt has 8
grams -- near enough for government work.  So we're talking about, say,
three eggs for breakfast (21 grams), four ounces of chicken in a salad
at lunch (28 grams), and a quarter pound hamburger for dinner (28 grams
*if* it's weighed after cooking; if it's a fast food burger it actually
weighs about 3 ounces after cooking, and will have about 21 grams.)  Add
a few grams in the form of a handful of nuts and seeds for a snack, and
you've hit  80 grams.

Looking at this, many of you may realize that you've been eating a *lot*
more protein than you really need -- after all, how many low carbers
believe that they can eat unlimited protein food and still lose?  Again,
the extra protein won't hurt you, and if you're losing weight, keep
doing what you're doing -- but if you're not, you may need to consider
cutting back.  

(This is a good place to mention again one of the more common cultural
problems I see with low carbing -- the American tendency to want to eat
*all the time*, for entertainment.  We've been trained to eat whether
we're actually hungry or not.  This is no more a good idea on a low carb
diet than on any other kind of diet.  Eat when you're hungry, yes, but
find another form of entertainment.)

Now, about calories.  If you're in ketosis but not losing weight, I'd
say that *modest* calorie control is the thing to try.  (If you're not
in ketosis, despite being on a ketogenic-style diet, that's another
question.  Something is preventing you from burning fat for energy, and
you need to figure out what that is.)  Do NOT decide to cut your
calories to the bone; you'll make yourself miserable and quit, and
you'll very likely also slow down your metabolism.  You should be eating
12-15 calories per day per pound of healthy body weight.  That means
that our hypothetical dieter who should weigh 130 lbs should be eating
between 1,560 and 1,950 calories per day -- hardly a starvation diet.  

Eighty grams of protein has just 320 calories, so you're surely going to
need more calories than that!  (Why can't you just eat your 80 grams of
protein a day from, say, protein powder, and eat no fat or carb
calories?  Because you'll get sick, that's why not.  An all-protein diet
will make you sick just as sure as you're born.  Anyway, how long could
you eat that way?  Remember, what you do to lose weight you need to be
able to continue to do to keep the weight off!)  Say you're in ketosis
at 35 grams of carb a day (from, we trust, lots of vegetables, some nuts
and seeds, and the occasional piece of low sugar fruit.)  That's another
140 calories per day.  So we're up to 460 calories -- still a starvation
diet, and also a diet that is *not* likely to put you into ketosis,
since *fat* is the food that most encourages ketosis.  

The rest of your calories -- in this scenario, at least 1100 of them --
are going to come from that fat.  Where is that fat going to come from?

Most protein foods also contain at least a bit of fat.  (Exceptions
would be fat-free yogurt and egg whites, and many protein powders.)  For
instance, those three extra large eggs contain about 240 calories, of
which only 84 come from protein.  The rest of those calories come from
the fats in the egg yolk, and the trace of carbohydrate they contain --
about a half a gram in each egg.  Four ounces of boneless, skinless
chicken breast (NOT what I recommend, I like dark meat with bones and
skin, but it's what you find at most restaurants) contains about 200
calories, about 115 of them from protein, the other 85 from fat.  And
that "quarter pounder" that actually weighs three ounces, cooked, has
240 calories, 84 of them from protein, the other 156 from fat.  With
those three servings of protein, and the fat that comes with it, we're
up to 680 calories for the day.  Add the 140 calories worth of carbs and
we're at 820 calories.  So our hypothetical low carber is still short
about 750 calories for the day.  Clearly, this dieter needs more fat!

Where to get it?  Well, she (I'm assuming a she, here) could cook her
eggs in a tablespoon of butter; that's 100 fat calories right there. 
Two tablespoons of olive oil dressing on her salad at lunch would add
about another 200 fat calories.  A quarter-cup of pecan halves for a
snack will add 180 calories, of which 165 come from fat (there are just
over 3 grams of carb here, and just over 2 of protein.)  Perhaps she'd
also like a tablespoon of butter on her low carb cooked veggies at
dinner, for another 100 calories.  And we're *still* short over 200
calories for the day!  How about some olives?  Some guacamole on the
burger?  Cream in a couple of cups of coffee, or whipped cream on some
sugar free gelatin?

Okay, enough math.  I can sense that your collective eyes are glazing
over, and you're thinking, "Oh, *MAN*!  Do I really have to count
*everything*?"  No.  That's not the point.  Here's the point, or rather,
here are the points, since there are a few:

* Many, perhaps *most*, of you have found or will find that you can,
indeed, eat as much as you like so long as you eat low carb, and you
will lose weight.  This is a fine and a happy thing, and you should go
right ahead and enjoy it.  However, this is not the case for all people.

* If you are in ketosis but not losing for a substantial length of time
(a few weeks or more), you are burning dietary fat, not body fat, which
means you're eating more calories than your body is burning.  

* So long as your carb intake is low enough that you're in ketosis, the
place you want to look at cutting back *first* is your protein intake. 
It must be adequate, or you'll start losing muscle, which will lower
your metabolism, and that's a downward spiral you *really* don't want to
get into.  And a little too much is better than a little too little. 
But there is a substantial subset of low carb dieters who will not lose
if they are regularly eating a three egg omelet with four ounces of
cheese for breakfast, a half a chicken for lunch, and a 12 ounce sirloin
for dinner, with beef jerky for snacks.  Sorry about that.  Them's the

* You should *not* cut your calories further by cutting out your few
carb calories; don't drop below 20 grams a day or so, and if you can
stay in ketosis with a few more -- in the 35-50 range -- I think it's a
good idea.  Vegetables are your friend.  So are nuts and seeds, and
berries and melon.  These things add a *great* deal of flavor, interest,
nutritional value, and fiber to your diet for the few carbs they bring
along. Also your friends are the many, many things that add flavor to
your diet -- garlic, spices, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, etc -- but
which do contain a bit of carb.  Without these, your diet will be bleak
indeed, and you'll quit.  Again, I emphasize that what you do to lose
weight you must continue to do to keep it off, so really nutso
restriction is an strategy that will backfire on you.

* Once you've figured out your required protein intake for the day, and
the carb level at which you're in ketosis, fill in the rest of your
calories from fat -- but remember that a half a cup of oil contains 960
calories, and keep an eye on that filling in process accordingly.  It's
a fast jump from a handful of nuts to a half a can, and a quick run from
a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise to a half a cup.  I'm not pushing
a low fat diet, by any means -- indeed, you'll be getting the majority
of your calories from fat -- but fat is very calorie dense, and it adds
up fast.  Remember, too, that you're getting some of your fat from your
protein foods -- indeed, I like to get a lot of my fat from foods like
nuts and seeds and olives.  And avocados.  Guacamole omelets are to die

* Don't fret that controlling your calories this way means a return to
hunger.  The chances are *excellent* that you won't be hungry at all. 
After all, ketosis suppresses hunger, which is one of its real selling
points!  (I've actually read low carb critics who say dismissively, "Oh,
that diet only works by fooling you into not feeling hungry."  Like
that's a bad thing?!)  Even without ketosis, the combination of fat and
protein at each meal, coupled with staying off the blood sugar roller
coaster, should keep hunger at bay.

* If you are *not* in ketosis, and you are not losing, there may well be
other reasons -- you're consuming a lot of citric acid or aspartame or
both (found in pop, Crystal Lite, diet gelatin, some other stuff),
you're on hormones or anti-depressants or other drugs which interfere
with fat burning, you're hypothyroid, you're just plain metabolically
resistant -- all these are possibilities.  Still, in these cases,
*modest* calorie restriction is worth trying.

* If you're not in ketosis, but you *are* losing, don't sweat it. After
all, weight loss is what you're after, right?  Along with being healthy
and feeling good, of course.  If you're getting the benefits you want,
who cares how, right?



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Arachadonic Acid Update

Last week I wrote about a low carb diet and cholesterol, and mentioned
that there is some feeling that some folks are sensitive to arachadonic
acid, a fatty acid found in eggs and red meat.  I got this interesting
post regarding arachadonic acid --

Nanci writes:

Hi -- Just wanted to let you know that some people really are sensitive
to the arachadonic acid in red meat. I am .  I have fibromyalgia and
last summer when I went on Atkins low carb, eating red meat, etc.  I was
so crippled with pain, I could hardly move.  The doctor immediately took
me off red meat and saturated fats
and I have never felt better. This has happened to hundreds of his
fibromyalgia and arthritis patients. I guess the disease makes the body
sensitive to fats and acid in red meat. Also whey protein is a huge
problem for fibromyalgia and arthritis patients. Just thought I would
let you know, it is true!      

My thanks to Nanci!  I found this very, very interesting.  I've been
planning to research low carb and fibromyalgia, since I know that quite
a few doctors recommend low carb for fibromyalgia patients.  I also am
well aware that various fatty acids can have a *huge* impact on pain
problems; I have a friend with rheumatoid arthritis who feels that
supplements of fish oil, flax oil, and evening primrose oil have been
more helpful than any pharmaceutical treatment.

So if you're low carb and you have chronic inflammatory pain problems,
I'd recommend cutting way back on egg yolks and red meat, and eating
more fish and chicken instead.  What do you have to lose?

We really are all different!


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tons of other low carb products, all at a discount!  Check out our low
carb articles, including an interview with Dana Carpender!  And get your
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Remember, if you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart!


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Reader Review of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_

Get the whole scoop without reading ALL the books!
I've been low carbing for about 8 months, and have read LOTS of the most
recommended books. I could have saved myself a great deal of time
learning the different approaches if I'd read Dana Carpender's book
FIRST! Now I know what to concentrate my reading on. Just ordered
another copy to give to my sister and her family, so that
they can learn more, too.

 amy in tucson 

Thanks, Amy!  One of the things that thrills me most is when someone
tells me they found my book so helpful that they bought a copy for a
friend or family member.  :-)

You can read this and 24 other reader reviews of _How I Gave Up My Low
Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_ at Amazon : 
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966883101/lowcarbohysoluti --
and of course, you can also order the book!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of the book for FREE, plus find
a bunch of other useful low carb info, visit:
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Or, for that matter, you can visit
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If you'd like to buy the book from a bookstore, you'll probably have to
special order it.  If you're in the USA, this shouldn't be a problem --
just tell them that you want to order _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and
Lost Forty Pounds!_ by Dana Carpender, and that the ISBN is
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If you're outside of the US, your best bet is to order from Amazon.com.
We can ship internationally from here at Hold the Toast, too, but we're
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outside the US and interested in carrying _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet
and Lost Forty Pounds!_, we'd love to hear from you!


Dana W. Carpender

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