Lowcarbezine! 3 October 2001

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Hey, Gang --

I hope you're all feeling calmer and more hopeful; I know I am.  Life
does, indeed, go on, and thank God for that!  

One note:  Two weeks ago I extended my condolences to the families and
friends of those killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and
I forgot --  how could I forget! -- the passengers of Flight 93, whose
incredible bravery in attacking the hijackers and crashing the plane in
western Pennsylvania doubtless saved many lives.  They are heroes who
will be forever remembered in American history, and they have the love
and gratitude of us all.  My condolences to all who knew and loved them
personally.

Read on --

Dana

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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.

If Lowcarbezine! has been forwarded to you and you enjoy it, you can
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Please note!  When you subscribe to Lowcarbezine! you *must* enter
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UNSUBSCRIBING:  Should you wish to unsubscribe, instructions for doing
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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!

We are currently restructuring our ad rates.

If you need a website designed or hosted, please check out the info on
Webbalah at the bottom of this newsletter!  (Hey, *my* website looks
good, right?)

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But It Says Here On The Label...


I got an email from a reader yesterday --  He'd tried  and liked  the
new low carb pastas, and was in search of a pasta sauce to eat over
them.  He'd read the label on his favorite pasta sauce  Sutter Home's
Three Cheese sauce  and discovered, to his dismay, that the label
didn't read quite right.  It listed 10 grams of total carbohydrate, but
in the breakdown it listed 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugars per
serving.  Ignoring entirely the interesting question of why the heck a
cheese sauce needs 7 friggin' grams of sugar per serving, you'll notice
that these figures simply don't add up.  The total carbohydrate number
is supposed to include the fiber grams, the sugar grams, and also any
starches that might be included  but at my elementary school, 6+7=13,
not 10.  Something was wrong, and he wanted to know what.  He was afraid
that perhaps the instructions he'd read on how to do the elementary math
needed to calculate usable carb content were wrong.

They weren't, of course.  It's still total carbs minus fiber carbs. The
problem lay not in this basic calculation, but in Sutter Home's
labeling.  I found Sutter Home online, clicked their email link, lay the
problem out for them, and asked for an explanation and a true carb
count.  If I get a reply, I'll let you know.

But in the meanwhile, this brings up the interesting and important
subject of nutrition labeling.  The rules for nutrition labeling in the
United States are blessedly clear (this, after decades of lobbying.) 
However, there are approximately sixty-zillion food products on the
market, of every conceivable variety, and there are food processing
companies ranging from ultra-humongous to tiny.  And every single one of
those companies is run by people.  People, as you are no doubt aware,
are notoriously fallible.

Which leaves us with not just the suspicion, but the downright
certainty, that some of those products are mislabeled.  Some are
mislabeled due to simple human error.  Some come from other countries,
where the labeling laws are different  in many countries, the fiber
content is *not* included in the total carb count.  And a few, I'm sorry
to say, are mislabeled due to avarice  a desire to convince the public
that the product is healthier, or lower fat, or lower carb, than it is,
so as to sell more, or justify a higher price.

>From out here in the world, it's virtually impossible to tell which of
these is the reason why a given product might be mislabeled..  For
instance, I have been eating a brand of fiber crackers called Fiber Rich
for several years now.  For a long, long time, these crackers  imported
from Norway  had a label that claimed 6 grams of total carb per
serving, and six grams of fiber.  You know what that means 
theoretically, these were zero carb crackers.

I never quite believed it, since I know that the bran that these
crackers were made from is listed in the food count books as having some
non-fiber carbs in it, plus they contained a little rye flour.  Still, I
figured they were pretty darned low carb, so I ate them anyway.

Sure enough, I just bought a couple of boxes of Fiber Rich recently, and
the label now gives a total carb count of 13 grams per serving, with the
same 6 grams of fiber, for a total usable carb count of 7 grams a
serving.  Still low for a couple of good, big crackers, but hardly a
"free" food.  I have no idea what the story is behind the labeling
change; I'm guessing that the Norse manufacturer just learned of
American labeling practices, and the need to include the fiber grams in
the total gram count.

For that matter, when I started low carbing, Wasa Fiber Rye had a label
which suggested that there were only about three grams of usable carb
per cracker  it's been so long that I disremember the actual figures. 
Believe it or not, some alert low carber actually paid for a lab
analysis of the Wasa Fiber Rye crackers, and discovered they were
considerably higher carb than the label said.  The label was then
revised upward to show (one trusts) the true carb count.  It was never
explained whether the mislabeling of Wasa Fiber Rye was deliberate, or
an accident.

It's worrisome to note, too, that there's some feeling that even low
carb protein bars may be misbranded  in particular, most of them
contain glycerine to keep them moist and chewy.  The glycerine is not
technically a carb, and so is not included in the carb count on protein
bar labels.  However, glycerine can go directly to glycogen stores and
refill them, knocking you out of ketosis, and even causing a water
weight gain.  (So far as I know, glycerine does not cause blood sugar
swings or insulin release.)  

Of course, with low carb specialty products there is a strong profit
motive to deliberately misbrand.  Don't get me wrong; I do *not* think
that anything *like* most low carb specialty products are mislabeled.  I
recently did blood sugar tests, for instance, on Cheeter's Diet Treats
*wonderful* brownies.  I took my fasting blood sugar, ate a brownie, and
then tracked my blood sugar for an hour or two, every fifteen minutes or
so.  I'm pleased to say that my blood sugar fluctuated a big fifteen
points or so; certainly not enough to worry about.  This leads me to
believe that their label is accurate, or at least as accurate as such a
label can be, since there's some feeling that polyols  the sweeteners
used in most low carb sweets  may be absorbed more by some people and
less by others.

(Most low carb specialty product manufacturers leave polyols out of
their carb counts, even though polyols are, technically, a form of
carbohydrate.  They do this because all the test show that very minimal
amounts, if any, of the polyols, are digested and absorbed.  This makes
them like fiber when it comes to usable carb count.  Therefore, I do
*not* consider this a form of misbranding.  It's good to know, too, that
candy makers who do not cater to the low carb market still often have
polyol sweetened candy  but will list the polyols in the carb count,
making it look as though these mainstream sugar free candies are *much*
higher carb than the low carb specialty products.  They are not.)

I digress.  As I said, I do *not* think that anything *like* most low
carb specialty products are misbranded, either by mistake, or through
greed.  I would also add that the *vast* majority of the people I've had
dealings with who make or sell low carb specialty products are
*amazingly* nice folks, who are low carbers themselves, and eat their
own products.  These may be business people, but they genuinely *care*
about low carb.  However, I do think it is virtually a *certainty* that
there are at least a few low carb specialty products which are
mislabeled, just as there are mainstream food products which are
mislabeled  people just aren't perfect.

How do you know which products have labels that are wrong?  Well, in
many cases you don't.  If there is a blatant error, such as the one on
the Sutter Home pasta sauce, you can tell, of course.  But other than
that, you'll have to go by your own body, and what it's telling you.  If
you eat a product that seems to be low carb and 60 to 90 minutes later
you're hungry and craving, it's a possibility that the label was wrong. 
If you add a new product to your diet, and start eating it regularly,
only to find that your weight loss has stopped, or even worse, you're
*gaining*, I'd look at that new product, and figure that  whatever the
truth behind the label  maybe it's not right for you.

I'd also be somewhat more careful about imported products for the simple
reason that errors in labeling are more likely, because of the
differences in various nations' labeling laws, and even, I suspect,
because of language barriers.  Remember that too good to be true
probably is.

If you're a diabetic, and therefore have a glucometer on hand, I would
certainly recommend testing products you're not sure of  and I'd love
to hear about it if you get any unexpected results.

In short, there's just no substitute for paying attention  to labels,
yes, but also to your own body.

You'll find a useful article on low carb product labeling at:
http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html

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The Handiest Ab Exercise

The handiest, most convenient ab exercise is also remarkably effective. 
It's sometimes called the Stomach Lift, and it consists of simply
pulling your stomach in, *hard*, and trying to press it right through
your backbone, for about 10 seconds at a time.  That's it.  No getting
down on the floor, no equipment.  Just pull your stomach in as hard as
you possibly can  *without* holding your breath  and hold it for ten
seconds.  Then relax for a couple of moments, and do it again.

Consider the advantages!  You can do a fairly effective ab workout while
in line at the bank or the post office!  You can do it while walking! 
You can do it while you're stuck talking to someone boring at church
coffee hour!  Anywhere that you're on your feet, you can be getting an
ab workout!

For a somewhat more advanced version, try this: Bend forward a bit and
lean your palms on a table top, or the back of a chair or sofa.  Blow
*all* the air out of your lungs, and then close off your throat,
creating a vacuum.  Use this vacuum to pull in your abdomen as far as
you can, and then, when your abs are sucked in by the vacuum, tighten
them, *hard*.  Hold for ten seconds, then let the air back in.  Repeat! 
Great while watching TV.  But nowhere near so handy as the simple
version.

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Book Review

So I finally got around to picking up a copy of Suzanne Somers' _Lose
Weight, Feel Great_, and about time, too.  I've been getting questions
about this diet for a while now.

Somers  who, to give credit where credit is due, certainly does look
terrific  calls her approach "Somersizing".  What is it with folks who
write diet books?  We've got Atkins, and Schwartzbein, and now
Somersizing.  Maybe I should have called the Careful Carb Diet
"Carpenderizing"?  Somersizing is not a seriously low carb approach, but
rather a hybrid diet, combining some restriction of carbs  particularly
sugar and white flour  with a concept called "food combining."  She
wants you to eat proteins and fats together, with no carbs except for
those that come from vegetables.  She allows you to eat carbs, but only
at very low fat meals.  Fruit must be eaten by itself.  

The purpose of this is to improve digestion, which Somers feels does
something magical to cause weight loss.  Certainly I've run across the
concept of food combining before, and it does have some merit.  It's
quite true, as Somers asserts, that proteins are digested in an acidic
medium, in the stomach, while carbohydrates are digested in the small
intestine, in a basic medium.  And it is true that some indigestion can
be blamed on eating foods together which need to be digested differently
 carbohydrates eaten with proteins can be trapped in the stomach,
fermenting away, while the protein is digesting.  The fermenting
carbohydrates cause gas, and bubbles of gas can force stomach acid up
the esophagus.  Result?  Reflux, also known as heartburn.  If, like so
many people, you've found yourself having *far* less heartburn on a low
carb diet, now you know why.

Where I find myself incredulous is with Somer's assertion that this
improved digestion, caused by separating the consumption of
proteins/fats and carbohydrates is the reason why people lose weight on
her diet.  Everything I've read about nutrition convinces me that the
poorer your digestion, the *less* of your food you're going to absorb
and assimilate, which theoretically means you'll pass calories through. 
I just see no sense in the notion that digesting and absorbing food
*better* means you'll lose weight.

That doesn't mean you won't lose weight on the Somersize program.  First
of all, she bans what she calls "funky foods", chief among them white
flour and sugar.  I've long believed that *many* people would lose
weight by the simple expedient of removing these two "foods" (they don't
really deserve the title) from their diet.  Further, Somers does say
that she found she lost weight faster when she ate more protein/fat
meals, and fewer carbohydrate meals.  No doubt I would, too!

She also bans, during the weight loss portion of the diet, pasta,
potatoes, starchy vegetables like corn, starchy fruits like banana, and
alcohol, along with a number of other carbohydrate foods.  Yeah, that
might well make most people lose weight, food combining or no.

Still, your success on the Somers program would depend on your personal
degree of carbohydrate intolerance, and just how often you chose the
allowed carbohydrates over proteins and fats.

I've had a question from a reader who wanted to know why, in my Careful
Carb Diet, I recommend eating your low impact carbs *with* protein and
fat, since Somers says that's a no-no.  I made that recommendation  and
stand by it  because the blood sugar impact of carbohydrates is
modified by the foods eaten with them.  In other words, a low impact
carb eaten with a meal that also includes proteins and fats will have an
even *lower* blood sugar impact than it would if eaten alone.  My big
concern was blood sugar and insulin control.  However, if you are prone
to heartburn, trying the Somersize approach of food combining, and using
only low impact carbs at your carbohydrate meals, might be worth a try.

My only other objection to the Somersize approach lies in some of the
foods that Somers puts in the category "funky foods"  foods to be
avoided.  On this list are both nuts and avocados, because, Somers says,
they combine fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.  This is true, but the
carb count of most nuts, and of avocados, is quite low  certainly no
higher than the vegetables she allows at protein/fat meals.  Further,
these foods are simply *loaded* with healthy monounsaturated fats, and
with minerals  avocados are about the best source of potassium on the
planet, while nuts are a terrific source of magnesium, among other
things.  I encourage you to eat these fine, non-funky foods often!

But overall, for the person who is only mildly carbohydrate intolerant 
and since Somers only admits to having gotten as heavy as 130 pounds, I
think we can assume she falls into that category  the Somersize plan
should work just fine, and allow a pleasant degree of flexibility.  The
book is well written, easy to understand, has some lovely photos, and
*lots* of recipes, many of which look great to *this* Basic Low Carber! 

If you're *seriously* carb intolerant  have a strong family or personal
history of serious obesity, diabetes, PCOS, heart disease, or other
nasty insulin related problems, I'd stick to a lower carb diet than
this.  But if you've been doing well on, say, the Carbohydrate Addict's
Diet or my Careful Carb Diet, Somersizing might be for you.

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If You Like Lowcarbezine!, You'll LOVE CARBSMART!

We have tons of great information about low carb diets, articles galore,
a low carb labeling FAQ, interviews with low carb authors like Dana
Carpender and Diana Lee --

PLUS Tons of your favorite low carb products ALL AT A DISCOUNT!!  Come
for the info, stay to shop!!

If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart!!

http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html

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

A diet book without a hidden agenda - what a concept!, 

Dana Carpender's 'How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds'
is one of the best books on diet and nutrition I've ever read -- and
I've read a lot of them. Carpender manages to accomplish a rare feat in
such books by being both credible and thoroughly engaging. 

The book contains fairly comprehensive information about the connection
between insulin and obesity, and how a low-carb or carb-controlled diet
can help. All of the popular related diets are summarized.  Most authors
of diet books (understandably) have the ultimate goal of persuading the
reader to  choose their diet over a competing diet. In contrast,
Carpender does not endorse one kind of  low-carb diet over another,
rather, acknowledges that every individual has to be the ultimate
decision-maker about what works best for his or her body and lifestyle.
This is incredibly refreshing  - especially for us cynics who have tried
it all and are tired of authors and doctors who claim to have the magic
bullet that works for everyone. Carpender even does what no doctor who
wants to sell only their books and products would do - encourages
experimenting with mixing plans and creating  hybrid programs customized
to one's lifestyle and body. 

Also, Carpender comes across as honest and passionate, and provides a
good bibliography if readers wish to research the topic further. This is
a good book for anyone interested in low-carb or carb-controlled eating,
and would also make an  excellent gift for those who don't like boring
diet books, are convinced that low-carb is unhealthy, or are searching
for an alternative to the high-carb/low-fat diet that does not work for
everyone.

Sara from Salt Lake City, UT

Wow!  I just *love* people who call me "both credible and engaging"! 
And yes, passionate would describe me pretty well...  Thanks, Sara.

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:
http://www.holdthetoast.com .  You can also see my smiling face and my
before-and-afters.

Or, for that matter, you can visit
http://www.webbalah.net/carbsmart.html , and order
_How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds_ from Carb Smart,
where it's at a discount.  Low Carb Grocery has it at a discount, too --
http://www.lowcarbgrocery.com .  Low Carb Pharmacy has it, too --
http://www.lowcarbpharmacy.com .

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
0-9668831-0-1.  You could also tell them that they can order it through
Baker and Taylor; one of the country's biggest book wholesalers.  We do
ship to Canadian bookstores.

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
not set up for it big-time like Amazon is.  If you're a book wholesaler
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!

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You're Lucky You're Overweight

You may not think so, but it means that you've got enough to eat, and
millions upon millions go hungry.  You can help them without leaving
your computer, and without spending a cent.  Just go to the Hunger Site,
and click on the "Give Free Food" button.  The Hunger Site will donate
food for hungry people for every click they get -- and you can click
once every day!  It's the easiest thing you've ever done to help your
fellow human beings.  Check out the ways you can actually give *more* to
hungry people with each click -- still without spending a cent!

Go to the Hunger Site *NOW*, and click to feed those less fortunate than
you! http://www.thehungersite.com 

And tell your friends!

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-- 
Dana W. Carpender
Author, How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet -- And Lost Forty Pounds!
http://www.holdthetoast.com
Check out our FREE Low Carb Ezine!

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