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-   -   Low fat diet = Atkins diet? (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f38/low-fat-diet-atkins-diet-47461.html)

Orchidflower 11-25-2009 03:52 PM

Low fat diet = Atkins diet?
I need to go on a low fat diet and am thinking of doing the Atkins diet. Any opinions?
Yes, I know this is pretty basic, but I really have no clue: is a low carb diet considered a low fat diet? Been a loooong time since I dieted as you can tell.:blush:

ziggy29 11-25-2009 03:55 PM

No, low fat and low carb are MUCH different things. In fact, they are almost polar opposites.

I personally like the 40/30/30 approach of the Zone diet with a touch of South Beach (which some would call "Atkins Lite") -- all things in moderation, just try to make sure most of the carbs are from veggies and whole grains, and that most of the fats are unsaturated.

audreyh1 11-25-2009 04:30 PM

No, Atkins diet is definitely not a low fat diet. Just the opposite. Atkins tends to increase the fat in the diet due to the reduction in carbs, and does not discriminate between different kinds of fats.

Something like South Beach might be appropriate.

Personally, I am suspicious of the "low-fat" diet, although of course it's all relative. I prefer a "moderate-fat" diet that gets most of the fats from healthy fats, and where the carbs are lower glycemic carbs. At least for me.

Healthy fats are monounsaturated fats like canola and olive oil, and fats from nuts, olives, avocados. Leaner animal meat cuts (to avoid saturated fat), but encourages fats high in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon.


Orchidflower 11-25-2009 04:38 PM

I remember a relative lost like 50 lbs. or more doing the Zone Diet. She loved it. I will look into that one.

audreyh1 11-25-2009 04:50 PM

So why the directive for a low-fat diet. Are you just trying to reduce calories? or is there some other goal?


Martha 11-25-2009 06:03 PM

My sister had to go on a very low fat diet due to a particular health issue. She lost 50 pounds. She didn't get a diet book or follow a plan, she just cut the fat substantially. No beef. No pork. No cheese. No ice cream. No mayo. Chicken without skin and not fried. Lots and lots of seafood. Lots and lots of vegetables and fruit. Etc.

If losing weight is your goal, an ultra low fat diet isn't necessarily the best route.

Orchidflower 11-25-2009 06:52 PM

OMG, I love ribs and mayo..oh well...
All my life I've had wonderful health. Never any problems whatsoever to the point Drs. practically scooted me out of their offices as they knew they'd not make any money off me.
Now I have a tad bit of blood sugar and a little high cholestrol, which I am not appreciating one bit. They said for me to go on a low fat diet and it would be solved. It isn't high enough to really take pills for, and the diet would cure it.
This is the first time in my life everything hasn't been perfect, but I have gained ALOT of weight while eldercaring with all that sitting, sitting, sitting. I am now paying the price at 65, but it is fixable easily with some fat loss.So, I am doing it as my ego is crushed that my health report came back with any blemishes (this is a pride thing with me).
I'm just hoping my genes will carry me thru life. Father died at 90 and did everything wrong (no exercise at all, ate one huge meal a day with lots of fat in it) and my Mother is still going at 91.
Dang...and I just noticed no ice cream, too...poop!
Hey, this will be a good excuse to start lifting weights again, which I love anyway. I did break down and ordered 5 lb. leg weights for the water jogging and some hand gloves to make more resistance when I swim. Hope that helps some.

audreyh1 11-25-2009 07:28 PM

Well - if your blood sugar is getting a bit high then you also need to avoid refined carbs which can cause blood sugar surges. Some low-fat diets are very high in refined carbs - not good for blood sugar or in the long run for cholesterol. So just be careful about what low-fat foods you eat - some of them are very unhealthy for blood sugar. I recommend you find out about low-glycemic carbs versus high-glycemic carbs so that you can choose more of the low-glycemic carbs which are much better for blood sugar.

Your cholesterol rise may be due to your weight gain. I think you're going to have to start exercising again! Sedentary is bad for all of us. I know I have to work at this myself.

OK - I'm not a medical doctor so be careful about following my internet advice! Personally, I think your doctors are giving you very incomplete advice by just telling you to "go on a low-fat diet".


Rustic23 11-25-2009 08:24 PM

As discussed in another thread here, I am doing Dr. Rob Thompson's Glycemic Load Diet. It is a modified Atkins. In one line, cut out Bread, Potatoes, Rice, and Sugared drinks. A piece of white bread has a glycemic load of 100. You can have up to 500 per day. I am down about 30 lbs in 25 weeks. It is very easy to stay on. I recommend you get his book.

gindie 11-25-2009 09:05 PM


Originally Posted by Rustic23 (Post 878503)
As discussed in another thread here, I am doing Dr. Rob Thompson's Glycemic Load Diet. It is a modified Atkins. In one line, cut out Bread, Potatoes, Rice, and Sugared drinks. A piece of white bread has a glycemic load of 100. You can have up to 500 per day. I am down about 30 lbs in 25 weeks. It is very easy to stay on. I recommend you get his book.

Just to enhance Rustic23's excellent recommendation, Dr. Thompson's latest book on subject is titled "The Low-Starch Diabetes Solution". Don't get scared off by the word "Diabetes" in the title. It would definitely apply to your situation as well.

I, too, can account for its effectiveness. I have had virtually the same success as Rustic23. My A1c is down from about 6.6 to 5.6 in that time frame. And I was just told tonight that my cholesterol/triglycerides have significantly improved (although my Doc didn't have the numbers in front of him).

So, please reconsider the low-fat recommendation. I think you will find Dr. Thompson's plan (it's not really a diet) extremely easy to follow.

Kroeran 11-26-2009 04:40 AM

step one is to start educating yourself on the various diet philosophies out there...

atkins, bad fat of any kind is better than carbs of any kind
south beach, atkins, with a focus on healthier fats
glycemic approaches, similar to above, more stats
french diet, eat anything, strict portion control
mediterannean, "natural" unprocessed foods out of the field, out of the sea (not so much the inauthentic American Italian focus on pasta)
slow food, dinner should take an hour to make and an hour to eat
pre-loading, bulk up with fibre before meals

as a general comment, the current thinking is that sugar (actual sugar, breads, pasta) converts to body fat easier than actual fat, which is counter intuitive.

Its like throwing gasoline on a fire vs hardwood. Gasoline creates a big flare then is gone, and you need more, whereas hardwood will sit there and burn for 3 hours.

So, fat is hard to digest...it has to be converted to sugar to be absorbed by the body, and in a way, this inefficiency works in your favour...the key is hunger abatement per calorie consumed.

The idea is improved by south beach, which says this is true, but you may as well eat healthy fats, like olive oil or canola or fish, and double the benefit, and if you eat carbs, whole grain carbs in moderation are ok.

my DW could probably write a book...she calls it the not-eating diet. If her weight gets above target, she just stays on tea till dinner, then maybe just has a salad. As a general rule, she tries to delay first meal as long as possible...I think this is to stay in fast as long as possible during the day....at night, we all slip into fast, which is the body digesting its own fat...once you eat in the morning, the body switches to craving food.

one consideration is that in olden days, when work and liesure was very physical, we could consume 5000 calories and not gain weight. For those with sedentary lifestyles, the non-weight gaining caloric load might be closer to 2000 calories, however, this gives your body less than half the chance to grab the trace nutrients its needs, and given that even vegetables do not have the minerals and stuff that they used to have given the depletion of soil and how its grown, in the modern age we are starving our bodies of nutrients more and more....so I suggest supplementation.

weight loss is one thing, but longevity is another. All the science points to eating like cavemen, focusing on an uncooked plant-based diet, with meat, if any, used as more of a condiment, and to keep your B12 from dropping off. Vietnamese diet is very close to this.

sorry if I am repeating stuff already covered...I am new to this part of the forum.

Orchidflower 11-26-2009 07:19 AM

I'm definitely looking into that diet suggested. You folks are a fountain of wisdom. Thank you! I've not been on a diet in a long time, and have to relearn all this information..darn it.
And, yes, I'm very unhappy with the medical care I'm getting from the primary medical clinic. The medical care in this area is generally poor, and most people with serious problems go either to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or to Iowa City, Iowa, where the wonderful University of Iowa medical center is.
I used a clinic in Houston run by a Neurosurgeon, and it was so excellent that this place is a downer medically.

OK, I read the reviews on the suggested books and will get them. It will be no problem for me to cut out potatoes, sugar, flour, rice, bread, etc. (nothing white I guess is the philosophy). I'm ready to make the move and start getting healthier! I think my pride alone and finding out I actually might have something has been kicked in the fanny, so I am fired up to get going now--and this feels right!

Midpack 11-26-2009 07:39 AM

Diets don't work. There have been oodles of diets (and a lot of wealthy diet book authors) and yet we're more obese than ever. Why?

You need protein, carbs and (good) fats. You can certainly overdo any of them (many Americans get too many carbs), but trying to exclude one category is not healthy. Atkins is particularly bad (unhealthy ketosis and high cholesterol). Here's what really works:
  • Exercise regularly (at least 3 times a week, more is better),
  • Eat moderately
    • at least 6 days a week, OK to splurge one meal or day a week (tops)
    • eat small meals many times a day (5-6 times/day optimally, but no less than 3 times)
    • DO NOT skip meals (you'll actually gain weight sooner or later, depending on how you go about it)!
    • South Beach is a good balance, Fit for Life is another (a complete plan that includes exercise).
  • Plan to stay on this plan for life. If you don't plan to change your habits, you might as well not start.
    • That's where diets and fads go wrong. You deprive yourself (temporarily) and then when you get results you go off the diet. Because depriving yourself has slowed your metabolism, once you revert to your old eating habits, your slower metabolish results in gaining more weight than you lost to start with (yo-yo diets). And think about it, if your old habits resulted in you being overweight - doesn't it stand to reason that those old habits will drive you overweight again (of course)?
Being healthy and fit is a permanent lifestyle, not a diet. Best of luck, you can do it...

TromboneAl 11-26-2009 07:41 AM

Since September 1, DW and I have significantly cut down on carbohydrates based on Rob Thompson's advice. No rice, bread, potatoes or pasta. No sweet drinks.

We really enjoy eating eggs, sausage, nuts, mayo, and so on.

But our weight has remained remarkably constant. I find this very surprising. I would have expected that we'd lose weight.

Orchidflower 11-26-2009 07:49 AM

Are you saying the diet doesn't work or does, TromboneAl?

I could definitely up the water jogging and aerobics one more day and start walking IF it doesn't get too cold here (I'm in Illinois and Winter is closing in). And I love lifting weights but got out of the habit...stupid, huh?

Since I just read this morning that 63% of caregivers to the elderly--which I am now--die prematurely, I'm taking this seriously...yikes! Nowhere near ready to go yet....and I have goals to accomplish yet (darn it!).

audreyh1 11-26-2009 08:23 AM


Originally Posted by Orchidflower (Post 878557)
The medical care in this area is generally poor, and most people with serious problems go either to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or to Iowa City, Iowa, where the wonderful University of Iowa medical center is.

Well, you can get great nutritional advice from the Mayo Clinic right on your computer! They have a great nutrition/health web site.
Healthy diet: End the guesswork with these nutrition guidelines - MayoClinic.com

What to to when your blood sugar starts getting a little high: Prediabetes - MayoClinic.com

They also address issues like diet and cholesterol:
Cholesterol: The top five foods to lower your numbers - MayoClinic.com

Glycemic Index:
Glycemic index diet: Losing weight with blood sugar control - MayoClinic.com

They have some of the best written stuff on nutrition I have ever read on the web.


TromboneAl 11-26-2009 09:48 AM


Are you saying the diet doesn't work or does, TromboneAl?
It has not worked for us, in terms of losing weight.

Alan 11-26-2009 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by Orchidflower (Post 878484)
I'm just hoping my genes will carry me thru life. Father died at 90 and did everything wrong (no exercise at all, ate one huge meal a day with lots of fat in it) and my Mother is still going at 91.

That sounds like my Dad, who is also a heavy smoker and has been all his life. He is now 84 but despite all his "poor" eating habits he is and always has been thin. He had a very physical job as an underground coal miner (started age 14 in 1939) and we thought when he retired and stopped all the activity something would change, but he still eats loads and all the wrong stuff - lots of saturated fats and he loves ice cream.

As to what diet you should try I echo some of the others who say that you don't need to go on a diet which may cause you to lose weight in the short term. You need to change your diet permanently. Portion control may be the only thing you need to concentrate on. I love ice cream and chocolate but these days ice cream is a treat - we stopped somewhere on our way over and I had a coffee and an ice cream at a gas station. I spent 5 minutes examining all the options in the freezer and enjoyed a lovely ice cream cone which was 220 calories. Similar cones were as high as 450 calories.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. (I find that setting targets and writing down a plan helps me a lot)

PS - I eat chocolate every day but it is a single square of high cacao chocolate, usually with a glass of red wine. (I also gave up 99% of my beer drinking).

Orchidflower 11-26-2009 12:49 PM

Alan, your father will probably outlive us all if he worked like that all his life. He must be in fantastic physical shape despite the smoking. I'll bet he's so strong as a bull physically and mentally. That was some hard life he had, and it sounds admirable.
It's odd, but you find thin people who work out and eat right dying and some people who do everything wrong (like my biological father) live forever. I really think it is the biological sweepstakes of life in most instances, and you either get the good long living genes or not. Not that I am using that as an excuse not to get my own act together.

I know this sounds sick, but I'm excited to do this....maybe I need to get a life?:whistling: Sad when a diet is what you have to look forward to..ha!ha!

Kroeran 11-26-2009 12:55 PM

My view is that you have to educate yourself on all the different theories, decide which principles makes sense, and then start making incremental, effortless, but permanent changes to your diet, matched to your particular psychology.

This is because once you have the knowledge, the real battle will be discipline and determination, which is not so great if you understand the big impacts of subtle changes.

What works for us, and we are doing pretty good:

- when pasta, whole wheat al dente (undercooked, slows glycemic load), but ratio of sauce to pasta is high....pesto-based, or tomato/ground meat, + olive oil
- replace sugar with eyrthritol crystals, expensive but safe and effortless calorieless sugar substitute (rated tops by Wall Street Journal in review)
- eat anything, but half portions, always split entrees at a restaurant
- never breakfast
- dinner always starts with high quality lettuce salad (no iceberg!), in a two quart bowl - lots and lots of it
- dinner always ends with a large portion of fresh store-made fruit salad, when we are properly organized
- half of our dinners involve a large helping of steamed broccoli, drenched in lime, butter, garlic and salt (the dogs get the stems)...powerful cancer fighter
- alchohol is loaded with calories, use with caution. Cocktail hour for me usually is a half ounce of vodka in a martini glass of dark cherry juice, the latter which helps lower uric acid levels. (I didn't like my uric reading last blood test)
- I often end the evening with a very rustic seedy granola and top it off with psyillium husks and ground flax, with goat milk.

oh yeah, fatness is contagious...all your overweight friends and relative will unconsciously undermine you - that goes for all things...pick your friend carefully, for that is your future

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