Low Carb…Just another scare tactic


Right??? If the health crisis was as bad as all of the low carbers claim, we would be dropping left and right. Is the western diet really THAT big of a deal? We have been eating like this for over half a century. After awhile it gets pretty hard to sort through the cacophony of health advice blaring around us. Paleos and Primals say we should only eat what a caveman ate (the Atkins folks fit in there somehow). Vegetarians argue the opposite side of the issue. The food industry claims that their dietitians empowered by modern food science know what’s best for us. At the end of the day, the mighty carbohydrate is at the center of the spectacle.

According to the medical community, our population is getting overrun by what researchers are calling Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. One of the leading suspects in the Metabolic Syndrome crisis is the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). Carbs make up OVER 50% of the S.A.D.

I’ll illustrate:

Let’s say you invited 19 of your best friends over for a cocktail party. Imagine these 19 friends are a representative cross-section of the U.S. population. One in 12 of you is a pre-diabetic, or a diagnosed Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic. One of you has heart disease or is at risk of a stroke; and six of you are obese or overweight. In all, eight of you would be experiencing the classic effects of metabolic syndrome. That is almost half of you! 8 out of 20 are sick…scary huh?

Oh, there is one more thing. There is a lot of research going into a new phenomenon called “TOFI” (Thin on the Outside – Fat on the Inside). We are all familiar with the BMI or Body Mass Index. BMI is the typical way of calculating whether or not a person is at a healthy body weight. Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London, scanned 800 people with an MRI to determine their BMI – over half of them were classified as “TOFI”.

Essentially, we are talking about skinny obese people. The risks associated with obesity are many. Obesity accounts for a massive part of the national medical bill. But, what if the very same health issues that are effecting the obese are lurking beneath the surface, so to speak, for millions and millions of THIN people. This is exactly what Dr. Bell and many others like him are putting forth.

Getting back to the cocktail party…according to this research TEN of the guests would be TOFI. Yup, crazy, right?So ONLY two people out of the 20 would be unaffected. I recognize that the numbers wouldn’t spread out as evenly in our imaginary cocktail party, but it is definitely food for thought.

So whether you agree or disagree with any of the aforementioned “diet” factions, there is something that is happening to our bodies as a group; unless you happen to be one of the two people that managed to avoid the statistics. Come to think of it … who are those two, they have been eating up all the shrimp cocktail. I’m not sure I even invited them!

Lathe Poland is one of the creators of Carb-Loaded a documentary film that examines the causes of the diabetes epidemic.