The Low-Carb Fraud by Dr. Campbell can be read in less time than it takes to bake our plant-based Chocolate Banana Bread. Whip up the dough, set a timer and by the time it cooks and cools down you’ll have read all 52 pages. And maybe even the appendix about the Paleo Diet. You can then enjoy your delicious, carbohydrate-friendly, creation with full understanding of why low-carbohydrate diets became so popular and why they continue to fail at making us healthier.
There is no shortage of evidence that eating a low-carbohydrate diet is bad for human health. Dr. Campbell outlines why, despite this knowledge, low-carbohydrate remains popular.
1. A low-carbohydrate diet can bring about quick weight-loss. Unfortunately, as I see over and over and over again with those I counsel, the lost weight returns quickly. Worse yet, the body suffers and multiple side-effects follow, including increased risk of both acute and chronic disease. There are few things less enjoyable than telling someone who has just lost 30 pounds on a low carbohydrate diet that they now have high cholesterol and blood pressure.
2. Low-carbohydrate gives permission to eat tons of unhealthy foods, not with shame, but with pride. We love to hear good things about bad habits. Sadly enough, even with permission, bad habits can still kill us.
3. We’ve been told that low-fat doesn’t work. Americans were told to “eat less fat” and then we became even more obese. In the years following this recommendation fat intake dropped (barely) from 35% to 33% of total calories. And total calories INCREASED. So we actually are eating MORE fat overall, but a slightly lower percentage of our calories are from fat. 33% of calories from fat is still very high and very unhealthy.
4. Flawed research. Studies have claimed to pit low-fat/low-protein diets against high-fat/high-protein diets. The results then make headlines: Low-Fat Diets don’t Work! Lose More Weight with High-Protein Diet! As Dr. Campbell points out, when you dig a little deeper into these studies it turns out that low-fat means ~30% of calories from fat and low-protein referred to ~15%. A whole-food, plant-based diet falls under low-fat/low-protein but is hardly similar to the diets in the study. Whole-food plant-based diets are around 80% carbohydrates, 10% fat and 10% protein.
These misconceptions lead many to conclude that carbohydrates are bad and therefore people end up eating tons of animal products instead. Ironically I am rarely asked if steak is bad for your health but I am asked almost daily if fruit causes weight gain. A world where you’re afraid to eat an apple because you think it will make you gain weight is a sad, sad place.
So what is this little book suggesting? It’s not saying that you need to track fat, protein and carbohydrate percentages. Anyone eating a diet centered around whole foods coming from plants (whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds) will automatically have the right percentages of each nutrient. Eating these foods will also allow you to enjoy the benefits of decreased inflammation, decreased disease risk, enhanced recovery and a healthy weight. The take-away: enjoy your whole-food, plant-based carbs!
Available on Amazon: The Low-Carb Fraud