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Low carb diets help weight loss, diabetes, heart disease: Sugar is poison

Step away from that candy jar.
Step away from that candy jar.
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Increasingly, weight loss experts are agreeing that low carb diets win when it comes to effective ways to shed pounds permanently. "From obesity to heart disease, including, but not limited to, diabetes, lowering carbs has an extreme healthy beneficial impact," said Dr. James Carlson, a family medicine practitioner, in an Aug. 24 interview with the NWI Times.

After using low carb diets in his practice for 18 years, Dr. Carlson believes that they are both effective and safe. He noted that some patients can even stop taking prescription medication for conditions such as type 2 diabetes after following a low carb diet.

Dr. Carlson blames the Standard American Diet (SAD), which consists primarily of starchy carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta as well as foods high in sugar such as ice cream. "Unfortunately when it comes to nutrition and what to eat we've lost our way," he summed up.

One physician hoping to help consumers find their way in terms of weight loss and health is Dr. Robert Lustig, author of "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease." He's become famed for his belief that sugar is as harmful as cocaine and tobacco, and contends that the food industry is to blame for slipping sugar into all types of processed food, reported the Guardian on Aug. 24.

After 16 years of treating children who are obese, Dr. Lustig is grimly aware of how sugar and processed foods contribute to what has become an epidemic. Consumption of sugar results in a cycle of cravings, weight gain and conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Moreover, these diseases are occurring in even young children.

By turning attention to food corporations, Dr. Lustig hopes that politicians will use their power to make a positive difference. "Politicians have to come in and reset the playing field, as they have with any substance that is toxic and abused, ubiquitous and with negative consequence for society," he urges.

"The food industry cannot be given carte blanche. They're allowed to make money, but they're not allowed to make money by making people sick," Dr. Lustig added.

But if you want to win at weight loss, does it suffice to eliminate sugar? No, says nutrition and fitness guru Vinnie Tortorich, author of "Fitness Confidential: Adventures in the Weight Loss Game." He recommends a two-step elimination diet: "No sugar, no grains," summed up in his mantra "NSNG."

Vinnie agrees with Dr. Lustig that avoiding processed foods is essential. "I am not a huge fan of engineered food," he emphasized in an exclusive interview.

In addition to avoiding both sugar and grains, Vinnie believes in Dr. David Perlmutter's view that eating healthy fats and protein while minimizing starchy carbohydrates is the best approach. Author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers," Dr. Perlmutter contends that carbohydrates should be limited primarily to vegetables with some fruit.

That means, for example, that white potatoes are not recommended. "White potatoes can be over 100% on the glycemic index," warns Vinnie. In contrast, "sweet potato and yams are a different story. They have a much lower glycemic index rating and if boiled for 20 minutes and then mashed, they will keep that low GI number."