A Confession

I need to fess up about my weight.  When I started writing this blog, I was highly motivated and I was doing as well as I had ever done with food.  I dropped about twenty pounds quickly and I was feeling very good.  I thought by this date I’d be down to the weight I was in high school.

But things changed, and I put back on the 20 pounds I lost.  I did this in spite of the fact that I continued to eat a diet very low in carbohydrates.  What happened?  Does this mean that low carb dieting doesn’t really work?

If you have read the rest of this blog then you’ll know that I eat low carb for a variety of reasons besides my obesity.  So even if I became convinced that low-carb dieting was causing weight gain, I would still eat low carb.   But there are a couple of other factors that could explain my recent bout of adiposity.  

First, Diet Dr. Pepper.  When I lost the 20 pounds in question, it was during a time that I had also sworn off drinking Diet Dr. Peppers.  But then I found myself frequently in an environment where there was a free soda fountain, and Diet Dr. Pepper  found its way back into my daily diet.  Aspartame, the main sweetener in diet sodas is highly controversial.  There are a lot of people who I respect that advise to stay away from them, and especially while on a weight loss program.  I chose to ignore that advice.  My weight loss stopped cold.  In fact, I gained back about 5 pounds.

I stayed at that weight for about 8 months.  I tried quitting diet soft drinks a couple of times but failed.  Then one day I developed a bacterial infection that was particularly hard to treat.  It required two solid months of antibiotics.  During those two months I regained the other 15 pounds.  And as far as I can tell, nothing about my diet changed during those two months except that I was on antibiotics.  BTW, I have lost 9 pounds since I stopped taking antibiotics.

So could antibiotics have contributed to my weight gain?  You be the judge.  Check out this article in Scientific American:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antibiotics-linked-weight-gain-mice

All this illustrates a broader point I wish to make.   I am not a biologist or a physician.  I am not qualified to make scientific arguments about this or that theory of human nutrition.  I am however a human being with a lot of diet related health issues, and this qualifies me to write about my experience, and how that fits with or doesn’t fit with conventional views about diet and health.  As I have written about extensively on this blog, my experience supports a view of the human metabolism that is radically different from the conventional (my current body weight not withstanding), and I continue to witness examples of physicians doling out advice that I have good reasons to suspect is completely wrong.

For example:  When my wife and I took our daughter to her pediatrician for her 3-year checkup a few months ago, my wife asked the pediatrician how our daughter compared with other children her age weight-wise.  The doctor said, “She is on the high end of normal.  It might not hurt to switch her to low fat milk if you are currently giving her whole milk, that should help her trim up a bit.”

I told my wife in the car that I had to bite my lip when the doctor said that.  I wanted to tell him that there was some very sound research that would suggest that switching my daughter from whole milk to low fat milk would cause her to gain weight.  Of course I know better than to pick fights with doctors.  But what really irked me was the authority with which he offered that advice.  My wife rolled her eyes and said, “Do you want to switch doctors?”  I said, “Of course not.  He’s the best in Oklahoma City.  And I am sure every other pediatrician I could find would give the same advice.  I am just pissed because its probably the wrong advice.”  That was four months before this article:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/19/174739752/whole-milk-or-skim-study-links-fattier-milk-to-slimmer-kids


One response to “A Confession

  1. Marcia Thompson

    Wonderful blog and great to see/hear about someone looking at the science of nutrition. I haven’t read much more than this new post, so perhaps my comments will be redundant (I’m sure that pleading with you to give up any diet drinks is something you’ve heard before — they do lead to weight gain — the drinks, not the comments) but here are two suggestions for further reading that might help with your health problems:

    Wheat Belly by William Davis and (believe it or not) The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin. In the case of the first, Davis explains WHY wheat is so bad these days and really doesn’t belong in anyone’s diet in any fashion and in the case of the second diet guru, she has seven basic food items to be avoided at all costs because of the damage they do: soy, corn, sugar and sugar substitutes (except Stevia and Xylitol), dairy, eggs, gluten, and peanuts. After three weeks without any of those (far easier than I thought it would be since you can do just about anything for three weeks) I’d lost 10 pounds and felt better than I’d felt in ages. In many respects it’s a low carb diet with the right balance of low-starch veggies, etc. Soy and corn are a problem because there isn’t any of either product in this country that’s not genetically modified – and soy is very hard to digest.After three weeks you add items into your diet one at a time. So I now know I should stay away from dairy, I haven’t eaten gluten for 12 years (really – that’s a biggie and probably a huge problem for you from the sounds of things, although you don’t mention it in this blog), I had to give up my beloved mayo (Hellman’s) which is made with soybean oil, as are lots of dressings, but eggs are fine and I can live without peanuts. Corn is another thing that’s no longer in my diet (but in a million processed foods) because I react badly to it. She has very good chapters in her book on such things as leptin measures – and why we shouldn’t eat for three hours before bedtime, etc. I encourage you to read both of them. Curious about what you’ll find.

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