Posts Tagged ‘low carb diet’

The Weight Loss Industry – The Focus on Food

August 28th, 2009 Comments off

Although low carb diets (i.e. ketogenic diets and the Atkins Diet) have been in vogue for the last few years, let me shed a little light on where the concept of the low carb diet came from. Interestingly, the first low carb diet was promoted several years before we even had strong evidence that carbohydrates, fats, and proteins were present in our foodstuffs.

As legend has it, William Banting, a very overweight casket maker (of all things), was worried that his casket would be too expensive to fit his large, gelatinous physique. So he theorized that eating less starch (potatoes, bread, pasta) would help him lose weight. And right he was as he dropped down a few “casket sizes.” He became slim and svelte and in 1878 he published his “Letter on Corpulence,” extolling the virtues of the no bread, no potatoes, and no pasta diet. So the first low-carb diet came from a casket maker.

Just a few years later, information began trickling out of the scientific community regarding the composition of food. In the 1890′s Wilber Atwater is credited for observing the different macronutrient components of food. In the early 1900′s, Russell Chittenden went a step further to determine the calorie content of food. With these data, the concept of energy balance and the practice of calorie counting was born.

Half a century later, in the 1950′s, the research world began to publish extensively on different diet strategies including ketogenic diets, high protein diets, very low calorie diets, and protein sparing modified fasts; this last one known to T-mag readers as “Fat Fast.” As a result of these dietary strategies, rather than promoting long-term weight loss, the concept of yo-yo dieting began.

So take note. While writers are often “introducing new diet plans,” there is very little that is “new.” As mentioned, the “Fat Fast” diet was popular in the 1950′s (although Brock’s version has a few modifications that make it a bit better), ketogenic diets were used at the same time with limited success, and even the Atkins diet was first introduced in 1966. So don’t fall victim to the notion that these diets are really revolutionary ways to lose fat. As you’re about to see, they failed miserably back then, and even now, they aren’t the best way to change your physique.