Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good Calories, Bad Calories

I've been reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes.  I'd heard a lot about it.  Now, I have a lot of vegan cookbooks.  I've been eating mostly vegetarian for years, and have been on the low-fat train for decades.  However, I like to keep my options open. I visit Mark's Daily Apple and recently borrowed The Primal Blueprint from the library.
While I don't think carbohydrates are evil, and I wonder about the sense it makes to eat like a caveman when cavemen didn't live very long, it got me thinking.  The two sides are so polar.  Both have studies that support their views and both are very vocal (The China Study, and some of Atkins' work).  And you've got followers in both camps that say they've never felt better, been healthier, or been able to maintain their weights easily.  Of course, that's probably easy when you are eliminating entire food groups.  And both sides really emphasize lots of fresh fruits and veggies and real food. I read lots of vegan blogs. However, I've got some friends who have had much success on a health standpoint by going low-carb.
I'm not sure I could ever give up my grains, but I have been cutting back.  And the last several days, I have been increasing my fat intake.  (It's that Good Calories, Bad Calories thing again.)  That whole low-fat diet thing?  Total hoax.  No definitive studies that ACTUALLY link a high-fat diet to cardiovascular disease.  At least, I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book, and that's still the case.

Today I woke up with a killer hangover.  Gave blood last week, then had 3 glasses of wine = not a good mix.  For breakfast, I ate high fat (remembering what worked during my college days).  2 eggs, a piece of toast with butter, and cheese.  I wasn't hungry for 6 hours, when usually I need to eat every 3 hours.  I decided to continue the trend for lunch, and got a Cobb salad.  Only 440 calories (Trader Joe's), but a lot of fat.  Again, did not need an afternoon snack.
Dinner was a slice of homemade pizza and some broccoli.  All in all, I haven't been hungry today, and I only ate 32 points.  Which is pretty low for me.
So, I'm going to be testing out this higher-fat thing for a bit longer.  See how it works out for  me.  Nuts, avocados, seeds, eggs, meats...if it  helps me maintain my weight without hunger, it can only be a good thing.
Have you read Good Calories, Bad Calories or The Primal Blueprint?  Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

ooh this is so interesting! i believe in the hiogh fat thing and try to eat avocados, cocnut oil and nuts on a daily basis. the meat thing has me preplexed though. not sure how good meat and cheese is for us. again i am not sure either. at least this seems to be working for you! and it is fun to experiment-huh?

Marcia said...

I know, this book is just very interesting. All of the knowledge that saturated fat from animals is bad for us was generated by one theory by one guy that became dogma without any real conclusive data. Spouse actually learned that at Cornell in a class.

I mean, I've been eating nearly vegetarian, low-fat, high carb for over a DECADE, and I am hungry every three hours and still struggle with my weight. What if all of that was complete BS??

Rosemary Evergreen said...

I've read both, and have followed nutrition news for a number of years. The intersection in the two arguments lies in the low-to-no sugar, no added oils, and lots of vegetables. I've gone off gluten (which also reduced a lot of sugar intake) twice in the past two years and both times experienced rapid, immediate weight loss (from an average starting weight, in the middle of my recommended BMI range). The diet that seems to work for me is lots of fruits and vegetables, 1-2 small servings/day of animal-based foods (from yogurt, eggs, poultry mostly). I think that Joel Fuhrman's food pyramid is the best: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/foodpyramid.aspx

Marcia said...

Wow, 30-60% of your daily calories from vegetables? If you eat 2000 cal per day, that's 600 cal. At about 30 calories per 4 oz, you'd have to eat 5 lbs of vegetables a day.