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June 4, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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I'll Pass On Carb-Loading One Hour A Day
Jimmy Moore
May 21, 2006

The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":

Is the plan devised by the Hellers one that I would recommend?

When you have lost weight, it's a very natural thing for others to be curious about how you lost your weight and kept it off. Whenever they have heard me tell my story, read my blog or book, or found out that I did it on the low-carb lifestyle, one question invariably has come up from time to time:

"What do you think about this low-carb diet where you can eat whatever you want for one-hour per day?"

My initial reaction to these people was usually something along the lines of this:

"That's absolutely crazy! There's no way you could ever lose weight and keep it off using this method."

I did the Atkins diet and honestly have not stayed on top of all the bazillion other low-carb diets out there. But there was something very odd about this plan that it made me look around to find out more about it.

Little did I know there was an actual book out there about this very diet so many people had been telling me about. It's called The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet and it was written by a husband/wife team Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller.

The CAD diet, as it is referred to, makes the claim (and I agree with it) that many people are addicted to carbohydrates and need to be weaned off from depending on them for sustenance. Just like a drug addict gets small concentrated doses of their preferred drug daily so they can eventually get by with less and less, that same concept is what goes into the CAD diet.

If people think the Atkins diet is restrictive, then check out what you have to do on the CAD diet:

BREAKFAST: ZERO-carb meal consisting of protein and fat.
LUNCH: ZERO-carb meal consisting of protein and fat.

You are NOT allowed to eat any bread, fruit, milk, juice, and most starchy vegetables. Absolutely NO snacking whatsoever except for black coffee or diet soda. You cannot use artificial sweeteners either.

Sound appealing, anyone? Hmmm? I suppose if that's all there was to this diet, then NOBODY would do it. But there is one more key aspect of the CAD diet that you probably will be interested in.

DINNER: Eat equal amounts of protein, vegetables and dessert of whatever you want to eat in whatever amount, but it must be eaten in a one-hour time frame. You can even enjoy a beer or glass of wine with your "reward" meal.

How's that for incentive? You basically starve all day long just so you can get to those sixty minutes at the end of your day where you can say hello to the buffet line! Who wouldn't enjoy a diet that lets you do THAT?!

Well, I'm still very skeptical about any lifestyle change that encourages you to eat the very foods that got you overweight or obese to begin with on a DAILY basis. I caught a lot of flack from my fellow low-carbers about my controversial "planned splurge" meal every 6-8 weeks during my weight loss. However, the Hellers give you a DAILY planned splurge!!! What's up with that?

We can blame this on Dr. Rachael, who stumbled upon this way of eating when she weighed 268 pounds after being on diet after diet. She became a psychologist to learn more about why people overeat (ostensibly to help herself in the process, too). She had skipped breakfast and lunch on a particular day she was fasting for a blood test and then, like most of us would, ate to her heart's content whatever she wanted for supper. The next morning she noticed she had dropped 2 pounds.

Thinking something must have gone wrong with her scale, she tried it again the next day, skipping breakfast and lunch and then eating a gargantuan dinner and once again, she lost another pound. She played around with what would eventually become The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet and went on to lose 150 pounds which she has kept off to this day.

The frequency of eating carbohydrates is the key behind the CAD diet. The Hellers believe that anyone who consumes ANY amount of carbohydrates during the day will set off all the bells and whistles in your body that you are hungry faster than if you avoided them altogether. They say that eating carbs throughout the day is like giving lots of small doses of cocaine to a cocaine addict. It will make them crave their poison even more!

That's why you basically avoid eating carbs on the CAD diet until the end of the day. This process of getting over carbohydrate addiction is a tricky one, and the Hellers think they have found a solid plan for making it work for lasting weight loss in people.

I still can't get around the fact that you don't change the poor eating habits of the people who have packed on the pounds. Sure, they basically starve themselves throughout the day before they eat their one BIG meal each day, but how is that stimulating the metabolism and preventing the biggest obstacle to weight loss success -- HUNGER!

There's no way I could do the CAD diet because I enjoy eating every 2-3 hours to keep my digestive process constantly in motion. I truly believe this is one of the things that has helped me lose the weight and keep it off. Since you cannot snack or use artificial sweeteners on the CAD diet, it would literally drive me insane even if there was that "reward" meal at the end of the day!

Wanna take a test to see if you are a carb addict? Click here to take the 10-question Carbohydrate Addict's Test. I scored a 2, which means "You do not appear to be carbohydrate addicted." No kidding, ya think?

Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of Living The Low-Carb Life, examined the CAD diet and said the diet uses some fuzzy science to make their points about why their plan works.

"While it seems pretty clear that there are both insulin and serotonin abnormalities in the obese, it's not at all clear that high levels of insulin depress levels of serotonin, as the Hellers hypothesize--in fact, the majority of the evidence points to the opposite response."

Furthermore, Dr. Bowden said he is concerned about the lack of attention on exercise as part of their weight loss program, stating "it's vital to both maintaining weight and to raising the metabolic rate."

While The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet has worked for a lot of people and I always tell people to do what works for them to lose weight and keep it off, I still have my reservations about this program. I think I'll pass on carb-loading my body for one hour a day!

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Sad to say, I tried this a few years ago. But the eating pattern is so abnormal - nothing but protein for two meals, then gobble down as much food as you can for the "feast." And one hour is an incredibly short amount of time to eat what is usually a multi course meal. . . .

Read the rest.

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