Net carbs defended

In following my low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, I’ve always been guided by the concept of “net carbs.” This is the notion that carbohydrates from fiber don’’t get used by the body to raise blood glucose levels, so therefore fiber content can be subtracted from total carbs. What’’s left, the net carbs, are what the LCHF dieter counts and pays attention to. Or so I have believed.

I’ve lost weight by keeping my net carb intake to around 30 – 35 grams per day. For instance, for the past five weeks, I’ve averaged a daily intake of 45 grams of total carbs, including 15 grams of fiber. That’s 30 net carbs per day. I’ve lost weight eating that way — a little over a pound a week on average in that 5-week span. And I’ve done it without feeling hungry, “hangry,” or deprived.

The net-carbs concept seemed clear, logical and uncontroversial to me, so I was surprised when I read a contrary opinion by a respected physician, author and researcher — Dr. Eric C. Westman of Duke University — in Keto Clarity, a book he co-wrote with well-know blogger and podcaster Jimmy Moore. [Read more…]

5 lessons for eating low-carb

Vergilius Augusteus, Georgica 121
The lessons are age-old, but still relevant!
It seems as good a time as any to look back and figure out what has worked and what hasn’t in my low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) way of eating. I’ve been eating low-carb for four years now (since March 2011). Admittedly, I went off the reservation a bit from 2012 to 2014, and gained back about 25 hard-lost pounds. That would be the “what hasn’t worked” part. To be clear, I never strayed much from a low-carb diet. I did not start eating loaves of bread, pots of pasta, ears of corn, or piles of potatoes. For the most part, I avoided sugary treats (cakes, pies, etc.), and I absolutely avoided sugary drinks. Probably my daily grams of net carbs fluctuated in the range of 50 to 100 — well below the average American’s. Yet probably too much for me.

I say “probably” because during my off-the-reservation period, I don’t know for sure what I ate. I wasn’t recording my daily nutritional intake. Which brings me to the first of my top 5 lessons for successful low-carb dieting and weight-loss. [Read more…]

Busting the myth that you must exercise to lose weight

From my personal experience, as well as my reading, I know that it simply isn’t necessary to exercise to lose weight.

I’ve lost plenty of pounds following my low carb, high fat (LCHF) way of eating without resorting to what Mark Twain called the “loathsome” practice of exercise. I wrote a blog post about it a few years ago, featuring Mr. Twain, which is one of my personal favorites even though no one else ever cared for it.

Maybe readers thought I was advocating a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, that sounds good to me, but I recognize that moving around and lifting things benefits our general health and well-being. I concede that regular physical activity is necessary for improving and maintaining our stamina, balance, coordination, and muscle mass. It can also relieve stress.

But exercise is not necessary for improving or maintaining our weight. [Read more…]

My low-carb week in review: April 12 – April 18, 2015



The maddening logic of metabolism struck again this week. I ate according to my low carb diet all week — no splurges, no wild indulgences, no day out of the norm. For the week, I averaged 1,727 calories, 139g fat, 26g net carbs, and 91g protein per day. That average daily calorie total was significantly lower than for past five weeks, and the macro-nutrient percentages were about the same.

All in all, a great week  of sensible low-carb eating, and yet I gained a bit of weight, tipping the scales at 223.2 pounds today, up 8 tenths of a pound from last Sunday.

This is after I lost almost two pounds the week of April 5 – 11, despite consuming over a hundred grams of carbs in a single day, and averaging 100 calories more per day that week than this last week.

Pascal said that the heart has its logic that logic cannot know.  I think the same applies to the human body in general.

But in truth I am more mystified than discouraged.

I’m alive.  I feel fine. I know from my regular medical exams that my other health indicators are fine. And based on my past experiences, a week to week variation in weight means very little.

So I’ll keep on keeping on, enjoying a low carb diet, and accept that my body follows its own strange logic.