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May 2004 Issue
Should You Buy Foods Labeled and Marketed as "Low-Carb"?
by Michael Fick
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Give it up, folks. Let's move on to the problems with individual, restaurant and market foods labeled as low-carb. Low-carb bread, low-carb candy, low-carb beer, cookies, pasta, pizza, cheesecake . people, these companies, and the whole low-carb diet industry, are absolutely laughing at you. It's costing you a collective fortune, and the low-carb diet is costing lives. Here's the lowdown on "low-carb" foods.
  • Fallacy: The label says it's low-carb..
  • Fact: So what? It's also low-gasoline, low-gold, and low-Legos. Besides, labels lie.

  • Fallacy: But its "net" and "effective" carbs are lower.
  • Fact: Food marketers - not nutritionists or the government - invented those terms. They mean absolutely nothing, and are usually lies anyway. The government is working to correct that by this summer..

  • Fallacy: If it truly is low-carb, as some are, it will help me control my weight.
  • Fact: Let me shout it this time: A 240-CALORIE PROTEIN BAR IS JUST AS FATTENING AS A 240-CALORIE SMORE. Atkins bread, Atkins candy, etc., often adds, not subtracts weight, compared to "diet" breads and candy, when it contains more calories.

  • Fallacy: Some low "net" and "effective' carb foods suppress the dreaded blood sugar spike.
  • Facts:
    1. Unless you're diabetic, you don't care about an occasional sugar spike.
    2. Even if you have reason to care, sugar spikes are mitigated by the foods you eat with that pint of syrup.
    3. Low-carb foods substitute alcohol sugars for some of the regular sugar. The former end in "tol", as in "sorbitol", and the toll you pay for them can include gas and diarrhea. Normal sugars end in "ose", as in sucrose. Both put exactly the same inches on your hips and pounds on the scale.
    4. Manufacturers lie about the "net" and "effective" carbs by not including alcohol sugars in the calorie count.

  • Fallacy: Omitting the bun makes a burger healthier.
  • Fact: I'm having a real hard time not swearing about that BS. It's the burger that's killing us, not the bun. Just stop eating at burger joints and you'll live years longer. I don't even know where our local burger joints are, any more than I know where the tanning parlors, low-carb groceries, and steak houses are. OTOH, I'm human; I know where Pizza Hut is, because I go there a couple of times a year.
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