For today's Americans, it is an obsession. What should I eat? What should I avoid? Which foods should I combine? How do I get "in the zone" or "eat for my type?" We must now choose between "healthy" fats and "unhealthy" fats; "good" carbs and "bad" carbs; and "high glycemic" and "low glycemic. " While the formulas for healthful eating increase, so do our waistlines. The perfect example is the low-carbohydrate diet. Since the mid-1990s low-carb diets have made a phenomenal ...
For today's Americans, it is an obsession. What should I eat? What should I avoid? Which foods should I combine? How do I get "in the zone" or "eat for my type?" We must now choose between "healthy" fats and "unhealthy" fats; "good" carbs and "bad" carbs; and "high glycemic" and "low glycemic. " While the formulas for healthful eating increase, so do our waistlines.
The perfect example is the low-carbohydrate diet. Since the mid-1990s low-carb diets have made a phenomenal resurgence, led by Dr. Robert Atkins' program, which has been on The New York Times bestseller list continuously for the past five years. But his plan is by no means the only one. Others also are jockeying to take the low-carb crown, including the South Beach Diet, the latest in the low-carb offerings that has pushed its way up the bestseller lists. With this resurgence, many Americans are now avoiding carbs. For the time being, carbs appear to be the "enemy" in many people's minds and stomachs.
We emphasize "for the time being" because when it comes to diets, nothing lasts forever. Americans went through a similar obsession with carbohydrate avoidance a few decades ago, when many low-carb diet books topped the bestseller lists in the 1960s and 1970s-including the original version of Atkins' low-carb diet. Despite their popularity, low-carb diets had virtually no measurable effect on our waistlines-the weight of the average U. S. adult at the end of '70s was essentially the same as it was at the start of the previous decade. It seems that a diet limited to primarily protein and fat was not the answer after all.
And when it comes to dieting, it seems Americans cannot resist a fad. Butno matter what the latest fad diet claims, the bottom line is calories-regardless of type-do count. Unfortunately, Americans seem to have found out the hard way. It's the Calories, Not the Carbs was written in part to clarify this point and set the record straight.
It also was written to show you that eating well-and living well-is about giving yourself the best possible intake of nutrients to allow your body to be as healthy as possible and to work as well as it can. It is getting the nutrients your body needs for optimal mental performance and emotional balance. It is not a set of rules. Your body's needs and health goals are completely unique and depend on a whole host of factors-from the strengths and weaknesses you were born with, to the effects your current environment has on you. No single way of eating is perfect for everyone, although there are general guidelines that apply to us all.
Whether your personal health goal is to lose weight, maintain your current weight, become more active, have more energy, or just improve your overall health and fitness-this guide will show you how to use the Food Guide Pyramid, listen to your body, and become more active to make lasting, healthful lifestyle changes for health and wellness . . . and to say goodbye to fad diets of all types for good.
Glenn A. Gaesser, Ph.D., is a professor of Exercise Physiology and director of the Kinesiology Program in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. Dr. Gaesser has conducted research and published many articles on exercise, body weight, health and fitness in scientific journals, trade publications, and newsletters. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and co-authored this organization's 1998 position stand on "The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults." He is an editorial/advisory board member and contributing writer of Health at Every Size. His interest in the relationship between body weight and health led Dr. Gaesser to author the critically acclaimed book, Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health, in 1996 (updated version 2002, Gurze Books). In 1997, he received a public service award from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). A popular speaker, Dr. Gaesser has presented on the subject of fitness, body weight, and health at numerous national and international meetings. He has been a guest on dozens of radio and TV shows in North America and has been interviewed for stories on body weight, fitness and health for numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Dr. Gaesser has been featured on Good Morning America, ABC's 20/20, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and Dateline NBC.