If traditional weight loss programs of diet & exercise works, then why do we have an obesity epidemic?

Everyone, including yourself, seems to be attacking low carbohydrate diets. If your traditional weight loss programs of balanced diet and exercise are the way to go, then why do we have an obesity epidemic with the majority of obese people have tried that way of dieting (myself included) without long-term success?

You are so eager to show how much water or lean tissue a person loses on the low carbohydrate diets, but you make no attempt to calculate the stored fat loss almost implying none occurred.

Unfortunately, low carbohydrate diets have not had a long-term success rate. Research has proven that any diet with fewer calories than a person needs to maintain their weight, result in short-term success without creating a weight maintenance plan. Weight Watchers is one exception to using the same points system for weight loss and weight maintenance.

The obesity epidemic in the US is due to our abundant food supply, lack of exercise as well as other factors like genetics, an environmental abundance of eating opportunities, and technology (we drive everywhere). When a person loses weight, they lose a combination of muscle and body fat.  The body starts with scavenging stored glycogen from liver (approximately 1500 calories) to make up for low carbohydrates eaten from food then turns to muscle glycogen which is usually reserved for physical activity. When liver glycogen reserves have been used, the body starts burning body fat and without adequate carbohydrates in food or liver/muscle glycogen produces ketones which are the end product from breaking down either protein in a food or lean tissue (muscles and organs).  While ketones can be used as fuel, they are excreted by the kidneys. These are biochemical facts.

Low carbohydrate diets (less than 100 grams per day) are dehydration diets which do cause a loss of water from the lean tissue. We can measure protein and water loss with blood and urine tests. There is some fat loss, but how would one calculate fat loss? You would have to have a very accurate body fat analysis at the beginning and end of a low carbohydrate diet. Measuring body fat would have to be over a long period of time (at least 3 to 6 months) before any change is noticed and is usually dependent on the skills of the person taking measurements. Unfortunately when a person increases carbohydrates, weight gain is common due to re-hydration and restoration of glycogen stores. Glycogen attracts water.

Weight loss is not easy for some people and when dieting, they want the weight gone as quickly as possible not remembering how long it took to put on weight. People turn to popular diets due to the promise of quick weight loss, easy, and celebrities often use these diets. Many require special foods or drinks that replace meals.  The problem with these popular quick weight loss diets is they are not a long-term solution to maintain weight loss. A person should be able to eat a variety of foods (exception sweets and desserts) to lose weight by eating smaller portions. Then when they reach their goal weight, slightly increase portions.  A 50 calorie increase per day (1/2 cup of orange juice) above weight maintenance needs can result in a 5 pound per year weight gain if nothing else changes.

Second, without exercising regularly, a person loses muscle mass and increases in body fat if they stay at the same weight. Muscles burn calories and fat just sits there waiting for a famine to provide fuel. So exercise that a person likes and is willing to do 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes will help maintain body weight, muscle mass, and a 15 hour sustained metabolic rate. Again chemistry at work.

In order to change a single eating habit, it must be repeated for 21 days according to research.  While a popular diet may last that long, how a person has been eating over a lifetime is an ingrained habit which will take daily work to change until it is replaced. Otherwise, a person is bound to return to their pre-weight loss eating habits

What researchers have found is that people who try fad diets frequently often have yo-yo weight changes. Researchers have also noticed that people who try fad diets often end up heavier after going off a fad diet than before they started dieting.

The human body is capable of storing an infinite amount of body fat. We are the result of our cave person’s genes. The fat cave people survived famines long enough to pass along their fat genes. The skinny cave people died during a famine. So in this technological world, humans need to stop eating when they are full and get 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. It doesn’t happen overnight, but a healthy eating plan, exercise, and written food records have been found to keep weight off longer than just diet alone. Any diet.