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Interview with a low-carber…

In 2001, M Magazine published an article about Low-carbing. Joanne Pollock and her Friend Karen went for the “healthcheck”, and I gave an e-mail “interview” to the Journalist in charge of the article.

I also published it to my e-mail list, and more recently to the low-carb list owners list, where I got called “One Awesome lady…” for writing such a comprehensive piece of information.
Here in its entirety is the the interview to M Magazine, and typically, they only used one quote from the below!

—-Original Message—–
From: Nikki
Sent: 27 June 2001 23:25
To: Michele
Subject: RE: interview for magazine feature – Long reply, sorry!

Glad you are up for an interview. I don’t have a slant, positive or negative- on this one. Everybody who has been on it or know people on it, think it’s the best thing ever. I’d say conventional nutritionists and dieticians are the ones that might ( though I do not know for sure yet) find flaws.

Dieticians would find flaws… You only have to look at the recent copy of “Which?” magazine, where they reviewed diet books, basing their finding on current nutritional guidelines! The low-carb books failed to meet the panel’s criteria miserably, and yet in practise, they appear to be the most successful!

So, re:pointing me in the direction of research – please do. I am particularly after books ( available in UK) besides Atkins and Protein Power, and Eat Fat, Get Thin, that advocate this general idea. We want to do a box to run alongside the text on books.

I suspect I will do the “interview” via e-mail! lol! I hope you also speak to me too. But I will answer this lot on here, where I can marshal my thoughts as well!

Research. First up the Internet. I would guess that you have already visited my site and had a good nose. Also in there of specific relevance is a page on all the low-carb books I could find on Amazon.co.uk. Most are not widely available, but there is definitely more choice out there than when I started 18 months ago!

There is also an amazing book and site by a lady called Dana Carpender, http://www.holdthetoast.com. Dana did a lot of research, and wrote her book, entitled How I gave up my Low Fat diet, and lost 40lbs! for reference. This is a true synopsis of low-carbing! I cannot recommend this one highly enough!

I would also highly recommend a look see at Lowcarbluxury.com.
Lora owns what I consider to be the premiere low-carb information site globally. She has a “news archive” on her site, which is well worth checking over. I would particularly point your attention she has to the link to Science mag. They did an Article not so long ago about how The American Government have spent the last 30 years trying to prove fat is bad
for you, and failing miserably! You have to subscribe to the Science site, which is a bummer… But it is an excellent article!

Mammoth research could be undertaken about UK attitudes by trawling through the Archives of Low-Carb in the uk, my low-carb e-mailing list.

You do not have to be subscribed to the list to read the messages, it is a public database. Try doing some keyword searches on topics you want an angle on, and see what pops out! We are candid, and discuss just about
everything and anything!

I would also point you at Dr Barry Groves’ Website. His writing on Cholesterol myths and Low-carbing are rather good.

You may also want to read the First low-carb diet book, written by William Banting in 1868. (You do have to print this to read it I feel, as it is as wordy as you would expect a Victorian to be! lol!)

And this one written in the sixties before Dr A came to the fore:Eat Fat And Grow Slim by Richard Mackarness, M.B.,B.S.

And so, to the questions!

1) Tell me, briefly, about your own experience, how much weight have you lost, are you maintaining, etc, and how this compares , for you , to other diets you have been on.

Read My Story. It tells it is a nutshell, with Pictures too. As of this day, I have lost 3st exactly! I am in a stall right now, having gained back a little weight due to my not coming to terms with some emotional issues with food, and overeating… hey, no news there, over eat when eating anything and if you have a body type with propensity to gain weight, you get fat! I understand my stumbling blocks, and am hoping to get back on loss track soon.

How does LC compare. No Hypoglycemic attacks. I have to say that this is the BIGGEST plus. Having done a lot of research, about how insulin works, and how my body shape relates to my insulin sensitivity, on the blood sugar roller-coaster that is “healthy eating” I was forever tired, washed out, irritable, moody and plain HUNGRY!!!!!!

Using LC plans, the blood sugar is ROCK SOLID (which is of huge advantage to diabetics) and also by switching your body over to Ketone Burning (Fat as fuel) rather than Glucose Burning (Sugar and starch for fuel) hunger is blunted, and less food is needed for appetite satiation.

Weight loss is erratic… This is due to Fat loss and Muscle gain. Muscle is more dense than Fat, so it takes up less space in the body. Why the Tape measure is more important to a low-carber than the scale. Low-cal diets are Muscle wasting, which slows down your metabolism. Low-carb promotes muscle growth, keeping your metabolism healthy! As an aside, this is why a low-carb will never be as light as a low-cal dieter. We have more muscle!

2) Do you have to eat this way for life? If you go back to eating carbs will you not just gain the weight back?

You never *have* to do anything… For me personally, I don’t want to go back to eating the metabolic poison that are Carbohydrate in large quantity. (yes, my “conversion” is complete… I view Refined Sugar and white Flour as total poison), I am happy to low-carb for life. The food is natural, nutrient-dense, varied, interesting and above all tastes good! Why would I want to feel like crap again, be tired all the time, have higher blood pressure (I dropped from 130/90 to 110 over 78 in the past 18 months), bad skin, brittle nails, dull hair, and above all, get fat again, after all this work!

You are right, if you have a body that is predisposed to plumpness, when you revert back to the diet that made you fat in the first place, you are going to get fat again! This is no shock, on low-carb or low-cal!!!!

However, studies have shown you are more likely to give up and gain back on low-cal than on low-carb. At the end of the day, Hunger usually does the low-cal person in, and they go back to how they ate before, gaining back all the weight they lost, and some more into the bargain! This will happen to a low-carber that gives up as well, but normally we don’t give up that easily.

3) Has not eating carbs cut your cravings for them?

The physical craving Yes. Simple answer there. However, all of us seem to have a favorite carb, mine is potatoes. My mental attitude change is so steep that I can walk down the Cake and Sweet aisle in a supermarket, and just see poison all round me. I live on my own, so I don’t have to keep sweets and starches (or milk, I don’t drink tea or coffee! I just don’t like them, rather than not allowed them) in the house anymore, but when I was living with a partner, I had no trouble not eating after I had cooked them for him… However you put a plate of chips in front of me, and I have real troubles resisting them. The Smell of toast is a killer as well, but resist I can. I know it is not worth the blood sugar High and Crash, and the hunger that follows.

It is strange. I have no desire to eat heavy duty carbs. It is really as simple as that. I have broken my addition. I don’t intend to get seduced again, that is for sure!

4) Do you have to take supplements?

Again, you don’t *have* to, as the LC is very nutrient Rich… however, I personally do take supplements. All the Vitamin study in the 1920’s and 30’s was done to “cure” disease cause by deficiency. I have researched, and am in the camp that believes that if you take some Vitamins and Minerals to “excess” you get health benefits, rather than just prevent illness.

My Bibles here are Dr Atkins and “The Vitamin Bible” by Earl Mindell (Ed. Now out of print in 2010) and I take a veritable cocktail, all from Holland and Barrett.

2x Green Source MultiVit
2x Chelated Calcium 333mg with Magnesium 150mg and Zinc
2x Selenium ACE Maximun, with Zinc
2x CoenzymeQ10 50mg
2x VitC 1000mg (may up this to 3 we shall see…)
2x Glucosamine Sulphate 500mg
2x Fish Oil 1000mg
2x Flaxseed Oil 1000mg
2x Starflower Oil 1000mg
1x Chromium 500mg
1x VitB complex
1x Biotin 50mg
1x Vit E capsule 400UI
1x Korean Ginseng Extract
1x Cranberry Extract
1x L-Carnitine 500mg

Split it into two takes, one with Breakfast, one with lunch, and the L-Carnitine at Bedtime.

Some of it is general spectrum stuff, other stuff have specific jobs in the body, either to do with metabolism, or specific health issues such as my arthritis.

I don’t take these every day, I tend to take them during the week, and not at weekends. You do need to leave a gap, as the Fat soluble Vits build up to toxicity levels in the body if you are not careful!

I also notice that when I don’t take them regularly, my body lets me know,  especially the Glucosamine Sulphate.

5) Do you have any concerns over long term health effects? It seems to defy logic that you can eat that much meat and not have cholesterol problems.

No concerns at all. LC is a natural diet. It is Nutrient dense and Chemical Sparse. It is the diet that our bodies evolved on, and thrived on enough to get us to Homo-sapiens state!

If you do the research, what you find is that Cholesterol in the diet has NO EFFECT on serum Cholesterol at all! Also, it is now thought that Triglycerides are a Better indicator of problems than Cholesterol.

We produce 80% of the Cholesterol we NEED to live in our liver… if we eat less, our body simply produces more.

Also, I don’t eat “all that meat!” I have meat once a day, twice if I cannot be bothered to be imaginative. I tend to have Scrambled eggs with butter and Mushrooms for breakfast, and usually either Salmon or Steak with a salad dressed in With Pepper, Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar with mayonnaise on the side for lunch. Dinner is whatever turns up From Safeway or a restaurant. Weekends can be a bit catch as catch can as well.

If you want to check out what I have been eating in detail, and my musings for the last month or so, check this…

and hey, if Dr A and Barry have not dropped dead, after 40 years of low-carbing…

6) Correct me if I am wrong, but Atkins seems to think ketosis is a good thing, whereas Barry Groves – eat fat get thin, says it is not essential.
What is your view?

Ahhh… That argument. 🙂 I have had this out with Barry on list (yes, he is a member of my LC list)… Do a search on the thread “Ketones – why waste the best fuel?” if you want his and my views. (messages 8605, 8611, 8640 and 8862)

It is all due to Dr A not being the greatest wordsmith on the planet. The aim of an LC diet is to make the body run on Ketones as its prefered fuel, rather than Glucose. The body runs better on Ketone bodies, and it is indeed the prefered fuel of the brain. What they “disagree” about is what I call “Ketone-Spillage”

Barry’s plan will put the body into what is medically called “ketosis/lipolysis” ie Fat burning as well as Dr A’s or any of the other LC plans do… But, the difference is that Barry does not believe in wasting ketones, where as Dr A Does! What Dr A called BDK, or Benign Dietary Ketosis means to be at a point of Ketone Saturation, so that unused ketones exit the body via Urine and Breath. I think this gives the spoon fed American dieter a marker, to show he is doing well…

Barry is more economical, and expects us Brits not to need unnecessary “crutches”, that is all! His plan is trying to get your body to burn *all* the ketones you release from your body and dietary fat.

Now, I mostly follow Dr A, and I can afford to waste a few ketones! lol

6) Tell me what you eat in a typical day.
Again, Have a look at Fitday.

As I said above, usually Eggs and Mushies for breakfast, “protein” (a steak, salmon or an omelette if I am poor!) and a dressed salad for lunch, with perhaps a Loseley Greek yoghurt, then preferably a different protein and cooked, dressed veggies for tea. (Tonight I had a small Salmon fillet, with Asparagus tips, some herb Salad and butter/garlic fried Mushrooms, with a Cream sauce made of Cream, butter, Pepper and White wine vinegar! )

I Cook in lard and butter, dress salads and veggies with Olive and nut oils, use Mayo as my sauce if I need it, and make cream sauces where ever I can! Mostly in the evenings, as what I get from the canteen during the day is quite “limiting”.

I aim for a 70% fat, 20-25% Protein and 5-10% Carb caloric distribution. Most days I am on target… I don’t even have to think about it anymore, it just falls that way!

Here is what I wrote to “Which?” Magazine about what I eat, as it is quite a good piece, and typing it again would be tedious!:

“The diet of a low-carber is based around eating as naturally as possible. It practically forces you to cook proper food, and not to stick nutritionally barren chemical and sugar stuffed processed food into your body. My diet is based on drinking Water (at least 3ltrs a day, I usually make 5) and maybe a glass of wine or two once a week, and eating Meat, Fowl, Game, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Nuts, Seeds, Non-starchy, Nutrient-dense “Green” Veggies, Small amounts of “native northern European” Fruits, Herbs, Spices, Butter, Cream, Lard, Olive oil, and a small amount of baked goods made from nut, soy and whey “flours”. (yes, I make my own low-carb bread, biscuits and cakes… they are fantastic!) With these ingredients, I don’t have to *try* and make my food taste good, it does so all on its own!

I eat as little prepackaged foods as possible, as few chemicals as possible, and I avoid the very addictive “Sugar” as much as I can get away with, in a world where manufacturers put it into everything! ”

7) Can you do the government recommendation of five portions of fruit and veg a day on this plan? What about fibre?

From the above, you can see yes! I don’t really like fruit anyway… Fruit is Sugar wrapped in fibre, Veggies are much more nutrient dense! ie, there is more Vitamins C in Broccoli than an Orange!

I do eat strawberries occasionally, with cream of course.

I view fruit with trepidation anyway, as our bodies evolved to convert Fruit sugar (Fructose) to Triglycerides (fat) without needing the “help” of Insulin! (Excess Blood glucose is converted to triglycerides and shoved into fats cells by the action of Insulin, which is why people with insulin resistance (apple shaped) who eat the standard high-carb diet are fat!) It is what we ate to get fat for winter!

Fibre. I get enough from my veggies I feel. I also eat Nuts, and seeds, which are also Fibrous. I don’t suffer constipation very often, but when I do, normally due to either not drinking enough (I throw back between 4 and 6 ltrs per day) or having non-balanced meals (ie a burger (no bun of course!) grabbed on the run between a and b, or a breakfast at a friends house that is a slice of ham or three, or a lump of cheese)I have a good spinach meal and I am all sorted!

Sorry if these questions seen really basic but remember you know all about this and I am writing for people who know nothing about it.

Well, I suspect I have been far too comprehensive here, but I wanted to cover all bases. Trying to compress 18 months of experience into a *short* e-mail is probably impossible! lol!

Thanks for your help,

Not a Problem. Speak to you soon I hope.

Kind Regards

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  1. kyani net says:

    Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are the two polyunsaturated fatty acids that are good for you

  2. Janice Young says:


    New to low-carb and very happy with it and the results (25 lbs loss), I am interested in Maintenance, the “after the loss”. I can very happily carry on the LC way as it suits me so well – the energy I have is fabulous! – any interview/info on after the ketosis?


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