August 31, 2009

How to avoid the freshman 15 -- low-carb

Returning to the topic of what causes the freshman 15 (see here and here), it breaks my heart to see cute girls' looks go to hell because of their diet. One of my undergrad chick friends started off her freshman year eating at the dining hall (where she tracked me down, and we became friends). She is naturally quite slim, and I know first-hand that she ate lots of animal products and little junk. Then last year she went off meal plan and started eating what you might expect a dorm suite full of 19 year-old girls these days would fix themselves (lots of processed carbs). Plus she started drinking beer.

I could post the Facebook photos to prove it, if I were really cruel, but suffice it to say that she went from very cute to attractive but semi-chubby. Fortunately, during the summer she's been at home being fed a better diet by her mother, and when I first ran into her at the mall, she looked like her old self again. (We'll see what happens this school year...)

Today I got one of those endless Facebook notices that so-and-so, a former tutoree of mine, uploaded new photos -- but this time I paid attention since one thumbnail showed what she and her roommates were fixing for dinner:

There's only a small amount of bread being split between the four or five of them. Granted, there appears to be some foul noodle or rice business going on, but it's far less than the fifty bowls of ramen that many college students eat in an afternoon, let alone how much you'd get at a Chinese take-out. Most of their meal is a dead animal with low-carb vegetables, both smothered in fat (olive oil and maybe something else). Judging from the rest of the album, none are the slightest bit chubby and have clear, firm skin and lustrous hair. And they all have delightful facial expressions and look as mentally well-balanced as sophomore girls can hope to be. My other friend's suitemates from last year are pretty foul-mouthed and even more foul-tempered; one has a beer belly and another is quite overweight.

They're the lucky ones. You can picture what might happen to your appearance and the vibes you give off if you ate cereal as a main meal and as dessert too. But for those with poor imaginations:


  1. Sad to see nice young women wasting their time getting fat in the pursuit of superfluous pseudo-knowledge in colleges. Most would be better off and happier married to some decent 25-30 year old guy than pretending they want careers in Art History.

  2. Anonymous at 3:44PM.,

    So true.

    The woman on the left is headed for repulsive obesity in all likelihood. Sad.

  3. Yeah, that awful Ramen which the Japanese slurp down by the bucketful and which has made the Japanese some of the most obese people on the planet......oh wait, the Japanese are some of the skinnest.

    Scrap that then.

    Dude, you're low-carb crusade is nice but until it learns to deal with the evidence and the facts in a systematic, logical, way it's just a religion.

    I lived in Japan. I lived in Thailand. I know firsthand what the average person there eats every day. Tons and tons of noodles and rice. Little meat.

    And yet they are quite simply the thinnest people on the planet. Until the low carb people can give a convincing reason for why that should be it's impossible to take the whole theory seriously.

    Oh, and I've personally tried low-carb. It didn't do anything particular for me, certainly no more than any other restricted-eating diet I've tried. If low-carb really worked, word would be out by now. Instead what yo have is people is people trying it and then abandoning it - why, if what its supporters claim for it are true? Because, of course, the claims are way overblown

    It is possible that for SOME people low carb really is the best thing they can do, but clearly the evidence is that that isn't the case for everyone, and the low-car religionists really need to acknowledge that.

  4. Dead wrong. Asians don't each much carbs compared to us, and the Japanese even less so than other Asians. You can get the data from USDA international statistics, via Nation Master, or you can pay $10 to read my data blog where I put up a post on that very topic.

    East Asians do eat tons of pork and fish, though. You might try that sometime.

    As for what works, low-carb has now been shown most effective in lab studies. Check out Jeff Voleck's work. There was even a vegan or vegetarian low-carb / high-fat study showing its superiority (they ate lots of avocados and nuts, iirc, to get protein and fat).

    As for why the word hasn't gotten out -- the government and clueless experts say that you'll die if you eat a low-carb high-fat diet. That's why it hasn't been adopted more widely.

    Believing experts usually pays off, except when they're clueless or outright frauds, in which case our trust in them turns into gullibility.

  5. This might sound like a stupid question, but how do you deal with a high fat diet and defecation? I personally have problems with stool and contipation when I eat too much fat (particularly cheeses). I'm trying a high fat, low carb diet, and I'm doing pretty good with it (I'm maintaining a weight of 145 pds) except for the occasional constipation.

  6. in addition to weight, there are also other benefits to the bone, liver, lungs, and brain from high saturated fat intake.
    7 reasons to eat more saturated fat

  7. Lower carbs is good. I still eat carbs (nothing made from wheat though) but my main diet consists of high fats & proteins from meat & nuts. Now going off carbs and eating a giant ass load of almonds and meat is NOT going to help you (unless you are actually working hard) but those are the kinds of things that actually fill you up.

    It's true that in Thailand they eat lots of rice. Breakfast lunch and dinner. But they do eat meat with that whether it's pork, fish, chicken or something odd like frog or snake. Also they don't eat crazy amounts and most of them work/play hard. Once they all start sitting in front of computers 24/7 they'll be fat like us too.


You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."