I am 65 years old this year and have been low carbing since January...have lost almost 30 pounds and lots of inches and feel great. I can do so much more now...like working in the garden and bending over is much easier.
Below is an excerpt taken from Protein Power book since you are following proteing power diet. Maybe this will help.
In 1995 Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades, two medical doctors who practice in Colorado, wrote Protein Power as a guide to better health and weight loss through diet, nutrition, supplementation, and exercise. In 2000, they followed up Protein Power with The Protein Power Lifeplan, which was similar but contained updated information on studies that had come out since their first book, and a broader coverage of topics, including meditation, sunbathing, iron, magnesium, cholesterol, and more. The Eades take a very even-handed science-oriented approach in their books that I will attempt to explain the major points of here. However, some of the details as well as other topics that I won’t cover should be reason enough to invest in the books. They are excellent and worth your time and investment. I will take points from both books, and will mainly cover the nutritional aspects of the plan. In addition, I will take a few points from my own experience as well as others I have learned a great deal from via the Protein Power Bulletin Board.
The main idea
The main idea of the Eades nutritional plan is the restriction of carbohydrates – in particular refined ones, but also any type of grains or legumes. Carbohydrates, especially refined ones, are more or less the same thing as sugar is to your body. They break down immediately into sugar because they simply are sugar molecules chained together to create longer structures. The Eades use our evolutionary makeup to assert that for most of us our modern diet is not what our bodies were designed to eat in order to perform optimally. Our ancient ancestors ate mostly animal protein, supplemented by wild vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and we have not had time to adjust to the relatively recent innovation of agriculture with its vastly higher load of carbohydrates.
Why are carbs bad for you?
The Eades explain how eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates - or at least those contained in grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables like potatoes - can cause a syndrome called insulin resistance which in turn causes many health problems. Insulin is a hormone in the body that regulates blood sugar, among many other functions. When you eat a meal with lots of carbs (or sugar – since they are generally the same, as noted previously), the sugar goes into your blood and can harm your tissues unless it is removed. So one of insulin's jobs is to help convert the newly arrived sugar in the blood into fat for storage in fat tissue. Unfortunately, though, we overwork the insulin response by the abnormally high levels of sugar/starch we ingest in our modern diets. This causes our cells to become less and less affected by insulin, and thus the body has to produce more and more to have the same affect. This additional insulin in the bloodstream can cause all kinds of health issues. In fact, one endgame of this process is type-two (AKA “adult onset”) diabetes. The pancreas simply can’t produce enough insulin to get the sugar out of blood because the cells have built up this resistance, and the accumulating excess sugar in the blood starts causing all the cellular damage that are trademarks of diabetes. In addition to diabetes, too much insulin can cause hardening of the arteries, plaque buildup, high blood pressure, and other ailments. Another interesting downside about carbs is how they affect cravings. It has been shown that ingesting large amounts of carbs, certain grains in particular, produce a response in the brain similar to its response to narcotics. Because of this, carbs have a similar addiction component that can cause cravings in people. The cravings aren’t always for carbs themselves but often for food in general, so many people don’t realize that carbs are the culprit here.
Fat Is Evil! Right?
Ok, what about fat? Most nutritionists have vilified fat as the main culprit of obesity and health problems. However, the Eades contend that fat is not the issue at all, as it is metabolically neutral – does not affect insulin. The main “problem” with fat is only that it is more caloric than protein or carbs, but it also is a natural "satiater" – it makes you less hungry, much more than carbs or protein. When was the last time you drank a cup of olive oil or ate tuna salad with more mayo than tuna? There’s a reason for that. However, one should still pay attention to fat in the diet, but not so much for how much you eat, but what kinds you eat. The best type of fat to eat according to most experts, including the Eades, is the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, nut oils, avocados, and nuts, among other foods. The question of how healthy or dangerous the saturated fat found in red meat, pork, and dairy products is for you, is still hotly debated. It certainly is not as good as monounsaturated fats, but it may be better than the concentrated polyunsaturated fat in vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, etc. The overall worst type of fat is something called "trans fat" which, although it exists naturally in tiny amounts, for the most part has been artificially created and is contained in many processed foods due to its specifically engineered properties. The usual tip-off is the term "partially-hydrogenated" on the food’s label. Margarine is the biggest source of trans fats in most people’s diet, but other products like peanut butter and mayonnaise may be hiding some as well. In fact, when seeing "soybean oil" on a list of ingredients, there is likelihood that there are trans fats in the product, even if “partially hydrogenated” is not listed. In addition to these main types of fat, there are many subtypes, but probably the most important are the Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The modern diet has far too much Omega 6 compared to Omega 3, so the Eades suggest trying to increase one's intake of Omega 3 as much as possible via cold fater fish like sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring, or flax seed oil if you don't like fish.
The “protein” In Protein Power
Is this a "high-protein" diet? The other main issue the Eades deal with is how much protein people consume. They contend that it is vital to get enough because otherwise when going on their diet (or any diet) you will be losing a lot of your muscle along with the fat. Although some contend that one can get too much protein which may cause certain health problems, the Eades say that as long as your kidneys are healthy, the added load of increased protein should not have any ill affects.
Aside from fat, calories are the other big bugaboo of much mainstream dieting advice. Many people seem to think that although eating foods with lots of vitamins may be good for your health, when it comes to losing weight, calories are all that matters. According to this school of thought, the only thing that allows for weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you are expending. However, this does not account for metabolism. Metabolism can sabotage even the best-intentioned dieter by something called starvation mode. When consuming too few calories, your body thinks it is starving and so slows down the rate at which it burns them. So you have to eat less and less in order to lose the same amount of weight. What exactly is the point at which someone goes into starvation mode? It's different for everyone - depending on weight, height, muscle mass, etc., and I don't think any studies have been done, but the point is that simply restricting calories, although it might work temporarily, can result in failure in the long term. But isn’t it easy to eat too many calories with all the fat allowed on Protein Power? Well, low-carb plans have something built in which helps with this. Basically your body has to expend more energy retrieving the calories from fat or protein than it would from carbs, so by eating much more of your calories from fat and protein than you do from carbs, you are automatically expending a lot more energy simply digesting your food! The Eades do say that you can hinder your progress by eating large quantities of calories, and having a large amount of fat in the diet can raise those calories quickly, but paradoxically as noted above it also makes you less hungry. You may not notice this normally because the cravings that carbs produce in one can counteract that feeling of fullness. But without the carbs there, it is very noticeable. In fact even critics of low-carb plans blame this well-known affect for people being able to eat fewer calories. They contend that this is the only reason people are able to lose weight on such plans. I’m not going to get into a debate about it, but if I can eat fewer calories and still feel full and not have cravings, I will take that any day to the alternative! Although the chances of eating too many calories is not likely, the idea is to just use common sense when it comes to quantities and not leave the table completely stuffed. As long as you do not eat massive quantities of food, you should be ok. You can always try cutting back a little if you are not losing, but especially in the initial stage of the plan, you probably do not want to be too concerned with the number of calories, since you will be restricting yourself in other ways.
Ok, what do you EAT??
First, a quick primer on the basics follows. As I’ve alluded to above, there are three main types of food or "macronutrients": protein; carbohydrates; and fat. Most foods have at least two of the three, and many have all three, so it can sometimes be a bit confusing as to how to count a particular food. But let’s get through some easy ones first. Most grain products like bread; rice, pasta, etc. as well as most fruits and vegetables are pretty close to 100% carbohydrate. Oils are all 100% fat. Few natural things get close to 100% protein except for very lean cuts of meat or fish, although protein powder and other processed foods can get close. Everything else is a mixture of at least two of the three macronutrients. All right, so how does one go about choosing what to eat? It is really a lot simpler than what it seems.
Sources of Protein (and fat): Because fat and protein are not an issue really all meats, poultry, and fish, are fine in whatever quantity you want. Eggs and cheese come next - they have a small amount of carbohydrates, so you do need to watch how much you eat, although it would be difficult to consume all of your carbohydrate allotment with eggs or cheese unless that’s all you’re eating! Speaking of cheese, other dairy products like milk, cream, yogurt, etc. can work as well, but you need to look at labels for carb counts because many lower-fat dairy products add sugar to make up for the carbs (this is really true of most “low-fat” products). Finally, there is soy. There is currently a lot of controversy over the healthiness of soy. Right now it seems the only safe bet when it comes to soy is tempeh and miso, and both have a lot of carbs, so one needs to be careful.
Carb sources – what to avoid: The Eades contend that certain types - grains - are bad for you in and of themselves even before we consider how dense they are in carbohydrates. Grains have been linked to leaky gut syndrome, which in turn has been linked to autoimmune disorders like arthritis, asthma, allergies, multiple sclerosis, etc. They suggest eliminating these items entirely. Other food sources that are simply too high in carbohydrates need to be limited or eliminated from the diet, including legumes, starchy vegetables like potatoes and some squashes, and anything with a high sugar content like sweet sauces, syrups, candy, ice cream, high-sugar fruits like pineapples, mangos, etc. When in doubt, look at the label or get a nutritional food counter book.
Carb sources – what to eat: Although vegetables (other than the starchy ones like potatoes) are primarily made up of carbohydrates, they do not have nearly as many carbs as grains per serving. They also are packed with nutrition - vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, as well as fiber. One common misconception is that low-carb plans include an assortment of veggies and some fruits because otherwise one would get no carbs at all. However, it has been shown that carbs are not necessary at all for sustaining life. The only reason that these veggies and fruits are promoted by the Eades is for their vitamin and mineral content, and not their carb content. The fact that they do provide some limited carbs is inconsequential - in fact, it's probably a negative since without their carb content we could all simply eat unlimited quantities of them without ever having to worry that we might be forcing our bodies to produce an excess of insulin in order to handle those excess carbs. Coming back to fiber, it was initially thought that it helped prevent colon cancer but that has now been disproved. In any case, since fiber generally is not absorbed into your system, it can be discounted from the carb count of a food. So if a serving of vegetable has 10 grams of carbs but also 5 grams of fiber, you only have to count 5 grams of those carbs. Fruits, likewise, have tons of nutrition, but are also high in sugar, so one has to be careful with the amount one eats, and select ones which are lower in sugar and higher in fiber like berries, melon, peaches, etc. Finally nuts and seeds: also lots of nutrition, and as mentioned before most contain a large amount of the good monounsaturated fat. The only other thing to mention is that peanuts, which seem to be nuts, are actually legumes and cashews have much more in the way of carbs than real nuts. Finally we get to alcohol. Yes, you can drink this! Whew! You just need to be careful in what form it is in. A sweet red wine or a hearty stout can be loaded with carbs. Hard alcohol is generally fine (aside from certain ones which might have a lot of sugar like bourbon, rum, brandy, etc.), or mixed with some sweet juice or soda. Wine is ok as long as it is not very sweet, and lite beers are ok, but both lite beers and even dry wine does have some carbohydrates, so having more than a few of these will probably make staying within the plans guidelines difficult.
Ok, so much for theory, what about practice?
Here are the specifics of the diet as best as I can summarize. The Eades use different phases for the diet as follows: The “intervention” phase is the initial phase of the diet and the most restrictive. In this phase, the Eades suggest limiting your intake of carbs to 7-10 grams per meal, with an optional snack of 7-10 grams. In other words you can have anywhere from 20 to 40 grams of carbs per day. As for protein there are calculations in the books as to how to calculate it, depending on your current weight, height, body fat percentage and activity level, so it's best to look in the book to calculate this. In general, if you eat a decent-sized piece of meat, poultry, fish, or have a couple of eggs, some cheese or yogurt, etc. at each meal, you will probably never have to worry about not getting enough. Fat is again something that the Eades do not put limits on. However, it is the food type that is the densest in calories and they do note that if one eats 5000 calories per day it's going to be all but impossible to lose weight, even if you otherwise conform to the plans guidelines. Intervention is followed until you are very close to your goal for weight and/or health. Once you are very close, you can switch over to the "Transition” phase which just increases your carb allotment to 50 grams per day. Once you feel you have met your weight and/or health goals, you can then go onto the "Maintenance” phase in which you can increase your carbs to somewhere between 70 and 130 grams per day.
So what will you experience?
We have gone through the basic theory behind the plan and what you are supposed to do on it. However, what can you actually expect in terms of weight loss, how you will feel, etc.? This is a tough question because everyone is different, but I will try to give some of the more common experiences. Some people start the plan and still have the mentality that fat is bad and so they restrict fat and end up with so few calories that they are starving. Warning – don’t do this! At least do yourself the favor of not worrying about the fat in the first few weeks – give the plan a chance to work the way it’s supposed to. You will sabotage your efforts if you try to inflict further restrictions on yourself! Ok, so you now listen to my advice and you start the plan and you are eating lots of meat! Perhaps you never thought you would say this, but after just a few days you are sick to death of meat and just want one stupid piece of bread! Ok, relax, take a break, have a beer... well, a lite beer anyway. Universally people have noticed that the hardest part of this plan is the beginning. Not only are you adjusting to a completely new way of eating, but also many new things are going on in your body. For one, you are all of a sudden depriving your body of the huge supply of carbs it is no doubt used to. Your body does not like this in the same way it doesn't like it when you stop giving it nicotine after consuming two packs per day of the stuff for years. Most people notice they crave anything with carbs or sugar in it much more during the first week or so of the plan than anytime before or afterwards. These are standard withdrawal symptoms. How does one deal with such cravings? Well, there are a couple of ways. One is just to trust that these cravings will dissipate eventually like they do through any withdrawal of something similarly addictive, and just grit ones teeth. Some people find they can lessen the cravings by eating things that are artificially sweetened. I think it may help dull the cravings, but it probably makes them last a little longer as well. The other negative aspect of the initial week or two that many notice is a noticeable drop in energy. This is due to the body switching from using the carbs in the diet for energy (which it can convert to energy very quickly), to using fat for energy. It is not used to using fat for energy, so it takes a lot longer for your body to produce this energy from your fat stores. Luckily, it eventually gets better and better with this and then there is no more problem. Most suggest simply taking it as easy as possible during the first week or two while your body "figures out" how to use fat for energy more quickly and efficiently. Finally, an unlucky few experience some lightheadedness in the first week or so of the plan. This is attributed to the loss of fluid and thus loss of essential salts in your system that this plan produces. The quick-storage form of energy in your system is called "glycogen" or "muscle starch." After starting the plan and having very few carbs from one’s diet to use as energy, the body immediately goes after the glycogen and uses it up, but glycogen has lots of water in it, so without it, your body generally holds a lot less water. Because of this, it is even more important to keep hydrated than usual, and also to supplement with potassium, an essential salt the body needs but which is usually deficient in most diets. Potassium seems to help people who experience lightheadedness.
After the hard part
So, after a couple of weeks on the plan, one starts getting more used to it and after another week or two, most people are fairly well adjusted and start feeling absolutely great. You should feel a great surge in energy and general feeling of healthiness, fewer aches and pains, etc. In addition, the cravings should be measurably diminished and because of this you will start having a different attitude toward food. It will, in a sense, become less important to you because you are not always thinking about when you can get your next donut or bagel or piece of chocolate.
But you’re doing this to lose WEIGHT!
What about weight loss? Maybe you are more interested in that than the health aspects for now. Well, some people experience a lot right away, others do not. It seems this might be dependent on what degree you are insulin resistant to begin with and also how much weight you have to lose. In any case, some people have a big drop initially and continue to lose large amounts for a while and eventually slow down. Others may have a small drop in the beginning due to water loss, but otherwise do not lose much or anything in the first several weeks or even months of the diet. This can be very frustrating for some people. Part of the problem here may not be that the plan does not work for that given person, but rather that it doesn't show up in terms of numbers on the scale right away. Instead, if that person keeps a record of measurements, they will discover that even though they may not be losing weight, they ARE losing fat. It's just that the gain in muscle from the increased protein in their diet (and lifting of weights if the person decides to do this) is counterbalancing that fat loss. And really when we say we want to lose weight, we really want to lose just fat, so that’s all that matters.
Down the road
Although you may not be looking this far ahead, you might like to know how people do on the plan after the first few months, or 6 or 12 or 24 months for that matter. Yes, people follow this plan for that long or longer. Remember, it is designed as something to do for life, and really it is very easy for many to do for long periods because one does not feel deprived the way low-fat or low-calorie diets sometimes make one feel. Just as with the short-term results, long-term results are just as individual. Some people slip and never get back on the plan, others slip and get back on it, and still others never slip at all. I suppose this is true of any diet or way of eating. And as with any other plan, the main thing is to get back on the horse if you do fall down. One thing that can cause falls in any diet, and Protein Power is not immune, is the dreaded stall. Unfortunately there’s no predicting or preventing a stall from happening, but one can simply attribute it to your body changing in other ways and taking a break as far as actual weight-loss. Meanwhile many people have come up with their own ways not only to break stalls, but also to try to accelerate weight loss. They include drinking more water, avoiding dairy products, avoiding nuts, avoiding artificial sweeteners, avoiding protein bars and shakes, avoiding snacks in between meals, adding snacks, eating a large breakfast and lunch and small dinner, not eating anything after 5pm, eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of two or three big meals, and changing your exercise routine.
Dealing with the critics
There is an added challenge with Protein Power and other low-carb plans like this. Many people think that "low-carb dieting" is an unhealthy fad. They assume that it is just eating lots of red meat with little or no vegetables. They also do not understand the principles behind it and believe the standard dogma that one reads in magazines or hears on tv - that fat is what makes you fat. Even if they think the diet may be helping you lose weight, it must be still wreaking havoc on your arteries and kidneys. Therefore, to them you are doing something foolish. Most doctors are generally ill-informed about such plans as well, most having only had one class in nutrition during med school. Unfortunately most are not willing or able to keep up with the latest studies which suggest that fat is not the threat most people think it is and that the real danger is all the high-sugar and refined carbohydrate foods in the modern diet. It is almost politically incorrect in many ways to be on such a "diet." Because of this, it can be a challenge to not be put off by a friend or doctor's alarmist scare tactics. What I can suggest is what worked for me - trust your gut, no pun intended! If after a month or six weeks you do not feel 100 times better and maybe even have lost a decent amount of weight, maybe the plan is not for you. I have the opinion that if something improves how you feel so considerably, the chances of it actually being bad for you are miniscule. In the mean time, to handle critics I would recommend a couple of simple tactics. Firstly, ask the person to show you the study that proves that low-carb dieting causes any ill effects. You will stop them dead in their tracks because there is no such evidence or study, only guesses based on assumptions. In fact it has been shown pretty conclusively that after a short time on low-carb diets, most people experience a significant lowering of blood pressure, lowering of blood sugar, lowering of triglicerides, improvement in the ratios of good to bad cholesterol, and many other health benefits. The critics either are not aware of this, or simply find it impossible to believe that a diet that does not conform to the low-fat dogma of the last 25 years might be good for you. I would urge you to do your own research and not even to accept what I have written here, nor what the Eades have written at face value. I think you will find, however, that there is a great deal of evidence from many studies that support many of the ideas behind this way of eating.
Extra Credit: Exercise!
The Eades have a lot to say about exercise in relation to weight loss, health, and even eating. They suggest that one way to optimize one’s weight/fat loss but maintain or even gain muscle is to concentrate on resistance exercises, otherwise known as weightlifting. By increasing your muscle mass by lifting weights, you are increasing your body’s calorie requirement to maintain that new muscle tissue. If your diet remains consistent, sooner or later your daily food intake will not provide all the needed calories and your body will have to go into its fat stores, and then it will have to keep going deeper and deeper into them, accelerating the rate that you burn off your excess fat. What about cardio-vascular exercises like running, biking, stair-climbing, etc.? Doesn’t cardio do the same thing? Not exactly. First of all, you have to keep doing cardio exercises constantly in order to get the caloric benefit. With weight lifting, you can exercise a muscle twice or even once per week and the rest of the week it is consuming extra calories just to rebuild itself and grow. Moreover, the Eades point out that regular, intense cardio (like daily jogging) can actually be harmful to you by weakening your immune system. Instead, they suggest both walking and brief bursts of intense cardio, like sprinting or jumping for 30 seconds. These intense sessions of alternating rest and intense exertion may only last for a total of 10 minutes and are done only a couple of times per week. The idea is to do what our bodies were designed to - chasing game, or avoiding the game chasing you! These types of cardio apparently strengthen the immune system and provide all kinds of additional benefits without the incredible expense in terms of time.
Ok, so I promised a nutshell, but this was one big nut! How about something more compact to take with you? If you’re going to take anything from this piece, here are the top 10 things to remember about Protein Power:
10. - The best kind of exercise to do for weight loss and health is weightlifting.
9. - Our cave-man ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years ate mainly animal protein, with a few wild vegetables and nuts thrown in. Our bodies are still designed to eat this way and doing otherwise has caused us tremendous health problems.
8. - The main culprit of many of our health problems today is the excess insulin produced by our body to handle the excess of carbs in our diet. The only way to fix this is by eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates.
7. - Carbs are the same thing as sugar – your body breaks them down in no time. Eating a potato is basically the same thing to your body as eating a cup of sugar.
6. - The hardest part of the plan happens in the first couple of weeks, but if you make it through this “carb withdrawal,” you will come out on the other side with newfound energy and vitality.
5. - Critics of low-carb plans are mainly following the old, tired dogma of those of have not kept up with the accumulating research that supports such plans.
4. - The only carbs worth eating are vegetables (except starchy ones like potatoes, peas, and corn) and fruits lower in sugar (like berries, peaches, melon).
3. - Fats are not what make you fat, despite their density of calories, but rather are essential for your body’s health, especially monounsaturated fats found in nuts, olive oil, and fish. The worst kind of fat is Trans Fat, an artificially engineered fat found in margarines, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and even peanut butter under the guise of “partially hydrogenated” oil or even just “soybean oil” as listed on the label.
2. - Getting an adequate amount of protein is essential to your health, and something that simply can’t be done with the trace amounts of protein found in non-animal sources. Don’t skimp on it in order to avoid the fat that is often packaged with it.
1. - And the number one thing to remember about Protein Power: refined Carbs (especially grains, deserts, candy, and soda) are evil! Well, if not evil, they are at least very, very, very bad for you!
Lots of information here but it will be useful to you to print out and save to look at from time to time.
Good luck on Protein Power.