Are You a Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough – The New York Times

“The minority position in this field — one that Dr. Ludwig holds, as do I after years of reporting — is that obesity is actually a hormonal regulatory disorder, and the hormone that dominates this process is insulin. It directly links what we eat to the accumulation of excess fat and that, in turn, is tied to the foods we crave and the hunger we experience. It’s been known since the 1960s that insulin signals fat cells to accumulate fat, while telling the other cells in our body to burn carbohydrates for fuel. By this thinking these carbohydrates are uniquely fattening.Since insulin levels after meals are determined largely by the carbohydrates we eat — particularly easily digestible grains and starches, known as high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup — diets based on this approach specifically target these carbohydrates. If we don’t want to stay fat or get fatter, we don’t eat them.This effect of insulin on fat and carbohydrate metabolism offers an explanation for why these same carbohydrates, as Dr. Ludwig says, are typically the foods we crave most; why a little “slip,” as addiction specialists would call it, could so easily lead to a binge.Elevate insulin levels even a little, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the body switches over from burning fat for fuel to burning carbohydrates, by necessity.“The more insulin you release, the more you crave carbs,” he said. “Once you’re exposed to a little carbohydrate, and you get an insulin rise from it, that forces energy into fat cells and that deprives your other cells of the energy they would otherwise have utilized — in essence, starvation. So you compensate by getting hungry, particularly for more carbohydrate. High insulin drives carb-craving.” ”

Interesting article. Here are the two most recommended comment:


Charleston, WV July 19, 2017

I lost 60 pounds on a low carbohydrate diet in 2001 and kept it off for ten years, if I stayed under about 50 grams of carbs per day. Maintaining that weight loss required eating almost no processed foods and cooking from scratch on the weekends to prepare for the work week ahead. I also felt great on the lower carb diet, in body and mind. As Mr. Taubes writes, I did not have food cravings so long as the keep the carbs low. My glucose and lipid profiles all improved.

Then life happened. My Dad moved in with me, and he didn’t want to eat low carb. At the same time my then minor child daughter was sick often and eventually needed homebound education ( was later diagnosed with MS). I was working full time then as now. I have been a state government employee with almost no pay raises, and gradually the rising cost of expenses took it’s toll on my ability to buy more expensive foods such as meat, for example, a staple on low carb diets.

I gradually regained all of the weight I lost, weight I had kept off for ten years, by once again eating rice, bread, etc. I feel much worse. The low carb diet does work if you have the time and money to invest in it. Now that the demands on my life are starting to stabilize (retirement maybe in a year and a half!), I’m wondering if anyone can suggest a way that lower income people can eat low carb. I also realize the toll that the industrial production of meat takes on the planet. How to do it now?


July 19, 2017

There is a significant difference between eating cupcakes and eating quinoa, eating brownies and eating beans. All are technically carbohydrates. But beans and quinoa are complex carbs that also contain proteins. Vegans such as myself live on them. I have to wonder why the writer waited until the EIGHTH paragraph of this report to define what his version of a carb is: “particularly easily digestible grains and starches, known as high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup.” Well, duh. High sugar, low fibre, processed carbs are bad. But whole grains and legumes are good — and this is not only a misleading article but, to my mind, a dangerous one. I am sure it will help sell Taubes’ books.

About David Lindsay Jr

David Lindsay is the author of "The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth- Century Vietnam," that covers a bloody civil war from 1770 to 1802. Find more about it at, also known as, David Lindsay is currently writing about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction., as well as singing and performing a "folk concert" on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction. He can be reached at daljr37(at)
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