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Friday, January 11, 2008

"Carb Comeback" puff in Arizona Republic

The following appears on the Web site of the Arizona Republic.

I would love to know what is behind an article like this. A commenter on the AR site insinuates it's compiled largely from industry booster brochures. Note that Fernau cites nothing at all in support of her central assertion that that "we" (Arizonians? Americans? Humans?) are eating more carbs, and feeling better about that emotionally. Nor does she quote any of the "former low-carb disciples" that she refers to.

(Via "John" commenting on Dr. Mike Eades's Protein Power blog, on the 'Low-carbs and lipids" post.)

Carb comeback
After years of diets badmouthing pasta, potatoes and rice, they're happily back in style

By Karen Fernau
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 9, 2008 12:00 AM
With low-carb eating back in its rightful spot alongside cabbage soup and grapefruit diets, we again are celebrating foods that give comfort and energy.

We are cooking and ordering three of our favorites - potatoes, pasta and rice - without feeling the guilt of committing a dietary no-no. Alas, we're carbo-loading again and proud of it.

"So many of the messages in the last decade have been negative: 'Don't eat carbs. Don't eat this or that.' People are ready to enjoy food that tastes good and is good for you - like carbs," said Cynthia Harriman, spokeswoman for the Whole Grain Council in Boston. "The carb mania finally has subsided."

Carbohydrates, an important part of any healthy diet, are the body's No. 1 choice of fuel. Before the Atkins and South Beach diets vilified and blamed carbs for super-sizing our bellies, they were accepted as the building blocks of a sensible eating plan.

Today, carbs have regained the respect they deserve, with the realization by former low-carb disciples that, when eaten regularly, carbs do not lead to weight gain unless they are gobbled to excess.

"It never made sense to me that people believed that if they stayed away from pasta for more red meat, they would be thinner and healthier. Those of us who know the power of pasta survived the attack by realizing that moderation eventually will prevail," said Wade Moises, chef at Sassi, a high-end Italian eatery in north Scottsdale.

"Carbs were never the enemy, and finally the low carb is exposed as the fad it was."

Nutritionists, in fact, recommend a carb-heavy diet. Calories should be divided this way: 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates; 20 to 30 percent from protein; and 30 percent fat.

Pasta, potatoes and rice - the three missed sorely during the no-carb era - also provide essential nutrients and little harm.

• Pasta is fortified with folic acid, an essential B vitamin. A half-cup serving of cooked pasta contains a mere 99 calories, less than half a gram of fat and less than 5 milligrams of sodium.

• Potatoes are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. They contain no fat or cholesterol and minimal sodium. And a 6-ounce potato contains 3 grams of highly digestible protein, almost as much as half a glass of milk, making it a great foundation for a whole meal.

• White rice is a good source of insoluble fiber, low in fat, contains some protein and plenty of B vitamins.

Nutrients weren't enough, however, for rice, pasta and potatoes to make "good" carb lists with high-fiber, slow-burning types such as lentils and beans. Instead, they often found themselves on the "bad" carb lists with Twinkies and sugary cereals.

"The attack on the potato was unfair and misleading. We were on the wrong list as far as the low-carb movement was concerned," said Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, which fought back four years ago with an expensive advertising campaign celebrating the potato's virtues.

These three carbohydrate staples also provide culinary vessels for other favorite foods: macaroni tossed in a creamy cheese sauce, mashed potatoes spiked with wasabi, pasta topped with fresh chopped tomatoes and garlic or rice stir-fried with broccoli and peppers.

The key is eating these time-tested and economical favorites in moderation.

"A small bowl of pasta is wonderful," Moises said. "A tub is too much."

Post a Comment

Posted Jan-09
7:46 AM

It is disappointing that repeating food industry talking points is now passing for journalism at azcentral.com. Here's an idea - maybe Ms. Fernau could earn her salary and actually research her articles instead of reprinting brochures mailed to her by pasta and potatoe peddlers.

While the "low-carb fad" is having its death knell sounded by the grain and starchy food lobbies, the USDA is revising its guidelines to eliminate refined wheat products and focus on whole grains and leafy vegetables, the American Diabetes Association is recommending controlled carbohydrate nutrition to its members including eliminating starches in all forms. The nutrional science proves that controlling carbohydrates and getting sufficient PROTEIN in the diet is far and away the MOST HEALTHFUL DIET that the human body can consume. Its the diet your body was designed to eat.

1 comment:

Jake said...

We used to call that "The Arizona Repugnant". It's not worth the paper it's printed on.