The high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet that the authorities recommend we follow has been the longest uncontrolled nutritional experiment in history. The results have not been good.
This is essentially the way Jonny Bowden starts his powerful book on Living Low Carb just published on January 1 in a revised edition of his 2010 best-seller. Since I didn’t get a copy of the original edition until last year, too late to review here, I made sure to write this review as soon as possible.
Dr. Bowden’s PhD is in nutrition, and he is also a certified nutrition specialist credentialed by the American College of Nutrition and Certifying Board of Nutrition Specialists. He is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. In spite of his academic credentials and the encyclopedic nature of Living Low Carb, he writes awfully well. Everything he writes is easy to read and his style couldn’t be more friendly.
Just a couple of months ago I reviewed his Great Cholesterol Myths here. As important as that book is, Living Low Carb is even more relevant to anyone who has diabetes, and in fact to anyone at all, because it explores in depth the basic nutritional deficiency of our standard diet.
The book’s subtitle is “Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss.” While Dr. Bowden’s emphasis is on losing weight, this new book is equally important to those of us who have diabetes.
“In case you hadn’t noticed by now,” he writes, “low-carb diets are all about normalizing blood sugar.” Since diabetes is a disease of inadequate carbohydrate metabolism, reducing our carbohydrate consumption makes managing our blood sugar much easier.
For anyone who is undecided about what to eat and how to live, chapter 9, “Twenty-three Modern Low-Carb Diets and What They Can Do for You,” does something no other book does. It is an extensive review of all the really good or popular low-carb diet plans. Dr. Bowden’s review of these diet plans in a total of more than 100 pages of this 386-page book is as thorough as anyone could ask for. He not only describes but also isn’t shy about evaluating each of them. Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint is the plan that I personally follow most closely and is also one of Dr. Bowden’s favorites.
The 2010 version of Living Low Carb had just updated the diet plans from the original edition, published in 2005 as Living the Low Carb Life. The 2010 edition reviewed 38 diets, but the new edition pares down the list to those that have passed the test of time plus the new programs that “are pretty darn good.”
Dr. Bowden has considerably revised the latest edition of Living Low Carb several additional respects. He has eliminated several sections, including one about supplements and drugs. He completely rewrote the fat and cholesterol section to be congruent with what’s in The Great Cholesterol Myth.
But the major additions are three entirely new chapters. These are “The Major Culprits in a High-Carb Diet: Wheat and Fructose,” one called "What About the China Study?” and “Research Relating to Low-Carb Diets.”