One of the most honest and accurate health writers and speakers on the planet today has got to be the amazingly prolific and one of the all-around lovable good guys-Dr. Jonny Bowden. His stellar writings which are featured through a wide multitude of various nationally-syndicated columns such as on AOL, The Huffington Post, iVillage as well as his bestselling line of books make him a highly sought after expert on all things related to nutrition, diet, and living a healthy lifestyle. Back in 2003, he penned what many in the low-carb community considered the quintessential magnum opus book on the awesome benefits of carbohydrate-restriction that has ever been written in a readable style that was palatable to anyone interested in learning more about what this way of eating is all about. The book was called Living The Low Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone Choosing the Diet That's Right for You and it was an outstanding book that literally allowed you to compare all of the most popular low-carb diet plans side-by-side with a brief synopsis of each one along with the pros and cons to decide which one is best for you. Dr. Bowden has always maintained the philosophy that people need to find the diet that is right for them.
But when the low-carb diet supposedly fell out of favor with the public in 2005 after the big low-carb food marketing craze subsided, Dr. Bowden's publisher discontinued printing the book despite strong sales. Then in 2009 there was such a great demand for this book by people sincerely interested in learning more about what low-carb living was all about and the emergence of a whole host of solid scientific evidence supporting low-carb diets that the publishers had no choice but to contact Dr. Bowden requesting that he update his classic book with all of this brand new information that has released since the publication of his original manuscript. The end result of that updated and expanded version of his 2003 book is what we have in the 2010 edition renamed Living Low-Carb: Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss.
For fans of the original book, most of the information contained in this update will be familiar. But there are a lot more diets included in the comparison including ones that have released in the past few years like The Biggest Loser, The Maker's Diet, The TNT Diet, YOU: On A Diet, Curves, The Low GI Diet, and The 6-Week Cure For The Middle-Aged Middle, for example. The format for featuring these various low-carb plans (and a few non-low-carb ones as well!) is the same as the first book-a quick "in a nutshell" overview of the plan, a few pages explaining the genesis of the program and how it works, and finally you get "Jonny's Lowdown" where he give a 1-5 star rating for the diet along with commentary explaining the positive and negative aspects of the particular diet he is highlighting. There are 38 diets examined in all and you can bet it includes just about all of the major low-carb diet plans out there (with the exception of the bestselling New Atkins For A New You which released in March 2010 after the publication of this book).
Before he gets to the comparisons, though, Dr. Bowden lays the groundwork why low-carb living is optimal not just for weight loss but also your health with a series of chapters. He begins Chapter 1 by providing the history behind low-carb and how it all came about in the first place thanks to a man named William Banting (surprise, it wasn't the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins who first created low-carbohydrate diets). Then in Chapter 2, Dr. Bowden meticulously explains why low-carb diets work by showing you the mechanism that takes place when you eat this way. A new chapter included in this update is about the ongoing controversy regarding dietary fat and cholesterol and whether they negatively impact heart health as most of the "experts" have been saying for decades. A discussion of whether we've been "misled" on this issue and supporting facts making the case for that are included in Chapter 3.
Another new addition to the book is Chapter 4 begs the question, "So Why Isn't Everyone On A Low-Carb Diet? (OR Why Your Doctor Doesn't Know About This Stuff)" is an eye-opener to anyone who is still convinced that the conventional wisdom regarding high-carb, low-fat and even vegetarian diets is the optimal nutritional path. The continued misinformation about healthy low-carb diets persists despite both anecdotal and scientific proof to the contrary. Dr. Bowden explains some of the obstacles that stand in the way of low-carb being widely accepted by our culture and what needs to be done to bring out the truths behind this dietary lifestyle change. Chapter 5 explores the concept of the "metabolic advantage" on low-carb diets while Chapter 6 tackles most of the biggest myths about low-carb, including the assumption you're missing out on nutrients eating this way, the alleged danger of being in ketosis, the fear of kidney damage eating so much protein, the needless heart disease fears, and more. All of this information is written in an easy-to-understand yet thorough way so that the reader will feel confident in the veracity of everything they soak in from the 400+ pages included in this updated version.
After going through all of the diet comparisons in Chapter 7, Dr. Bowden shares an inspiring story in Chapter 8 about an aboriginal community in Canada that was placed on a high-fat, low-carb diet and went on to lose 1200 pounds between them as part of a study conducted by Dr. Jay Wortman featured in a documentary called My Big Fat Diet. Chapter 9 covers the use of supplementation and diet aides while on low-carb which is simply a synopsis of a lot of the information contained in several of Dr. Bowden's other recent books on this subject. The frequently asked questions in Chapter 10 is probably the most exciting part of this book because it includes a potpourri of burning questions that real people have submitted to Dr. Bowden over the years, including when can I eat carbs again, how long will it take for me to lose 10 pounds, why am I constipated, how do I beat sugar cravings, how many calories do I need to eat on low-carb, and many more. It's quite the collection of the real-life questions most people have about low-carb diets with a level-headed professional response to each.
In Chapter 11, you get to pick up on 50 or so "tricks of the trade" to make your low-carb lifestyle much more pleasurable and effective while preventing the bad habits that inevitably creep into the diet of anyone who has "failed" at being a success on low-carb. Finally in Chapter 12, Dr. Bowden helps you assimilate all of the information he's provided in his book to discover exactly which plan is going to provide the best success for YOU! In the end, that's the primary purpose of Living Low Carb-you want to find what will work for you and then DO IT! Once you choose your program, there are a whole host of low-carb support resources listed in the back of the book, including web sites, blogs, books, and cookbooks to keep you on the straight and narrow as you begin your low-carb journey in earnest. If you could only get one book about low-carb, then this is it! Dr. Jonny Bowden has done his homework. Now you have the tools and information to take away all of your excuses and make livin' la vida low-carb work for you. GO FOR IT!
on January 7, 2010
The hoopla over low-carb diets has all but vanished in the news. Once the low-carb junk foods disappeared, the media quickly dismissed low carb as "dead." (And oh yeah, if you keep eating this way, they said, you would be dead too.)
It's not. And we're not. Plenty of us happily eat low carb, and enjoy optimal health. We look and feel great. We have not died of kidney failure, or whatever "dangers" supposed health experts warn about eating this way.
Thankfully Jonny Bowden has revised his brilliant "Living the Low Carb Life," the absolute best book of its kind to learn about this way of eating. Even if biochemistry scares you away, Bowden has a way of writing that's simultaneously entertaining, enlightening, and a pleasure to read. That's true even if you never group "biochemistry" and "a pleasure to read" in the same sentence.
The new edition contains a chapter about talking to your doctor, some additional reviews of new diet and exercise plans/ books, and more current studies to support low-carb eating. Everything you need to know about eating healthily, taking supplements, exercising, and feeling great is right here. I didn't think this book could get any better, but it did.
Read "Living Low Carb," and you'll have an intelligent, science-based argument for anyone who bemoans how terrible, or unsafe, or whatever, low carb diets can be.
Even people who know better espouse this fallacious thinking. I am almost finished with a Masters degree in nutrition. My professors confirm carbohydrates are the only "non-essential" class of nutrients (absolutely correct, as Bowden points out; the necessary amount is zero grams), and then turn around to say carbs are necessary for energy, that ketosis will create all kinds of problems like fatigue, and of course the classic myth about kidney disease.
Get the facts. The next time your friend or doctor or health "expert" tells you about how dangerous or faddish eating low carb can be, explain that we've been eating this way for millions of years (and that a low-fat diet is the true fad diet). Then knock their argument dead in the water with this engaging, impeccably written and researched book.
on January 24, 2011
There is a reason Dr. Jonny Bowden is one my favorite health authors and this book just reaffirms it. He explains complex health and nutrition topics in layman's terms so that when you're done reading you can't help but say to yourself "Ahhh! Now I get it! That makes perfect sense!". So what drew me to this book in the first place?
I've been fat almost my entire adult life and six years ago I was diagnosed as insulin resistant and two years after that I had full blown Type II diabetes. I've never really managed to get my blood sugars under control and now I know why. I am, and always have been a carb addict. Bread, crackers, chips and pasta had always been the mainstay of my daily food intake and that's why I'm fat and have diabetes. Not much of a refined sugar lover but when you put starchy carbs in your body there's really no difference.
Six months ago I joined WeightWatchers and committed to eating clean, whole foods and sticking with a low-fat, lean protein, high fiber lifestyle. Well guess what, I've done exactly what I committed to and 6 months later I have lost only 6 pounds from where I started. That's a hard reality to accept not to mention the levels of frustration I have lived with over those last 6 months.
About 5 years ago, I went on a low-carb plan and I took it to the extreme of no-carbs and it worked. I lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time but about 3 months into my no-carb plan I developed a kidney issue. After multiple tests and multiple doctors no one had an answer for my kidney problem so ultimately I was told that the culprit was the fact that I was not eating carbs and that I needed to add them back in. So I did and I gained back everything I had lost and then some and was then diagnosed with full Type II diabetes. But when doctors are telling you that low/no-carb will basically be the death of you then you tend to listen. So I've never done low-carb since and I'm still fat and still unhealthy.
So after 6 months on WeightWatchers with less than stellar results I recently purchased this book and decided to give low-carb a second look. I started reading it and couldn't put it down until I was through it. I had one of the biggest "light-bulb" moments that I've had in a long time. What I learned in this book is that carbs are what keep me fat and make it near impossible to lose the weight. My own experience with a no-carb plan affirms exactly what Dr. Bowden describes in this book regarding carb intake. No wonder low fat, lean protein and high fiber is not working for me!! I'm still eating far too many carbs and it makes no difference that my carbs are from high fiber grains, fruits and vegetables. The problem is I'm still eating too many of them.
So with my new found understanding of what it means to live low-carb, that's exactly what I'm doing and in three days since limiting my carbs I've lost 2 pounds. That is nearly half what I've lost in six months of low-fat, lean protein, high fiber eating. Now one could argue that's just extra water, maybe it is but I already have more energy and feel less sluggish and my overall sense of well-being is on the rise and food tastes delicious again!! Also, my blood sugars have been very steady and within a healthy range in just this short amount of time and yes I take medication for my diabetes but my blood sugars are usually all over the place. I can't find anything wrong with any of that can you?
What I learned through reading this book is that carbs aren't bad at all. They're actually good if you're selective in how you get them into your body but the key is to limit them.
Like Dr. Bowden says many times in this book, he is not advocating a low-carb lifestyle for everyone but clearly there are people such as myself that can benefit from the new science and studies of the impact of carbs on our health and that for some people carbs (and insulin/hormone levels) really are the culprit when it comes to weight gain and the inability to lose that weight.
If you have been struggling with losing weight and following the normal conventions of weight loss gurus, then you owe it to yourself to at least read the information in this book and then make an educated decision whether or not a low-carb lifestyle is for you. It is not for those people who just cannot imagine their life without large amounts of carbs in their daily eating but it is worth a look for those that have no problem with change if it means a lean, healthier future.
I think this is an excellent book and possibly a life changing one for some. Even if you don't have a weight problem or diabetes this is fascinating (and understandable) information on how carbs affect our bodies and for some, our overall health.
on October 25, 2013
On 9/25/2013 I'm 57 and have been morbidly obese (BMI > 40) for nearly 20 years.
I finished chapters 1-3 of Living Low Carb, and the next day I started a new life plan. I weighed 291. Today 10/25/2013, I weigh 259 and on my way to 135 lb total weight loss. The research and information provided in this book by Jonny Bowden, presents a way for most anyone to finally get control of our bodies with a very simple science that can transform your life. Highly Recommended Reading.
UPDATE (12/03/2013): Continuing on the Low Carb plan and am now down to 233 lbs. The science in Living Low Carb is very thorough and well presented and very easy to follow. While we do not need to count calories, I use a journal that accounts for all of the nutritional values of foods that I consume each day. This helped me identify that I was not eating enough fat. As soon as I upped the amount of fat to at least 35% more than protein, the weight falls off with an average daily loss of 0.98 lbs.
UPDATE (01/07/2014): Weight loss is now 70 lbs since 9/26/2013. I feel great, I look great, and most importantly all of my blood work came back and every one of the markers for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure have disappeared without a trace. My BMI is 32.4, my belly (not waist) changed from a 57" to 39", I lost 4" around my neck and 11" around my chest.
Quick Note about plateauing ("stuck" in weight loss) ... it's normal that your weight loss will stop for a period of time. You can even gain 4-5 lbs and then two days later lose it all and more. This is your body's way of resetting. Plateau's can last up to 4-weeks, sometimes more. If you're concerned, I recommend reviewing your food intake to ensure that you are getting enough fat and enough but not too much, protein. Also, review the times you eat. If you're eating late in the evening, you may restart your weight loss by choosing to eat earlier in the evening.
Over the course of the past 3.5 months, I've had to increase the amount of fat and reduce the amount of protein by 10% each. Approaching my goal weight, I expect to further adjust down the protein levels by another 10-15%. The recommendation on protein is to take your ideal/goal weight and divide by two. That is the most protein recommended per day. In my case that was 82.5 g per day. I reduced it to 70-72 grams per day and the weight loss continued. If you are working out on this life plan, remember that muscle weighs more than fat and what you "build" in muscle may cause the appearance of weight gain, but this is muscle gain.
You don't need "luck" on this diet, just persistence and perseverance.
I very much appreciate Jonny's presentation of the science. Once I understood it, the information has very much helped to change my life. I cannot thank Jonny enough for this gift.
I have read a number of low carb diet books and this is the absolute best for gaining an understanding of how and why low carb works. If you are looking for recipes and daily menus, this is not your book. But if you want motivation and understanding, this is a comprehensive guide of low carb diets, a virtual textbook for the layman. The 2009 updated version includes an expanded number of diets as well as updated studies and comments.
Jonny reviewed hundreds of studies while researching for this book. He dispels so many of the myths ("medical legends") such as that dietary cholesterol is bad, that it has anything at all to do with heart disease. He proves that we have no need for dietary carbs (though of course he doesn't advocate going to such extremes), and that an excess is toxic. A low carb diet reduces triglycerides and raises HDL (the "good" cholesterol), which is the real indicator of heart health. I found his science behind insulin and the other hormones involved in digestion, as well as the science behind ketones, to be easy to understand.
The book takes us on a journey of the history of low carb diets (and really, folks, this goes back to our primitive origins--the real fad is the high carb, low fat diet!), and the science behind how and why the diet works. There is a chapter explaining why everyone isn't on the diet (propaganda, economics, and let's face it--is it sustainable for the world of 7 billion to go hunting for wild meat?). An entire chapter is devoted to dispelling common myths of the low carb (such as "ketones are dangerous," "a high protein diet causes osteoporosis or can damage kidneys," etc). There is an entire chapter on a study done with a town of 556 people in Canada. The indigenous people went back to their native diet (low carb with lot of fat and fish) and lost 1200 pounds. Some were off their medications within days! There is also a frequently asked questions chapter and a chapter on 50+ tips to make the low carb diet work for you.
The book reviews 33 low carb diets. There is one for every lifestyle, and Jonny gives them his rating and comments in addition to a summary. Bowden even cites a study that uses a vegan form of the Atkins diet! Can we eat a low carb RAW diet? That is the topic of my next book. But if you have to eat your carbs, by all means make them raw: Studies show that cooking increases the glycemic index, which causes your body to secrete more insulin.
Susan Schenck, author of The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn't Work
on April 10, 2012
After reading and studying Jonny Bowden's other book, "Living the Low Carb Life", I knew I had to purchase this latest edition. It did not disappoint. He is amazing in how well he explains what carbohydrates do to the body. As a lay person, he enabled me to fully understand how much damage is done to the human body when you eat carbohydrates and especially when you eat them in large quantities as everyone in this country does. High Fructose corn syrup is in every processed food we eat today. We wonder why there is an obesity epidemic? We wonder why there is nearly an epidemic of diabetes? Jonny has the answers to these questions and more. He explains how cholesterol is made, what type of cholesterol is really bad for us, and why fat does not create fat nor does it create cholesterol. Carbohydrates create cholesterol. I would high recommend this book to anyone who is serious about their health, about controlling their weight and especially for anyone with diabetes.
My husband suffered with type 2 diabetes for over 20 years before I picked up Dr. Richard Bernstein's book, "Diabetes Solution" that book lead me to research and study diabetes. It lead me to the first edition of Jonny's low carb book. My husband was on 43 units of insulin a night, had severe peripheral neuropathy in both his feet. The pain was so bad he could not walk 75 feet without sitting down to rest. He was on Neurotin, a powerful medication to relieve the neuropathy pain. He was morbidly obese (280 pounds at 5'10"), irritable and always tired. He fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the Interstate and hit the concrete wall. Thankfully, he nor anyone else was injured.
After reading Dr. Richard Bernstein's book, "Diabetes Solution", Gary Taubes books, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" as well as Jonny Bowden's book, "Living the Low Carb Life", in 2003, I put together a program that my husband could live with. Within a week of starting the program, I could see the change in him. Within 3 months he was completely off of insulin, within 9 months he lost 80 pounds (since he has lost another 20 pounds making it a total weight loss of 100 pounds). The neuropathy pain is gone! Gone! He has been off the Neurotin pain medication since 2005. He has been off of the diuretic medication since 2006 he was on that medication for nearly 30 year). The psoriasis that made his elbows more like sandpaper than elbows is also totally gone. His elbows are like a baby's soft cheek now. It is amazing what carbohydrates can do to a body. Jonny explains that so very well in his book. We have experienced it in our own lives.
We now teach others How We Beat Diabetes through presentations and our recently released DVD. You can see the awesome changes we made in our lives by going to our web site [...]. These changes happened with the help of all the authors listed above. Jonny Bowden's newest book, "Living Low Carb" is an excellent book, a great reference tool, a way to understand why low carb living is such a healthy way of living.
Buy this book today. You will be very happy you did!
on January 22, 2010
I'm an average guy with 30 pounds to lose. I got this book from Amazon aweek ago, and I've lost four pounds just reading the book: I've made just a few minor changes on a daily basis and I'm seeing weight loss. This is NOT a typical "Diet Book." Dr. Bowden's text is readable and fun, and he gives you all kinds of ideas about what works and why it does. One year ago I bought his book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, and since that time I have added many of the foods to my diet and I feel better. (Blueberries, Kale (in soups), walnuts, grass-fed Beef, and Sardines to name a few) Ok, to be honest, I bought the sardines but they are still in the can since I'm a little nervous to try them!
The bottom line is that in his low-carb book, Dr. Bowden provides the information and strategies that you can use to create a plan that works for you. If you want specifics, he outlines a suggested diet at the end of the book that takes in the best of all the strategies previously published. If you have specific issues, you can read his overviews of all the popular low carb diets and find one that may work for you.
I also have his book, The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. It is also a very good read, with lots of great ideas and a more holistic approach to overall health, many of which I have used.
Dr. Jonny Bowden, keep up the great work doing the heavy research and pulling together such useful knowledge for me!
on May 29, 2011
One of the things many critics of low carb diets fall back on is to point to one particular plan, or even one part of one particular plan, and claim that it won't suit everyone, it's too extreme or won't be doable in real life. A good example is the way low carb diets are equated with the induction phase of Atkins with little reference to the whole Atkins program or the other low carb approaches that are available.
What Jonny Bowden does so well in this book is demonstrate that there is a wide variety of low carb plans available, each with their own particular strengths and weaknesses and what may not suit one person, may fit in very easily with the lifestyle of another. He does this through a thoughtful and extensive review of a large number of low carb diets including Atkins, South Beach, Rosedale and many others.
He also spends considerable time addressing the current concepts and support for low carbohydrate eating as a pathway to health. Always engaging and with a witty, conversational style, this book is an entertaining and yet insightful read for anyone who is contemplating a low carb life but feels overwhelmed by the myriad of choices out there.
on March 27, 2010
When Jonny Bowden came out with the original edition of this, called Living The Low Carb Life, I called it "the book I keenly wish I had written myself." I reiterate that statement, in spades. This book does what I was trying to do with How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds (Revised and Expanded Edition), only far better. If you're confused by all the different low carb plans out there, want to know how they differ and what principles tie them together, if you want help figuring out which of the various approaches is for you, this is the book you need. It's smart, it's entertaining, it's thorough. Read it.
on March 13, 2013
With a book titled "Living Low Carb" one would expect the subject to be on how to forge a low carbohydrate, life long diet suitable for different lifestyles. But this isn't the case. The author, who is unquestionably an expert in his field (nutrition), mostly gives an good overview of benefits of a generic low carbohydrate diet and then proceeds to discuss all the information (in print, the internet) out there on popular low carb diets (Atkins, etc). He is very opinionated, with being unkind and funny in equal measure. Although all of this was quite interesting it wasn't what I was looking for from this book.
Bottom line: sort of an oddball critique of low carb mania. Yet probably a worthwhile read for nutrition professionals.