If you have read this blog before, then you know I love a reason to write Oprah into a blog post (see here and here and here). I had really hoped for 1 last Oprah post before her farewell season ended a couple of weeks ago. I even PVR’d her final episode on dieting and anxiously watched with the hopes of finding something to rip apart in a blog post. Alas, her final episode on diets gave me nothing to work with as it only featured people’s transformations – I have to admit it was kind of a good episode. Oprah, you may not have given me one more opportunity to blog about you, but at least I still have your protégé Dr. Oz. He did a show 2 weeks ago titled, “Are Carbs the new cocaine?” which was the exact title of a Details magazine article published a few months ago and featured the same pieces of info. Well Dr. Oz, you did not disappoint…here goes my rant…
I could sum this up by saying that Dr. Oz’s prescription for beating carb cravings is the equivalent to giving methadone to a heroin addict. Or giving “non-alcoholic” beer to an alcoholic. Seriously, I could end this post right now. But I’m just getting started, so let’s continue….
The show featured women (obviously) who are addicted to various things like pasta, bread and fries – he featured each of them and they all said that they could not stop eating these foods and it was controlling their life. To me this sounds like a serious problem which would require a major dietary transformation and help to address the emotional cause of their eating behaviour. Apparently it doesn’t need to be that complicated because Dr. Oz’s “28 DAY PLAN!!” for kicking your carb cravings was here to save the day! I was hoping for some recommendations that actually take into consideration your body’s biology and mechanisms for controlling hunger and cravings such as insulin and leptin. Alas, I was wrong. Dr. Oz’s prescription for kicking your carb cravings was to switch to UNLIMITED (I repeat UNLIMITED) “Good Carbs” like whole wheat pasta and brown rice. He might as well have given each of the women heroin to at least get them to zone out into a happy place at meal time.
There are so many things wrong with this recommendation, but I will only focus on 3:
1. Would you give non-alcoholic beer to an alcoholic? Of course not! So why would it make any sense to give a carb addict something that basically tastes exactly the same and has the same composition as regular carbs. The cascade of events that occur from consuming these foods would be slightly different in that they would not increase your blood glucose levels as quickly (though still much faster than say, asparagus), however they still contain the opiod triggering components (ie: gluten) that stimulates the same portion of your brain as cocaine. I highly doubt this protocol is going to do anything other than make them swap one addiction for a higher fibre alternative. Personally, when I switched to “Good Carbs” (back in my low-fat days of my early 20’s pre-Crossfit) I used to inhale them just as easily as “Bad Carbs.” It makes so much more sense to give someone something completely different…like how about vegetables and good fats? Cracking out on broccoli and salmon would be pretty impossible and even if someone succeeded in doing so the ramifications would likely be more positive than negative (Oh no, you OD’d on calcium!!).
2. Where is the AA support? Where is Dr Drew? There was very little mention of how these people are obviously feeding themselves for emotional reasons. I highly doubt that shoving some whole wheat pasta in their mouths is going to help them get over the root cause of their overeating issues. It is no wonder we’ll probably see these people fatter and less happy in a year despite having completed Dr. Oz’s miracle 28-day plan. When you’ve got issues with food, you need to address the root cause of these issues. This compounded with the opiod effects I mentioned earlier is just a recipe for disaster. Even if you are eating 100% Paleo/Primal, you can still overdo it and eat for the wrong reasons. I’ll give Dr. Oz credit for briefly mentioning Overeaters Anonymous, but I think that he could have emphasized this piece more.
3. Hypoglycemia is cool! It is a known fact (even in conventional nutrition) that Protein and Fat are more satiating and take longer to digest than Carbohydrates. So why in the world would you not increase these types of foods to help offset the blood sugar highs and lows that these people have been suffering from? I guarantee that these people are still going to be suffering from blood sugar highs and lows under the 28 day-plan. Again, back in the day when I inhaled whole grains I used to get hot flashes and dizzy spells at 10:30am after my 8am steel cut oatmeal. This would always lead to me reach for something equally as carb-a-rific to hold me over to lunch. It is no wonder my thighs looked like corn flakes through a garbage bag. Seriously, if one of the main problems is blood sugar regulation, then it would not take a rocket scientist to figure out that addressing this issue is paramount. Even if you needed to keep eating some “Good Carbs,” wouldn’t you want to try to limit the quantities that people are eating in favour of more nutrient-dense and satisfying foods that help to regulate blood sugar?
Not to mention the gut irritating properties of these foods, which Dr. Oz would never acknowledge because it could ruin his behemoth sponsorship deals with the Kellogg’s and Pepsi’s of the world. Not to mention the fact that his website is plastered with Weight Watchers advertisements and recipes. Not to mention the fact that his audience obviously doesn’t look like the fittest group of people despite being die-hard fans and likely eating their oatmeal every day. Not to mention the fact that Dr. Oz’s colon polyp is an indication of hyperinsulinemia.
There, I got that out of my system. Thank you Oprah for leaving me with a new legacy in the health world to bash. I’m sure the OWN network is also stocked full of amazing advisors….I’ll have to start tuning into that one too.