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High School Science Teacher Gets All Snobby With Me Over Low-Carb Support Columns

Posted Sep 12 2008 8:57am
Because I have put my blog out there as an authoritative voice regarding the low-carb lifestyle, I often receive e-mails from students who are enrolled in a class of some sort and they decide to do a project about livin' la vida low-carb. I think that's pretty awesome considering all the negativity regarding this way of eating nowadays. Maybe we'll change a few minds along the way.

From research on fad diets (I bear with these people describing low-carb this way) to the rise and fall of marketing trends, I've talked with hundreds of students and teachers alike about my opinions regarding low-carb. It's something I enjoy doing and I'm always happy to help further the education of anyone with ears to hear.

A few days ago, I received another one of these e-mail requests from a high school science teacher working on a project about low-carb diets. Sweet! What he wanted from me was source articles that would be unbiased PRO-low-carb. He ideally wished for government sources, but that's a BIG FAT NO-GO!

Here's what he originally wrote to me in his e-mail:

Dear Jimmy,

I'm a high school science teacher and am trying to do a lesson plan on low carbohydrate diets, which involves the students reading 3 web pages for and 3 against, taking a side and arguing an exposition.

I was wondering if you could point me to what you think would be the 3 best web articles on low carb diets I could use. I'm looking for sites that are reliable, as non-biased as possible, well-cited and are written by an expert, ideally by a government health authority. Thanks!

Thinking he'd appreciate a wide range of sources to choose from, I responded with the following e-mail telling this high school science teacher about the best and brightest in the world of low-carb research.

This was my response:

THANKS so much for writing and best wishes on your assignment.

You're not gonna find a government health authority supporting low-carb...virtually all of them say that low-carb diets are only good for short-term weight loss, but not recommended for long-term.

But there are plenty of researchers who are finding otherwise:

Dr. Jeff Volek at the University of Connecticut
Dr. Eric Westman at Duke University
Dr. Richard Feinman at SUNY Downstate
Dr. Mary Vernon at the University of Kansas
Dr. Stephen Phinney at UC-Davis
Dr. Jay Wortman in Canada

There are many others, but these are the best of the best. As for web sites, you may want to check out the following:

Regina Wilshire's "Weight of the Evidence" blog
The official Atkins web site
Laura Dolson's About Low-Carb Diets web site

I realize my opinions about low-carb do not qualify for what you are looking to do with this assignment, but I wish you well in finding resources that are unbiased from either side. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Thinking that would be PLENTY of information to help him find what he was looking for the assignment, imagine my surprise when I received a response from him the next day stating my sources weren't good enough for him.

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for your reply, but those websites are fairly broad--I am looking for specific articles. I can only expect my students to read 3 pages on each side, not look through entire websites.

These are the three I have found for the 'no' argument:

QuackWatch page on low-carb by Dr. Stephen Barrett

Australia's Better Health Channel column on "Weight Loss And Carbohydrates"

The Australian Heart Foundation's response to very low-carb diets (PDF file)

They are single articles that can be read in about 10 minutes--that's pretty much what I am after. Would you happen to know of anything similar I can use for the 'yes' argument?

Alrighty then, I didn't know I was gonna have to do this teacher's job for him. I gave him the names and web sites where he could find what he needed, but I guess he wanted me to do all the footwork to rebut the vegetarian supporter and two Australian government resources against livin' la vida low-carb (if he wanted to find that, he might as well have gone to the FDA, USDA, ADA, AHA, or any other American health organization for the opposition!

Okay, fine. I have three PERFECT pages for his students to read about the positive aspects of the low-carb diet which are "well-cited" and written by low-carb experts. See if you agree.

THANKS again! I was simply giving you points of reference in my previous e-mail. But, sure, I have specific articles for your students to check out:

Kent Rieski's fantastic "Top Ten Nutritional Myths, Distortions and Lies That Will Destroy Your Health"

Anthony Colpo's classic "Why the Low-Fat Diet is Stupid and Potentially Dangerous"

The Stanford A to Z Study published in JAMA earlier this year showing Atkins ranked best for weight loss and improved health among all diets

These three should be more than enough to counter the three you have chosen. THANKS!

Thinking I had done my due diligence going well above and beyond the call of duty to provide this teacher with ample ammunition for his young skulls full of mush to absorb, you're never gonna believe what happened next.

He wrote me back again! It seems he wasn't very impressed by my suggestions for supportive low-carb diet web pages.

Here's the snobby response he gave me about the pro-low-carb sites:

The first page is way too long to expect my students to read and is almost kind of obviously corny (nutritional program performing healing miracles is not something even high school kids would take seriously and will give the 'no' side an unfair advantage).

The second page seems to be more about low-fat diets than anything else.

And the third link is just about one study--not an article about low carbohydrate diets.

Thanks anyway, I'll keep trying.

Oooooooookay. So he didn't like MY suggestions and he obviously didn't read Colpo's brilliant column because it is NOT at all in favor of low-fat diets. It makes the low-carb argument succinctly and with all the proof to back it up.

Since I OBVIOUSLY don't have a clue what he's looking for, I thought I'd open up the floor to my highly-intelligent readers to come up with the ultimate pro-low-carb information pages on the Internet for this hard-to-please high school science teacher.

I'm assuming these are his very specific parameters:

1. Must be supportive of low-carb diets without biased opinions.
2. Must be pithy and readable within 10 minutes.
3. Must be supported by numerous respected sources.

Do you think you know any good web sites for him that meet these requirements? If so, then please share them in the comments section below. I'd love to give him MORE than three just in case he gets all ornery on me again thinking some of them aren't good enough. THANKS for your feedback!

Labels: articles, high school, low-carb, science, support, teacher

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