FAQs: CC Diets

  1. Is the CC diet approach just a reissuing of the Heller’s Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet?

    The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet of the Hellers, and their approach to the diet, differ from the (non-profit) Carbohydrate Concentration Diet approach in a number of ways. The Hellers focused on helping Carbohydrate “addicts” rather than on the entire population. And the Carbohydrate Concentration Diet is more general in not requiring that carbohydrates be eaten at one meal, or within one hour, as the Hellers’ diet requires. Thus the CC diet can incorporate, for example, the Herring Fast-5 diet which urges that all carbs be eaten within a fixed five hours.

    Of special importance, the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet of the Heller’s originated through their perception that they themselves were carbohydrate addicts and their conviction that other addicts like themselves would benefit from the diet. The Carbohydrate Concentration approach, by contrast, originated through the perception of Jeremy J. Stone that a successful weight-loss diet he had fallen into of eating one large meal a day (plus a snack) had close links to the very positive scientific results of eight decades on caloric restriction and intermittent fasting of mammals and the more recent scientific investigations into autophagy.

    Accordingly, the Catalytic Longevity website, incorporating the important work of Mark McCarty, explores and documents the effects of this diet on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and the like, through a mining of relevant scientific research.

    But the Addict’s diet has been cited repeatedly and positively in this work. And readers are encouraged to visit www.carbohydrateaddicts.com, to learn from it, and to purchase and learn from the Hellers’ books.

  2. What can I take with a carb-rich meal that could decrease the post-meal elevations in both glucose and insulin?

    A more uniformly beneficial strategy that CC dieters can use to minimize the effective glycemic index of carb-rich meals is to include factors such as soluble fiber, vinegar, or almonds. These have the potential to suppress meal-induced increases in both glucose and insulin. How these work to achieve this benefit is still not entirely clear, but the current scientific literature offers some clues. Soluble fiber forms a dense meshwork that slows the interaction between starch and the key digestive enzyme which degrades it, amylase. The acetic acid in vinegar appears to decrease the activity of enzymes (disaccharidases) in the intestinal lining required for full digestion and absorption of starch and sucrose. Substituting modest amounts of almonds for carbohydrate intake of equal caloric value is associated with a large reduction in daily insulin secretion — up to a third — that is clearly disproportionate to the reduction in carb intake; why almonds are so effective in this regard remains mysterious.

    More scientific detail →

  3. Does combining my carbohydrates with protein or fat dilute the glycemic index of the carbohydrates and lower the effective blood sugar rise?

    Ingestion of protein and of fat (especially monounsaturated fat) along with carb-rich foods often does indeed blunt the post-meal rise in blood glucose, effectively lowering the glycemic index of the meal. This appears to reflect increased production of certain hormones, produced by cells in the intestinal tract, that act on the pancreatic beta cells to boost the insulin response to absorbed glucose. These hormones can also slow the emptying of the stomach into the upper intestine, possibly decreasing the effective glycemic index of food still remaining in the stomach. These hormones also promote satiety — which helps to explain why meals containing protein or fat tend to be more satisfying than meals of pure carbohydrate. The downside of this mechanism is that, whereas it helps to restrain the post-meal rise in glucose, it accomplishes this mainly by boosting insulin secretion — which rather misses the point if your goal in CC dieting is to minimize your daily insulin levels. Nonetheless, moderating postmeal rises in glucose is inherently beneficial for diabetics, and may also aid in diabetes prevention. More scientific detail →

  4. When I eat carbohydrates to excess in a day and develop higher insulin and glucose levels, does this produce a short-term increase in weight — and what is the nature and permanence of this weight gain?

    If you gain a couple of pounds because of a day of indulgence, it’s not primarily fat weight you have gained, but rather water weight. Increases in blood insulin levels act on the kidneys to boost the retention of sodium and chloride; if you are eating a salted diet, as most of us do, this will be associated with some temporary fluid retention. Once you get back on your CC regimen, and your insulin goes down, you will readily get rid of that sodium and water, and your weight will be back down. Don’t become too distressed or elated about temporary small variations in your weight — just try to stick with the program as best you can. If you succeed most of the time, you should do well.

  5. Is this a brittle diet that I must follow carefully; what harm will result if, for example, I drop off the diet for a weekend or a week?

    Aside from a trivial weight gain if you “fall off the wagon” for a number of consecutive days, there should be no meaningful long-term adverse consequences to your weight or your health from occasional short-term lapses. In fact, even if your standard practice is to do a CC diet only several days a week, this likely will aid your weight control and improve your risk factors, even if you won’t gain the calorie-restriction and lifespan extension benefits achieved by more dedicated adherents. Realistically, because of travel or social commitments, most people will depart from their dietary ideals now and then — don’t be too hard on yourself. Lapsing for a few days or even weeks won’t reverse the health benefits earned by previous months or years of dedication. Bear in mind that elderly Okinawans are still enjoying significant lifespan extension, even though most of them haven’t been calorie restricted since the 1970s.

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