Congratulations America, you're the fattest country in camp
By Josh Mankiewicz
Updated: 11:32 p.m. ET Jan. 27, 2004
Are you one of those people counting carbs to lose weight? The Atkins and South Beach diets have millions of Americans cutting down on bread, and other foods high in carbohydrates. That diet advice has been a little hard to swallow for bread makers. But some nutritionists are saying that not all carbs are diet-killers. Could carbs be ready for a comeback?
By now, we all know that if you want to lose weight, carbohydrates are out and protein is in. Diet after diet tells us to say goodbye to bread, pasta, rice., potatoes, and sugar. Cutting your carbs is suddenly as American as avoiding apple pie.
But for a lot of us, going low-carb is less of a fad and more a new way of life. Americans are dramatically changing their ways of eating. bread sales are down. pasta sales are flat. Fewer people want fries with that, and orange juice -- it's full of sugar and it's not always for breakfast anymore.
So the food business is scrambling to reinvent itself. Low-carb beer? Low-carb fast food? Whatever happened to a brew and a burger? It's enough to make you wonder: Is bread dead?
Bread wars and glycemic index
• Glycemic index: Complete guide from University of Sydney
• The National Bread Leadership Council
• Newsweek: Going Beyond Atkins
But Nick Pyle is a man hard at work to make sure that the government's food guide pyramid -- with bread at its base -- remains as unchanged as the capitol dome. Pyle is a lobbyist, but he's not twisting arms for big tobacco or for the carmakers. He lobbies on behalf of bread. Typically, he lobbies on issues like crop subsidies. but that was before Dr. Atkins rewrote America’s menus.
Josh Mankiewicz: “What's going on in this country? Don't people like bread anymore?”
Nick Pyle: “People love bread. They enjoy bread. Bread's very important. We're a bread based society.”
Nick's job is to tell lawmakers exactly that.
Mankiewicz: “When you go to Capitol Hill and lobby these guys, what do you tell them? Carbohydrates have suddenly gotten this dirty image, and they shouldn't really have it?”
Pyle: “Well, first and foremost, it's time to quit making Americans a victim of the foods they eat. It's time that people recognize the role of personal responsibility in their dietary choices.”
Mankiewicz: “So the new message of the food industry is it isn't our fault, and it isn't our food's fault? Don't blame the bread. Don't blame the pasta. Blame yourself. Don't eat so damn much.”
Pyle: “I would have to agree with you there. I think it's important that people not blame their obesity of being a victim of the foods that they eat.”
But making that argument is only one small part of how carbs are fighting back. last fall, the bread industry held its first ever national summit to address how to fix its image, and keep bread sales from crumbling. the conference was held in november, which was national bread month, thanks to the hard work of guys like Nike Pyle. At the summit, bakers tried to plot the way back to the hearts and stomachs of americans.
What do we do? We're going to get fat no matter who we listen to!