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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 11, 2002

Finding time for fitness

• Reap benefits of better health with gradual lifestyle changes

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Illustration by Jon Orque • The Honolulu Advertiser

Book signing with Dr. Terry Shintani

"The Good Carbohydrate Revolution"

7 p.m. today

Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall


In the cyclical world of dieting, Dr. Terry Shintani is primed for revolution.

Shintani, who gained national acclaim for his Hawaii Diet, returns to the bookshelves this month with "The Good Carbohydrate Revolution" — a pointed response to the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets popularized by Dr. Robert Atkins and others.

The 448-page book, published by Simon and Schuster's Pocket Books, is available at Barnes & Noble and Bestsellers Book & Music stores and will be available at other bokkstores shortly.

Shintani, who earned a master's degree in nutrition from Harvard University and medical and law degrees from the University of Hawai'i, started work on the book two years ago, the same time the Atkins diet and similar carbo-bashing regimens began attracting widespread attention.

The low-carbohydrate diets are constructed around the premise that carbohydrates cause obesity and contribute to diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. Replacing carbohydrates with protein, Atkins and others advise, results in weight loss and better health. Yet, while millions of Americans embraced the notion that an extra serving of steak could be more beneficial than a portion of brown rice, Shintani wasn't buying it.

"This is something that gets rehashed every so many years with these 'junk' diets," Shintani said.

Shintani said he has seen people lose weight and reduce their cholesterol with high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, but he cautions that the benefits are short-lived, while the long-term consequences are potentially dire.

"It's temporary," he said. "There's some initial benefits, but after that, they're trapped. The problem is that with these diets you get so much fat and cholesterol, when you plateau, your cholesterol goes back up. Eventually you've got to go on a reasonable diet."

In addition to an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, Shintani said, high-protein dieters also put undue, possibly dangerous, stress on their kidneys.

"The whole problem is that people are getting a lot of misinformation about carbohydrates from these diets," Shintani said. "Carbohydrates are not all the same."

Shintani's new book seeks to dispel popular myths about carbohydrates and proposes a high-carbohydrate eating plan aimed at helping people improve their health by changing the sources of carbohydrates in their diet.

The best sources of "good" carbohydrates are foods such as whole-grain breads, brown rice, corn, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables — foods that are often vitamin-rich and high in fiber, Shintani advises.

For Shintani, distinguishing between good and bad sources of carbohydrates is crucial.

"In this country we've had an explosion in the consumption of 'bad' carbohydrates — sugar and white flour — and we're eating more meat and fat than every before," he said. "This combination creates a problem. The solution is to replace the bad carbohydrates with good carbohydrates, not meat and protein."

In his book, Shintani claims that a high-carbohydrate diet (up to 78 percent "good" carbohydrates) can lower blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

The book also contains recipes and meal plans designed to help dieters lose weight and enhance their overall health.

"The book itself took me a couple of years to write, but it's based on 15 years of experience," Shintani said. "I've worked with high-carbohydrate diets my whole career."

. . .

Correction: Dr. Terry Shintani’s new diet book, “Good Carbohydrate Revolution,” is available at Bestsellers Book & Music stores as well as Barnes and Noble Booksellers and is being distributed to bookstores throughout Hawai‘i. A previous version of this story contained incorrect information.