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Low-Carb Diet, Should I or Shouldn't I?

Supporters contend that

the large amount of carbohydrates in our diet has led to

increased problems with obesity, diabetes, and other health situations. On the

other hand, some attribute obesity and related health problems to over eating of

calories and lack of physical activity. They also express concern that without grains,

fruits, and vegetables in low-carbohydrate diets may lead to deficiencies of some

key nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and many minerals.

It is already known that any diet, whether high or low in carbohydrates, can

produce meaningful weight loss during the early stages of the diet. Keep in mind,

the key to a diet being successful is in being able to lose the weight on a

permanent basis.

Let's see if we can expose some of the mystery about low-carb diets. Following, is a

listing of some related points taken from recent studies and scientific literature.

Point 1 - Some Differences Between Low-Carb Diets

There are many famous diets created to lower carbohydrate consumption.

Lowering total carbohydrates in the diet means that protein and fat will take up a

proportionately greater amount of the total caloric intake.

Low carbohydrate diets like the Atkins Diet restrict carbohydrate to a point where

the body becomes ketogenic (a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes

normal amounts of protein). Other low-carb diets like the Zone and

Life Without

Bread are less confined. Some, like Sugar Busters announce only

to eliminate sugars and foods that elevate blood sugar levels excessively.

Point 2 - What We Know about Low-Carb Diets

+Close to all of the studies to date have been small with a diversity of research


Carbohydrate, caloric intake, diet duration and participant characteristics are

wide-ranged greatly. Most of the studies to date have two things in common, none

of the research studies had people in the study with an average age over 53 and

none of the controlled studies lasted more than 90 days.

+The results on older adults and long-term results are scarce. Many diet studies fail

to keep track of the amount of exercise, and therefore caloric use, while people in

the study are dieting. This helps to explain the variances between studies.

+If you lose weight on

a low-carb diet it is a function of the calorie intake and length of the diet, and not with reduced amount of carbohydrates.

+There is very little evidence on the long-range safety of low-carb diets. Even

though the medical community has concerns, no short-term bad effects have

been found with cholesterol, glucose, insulin and blood-pressure levels among

the people in the study on the diets. Because of the short period of the studies the

adverse effects may not show up. Losing weight typically leads to improvement in

these levels, and this may offset an increase caused by a high fat diet. The over-all

weight changes for low-carb and other types of diets are similar.

+Most low-carb diets can cause ketosis. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and

confusion are some of the potential consequences. When first starting a low-carb

diet some fatigue and constipation may be met and these symptoms usually

disappear quickly.

+Some report that you can have more calories when on a low-carb diet.

Remember a calorie is a calorie no matter what you intake. When the study is not

closely supervised variations will result by people cheating in the study on many

factors of the study.

There are three important factors I would like to re-emphasize:

1.- The overall success rate for low-carb and other types of diets are similar.

2.- Small amount of information exists on the long-term efficacy and safety of low-carb

diets despite their huge popularity,

3.- Dieters usually experience boredom with a strict version of the low-carb diet

and are not able to stay on diets of low carb food.

After observing the subject, a more severe and controlled study is needed on a

long-range basis. The ketosis produced is abnormal and stressful metabolic state.

The results may cause more problems than they solve.

By picking a reliable diet you will benefit over a lifetime of proper eating and not a

weight loss quickie.

An excellent rule of thumb is look at the diet long-range and see if you can see

yourself still on that diet after a couple of weeks. However, by following a diet with

fat, carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients in moderation may be the best way to go and a little more exercise won't hurt either.


Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes (such as choosing the "good carbs") can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices? Let’s talk! Schedule a 10 minute BeFit strategy session—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

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