High Carb & Low Carb Diets: How To Avoid The Dangers
There's a two hundred year history of people prescribing both high and low carb diets for weight loss. So how does one choose? One factor you should consider is the dangers associated with each diet.
What is a carbohydrate, anyways?
There are three types of nutrients that every body uses: *Proteins in our diet usually come from Meat and soy products like tofu. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are used to make muscles and enzymes (the proteins that do most of the work our bodies need to survive)
* Carbohydrates are sometimes described as "sugars," but they're not just white stuff in you find in the baking aisle. Simple sugars include the sugar you put in coffee; pasta, bread, and potatoes are among the source of starches, or complex carbohydrates. Most of your body uses carbs for energy, and it's the preferred energy source for the brain.
* Fats are long, chainlike molecules that are don't mix with water (oils are fats). They are an efficient way for the body to store energy.
You can see that all three nutrients are crucial for functioning. What happens if you take in more or less of a given nutrient than you need?
The Low-Fat Diet
The low-fat diet reduces fat intake, following the governmental food pyramid that suggests using fats sparingly. There are many good reasons to limit the amount of fat in your diet:
*cholesterol and fats can result in clogged up arteries, leading to heart disease and possible cardiac damage (in the form of a heart attack), stroke, and kidney disease
*fat packs a lot of calories - if you don't use those calories up in your daily activities, they will be stored in your fat cells and cause weight gain
Low-fat diets are often higher in carbohydrates than the average American's diet. Low-fat products take advantage of the fat-carbohydrate trade-off; if you compare "lowfat" cookies with their "normal" counterparts, you may notice that the fat per serving is lower but there is more carbohydrate per serving than the "normal" alternative. Because fat is flavorful, simple sugar and loads of salt may be added to lowfat products to enhance taste.
Carbohydrates are not as good a signal of satiety. In contrast, when you eat a bit of fat, your body "recognizes" it as a signal to limit the amount of intake. So, while a low-fat diet can help you stay healthy, a no-fat diet may encourage you to eat more than you need. If you make up in carb-calories what you lose in fat-grams, excess carbs will be stored as starch in the liver and fat in your fat cells! So even though your diet is low-fat, you may end up gaining weight if you eat more carbs than you use in daily activities.
Lastly, you need the right sorts of carbs to keep healthy and assist weight loss. Simple sugars are quickly absorbed and use little energy to process - in other words, they add lots of calories to your meal. In contrast, foods with more complex carbohydrates, like starches in whole grain breads - take longer for your body to absorb and use more energy. They also give your body time to recognize that you're full. Complex carbohydrates are more likely to have vitamins (like potato skins which have lots of B12) and fiber (like whole grain bread), both of which are important for good health.
Low-carb diets may help you lose weight by:
* making sure that you're satiated, since both fats are better signals to your body that "food's here!" than carbohydrates
* promoting ketosis: in ketosis/ Ketones are a byproduct of burning fats and proteins instead of carbohydrates.
* leveling out your hormonal response to carbohydrates. We make the hormone insulin in response to food, particularly sugar, entering the body. It's been hypothesized that large changes in insulin levels (for example, a large increase in response to a carb-heavy meal) trigger the storage of sugars as fat.
However, if decreasing carbs increases your fat intake, serious problems can result. In some studies, about 30% of people on low-carbohydrate diets showed an increase in cholesterol levels, even if they lost weight on the diet. Studies have also shown that low-carb diets may increase in kidney problems, especially in people who already had some kidney disease.
In addition, some studies suggest that ketosis in the Atkin's diet is not caused just by fat burn but by burning muscles instead. Muscle loss does result in weight loss, but is unlikely to give you the look you want, or to help you function. Lastly ketosis can be fatal in diabetic - if you're diabetic, you should speak with your doctor before starting any diet.
Women have some special issues to think about when looking at a low-carb diet. Some studies show that people on these diets lose a lot of calcium, which makes them a bad idea for women at risk for osteopenia or osteoporosis. In addition, some low-carb diets do not include the right foods for a balanced intake of vitamins; while a few days of missed vitamins aren't a problem, chronic deficiencies can lead to skin, eye, and bone damage. And for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, ketones can be dangerous for a fetus as well as for you.
Which Diet Should I Use?
The keys to weight loss are moderation and tailoring. If you're interested in losing weight, talk with your healthcare provider about tailoring a weight-loss plan that takes into account your current health and weight-loss goals. Lowering calories and balancing nutrients, rather than focusing on a single "culprit" gives you the best chance of long-term weight reduction.
Auchincloss, E, "Byron's Weight," Times Literary Supplement, 4896, p 15, 1997
Bravata DM, et al." Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets: A systematic review," Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 289, issue 14. p 1837-1850. 2003.
Meckling, K, "Comparison of a low-fat diet to a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss, body composition, and risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in free-living, overweight men and women," Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Volume 89, issue 6, pages 2717-23
Westman, EC, et al "Effect of 6-month adherence to a very low carbohydrate diet program," American Journal of Medicine , Volume113, p. 30-36, 2002
Olsen, M., et al,"A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia," Annals of Internal Medicine, Voume 140 pages769-777, 2004
Copyright (C) Shoppe.MD and Ian Mason, 2004-2005
Learn more about health, diet and exercise at our weight loss forum.
PhenForum.com is a popular discussion forum for weight loss programs, diet tips, and support to help you burn more fat and lose weight permanently.
Snack Ideas for Kids That Wont Wreck Moms Diet
If you are a mom at home on a diet, you will probably related to a frequent situation I encounter as a weight loss consultant. Many of my clients with children are able to keep to a healthy eating plan through most circumstances except two.
Reading labels is an essential part of any weight loss program. Being able to clearly identify key components of a food item is vital to the success of your diet.
I don't know about you, but I absolutely love bread - not the soft, fluffy, rubber stuff sold as an edible napkin, but the scrunchy, chewy, whole grain staff of life bread. I can pass by decorated cakes without a twinge and eyeball ice cream as if were something alien and unappealing.
7 Excuses For Not Starting Up Your Weight Loss Diet
Changing habits is one of the most difficult challanges we human beings are facing. This also applies to changing food habits, and especially starting a weight loss diet, when you are used to eating what you want when you want it.
Why Did Your Diet Fail You? Or Did You Fail Your Diet?
Are you someone who has, in the past, been on a diet, only to find at the end of it you had lost no weight? Despite putting your best efforts into the diet much of the time, and keeping quite close to recommendations when it came to calories and so on, for some reason things did not quite work out. Eventually, with the pounds drifting off too slowly and back on again too quickly, you just gave up, and went back to "normal".
Before and After Your Liposuction
Although liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries in the U.S.
An Incredible New Weight Loss Product - Your Brain!
I would like to introduce you to an incredible new weight loss product: Your brain? I discovered this technique for weight loss many, many years ago from a great New Thought teacher. When I posted it on a business forum last year, a member publicly thanked me for her weight loss a short time later.
Leaning Toward Lean: Clear Thinking For Better Health(Care)
Mindfulness is all about paying attention. It's amazing what can be accomplished when mindfulness is applied to systems that need all the attention they can get.
Action Plan to Take the Weight Off This Year
Addicted to Restaurants Are you addicted to restaurants? So are lots of Americans. What used to be a "treat," going out for dinner, has become more common that cooking at home, and we think we're better off? Think again.
New Weight Loss Plan -- Resistance Training
My last article, Make Diets Work, concluded that dieting the old way (eating fewer calories) doesn't work. Diet shock, slower metabolism, and eventually, weight regain are inevitable consequences of dieting to lose weight.
Fast Weight Loss Takes Time
I recently received the following email:Q. Five weeks ago, I began an exercise program and so far I have not lost any weight or gained in muscle tone, which is my goal.
7 Weight Control Habits
Here are 7 simple habits that can help anyone enjoy a healthy diet and keep their weight under control without feeling hungry all the time.1.
Surviving September: The Dietary New Year
With summer completed and school back in session, it'll be time to settle back into another fall routine. And, even though the flexible schedules of summer have gone, this is actually a very good thing for your weight and health.
Tell Me - Do You Really Like Being Fat?
Once upon a time, I fretted about going to a family wedding because I was - gasp - 142 pounds. I am five foot three.
Weight Loss Program: Do Your Expectations Sabotage Your Success?
When women talk about their biggest obstacles to successful weight and health management, we often hear about hurdles like not enough time or knowledge to prepare healthy meals. Or frequent social occasions that involve food.
The Great 8 Eating Tips for Fast Weight Loss @ Body Perfect Fitness
Low Carb, Low Fat, More protein, Eat all the fat you want..
Is Low-Carb Weight Loss Really Just Water Loss?
Any weight loss or diet plan, including low-carb plans like the induction phase of the Atkins Diet will result in water loss during the first week or two.However, one of the real beauties of following a low carbohydrate eating plan is that most of the weight loss than extends beyond the initial induction phase of the diet is really from a drop in fat pounds.
Plot Your Weight Loss Course
I'm sure you already know that weight loss and improved fitness don't happen overnight. But did you know that there are steps that you can take to improve your chances of weight loss success before you even start your healthier eating and exercise plan?There are five distinct stages of behavioral change.
Health Care Costs - Can Your Diet Control Them?
One of the most talked about topics in any political and social circle is the rising costs of health care. Some say the health insurance companies are to blame, while others point the finger at medical malpractice lawsuits.
Weight Loss from Exercise
Weight loss from exercise can be achieved by walking, running, or some sort of aerobic activity. You can exercise at home or at a gym.