“Diet” is often a scary word, because diet usually means deprivation. But there is a healthier and easier alternative that doesn’t deprive you of the foods you love to eat – the low carbohydrate diet.
People diet for two reasons, to lose weight, or to improve overall health – or both. If you’re a healthy adult who’s not overweight and who has no family members who are obese, the USDA food pyramid will work just fine. Just keep in mind that the carbohydrates they recommend are the ones contained in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, even those who are healthy and who are not overweight can maintain their health and vitality by living a low carbohydrate lifestyle.
For those who are overweight, or who have diabetes, the low-carlorie and low-fat diets recommended by most dieticians simply don’t work. Moreover, for diabetics, they can actually worsen their condition. The only diet that strikes at the real cause of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, and type 2 diabetes is the low carbohydrate way of life.
When you move to a low carbohydrate way of life, you replace carbohydrates with fats and proteins. While diets vary in their recommendations, a low-carb diet is synonymous with a high-fat and moderate protein diet. Those on a low-carb diet should get at least 60 to 70 percent of their daily calorie intake from fat. Carbohydrates should make up less than 10 percent, and in some cases, less than 5 percent of your daily calorie intake.
As Americans, we’ve been told for years to eat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Americans are now the fattest people on the planet – and we’re getting fatter at an alarming rate!Adult-onset diabetes is becoming a problem and we know better than to think that fat is the problem – carbohydrates are.
On a low-carb diet, you can eat until you’re full. You can eat meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and cheese, plus a limited amount of green vegetables (asparagus, spinach, broccoli). Plus, there are plenty of low carb alternatives that taste just like the foods you aren’t allowed to eat on a low carb diet. So now you can!
How does a low carbohydrate diet burn fat?
A lot of research has proven that dietary fat is not necessarily converted into body fat. Carbohydrates are readily converted into fat as an action of insulin. According to many experts, most overweight people became overweight due to hyperinsulinemia – elevated insulin levels in the blood. When you eat a meal high high in carbohydrates, the increased blood sugar stimulates insulin production by the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that allows blood sugar to be used by the cells. A side effect of insulin is that it also causes fat to be deposited. It also stimulates your brain to produce hunger signals.
Naturally, you then eat more carbohydrates, and the cycle repeats itself. Over time, your cells become resistant to insulin, meaning that your pancreas has to work overtime, producing up to four or five times as much insulin as it normally does just to keep up with the high demand for it. It’s been shown that high levels of insulin have a harmful effect on the body. How does premature aging strike you?
Limiting the intake of carbohydrates puts a end to this cycle. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, your insulin levels decrease and the levels of glucagon increase. Glucagon is the hormone that causes body fat to be burned and cholesterol to be removed from deposits in the arteries.
If you severely restrict carbs, the body goes into a state called ketosis – this is the burning of fat with the subsequent production of ketone bodies in your bloodstream. What is the result of ketosis? Your blood sugar levels stabilize, your insulin level drops, and your burn fat. There are inexpensive ketone test strips on the market so you can find out when you’re in ketosis or not.
When a diet causes your body to go into ketosis, it’s considered a ketogenic diet. For most people, restricting carbohydrate intake to less than 30 grams a day will induce ketosis. Most people on these diets lose weight quickly. While some diet experts believe ketosis is a safe condition, it’s not necessary to lose weight. If you choose a higher level of carbohydrates than needed to bring on ketosis, you may need to limit your total caloric intake in order to lose weight.
For diabetics who aren’t obese, it certainly isn’t necessary to be in ketosis for the benefits of a low carb way of life. It’s possible to bring your blood glucose levels under control without being in ketosis. If you need to lose a considerable amount of weight, a ketogenic diet is the most effective way of bringing your weight back to a reasonable number.
But is the Low Carb Diet a healthy way of life?
In the low carb lifestyle it isn’t necessary to count calories. You can eat as much as you want – whenever you want. You still shouldn’t over-stuff yourself, though. That is never a healthy way to live. Some people are metabolically resistant. In a case like this, reducing total food intake may help to stimulate or maintain consistant weight loss. Still, it’s the carbohydrates – not the calories which must be kept low.
Since on a low carbohydrate diet you are eating fats and oils, you’re rarely ever hungry. In general, foods high in fat are very satisfying. Eating high levels of fat will actually cause you to burn fat faster than if you were fasting! During a fast, your body goes into starvation mode. This is a very high efficiency state of metabolism. It actually slows down weight loss. A high fat diet combined with very low amounts of carbohydrates tells your body it isn’t starving, and your metabolism maintains a normal level. While consuming fat is a requirement for a healthy diet, limit consumption of trans-fats like margarine. Use real butter. It’s a good fat. Good fats are found in olive oil, flax seed oil, canola oil, and oils found in nuts.
Is it healthy? On a low carb diet, you can lose weight consistently, lower your insulin levels, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and stabilize your blood sugar (great for diabetics). “What about fruits and vegetables”, you ask? Since you’ll be eating less of these, it’s important to take a good full-spectrum multi vitamin and fiber supplement. But aren’t these good to take anyway? You bet…
Have you been consistently subjected to a diet high in sugar or refined carbohydrates. Your body recognizes only one carbohydrate — sugar. All carbohydrates you eat, except fiber, are converted into sugar. Eating a diet that’s 70% carbohydrate means that most of what you eat is sugar. That type of diet is unbalanced. The purpose of a low-carb diet is to bring your body chemistry and insulin sensitivity back into balance. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to eat a diet that is unbalanced in the opposite direction of they way you’ve been eating all your life.