Lately, a lot of attention has been given to low carb diets. They aren’t anything new. The Atkins diet was a low carb diet and that came out over 45 years ago. While the Atkins diet was quite aggressive and extreme, since then a variety of modifications and new diets have been introduced. The Atkins diet promoted eating high fat foods and often left you feeling horrible. The extremely low carbohydrate content forces your body to burn fat with a by product of ketones. Those make you feel bad with nausea and headache, leave your breath less than desirable and leave you lightheaded. Unfortunately, once you quit the diet the weight returns quickly.
Health risks can occur with a radical low carb diet.
When you’re not burning carbohydrates, you’re burning something else. It could be lean muscle mass. That slows your metabolism and is one of the reasons you gain weight more rapidly when the diet ends. Eating more meat than veggies can also increase bad cholesterol and leave you more prone to coronary disease. Eliminating the ketones created from burning fat can also put your kidneys into overtime and increase the risk of kidney stones.
Newer versions are “lower” carbohydrate diets with healthy foods supplying the carbohydrates.
One study showed the effect of a “lower” carbohydrate diet that had higher amounts of protein. The diet started with 50% of the calories from carbs, 15% from protein and 35% from fat with the dieters eating as much as they wanted. That tends to be more like the average diet. When they changed the allocation of protein and fat to 20% fat and 30% protein, people lost weight. That’s because the protein filled them more so they ate less. After 14 weeks the average participant lost 11 pounds with eight of those from body fat.
There are good carbs and bad carbs, just as there is good fat and bad fat.
You may already know that omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and also that carbs from cookies aren’t nearly as healthy as those from broccoli. The average American diet does contain far too many carbohydrates, but you don’t cut out an entire food group because of it. Cutting down on foods made with processed flour and keeping the pasta to a minimum won’t hurt you and is actually quite healthy. Just keep your low carb diet modified, keeping the good carbs like veggies and eliminating the bad ones, like candy and sugary products. Using this modification of a strict low carb diet provides healthy benefits and weight loss.
- A healthy low carb diet can actually lower the bad cholesterol levels. The saturated fat in the diet raises the good cholesterol and lowers the bad.
- Keeping your low carb diet high in vegetables, healthy fat and lean meat is the definition of healthy eating.
- Modified low carb diets are easier to follow and maintain. Knowing the right type of food to eat eliminates the need for calorie counting.
- No matter what type of diet you start, it will be healthier if you don’t go to extremes. Just as extremely low carb diets are bad for you, but modified ones are healthy, the same holds true for traditional calorie counting diets.