The low or no carb diet plans can be downright confusing if you listen to all the conflicting studies and various opinions. How do you know who’s right? Is it safe or not? Does is work or doesn’t it? These debates have been ongoing since the craze began.
Whether it’s South Beach, Atkins, or some other plan, there are as many as 30 million Americans on some sort of low carb diet.
Those who support it say that the high levels of carbohydrates in our diet contributes heavily (excuse the pun) to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. However, the naysayers, including most of the medical community, claim that our growing obesity and related health problems are attributed to consuming excessive calories, regardless of the source, and from our lack of physical activity. They also feel that low carb diets can cause us to lose some vital nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and several minerals because of the lack of grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Let’s try to take some of the mystery out of low carb diets. We probably won’t answer all of your questions, but the list below gives some relevant points taken from recent studies and scientific literature.
What Are Some Differences Between Low-Carb Diets?
The Atkins and Protein Power diets limit carbohydrate consumption to a point where the body becomes ketogenic.
While this is abnormal, it isn’t necessarily harmful. However, when ketone levels become too excessive, your body can fall into a state of ketoacidosis. This is when your body’s pH is lowered to dangerously acidic levels.
Other low carb diets, such as Life Without Bread and The Zone Diet are a little less restrictive. The Sugar Busters plan claim to eliminate only sugars and foods that raise blood sugar levels excessively.
What Do We Know about Low-Carb Diets?
Not much, really. Almost all of the studies to date have been small and have two things in common. Most of the participants were under the age of 53 and no study lasted longer than 90 days. Long term results are a mystery, especially if you are a senior. The only information we have to rely on is by word of mouth.
Most of these studies only monitored food intake. Very little regard was given to exercise or calorie expenditure. This would help explain the discrepancies between various studies.
Some of the most common short term adverse effects have been nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and constipation. These symptoms usually dissipate quickly, however. The elevated levels of ketone can also give your breath a fruity smell, similar to nail polish remover.
Low carb diets won’t help you reduce your calorie intake more than any other kind of program. A calorie is a calorie, no matter where it came from. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
So What Should You Do? It boils down to 3 important points:
- The long-range success rate for low-carb and other types of diets are similar.
- Little information exists on the long-term efficiency and safety of low-carbohydrate diets.
- Strict low-carb diets, as with any other plan, requires considerable willpower.
What seems easy today may not so easy a month or even a week from now.
Which brings me to one other point. Before you begin any weight loss program, you need to get your head in the right place. Your lifetime of unhealthy habits will fight you every step of the way. Unless you change your way of thinking, you will likely fail.
Weight loss hypnosis audios are an excellent way to do this. Many people just like you have used them to successfully lose weight without the cravings and temptations.
Whichever diet you choose, it should be a blueprint for a life, not just a quick fix to reach your weight goal. Consider this. Can you see yourself eating those special foods six months from? A year from now? The rest of your life? If not, then it’s probably not the right plan for you.
If you do decide to try a low-carb plan, remember that certain dietary fats are associated with reduction of disease. Foods that are high in unsaturated fats and free of trans-fatty acids are preferred to animal fat. These include olive oil, fish, flaxseeds, and nuts.
Another option to a “strict” no carb diet would be to give up some of the high carbohydrate foods, but don’t “throw out the baby with the bath water”. In other words, avoid foods high in processed sugar, as well as snacks and white bread, but retain foods high in complex carbohydrates such as fruit, potatoes and whole grains.