Introduction to Low Carb Dieting
By Paul Costelo
To help with weight issues and for overall improved health, many people turn to diets. In fact, government statistics show that while about 65 percent of Americans are overweight, 38 percent are actually doing something about it. That leaves 27% who aren't !
And according to a recent survey by the National Health Institute, about a third of overweight Americans who are trying to lose weight, are doing so by eating less carbohydrates (carbs) largely because of the huge popularity of fad diets like Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet.
Although there have certainly been other low-carb or low-sugar diet plans before, and more will come out in the years ahead, let's take a look at the basics behind many of the major plans.
And let's take a look at how they fit into the real world today. Because while it might be great to lower the body's sugar content and be healthier wouldn't it be great to learn how to do that quickly ??
In the world of instant messaging, quick Internet interaction and the already multi-faceted day-to-day hectic schedules, dietary food budgeting, planning, preparing and shopping are issues that can become major sources of stress and reasons for dieting failure. Dual income families on-the-go and other super-busy wage earners and dieters often already suffer from more than their share of everyday stresses like fears of being laid off, their jobs being relocated or terminated, juggling more than one job, dependents and trying to fund and juggle continuing education into their lives, budgets, and daily routines.
People want and need simpler solutions. And they need simpler dieting plans. Forget spending mega bucks on gourmet, hard-to-find items. Forget spending hours just to prepare meals. And forget counting, measuring, and weighing ingredients. Either a low-carb plan fits into the real-world, or it doesn't.
So are there any differences in types of low carbs-- you bet !! In a nutshell, there are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Some refer to them as bad and good carbs, fastand slow digestion carbs and other possibly confusing lingo. Here's the difference.
Foods with simple or refined carbohydrates most often have a low nutrient content and a high-glycemic index. They are quick to digest and can cause blood sugar to soar then fall dramatically within a short span of time. In order to keep the body running more healthy and stable, health advisors recommend that these type foods be limited.
Examples of these simple carbs are white bread, potatoes, bananas, and sugary treats like cookies, candy, cupcakes and cakes, and soda beverages like popular cola products.
Foods with complex carbohydrates contain many nutrients and have a low- to moderate-glycemic index. Higher fiber content in these foods means slower digestion, which is healthier for the body. And these foods are considered good choices by health advisors.
Examples of these complex carbs are whole grains, most fruits and vegetables. Legumes, plants of the pea or bean family, are also in this category.
WHICH IS BEST????
While studies like one from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in January of 2004 show that low-carb diets can help with weight loss;the carbs need to be of the complex, low-glycemic type.
But don't avoid simple carbs altogether !! You need a balance!
In other words a treat now and then, in moderation (and approved per your dietary advisor or in accordance with your health practitioner), should be fine.
As a side note, your teeth will also be healthier without the build up of sugar decay from simple carb foods. So a healthier smile really will mean a healthier body !!
In my next article I'll be looking at some other terms to help explain the science and health issues behind low-carbohydrate dietary planning solutions.
Copyright 2006 Paul Costelo
About The Author
Paul Costelo is a High School vice Principal who became interested in healthy eating and diets when both his children were diagnosed as suffering from food intolerances and allergies.
Paul is proud to publish the ultimate healthy French food book.