Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Weight Loss. Is Low Carbohydrates The Answer

The hype about low carb diet has been blown out of proportion. It fails to reduce body fat as fast and as permanently as promised, at worse it could be harmful to your health if started without supervision by your doctor.
  • The human body holds 2.4 gram of water per 1 gram of carbohydrate consumed. Cutting back on the consumption of carbohydrates will cause your body to hold less water and lose weight, but very little loss in body fat, which is the actual cause of overweight.
  • The weight loss from a low carb diet is as deceptive as it is dangerous. The body stores carbohydrates as glycogen to fuel muscles activities. Under a low carb regimen, the body loses water, as well as the loss of glycogen in the muscles making you feel sluggish when trying to be active or do exercise.
  • Again, since the brain uses carbohydrates for energy, with a sharp cut in carbohydrates intake the brain will not function optimally. You will suffer from repeated lightheadedness, unable to fully concentrate on, and retain information. You will always feel something is missing, and to be sure, it is glycogen.
  • You may have read or heard, ad nauseum, that carbohydrate is stored as fat in the body, but so do all other foods. Foods and beverages have calories, and calories that are not used up through normal activity are stored as fat. Hence, a low carb diet will not end the storing of fat in your body if you continue eating high calorie food.
  • Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar or glucose, which is the body’s source of energy. Research has shown that carbohydrates are rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients not found in other foods. Carbohydrates are of two kinds, generally referred to as good and bad carbohydrates, and each affects the body differently.
  • Good carbohydrates are foods in their natural state, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grain bread, cereals, pastas and the like. They are high in fiber, give the body energy over long periods of time, lower cholesterol levels and help in the removal of toxin from the body. High fiber carbs also have low glycemic index that prevents a spike in blood sugar.
  • Bad carbohydrates are foods that have been refined and processed by man or machines such as candy, baked foods with refined white flour, white pastas and sodas. They are loaded with coloring, flavoring, preservatives, and have high glycemic index. High consumption of bad carbohydrates lead to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.
  • What this information means to you is that carbohydrates are good when eaten in small to moderate amounts, along with regular exercise, because your body needs carbohydrates to function optimally. Focus on eating carbohydrates high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains products.
  • Vary the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat depending on your daily activities. For instance, after a vigorous workout, you may eat that bowl of spaghetti and meatball or pizza you’ve been wanting, or even some ice cream. On days that you don’t workout, eating carbohydrates with low glycemic index will be fine.
A low carbohydrate diet will mainly reduce the water content of your body, leaving largely untouched your body fat, which is the main culprit of overweight. Additionally, if overdone, a low carb diet can be harmful to your health. To be sure that you are on the right path, consult with your doctor before getting on a low carb diet.

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