Key Considerations For Choosing A Low Carb Diet Plan
The road to shedding weight is a tough one, no argument there. You change the way you eat, buy fresh groceries and prepare yourself for a special diet structure. Our body is thrown into another state when we change the way we eat, especially when we reduce the intake of a particular nutrient, like carbohydrates. This is why you need to be very much acquainted with the road you are treading on, to avoid some dangerous pitfalls.
A low carb diet plan is very common among people trying to lose weight. There are so many low carb diet plans out there, like the Atkins Diet, which comes in four different phases and has proved to be very effective for weight loss.
However, before embarking on any low carb diet plan, here are five considerations to take into consideration.
It’s a great idea to plan low carb meals ahead of time and find support on the many low carb online forums, where you can make friends and ask questions. It may also be a good idea to consult with a nutritionist.
Understanding Carbs and Low Carb Eating
Many experts attribute the large scale epidemic or obesity in the United States, where one in three of all adults are obese in large part to a steady increase over a prolonged period of time in the intake of unhealthy carbohydrates, which include, but are not limited to table sugar and all items made from it, refined starches, processed food and even too much fruit sugar.
According one study, (Cohen E, et al., Statistical Review of U.S. Macronutrient Consumption Data, 1965–2011), the number of overweight and obese Americans rose from 42.3% to 66.1% from 1971 to 2011 and during this time:
Complex carbs or multiple-chain sugars are believed to not result in a rapid surge of glucose into the blood stream, but rather a slower, more sustained release over the course of many minutes, or hours. The result? Insulin is better able to (though not in all individuals) handle the glucose load, reducing the likelihood of excessive sugar being left in the blood stream.
Simple carbs are single-chain sugars, therefore the name simple, they do not take long to process in the body and do cause erratic blood sugar spikes to occur.
Complex Carbs in Detail
Type 2 diabetics, in particular, have insulin that is both impotent and possibly deficient in quantity. As such, the body is ill prepared to properly metabolize, or store blood sugar, causing an abnormally high amount to be left circulating in the blood. Often, complex carbs are recommended over simple carbs to those with insulin issues and diabetes to better manage blood sugars and reduce glycemic load. However, it should be noted that not all people with diabetes or pre-diabetes react well to complex carbs, where for them they cause the same erratic spikes in blood sugar as simple carbs do.
Better for Weight Loss and Maintenance
When it comes to the body’s weight control mechanism, hormones play an extremely important part. Once again, our friendly neighborhood insulin can be the cause of you gaining dozens of pounds, as opposed to maintaining your body weight. The fact is insulin is a “storage” hormone.
It wants to shuttle as much sugar and fat as possible into your cells, while at the same time restricting the usage of fat (also known as lipolysis). This inhibition of fat breakdown, and enhanced storage of the same, is one major reason sugars contribute to weight gain.
Slower digesting carbs do not result in a very acute insulin spike, so its duration of action is shorter, and may not contribute to weight gain as simple carbs do.
However, while all above maybe theoretically true, not everyone tolerates a carb rich diet well, especially in regards to weight loss and this includes complex carbs and some experts disagree that simply using the label of “complex” to evaluate a food’s impact on weight management or loss is lacking, and that evaluating “glycemic load” of a food is a far better predictor.
Evaluating Glycemic Load
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale of 1 to 100 that measures a food’s impact on raising blood sugars or its glycemic load, the higher the number the higher the load.
One study proved this…
Doctors and other researchers in the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study (the largest epidemiological study conducted in the US into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women and has been going strong since 1976) found that baked potatoes and cold cereal were foods that contributed most to increasing blood sugar levels to an unacceptable level, known as "glycemic load.”
Therefore, low carbohydrate diet plans, like Ketogenic and Atkins take the viewpoint that all complex carbs are inhibitors to weight loss due to their high glycemic load, and in order to induce ketosis (the goal of these diets) the body’s ability to burn fat for energy instead of dietary carbs. In a strict low carb diet, complex carbs are eliminated or else the body will continue to turn them into glucose and use them for energy defeating the entire purpose of strict low carb, which is to induce ketosis where the body burns stored fat for energy instead of dietary carbs.
Maintaining Energy Levels
One of the common myths floating around is that carbs are the body’s only source of energy and one that is typically tough to replace. WRONG!
When you are following a very strict low carb diet program, and eliminate carbs, your body will go into a metabolic state known as Ketosis, where it burns stored and dietary fat for energy, a perfectly safe process, and the reason why low carb is so successful in helping people to lose weight.
The body is highly adaptive, and many studies have shown that the body is more than capable of running on stored fats and maintaining energy levels. It may take a couple of weeks for the body to adjust, but in the end those who succeed with low carb eating find they lose a lot of weight, and look and feel better than ever.
Additionally, when you reduce carb intake, you eliminate a fat storage process that results from eating them. When you eat carbs they turn into glucose in the bloodstream to be used as energy, but any that is not immediately used gets stored as fat.
Simple Carbohydrates Do Have Their Benefits
Many people testify to simple sugars having zero importance in the real world, however this is not exactly correct. In fact, simple sugars do have a few unique uses in a diet plan under very specific circumstances and are thus important in conditional scenarios.
As you can see, a definitive verdict cannot be reached into which is superior, as they each have distinct advantages. However, if you fall within normal parameters of health, chances are your needs for simple carbs will be much less.