One of the more successful approaches to weight loss can be limiting your intake of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, the basic building block for energy (and therefore fat, too) are in most everything that we eat. Going truly NO carb is very difficult. Going low carb can be done without making huge sacrifices and has been successful for many people in their quest for weight loss.
What is on a low carb menu?
A low carb diet focuses on shifting the balance of food from carbohydrates to protein. Carbs are digested into sugar which becomes blood glucose, which bonds with insulin and powers our bodies. Reducing our intake of carbs causes our body to burn fat to make up the energy deficit. Ta-da! We can lose the fat without starvation. Sounds good, right? That makes a plate of vegetables a wonderful thing, because most veggies don’t have a lot of carbs. Low sugar fruits are great too, like cranberries, blackberries and raspberries. Protein is definitely on the menu since proteins like meat, fish and dairy have few carbs. Just watch out for your fat intake. The same is true for nuts and seeds.
Besides weight loss, are there benefits to a low carb diet?
Yes! In general, eating a low carb diet will improve your triglycerides, raise your high density liploprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lower your (slightly) your low density lipprotein cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). That assumes that you’re responsible about balancing your fruits and vegetables versus your red meats and not subsisting entirely on “carnivore style” burgers at In-n-Out.
Is there a down side?
Like anything, moderation is important. Low carb should be no carb. Your body needs a supply of energy, and metabolizing fat is not as efficient as burning carbs. If nothing else, too few carbs will give you bad breath as one symptom of ketosis (fat burning). But don’t worry about low carb conflicting with your exercise or weight training. There is plenty of medical evidence that shows that the two are not incompatible. As long as you’re not training at an extreme level, your body can build muscle mass just fine on a low carb diet.
How do I start?
Just jump in! There are numerous recipe books and web sites with wonderful menu planners for people starting out with their new low carb lifestyle. You can look forward to a varied and delicious meal and a slimmer, trimmer you!
p.s. Most people agree, a diet is much easier to keep when you have a diet buddy. Don’t have a buddy yet? Check out WannaBuddy.com and find a local diet buddy.
I honestly have no idea how anyone can reduce their carb intake, let alone stop carbs completely. There is no way I cannot eat breads, cereals, pastas and rice!! It just seems impossible to me. I would much rather eat the carbs and burn them off by any activity.
I think people need to realize that exercise is more important than your diet. By exercising, you will burn what you are eating and it seems to also suppress your appetite. Cutting carbs or lowering them is just not for me.
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I thought exercise was the more important part of the equation too... but got "The Primal Blueprint" (book by Mark Sisson) for my birthday last week. I highly recommend it! As for not being able to live without "breads, cereals, pastas and rice," I'll tell you, I haven't gone completely Primal yet, because we have too much food in the house I won't be able to eat... but cutting way back on the very items you mentioned over the past 9 days allowed me to go to dinner last night at Olive Garden, and not only NOT eat their breadsticks, but not even crave one! I'm not cutting all carbs, but I AM cutting grains as much as possible. Looking forward to my next lipid panel (late May/early June) to see how it's affecting my numbers.
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