It’s unfortunate that the phrase ‘low carb’ (like many diets) is sometimes associated with diet fads. Sensible people may dismiss them because of that. But far from being based on junk science, a low carbohydrate diet can be healthy and just the right choice for some.
No single dieting method is perfect for everyone. But low carbohydrate diets help lower the one thing that all good diets aim at: reduced calories. There’s no getting around the fact that more calories consumed than used leads to weight gain. Reducing carbs the right way can ‘cut to the chase’, nutritionally speaking.
A carbohydrate is just some combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They’re consumed in the form of sugars or starches. A sugar is a relatively simple carbohydrate. Starches are considered complex carbohydrates.
Far from being harmful, carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source. That makes them essential. But in modern society, some people get too much potential energy, which turns into real body fat. Any excess calories the body acquires are stored mostly in the chemical bonds in fat cells.
But low carb does not mean no carb. Even the most extreme low carb diets recommend that no less than 40% of calories should come from carbohydrates. Most are in the range of 45-65% depending on the individual. Some people simply process carbs more efficiently than others. At the high end of the range, about 10% should be sugars, 55% complex carbs.
Those considering a low carb diet also sometimes believe it necessarily recommends no fruit or vegetables. Fruits like apples and oranges, it’s true, are often high in sugars. Many vegetables are very starchy. But here again low carb does not mean no carb. A healthy, balanced diet, even while focusing on reducing carbohydrates, will include some fruits and vegetables.
One of the big advantages of a low carb diet is that it doesn’t spend too much time counting calories. The focus, instead, is on adjusting the percentage of certain types of foods eaten. In particular, things like pasta and bread are reduced, sometimes considerably.
But that can lead to a problem, because the bottom line is calories consumed vs calories used. Reducing carbohydrates doesn’t just reduce calories from that source. It alters the way the body uses them, tipping the scales. As with any diet, it’s necessary to observe the results. A healthy diet, even one that aims chiefly at weight loss, should not leave you feeling low on energy all the time.
The way out is simply to adjust according your specific body’s responses. It may mean abandoning the low carb diet approach entirely. It isn’t the perfect choice for everyone.
Some who consider this approach worry about not getting enough fiber. Since fiber contains carbohydrates (technically, it is a carbohydrate), it may need to be reduced. But no responsible low carb diet recommends eliminating fiber entirely.
More importantly, fiber – because of its unique properties – is not digested, at least not fully. That’s part of its usefulness in the diet. So, since it isn’t digested it doesn’t contribute to the body’s amount of calories consumed. It aids digestion and health in many ways, but not by adding to the ‘energy store’. No need to forego fiber.
Investigate the different types of low carb diet and find out if one of them is right for you. My approach is to use goodand at least initially a low carb diet. This seems to be the healthiest approach and eliminates most simple sugars, which are an addictive substance for many.