Millions of Americans today are on low-carb diets.
Usually these diets restrict calorie intake, but emphasize more protein, less carbs.
The rationale behind low-carb diets is that since the body uses carbohydrates for fuel, the less you take in, the more the body will use fat and protein for its energy.
So, let’s take a look at carbohydrates because all carbs are not created equally. People can choose simple carbs, which have one or two sugars and are absorbed quickly by the body, or complex carbs, which have have three or more sugars and are absorbed in the bloodstream more slowly.
Most low-carb diets recommend eating complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and beans. Complex carbs include;
- Black beans,
- All Bran cereal
- Kidney beans
- Green peas
- Starchy vegetables
Simple carbohydrates often contain refined sugar and are digested quickly, causing your blood sugar to rise fast. Often, these types of foods, such as soda and cakes, are called “empty calories.” Although fruit might be considered simple carbs, they are often a healthy choice and include nutrients and fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
Simple carbs that you should avoid include:
- Table sugar
- Brown sugar
- Fruit drinks
- Jams, jellies
Choosing a low-carb diet also depends on your lifestyle. Long-distance runners often carbo load to increase endurance. If you are pumping irons, you also need carbs because otherwise your body will use protein for energy.
Low-carb diets should help you lose weight, but this eating regimen has some additional health benefits, including lower triglycerides levels, according to a Harvard article, which also stated that research “shows that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet can help the heart.”
Other sources suggest blood sugar benefits.
The Mayo Clinic concurs, saying that low-carb diets may also reduce risks to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
USA Today recently reported on a study of 148 people who were either on low-fat diet or a low-carb one. After one year, the people on the low-carb diet lost an average of eight extra pounds, lowered their body fat and saw their cholesterol levels decrease.
There are many low carb diets from which to choose. Some of the better-known low-carb diets are Atkins, Zone and NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss Program.
I have been on many diets and prefer the low-carb diets, especially now because I have blood-sugar issues. But eating healthy on a low-carb diet is important. When I am on a low-carb plan I have fruit and vegetables along with protein. I avoid all food that contains added-sugar, such as soda, candy, cakes, etc.
DID I lose weight? Absolutely. Last year I lost about 20 pounds after giving up all added sugars and eating primarily complex carbs and protein. Not only did I lose weight, but my three-month blood sugar levels went down.