The very fact that obesity rates in America are among the highest in the world speaks volumes about the actual awareness of what is healthy and what is not. Described in the article below are some home truths about diets low in carbohydrates in an attempt to treat obesity.
Scientists, doctors, life stylists and self styled nutritionists across the world have designed their own diets, which, in most cases, haven’t worked for the simple reason that no-one followed them as they were to be followed. It is human tendency to give up the effort, after a while if no results are forthcoming and losing weight is one of the slowest processes of the body. So the interest spans are difficult to sustain, resulting in futile attempts, and finally, the diet is labeled a failure.
Today, after miles of research, we are sure of one thing fat is not our enemy, it is the carbohydrates. So the next thing was to put the carbs in the dock and the outcome, which is generally accepted (but still debated in some circles), is that a low carb diet is a healthy diet. This essentially means, cutting back on sugar producing carbohydrates, and eating more of proteins and of course, fiber. Fish, meats, poultry, eggs and cheese, with green vegetables thrown in, are a great idea, the carbohydrates the body needs can come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
All the diets strictly recommend one thing – carbohydrates should be replaced by fats and proteins. Almost 60 – 70 % of one’s daily calorie intake should come from fat. The point here is not the quantity of food, but satisfying food. Eating fat rich foods satisfies the body faster, so overeating is controlled. So, ironically, a low carb diet is essentially a high fat diet, since if you consume oils and fats, your appetite is sated faster, the body maintains its metabolism and stays healthy. Any indication that we give to our body about planning to eat less throws it in panic, with the idea that it is fasting, and so, it goes into a very high and efficient state of metabolism. This actually slows down weight loss. So the golden rule is…NEVER STARVE YOURSELF. Here, it is clear that a low carb diet actually means a high fat diet.
Research has proven that dietary fat is not necessarily body fat. It is carbohydrates that, with the action of insulin, are converted into body fat and get stored in the most embarrassing places. As we eat more carbohydrates, increased blood sugar produces more insulin – needed to convert the blood sugar into energy, which in turn deposits more fat and also stresses our pancreas into overdrive. It has to produce up to five times more insulin to take care of the high blood sugar levels, and this high level of insulin in the body creates big time trouble…including premature aging.
On the other hand, a reduced intake of carbohydrates puts an end to this vicious cycle and encourages the body to produce more glucagons, a hormone that burns fat and removes cholesterol from clogged arteries.
The problem comes when a diet is not balanced in terms of other nutrients. Remember, the body also needs vitamins, minerals, proteins and most importantly, fiber. These need to be added on to the diet too, just restricting carbs is not the end of the endeavor.
As to the good foods and the bad foods in the less carb list, almost all meats are allowed, except liver. Fish is generally good, though shellfish do have some carbs. Eggs are by and large OK and cheese not more than 4 ounces a day.
As for the veggies, the greener and leafier the better. But it is good to hold back on starchy vegetables like potatoes, carrots, peas etc. Avoid fruits with a high sugar content, like pineapple, watermelon, bananas, and citrus fruits. Tropical fruits are good, but mangoes may be a dicey idea.
And the good news is that fat in all its forms, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and even cream are all good foods.
This study actually throws up a new line of thought. Why is it that Asians are not genetically obese, and even today, not as fat as the average American? The Eastern diet consist of a balanced mix of veggies, meats (and in most cases, fish), and full grain in terms of unrefined wheat flour and unpolished rice. These are the healthiest things that a body needs, and could ideally replace the AAD- the starchy, oily, carbo-rich All American Diet.