If you’re interested in eating right and losing weight in a controlled, healthy manner, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the latest craze to hit the dieting world – the low carb diets. But what you may not know is that this isn’t a phase or a fad diet at all. It is a nutritional approach based solidly in science and biology.
The vast mistake that many people make when thinking low carb, is that they think NO carb. Cutting out carbohydrates (also called carbs) altogether from your diet would be highly dangerous as our bodies need carbohydrates in order to function properly, get and stay in tip-top condition. It is the type of carbohydrates that are important when you consider a low-carb way of eating.
Let’s discuss the two main types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs are the “bad guys”, and they consist of sugar and artificial sweeteners, flour, bread, white rice, pasta, and many grains. Also any foods that are made with the main ingredients being any of these simple carbs are on the no-no list.
Complex carbs are those that stay with you for awhile, as in, they keep you feeling fuller, longer. These would be meats and fats, many vegetables and some fruits. Foods containing a good amount of fiber are also on the complex carbs list.
Now let’s talk about the science behind the low-carb way of eating. Your body produces insulin in response to eating simple carbohydrates. This insulin sends a message to your body that says, “Store as fat.” So, eating too many simple carbs results in your gaining weight in the form of fat.
What any good low-carb diet aims to do is reduce the number of grams of carbs in your diet to that which is below your “carb threshold”. Your carb threshold is that number of carb grams you can consume each day without your body resorting to storing fat.
Take that carb threshold and reduce it a bit further (within healthy reason), and you actually begin burning that stored fat as energy, instead of your body burning the surplus carbs as energy. This process is called ketosis, and it is the reason that low-carb diets work for so many people. (This process is not related to ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous condition occasionally afflicting those with diabetes.)
The physical and psychological reasoning behind removing those bad carbs is that our bodies are not meant to consume those things – and certainly not in the amount we currently do. Sugar, flour, pasta, rice and highly-processed foods do not provide any valuable nutrition to our bodies, so cutting them out of the picture altogether is a great idea for anyone.
The low-carb way of eating has also proven to be a very sustainable diet to stay on, because most people are eating what they love, while breaking the addiction to those foods and ingredients that they do not need.
A week or two into a low-carb way of eating, and you will be on your way to better health, reduced weight, and much greater energy. Try it and you’ll see!