I am glad you’re here and I hope that you will find the information below helpful.
Something has brought you to this point and you don’t have to say what….but if you’re like me (6 years ago) it is because you are unhappy and feeling unhealthy. It could be your weight, energy level, aches and pains that you never had before but you are here, doing your research and asking What is A Low Carb Diet? You’re in the right place. This is a “no holds barred” introduction to the basics of why you need to adopt this eating lifestyle into your life. I promise that this change will be the best decision you’ve made, ever!
What Science is Saying
Over half of our population is considered overweight or obese. Being overweight is having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25% and being obese is having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30% or higher. Check your BMI HERE. In fact 2 out of every 3 people in North America are considered overweight or obese. When you consider the side effects of being overweight it becomes even more serious:
– High Cholesterol
– Feeling Tired / Unmotivated
– The list goes on and on.
Traditional medical experts say that since being overweight is a problem with having too much fat in our bodies…we should cut out fat…right..NO. This is a belief that started in the 1970’s but further research is showing that science, was very wrong.
A comprehensive study published in the The Lancet where the researchers studied over 135,000 people in 18 different countries over a ten-year period showed that eating a diet made up of mostly carbohydrates caused more cardiovascular problems than a diet made up of mostly proteins and fat. Further, to that the mortality rate of a person following a low carbohydrate diet was improved, over someone following a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into who has a vested interest in keeping the low fat lifestyles alive but know that you can make up your own mind based on the evidence available and there is certainly a lot of evidence to support a healthy low carb lifestyle.
What is a Low Carb Diet?
There are many diets that I have encountered that you could consider low carbohydrate. A few examples are:
– The Zone
– Dr. Poon
– Just to name a few
Each one of these diets has one thing in common “low carbs” and high protien but they all vary slightly in their recommendations, meal plans and overall philosophy. The important thing to remember is that they all work to help you lose weight and get healthy but you may have to experiment to see which one works best for you. Here’s a high level overview of the unique aspects of each plan:
A low carbohydrate diet plan that focuses on eating “proteins until you are satisfied” with less concern about fat intake or calories. Although this may be the most widely recognized low carb diet it is by no means the most popular any longer. The “Atkins” company went into bankruptcy in July 2005 after Robert Atkins tragically died in a freak fall on the ice in 2003. Contrary to the popular belief that his high fat diet caused him to have a fatal heart attack he actually died of completely unrelated circumstances. The company eventually emerged from bankruptcy with a focus on packaged foods and a slightly different approach to their diet plan.
First developed in France in 1975 by Dr. Pierre Dukan to help his overweight patients from regaining lost weight. Dr. Dukan was a very forward thinker with not a lot of support for his concepts. In fact a court decision which ruled against Dukan in 2011 found that Dukan was unsuccessful in suing Jean-Michel Cohen for criticizing his methods openly within the press. The basis of the diet plan is a 4 phase approach where each phase tests your carbohydrate tolerance while keeping to a set plan of protein and carbohydrate intake depending on which phase you are currently in.
Barry Sears was a biochemist when he created the Zone low carb eating method. This diet plan is based on eating 3 meals and 2 snacks each day to discourage overeating. The plan has not been given a lot of merit by nutrition experts but I was unable to find one study that truly investigated the diet. Reviews from members of this plan seem to be very positive and show that the diet is quite successful for some.
Many of you may not have heard of this diet unless you are Canadian. Dr. Poon, a family practitioner, would often proposed a low fat/low calorie diet plan to his overweight patients but he found that they had very little success until one day one of his patients asked his opinion of a low carb diet. This peaked Dr. Poon’s interest and he began to ask himself, what is a low carb diet? Dr. Poon went on to develop a diet that had a much higher success rate than his previous recommended diet. This diet, like many of the low carb diets has phases. The Dr. Poon diet has 3 phases and in the first phase you almost eliminate all carbs but unlike other low carb plans Dr. Poon requires you to also eat low fat and low sodium as well. In the second phase your carbs can increase slightly and with the final phase meant to maintain your weight.
Usually called the Keto diet because the goal is to get your body into a metabolic state called Ketosis. Ketosis is an optimal state for burning fat and turning that fat to Ketones in your liver. Your body then uses these ketones to fuel your body’s energy rather than using carbohydrates. There is a standard Keto diet where you follow a high fat, moderate protein and very low card eating plan. There are a few variations on the standard diet allowing for higher carbs on the occasional day or increasing the protein. This diet has shown the most benefit to those suffering with Diabetes as it decreases blood sugar and insulin levels dramatically.
Which Diet is Right For You?
As you can now see all these diets will require you to reduce your carbohydrates but some diets would have you almost eliminate them entirely whereas other diets will have you eating a mainly fat filled diet. What you must keep in mind is that all these diets have been proven to be a great way to lose weight but also to improve your health and even help you live longer. So the only decision there is left to make is when do you start?
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