This nation is in dire need of a low-carb alternative to weight loss. The low-carb craze took the nation by storm in 2003 and 2004. Whereas Atkins and other low-carb plans had been used by some for decades, low-carb was adopted by the dieting masses a couple of years ago. The low-carb craze came riding the coat-tails of the low-fat frenzy that was prevalent in the 1990s.
While low-fat eating is good in theory, Americans managed to take a good thing and make an ineffective diet out of it. Most of the unsuccessful dieters who choose "low-fat" managed to reduce their fat intake quite a bit, but by eating as much low-fat (and high sugar, typically) food as they wanted they packed on even more pounds due to the high calorie intake.
Rather than do the "sane" thing and realize that Snackwells cookies shouldn't be a regular part of ANY diet, people decided that an opposite approach might work better: reduce the sugars and carbs, but allow more fat in the diet. As an added bonus, when eating low-carb a dieter will lose more water weight than with any other diet. This is because carbohydrates are stored in the muscles and, in order to store each gram of carbohydrate, the body needs to store approximately 4 grams of water along with it.
While it is motivating to see that loss of weight even if it's just water (which can account for 5-8 lbs. of weight loss), a low-carb dieter won't see any additional water weight after that first week. Therefore, it's important to look at the LONG-TERM effects low-carb dieting has, and to keep a low carb alternative in mind.
For some people, low-carb dieting works great. They have steadier blood sugar which means fewer cravings, a reduced appetite, and more energy. Furthermore, low-carb eating tends to remove the foods from the diet that are commonly binged on, such as cookies, cakes, chips, candy, bread, and pasta. It's a lot harder to over eat chicken, broccoli, and even beef than it is to over eat carb-y foods. Results on a low-carb plan vary depending on how your body reacts and also how much fat and carbs like veggies and fruit the plan allows. If your total calorie intake is too high, you won't lose any fat at all on a low-carb plan. And some low-carb foods, particularly pre-packaged ones, are very high in fat and calories. But assuming you choose primarily unprocessed, healthful foods, low-carb dieting can work really well, as long as you're planning to continue eating that way for life, and not just as a technique to take the weight off. If you go back to your old habits chances are you will gain the weight right back.
On the other hand, low-carb diets are a nightmare for some people. Fatigue and lethargy are common complaints. You see, carbohydrates are essential fuel for physical activity such as weight training and intensive aerobics. Long-term low carb dieters often experience growing fatigue and loss of motivation to maintain the type of fitness routines needed for weight management. One of the greatest predictors of who will take weight off and keep it off is the amount of exercise a person gets. If you have no energy for workouts because you're following a low-carb diet, you're shooting yourself in the foot! A low carb alternative might allow you to exercise more vigorously, leading to greater weight loss and body firming. There are a variety of low carb alternatives out there--low carb dieting is more a fad than a popular way to lose weight.
There are other issues with low-carb diets besides your workouts, however. The brain's favorite fuel is carbohydrate. If absolutely necessary, the brain will utilize fat (in the form of ketones), but it performs less efficiently on this type of energy. Although research is ongoing, it seems that for optimum intellectual activity, we need a regular intake of carbs. A small number of people actually have a brain that is sharper and better able to function on ketones rather than carbs, but for most people this is not true. For the average person, a low carb alternative is preferable.
Adhering to a low-carb diet (sticking with it) can also prove troublesome. Because many low-carb foods are not necessarily low-calorie, dieters walk a fine line. If you go off your plan here and then you might not lose weight at all. On the other hand, if you followed a healthful, low-sugar low-fat diet you probably would eat more lower-calorie foods which means you would be less at-risk to gain the weight back if you went "off" your diet one day. Low-carb can be expensive and can be hard to follow at times. Also, it can be tiresome to eat low-carb day after day. Most people do not want to follow a strict low-carb diet for life, but I strongly recommend choosing a diet plan that you can sustain in some form for life with little to no problems. That way you won't have trouble gaining the weight back once you stop your diet. For many people, a low carb alternative fits the bill much better than the latest low carb fad.
There is a viable alternative to strict low-carb or strict low-fat. That alternative is simply to find the combination of eating that allows you to accomplish these things:
1. A filling diet
2. A satisfying diet taste-wise
3. A diet that gives you energy for working out
4. A diet you could stay on indefinitely without too much trouble
5. A diet that fits your budget and your schedule
6. A diet that includes enough of all the essential nutrients
7. A diet that controls your appetite
8. A diet that allows you to have a treat of your choice here and then, and still be "on the diet."
Now, this type of plan has the best track record for success, but it's important that it is individualized for each person. Many people have great success when they achieve weight loss through healthy living rather than dieting. Click here to learn more.
A low-GI diet is another low carb alternative that offers all the advantages of low-carb eating, without all the problems.
A low-GI diet focuses on quality rather than quantity of carbohydrates. The diet recommends the consumption of low and intermediate (moderate) GI carbs. These carbs have been proven, in hundreds of clinical trials all over the world, to form the basis of healthy eating.
In a nutshell, a low-GI plan provides all the health and weight benefits of carbohydrate WITHOUT the drawbacks. Low-GI plans incorporate healthy carbs that are high in fiber, such as beans, lentils, and whole-grains. Fruits and vegetables may be eaten liberally and there is no need to worry about the carbs that are found naturally in dairy products. White flour and white sugar, while limited, may be consumed as a treat here and then without breaking the diet. A low-GI plan is a return to the healthful way of eating that allowed people to keep weight off well before low-fat and low-carb diets can into the picture.
If you've been crash dieting or trying to avoid carbs completely you metabolism is probably low because you've been abusing your body. If your metabolism is low, losing weight will become much harder, and might even be impossible. But don't worry...with the help of a trained professional you CAN rehabilitate your metabolism and get back on the fast and healthful track to weight loss! To get started, check out the nutrition guidelines of a basic healthy diet than can be used for weight loss or weight maintenance:
Healthy Nutrition: The Smartest Low Carb Alternative
Diets should be personalized to the individual; there is no one-size-fits-all diet. If you are interested in learning how you might get a nutritionist working one-on-one with you for your personalized diet plan, fill out the form below. You will be under absolutely no obligation to begin a program with us, and we promise we won't share your contact information with anyone.
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