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.
We have so many plans that can function as your low-carb alternative. Why torture yourself?
Rather than do the "sane" thing and realize that Snackwells cookies shouldn't be a regular part of ANY diet, people decided that anopposite 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 and no low-carb alternative is desired. These folks can report 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. Folks like that will really be interested in finding a low-carb alternative. Fatigue and lethargy are common complaints for people who struggle on low-carb. 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. Low carb eating can even affect your mood.1 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.