Copyright (c) 2012 Vizzitopia
The Medical Community points to the increase in carbohydrates in today’s food as the cause in increased obesity, diabetes, and related health conditions. Critics of diets, however, say these health issues are caused by simple over-eating and a lack of exercise. These same critics also argue that the restriction of grains, fruits, and vegetables inherent in low-carb, high-protein diet regimens most likely lead to deficiency-related problems due to the lack of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and certain minerals.
Any diet, whether low or high in carbohydratess, can produce substantial weight loss during the early phases of the diet. The key to successful dieting is always keeping the weight off for good. How many people are disillusioned when they go “off” their diet? Thrilled to free from restriction they rush to their own routines and pouf, the weight rushes back with more to boot!
The Differences between Low-Carb Diets.
There are many popular low-carb diets available to eager prospects. Broadly speaking, reducing carbohydrates means you’ll be substituting bread and pasta for protein and fat to get your calories. Atkins and Protein Power diets limit that stuff so that the body becomes “ketogenic” (mimicking aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn its own fat). While diets like the Zone and Life Without Bread are less constrictive, others like Sugar Busters attack sugar-intake and any food which raises blood-sugar levels excessively.
Is The Test Data Producing Accurate Results?
Most studies of the effectiveness of low-carb diets have been limited and have a broad range of research objectives. The result is that the amount of carbohydrate intake, caloric-value controls, diet length and participant characteristics have all varied widely. However, most studies have had two things in common:
1) No study used subjects with a mean age above 53
2) No study lasted longer than three months
Research on older adults and observations of long-term results are hard to come by. Equally, studies have failed to include an examination of diet combined with exercise and therefore varied caloric expenditure. Hence the lack of unanimity of conclusion within the research.
Consensus deems that weight loss is achieved from a higher protein, lower carb diets through caloric restriction and diet length, not simply reduced carbohydrate intake. This statement argues that if you want to lose weight, you should simply consume fewer calories and do so over a prolonged period. Nothing new there!
Scant data exists on the long-term safety of low-carb diets. Notwithstanding Medical Community concerns, no short-term adverse effects have been proven on the cholesterol, glucose, insulin and blood-pressure levels of participants in the diet studies. Of course, adverse effects may not have had time to be exposed due to the short time-frame of the studies. Researchers have found that losing weight typically leads to an improvement in these levels anyway, offsetting any increase caused by a high fat diet.
The weight-loss difference from low-carb and other types of diets is comparable over an extended time-frame. Most of these diets invoke ketosis, and during the early stages, noticeable fatigue, constipation and alarmingly bad breath.
It has been reported that low-carb diets permit the consumption of more calories than other types of diets – this is not so. A calorie is a calorie whether it comes from a carbohydrate or a fat. Result differences between studies are most likely caused by poor or lack of “controls”…for example diet-study subjects may cheat on calorie intake, some may exercise more, or one of a million other factors.
Quite significantly, the drop-out rate for the more stringent of this band of diets is high.
So, how then, do you know if a Low Carbohydrate regimen is right for your?
Here are 3 things to consider:-
All diets work if you stick to them for a long enough period of timeThere is little scientific data to prove, or disprove, the long-term safety of a low-carb program.Most folks have a hard time maintaining these programs. Boredom overcomes willpower…partly because of the sugar deprivation! [particularly in the US, where processed foods nearly always contain some form of sugar in the preservatives. And that’s just the beginning!]Clearly, we need better data. But I would warn you, from my own weight loss success journey, not to start a low-carb diet unless you are prepared to see it through to the end. Each time you start a regimen involved ketosis, your body is less responsive than the time before.
Eating less fat and sugar just makes sense for all of us. Whichever diet you choose should be a road-map for a lifetime of healthier eating, and not just a quick fix. If you can’t see yourself sticking to the prescribed food list for more than a few days or weeks, then you probably won’t be able to sustain the change your life requires to sustain the weight loss. At that point, it doesn’t matter which diet you’re on.