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The Lowdown on Low Carbs

Low carbohydrate diets are less popular than 5 years ago, but there are many dieters who continue to ask about them.   Here’s a brief overview of low carb diets and their effect:

Why low carb?
Carbs (sugars) are our main source of energy; in their absence (as with low carb diets), our bodies use up the stored sugars and quickly turn to burning stored fat.

Isn’t burning fat a good thing?
Sure it is.  But not this way.  When we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, burning fat for energy is a protective mechanism to prevent our cells from starving but it does not create the kind of energy that we need to function normally.  When the human body is even mildly starved for energy, we’re more likely to develop headaches, muscle weakness, and diarrhea or constipation. 

Are there other negative effects of low carb diets?
Yes, research suggests that low carb dieters are at risk for hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and possibly an increased risk of heart disease.  Also, memory worsens, thinking isn’t as sharp, and you’ll have really bad breath!Remember: any time you severely restrict or omit any nutrient, there will be negative consequences.

But I can eat as much as I want of the “approved” foods!

Yes, you can.  But doesn’t that strike you as odd?!  It seems intuitive to me that being able to pig out on anything isn’t exactly the healthiest diet.  Plus, all those processed foods that claim “low carb” on their packaging are taking advantage of clever marketing ploys to distract you from the fact that they’re not actually healthy foods.

So…I want to lose weight….what should I do?
Burn more calories than you take in.  Simple, right?  Yes.  And that’s the point.  Each pound in your body stores 3,500 calories.  The key to weight loss is finding a balance – to lose 1 pound per week (a healthy amount), cut 500 calories per day through a combination of less food and more exercise.  Eat a variety of foods that focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy, and healthy fats.

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