What You Should Know About Low and No-Carb Diets
I was recently chatting with one of my friends who told me that he was trying the “no-carb” approach to losing weight (again). Whenever I hear this, I’m always leery of this approach, or any other weight loss method that removes an entire food group from the diet. Unfortunately, low- and no-carb diets are common, having been made popular in recent years as a way to lose weight.
I realized that many people take this approach, partly because of the buzz surrounding it and partly because it can in fact, lead to weight loss. What people fail to realize, however, is that weight loss in itself does not equal healthy weight loss.
Generally speaking, removing an entire nutrient group from your diet is not a good idea. Carbohydrates in particular are the body’s primary source of fuel. And given the fact that carbohydrates include fruits and vegetables, it’s important to know exactly what the no-carb approach means.
The most recent guidance from the USDA is that fruits and vegetables should make up 50% of your daily intake. Benefits of eating fruits and veggies are that they are low in calories, make you feel full, provide much needed fiber, and they include several vitamins and minerals necessary for proper body function.
Try another approach. Instead of removing carbs from your diet altogether, try carb-replacing. Replace less healthy carbs like white bread and white rice with whole grain or whole-wheat variants. Better yet, replace them with a variety of fruits and vegetables. You’ll greatly reduce your calorie intake while ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs.
Weight is not the ultimate indicator of good health. While body weight is a consideration in health and fitness, it’s not the only consideration. Carrying extra weight can cause health problems, but there is a right way and a wrong way to drop excess pounds. Taking extreme approaches such as removing an entire food groups from your diet is not a healthy choice. Furthermore, while low- or no-carb diets may provide fairly quick weight loss results, it is not a sound approach to long-term health. In fact, many who take this approach eventually regain more weight than they lost because it’s simply not sustainable.
If you take one thing away from this post, consider this. Society has its own definition of what a healthy image looks like. Too many times we let this definition define us. A positive self-image is not one that necessarily fits society’s mold. It’s one in which we feel comfortable in our own skin. Working toward better health is always a good goal, but taking drastic measures like removing an entire food group from your diet is neither healthy nor productive in the long run. The rules of weight loss and improved health have not changed. There are no shortcuts, but your goals are attainable through smart lifestyle changes.
For more information on healthy eating for weight loss, check out this site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating