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Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Cookie Cutter" Low Carb Diet Plans Explained

Here's a good article that points out the fact that we're
all different, we're all individuals. Therefore, you have to
base your diet on YOUR OWN needs.

Don't forget though, exercise and drink plenty of water
along with your sensible low carb diet plan to get the
maximum benefits and maintain your weight loss.

"Cookie Cutter" Low Carb Diet Plans Explained
by Jenny Mathers

Most diet plans, including low carb diet plans are best
taken with a grain of salt, because although one may work
for your best friend, it may not work for you. For those
with serious weight problems and have co-existing issues
such as hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels) or like
some of us hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) etc.,
the popular diet plans usually will not be able to cater to
individual needs.

We are all individuals and as such we need to feed
ourselves as individuals, having said this some diet plans
will be more beneficial for the general population that
others. To assess which particular diet plan will be beneficial,
you can follow these guidelines. They are very much common
sense points, and provide a good framework which many
nutrition professionals would broadly follow, and within
which you can divide the scammy diet plans from those that
can offer you safe and healthy diet ideas.

  1. Diet offers sufficient balance and a variety of carbohydrates,
    protein and fats.
  2. Diet does not exclude one particular food group, and encourage
    excessive consumption of another.
  3. Diet encourages exercise to complement sensible eating habits.
  4. Diet encourages awareness of portion sizes.
  5. Diet does not encourage unrealistic quick weight loss.
  6. Diet is backed up with medical research data.
In addition to these points, I've broadly outlined the low carb
diet plans, which seem to be occupying the minds of dieters
and researchers alike, as well as the research for and against
pertinent to the low carb diet plans.

Low Carb Diets

A lot of the diet plans these days center around the low
carb diet plans. These low carb diet plans are considered
by some diet fads, others consider it the new wave in
healthy eating. Diets such as The New Atkins Diet Revolution
maintain that obese people are insulin sensitive and
carbohydrates make them gain weight. Low carb diet plans
such as The Zone lay down specific proportion of
carbohydrates, protein and fats that should be consumed in
order to lose weight and while fats are reduced, the main
source of energy comes from the consumption of protein.

Low carb diet plans such as Sugar Busters, believe that
sugar is your bodys most heinous weight loss enemy and
since carbohydrates are the foods that are processed into
sugars - carbohydrates should be limited. The Scarsdale
Diet also is a low carb, high protein diet and offers a 2 week
crash dieting plan.

Popular diets such as the South Beach Diet and the
Carbohydrate Addicts Diet are also low carb diet plans that
have become popular with dieters who have tried and failed
at the Atkins diet. All these diets see themselves as the
worlds answer to the obesity problem.

To be fair, there are significant and many research papers
that support and argue against the low carb revolution, as
yet the wider medical community has not fully made its
mind up as to whether the diets are something that is
favourable in the long term.

Recent research by Layman et. al., and Saris have found
that the low carb and high protein diets provide little
benefit to dieters. Researchers found that when protein
was moderately increased and carbohydrates proportionately
decreased, insulin levels stabilised but no significant weight
was lost. Saris in his review concluded that it is probable
that a low carb, high fat diet will increase the likelihood of
weight gain.

While there is a lot of evidence against the low carb philosophy,
there is also a lot of evidence to support it. Research published
in May, 2004, found that when patients on a low carb diet were
compared with patients on a low fat diet, those patients who
had consumed a low carb diet had a greater weight loss,
decreased triglyceride levels and increased levels of HDLs -
in other words their cholesterol levels had improved. To put
the icing on the cake research has just been published to
support the long term efficacy of eating a low carb diet.

Despite the evidence to support low carb diet plans,
mainstream medicine still does not recommend them. The
main points of contention with the low carb, high protein
diets is that they dont offer balance and variety and could
prove dangerous for people at risk of heart disease. Particularly
with low carb diet plans such as the scarsdale diet, they are
not realistic and cannot be maintained in the long term
causing yo-yo dieting and no one wants that !

References:

Wim HM Saris Sugars, energy metabolism, and body weight
control Am J Clin Nutr 78: 850S-857S
Donald K. Layman, Harn Shiue, Carl Sather, Donna J. Erickson
and Jamie Baum Increased Dietary Protein Modifies Glucose
and Insulin Homeostasis in Adult Women during Weight Loss
Nutrition.org

Yamashita T, Sasahara T, Pomeroy SE, Collier G, Nestel PJ.
Arterial compliance, blood pressure, plasma leptin, and plasma
lipids in women are improved with weight reduction equally
with a meat-based diet and a plant-based diet. Metabolism.
1998 Nov;47(11):1308-14.

Yancy WS Jr, Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC.
A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to
treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled
trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004 May 18;140(10):769-77.

Copyright © 2004 Jenny Mathers. All Rights Reserved.

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