The basis for low carb diets
Low carb diets are probably the most popular diet types today. Its philosophy of cutting down on bad carbohydrates, bad fats and bad sugars has turned the world on its ear because it challenges the age-old belief that low fat diets help you lose weight. But according to supporters of low carb diets, if low fat diets are really beneficial in losing weight then why is it that 30 years after it was first presented to the public there are more obese people now than ever before.
According to low carb diet supporters the reason lies in carbohydrates. They contend that carbohydrates are what contributes to obesity. They also said that carbohydrates are a power stimulant that triggers hunger pangs. This misconception about how certain ingredients in our food work is proving to be a huge mistake because low fat diet followers are actually more compelled to eat more carbohydrates.
How does this exactly work? When we eat carbohydrate rich food especially those that are made of simple carbohydrates like sugar, pasta, potatoes, rice or anything made with refined flour it stimulates the production and secretion of insulin. The effect of insulin in the body is that it coaxes glucose – which is produced by the digestion of carbohydrates – to be absorbed more rapidly by our tissues for energy consumption. The extra glucose that is not consumed are then converted into and stored as fat.
But it does not stop there. Once the glucose levels in our body drop, the insulin levels in our body would also fall. This cycle of a carbohydrate meal – rapid insulin increase and then subsequent rapid drop in insulin only promotes more hunger pangs. This means that just after two to four hours after a carbohydrate-rich meal we would already crave for more carbohydrates. This is like a vicious circle where you eat carbohydrates, store fat, get hungry and then eat more carbohydrates. With a low fat diet, a person still gets fat and raises his cholesterol levels – and that is bad news.
This explanation to support low carbohydrate diets is as sound as the explanations being forwarded for low fat diets. By limiting or even avoiding carbohydrates in our diet we can control our insulin levels to a manageable degree and thus prevents the hormone from transforming glucose into fat. This would in turn transform our metabolism enabling us to use our fat reserves as the source of our energy and not glucose that is made from carbohydrate digestion. This transformation enables our body to burn fat more.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, there are not enough studies to support the low carbohydrate diet when compared to the older low fat diet regimen. But as more and more studies are made, it is becoming apparent that low carbohydrate diets actually have tremendous health benefits to our body. There are some indications that this type of diet can actually lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. The tremendous health benefits that are being attributed to low carbohydrate diets really deserves a second look.