Low Carb Diet
The low carb diet was first popularized by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1972 with his publication of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. This diet claims to work by reducing circulating insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin is a driver of carbohydrate in the bloodstream to muscle and tissue. When circulating insulin is high, there is little glucose getting to the cell. This is what is considered 'insulin resistance" and can be over come if you work on teaching the body how to utilize glucose again. The low carb diet while popular, isn't a necessary choice to garner better blood sugar control but it is one that is chosen because of the satiety that it provides. Due to hormonal imbalance, most with blood sugar dysregulation are also starving for nutrients which can cause incredible cravings. If you've ever wondered why one can do well on a low fat vegan diet and another on a high fat low carb diet, the difference is the oxidation of either fat or carbohydrate. Which will garner long term health? Neither if they aren't practiced with great care and attentiveness to actual nutrients and your biochemical individuality.
The notion that sugar is addictive is an unfounded claim. Studies have shown that certain reward centers light up with activity when a sugar substance is consumed. This same reward center lights up with both the sight of a pet or the holding of a baby. To blame one macronutrient for our obesity and health woes is sadly misguided. I once fell for the notion that "sugar is sugar" and I can tell you that while I lost an abundant amount of weight, it didn't fall off and I ended up with hormone issues. The minute I let go of a very low carbohydrate diet and added sugars of various types back into my diet, my nerves calmed, my stomach bloat disappeared and I began sleeping again.
We all know that processed foods are not healthy and dominating the diet with them can cause metabolic problems. To blame sugar solely would eliminate so many processed foods because they are a combination of both fat and sugar. No one sits to a bowl of sugar cubes, rather they are consuming highly palatable combinations of dangerous heart damaging seed oils and sugars in combination. Research has shown that this combination can cause over eating.
If I gave you one cup of sugar cubes or one cup of truffles, which will you over eat? I know my answer.
If you've been following me, my peers or any other person who has utilized low-carb for weight loss, it can be confusing and frustrating all at the same time. There is a war out there and it's now a war against sugar just as we had the war against fat. Diabetes is a lack of ability to process glucose, not a disease caused by glucose. Our high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids have blocked the cells ability to receive, therefore, keeping blood sugar high.
Even the King of the Low Carbohydrate Diet, Dr. Robert Atkins stated in his writing:
“Remember that prolonged low-carb dieting (including ‘this one’) tends to shut down thyroid function. This is usually not a problem with the thyroid gland but with the liver, which fails to convert T4 into the more active thyroid principle, T3. The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds with the presence of fatigue, sluggishness, dry skin, coarse or falling hair, an elevation in cholesterol,
or a low body temperature.”
~Dr. Robert Atkins
An extended low carb or ketogenic diet eventually depletes the liver of glycogen (stored glucose or sugar) causing a down regulation in the conversion of T4 to T3 and 70% of this activity happens in the liver. One does not need to be in "ketosis" to achieve fat loss and in fact, if practiced for too long, one can actually gain weight on very little calories carbohydrate or not, due to elevation in stress hormones and down regulation of thyroid activity. This is particularly true if you are an athlete.
When you hear about ketosis causing you to burn your stored fat, or you aptly refer to yourself as fat adapted, there is also a price to pay for that during daylight hours. This allows polyunsaturated fats to be liberated from tissue and these fats are damaging while circulating. It is preferable to burn your fat at night while at rest. A ketogenic diet is an emergency state and should only be used for short periods or as a therapeutic for epilepsy.
Practicing a short term low carbohydrate diet if one is not under a great deal of stress can be beneficial for the following reasons:
Quick loss of water weight allowing you to "feel" lighter and quickly fit into an outfit
Provide satiety for those who have ravenous appetite while hormones are being regulated
A ketogenic diet can be a therapeutic choice for seizure disorders
Eliminate digestive disorders
When practicing your low carb diet, try to remember that there are 2 classes of foods which happen to be quite insulinogenic. This can lower your blood glucose too rapidly so I always recommend my clients consume not only vegetables with their animal proteins but a form of gelatin as well as fruit. You can find more information in my hand out titled Food Rules.
Animal Protein (eggs have the greatest impact)
Starches (Potatoes, wheat )
In order to prevent an eventual drop in blood sugar, be sure to combine your macro-nutrients at each meal. This means that with your proteins, carbohydrate and fats should also be consumed. You're going to have those times when the only thing available to you might be a string cheese, but don't worry about it. Move on and plan your next meal/snack in advance. If you're new to a healthy eating body transformation, know your limitations. You might not be able to successfully "wing it" so food prep or at the very least, shopping and planning will be necessary. For a small fee, I can help you with this.
Low carb for you might just be the elimination of grains and starch. These are, in fact, fat promoting foods and over consumption is too easy. Just by cutting the grains you're cutting calories.
Cutting grains and legumes from the diet can prove anti-inflammatory but this can also lead to deficiencies, most particularly, a B Vitamin deficiency. This becomes even more apparent if one is replacing their gluten containing foods with processed gluten free foods. These have the ability to raise blood sugar and provide little to no nutrition. For some, they become a digestive nightmare.
If you're just eliminating gluten, there are plenty of naturally gluten free foods to choose from in our fresh foods category.
You can also purchase specialty wraps that make your grain free eating more adaptable depending on your region.
Romain lettuce leaves
Another popular lower carb diet is the "slow carb" diet. This is based on the glycemic index. Slow burning carbs include the following:
Beans, black, pinto and garbanzo
Quinoa (Pronounced keen-wa, a high protein seed grain popular in the vegetarian and natural food world)
Check out my Soup Diet page to make your low carb diet the best it can be. Add daily soup to this plan and you can increase your nutrients and lower your calories by about 20% without trying!
Don't hesitate to contact me here for your free 15 minute consultation.