Low carb diets. Enough said. Summer is right around the corner, and many of us might be desperate to shed our extra winter pounds. There are many diets that claim to be the answer to losing pounds quickly, but the one I am most interested in is the “no carb diet.” Some claim that cutting carbs, or carbohydrates, from our diets will cause us to lose some weight and also make us healthier. Many of my friends have, at some point, resisted pasta and bread in order to lose a few extra pounds. I’ve always been skeptical because, to me, any diet that demands giving up Italian food sounds like a horrible idea. Right? Who’s with me? But, I am interested in knowing — does it work? And if so, why does it work? It’s the million dollar question!
Carbohydrates are found in many different foods, such as bread and popcorn. According to the health website, Harvard School of Public Health, it is “more important to eat carbohydrates from healthy foods than to follow a strict diet limiting or counting the number of grams of carbohydrates consumed.” In Lehman’s terms, this means: contrary to popular belief, all carbs aren’t bad for us. In fact, our bodies need carbs. Consuming healthy carbohydrates is part of maintaining a balanced diet. Harvard School of Public Heath again states on the issue, “carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity,” and, therefore, is necessary for our bodies.” Brown rice, whole-grain bread, and beans are examples of healthy carbs that will benefit our bodies.
However, this not to say that you should start binging on all your favorite carbs right away! Keep in mind that there are less healthy options on the market, too. “Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease”.
According to the Health magazine’s website, a study done by Grant Brinkworth, PhD, found that keeping carbs in a person’s diet left the carb-eaters feeling “happier, calmer, and more focused than the carb-deprived group, who reported feeling stressed out […because] carbs boost mood-regulating, stress-reducing chemicals in the brain. ” Following 106 people for a year, researchers found that “The stress and depression low-carb dieters feel eventually derails their best efforts to stay slim,” according to Health because, as Elissa Epel, PhD, points out, “stress produces high levels of hormones, like cortisol, that boost your appetite and lead to binging,” so non-carb eaters are more likely to indulge in foods more than carb eaters.
Verdict: False. Low carb diets or eliminating carbs all together from our diet won’t do us any good for our bodies; instead, it is important to maintain a healthy balanced diet and to enjoy healthy carbs. A study done by Harvard University demonstrates that low-carb diets are harder to maintain over time, therefore, contributing to participants to discontinue their dieting plan. As stated on Health, out “of 322 dieters, only 78% of those on low-carb plans stuck with their diet over the long term (up to two years), while nearly 90% of those on a high-carb diet were still going strong after two years.” Remember, healthy carbs are an important part of our diets!
How do you feel about low-carb diets?
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