Low-carb diets are the newest dieting trend and seem to be effective. Here are some tips for following a balanced low-carb diet:
Eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming for at least five portions a day. Include fruit at breakfast and salad at lunch. Reduce the amount of salt by eating less processed food, such as ready meals, and adding a smaller amount of salt to food. Eat a varied diet. Change your shopping list every week to help keep you out of unhealthy food ruts and make eating more enjoyable. Eat regular meals – although it doesn’t matter when you eat your food, a consistent schedule helps most people to control their diet and their weight. Control your portion sizes so that over time, if not necessarily every day, the amount of energy you consume matches your level of activity. Try to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Activity helps to regulate your appetite and means that you can eat more without gaining weight. Drink alcohol only within sensible limits: not more than 14 units per week for women, and no more than three in any one day, and not more than 21 units per week for men, and no more than four in any one day.
The current most popular fad diet is the Lo-Carb or Atkins diet. It restricts carbohydrate-rich foods, thereby restricting total daily calories. Phase One of the four in the Atkins Diet consists of between 1400 to 1500 total daily calories. The average adult female consumes around 2200 calories daily and the average adult male consumes around 2800 calories daily. Almost any adult will lose weight if they consume 800 to 1300 fewer calories daily. Phase One of the Atkins Diet also restricts carbohydrate intake to only 20 grams of net carbohydrates daily. The definition of net carbohydrates is the total grams of carbohydrates per serving minus dietary fiber per serving. Dietary fiber is the non-digestible remains of plant products found in beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source. In the near future, there will be a recommended dietary allowance, or R.D.A., for carbohydrates of 130 grams daily. 130 grams of carbohydrates our body needs daily is for the proper functioning of the central nervous system and production of red blood cells. Only during Phase Four of the Atkins Diet are participants allowed up to 120 grams of net carbohydrate daily. Low carbohydrate diets are nothing new, they have been around since the 1860s and the Atkins Diet first came out in the early 1970s.
Most nutrition experts agree that to be successful in weight loss a person needs to keep the weight off for 5 years. Over 90% of people who take the weight off through a fad diet like the Atkins Diet gain the weight back in less than one year. Participants on the Atkins Diet lose between 10 and 12 pounds in the first several weeks but this is only water loss, not fat. One pound of fat contains 3500 calories. Therefore, to lose 10 pounds of fat in several weeks you would need to consume 35,000 fewer calories or burn 35,000 calories more through exercise. Neither is likely to happen.
So, the best way to lose weight and become more healthy is to eat a balanced diet. Don’t cut out all your carbs, but don’t go overboard with them either. In addition to eating well, exercise in a proportional amount to what you are eating. Exercising too much is as bad as exercising too little.