There are so many diet programs out there – low fat, low carb, no carb, Mediterranean, no sugar and on and on. So how does someone who wants to lose weight know which one to follow?
Low carbohydrate diets are still hugely popular, with many of us considering a low carb approach as almost essential if we want to lose weight and stay healthy. There are various reasons for this, such as the current trend of avoiding all grains and grain-based products, particularly those that are gluten-based.
But is this movement away from carbohydrates warranted and should we be limiting or excluding them from our diet?
There are many reasons that people might adopt a low carb approach to nutrition, some of which are related to specific personal circumstances. The right balance of nutrients is important to all of us, but for those of us who are coeliac or diabetic for example, we need to be far more mindful of the type and quantity of carbohydrates that we include in our diet, as the wrong balance could have serious implications for our health.
If our goal is fat loss, being in a calorie deficit is important. But while it is important to note that calories from different sources react differently within the body, the total number does count, and my view is that we would do better not to exclude any particular food group, unless we specifically need to for health reasons, and instead manipulate our calories across all of the major food groups.
Rather than simply cutting out carbs for example, we could slightly reduce our protein, fat and carb intake to create an overall calorie deficit. In this way, we create the deficit that we need, but we do not run the risk of being deficient in certain vitamins, minerals or fiber.
The answer is not simply to cut carbs. You need to ensure that you are getting your required nutrients, within your overall calorie requirements, given your specific circumstances, to meet your personal goals.
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