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The Truth About Low-Carb Diets and Your Health

May 19, 2008
Low-carb diets have been extremely popular in recent years. They boast large weight loss, which is a major selling point in society today. Everyone wants to lose a large amount of weight, and fast. Low-carb diets will make you lose weight, but are they really healthy?

The logic behind low-carb diets is that an increase in carbohydrates raises blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to a weight gain. By decreasing intake of carbohydrates, blood sugar and insulin levels will decrease, leading to weight loss. What is left out is how you are supposed to get the nutrients and vitamins your body needs without certain foods. A low-carb diet is good in the sense that it cuts out sugar and refined carbohydrates, but it also leads to a lack of dietary fiber, and deficiencies of several essential vitamins and nutrients.

The South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet are two of the most popular low-carb diets around today. Each has a different approach to weight loss.

The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet works on three phases, and focuses on eating the "right" carbs and the "right" fats. Phase one eliminates most carbs for two weeks. This is to allow your body to get used to not having them. Phase two reintroduces some carbs, and this phase lasts until your target weight is achieved. Phase three introduces a wider variety of foods, and phase three lasts for life.

The downsides to this diet are that the first two weeks require a lot of willpower, because your body has been used to having those extra carbohydrates, and now it has none. People on this diet can sometimes experience weakness and shakiness because of the lack of carbs. As stated before, The South Beach Diet is supposed to allow you to lose 8-13 pounds in phase one. This is extremely unhealthy, and probably more due to the water weight that comes off and not the diet of low-carbs. Phase one bans fruits and vegetables, so for the first two weeks of the diet, you are missing out on important vitamins and nutrients, a similar problem found in the Atkins Diet.

The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet has limitation of carbs similar to The South Beach Diet. The Atkins Diet contains four phases, and all of them require a calculation of a certain number of grams of carbohydrates. This diet encourages you to eliminate sugar from your diet and usually requires frequent meat consumption. The meat consumption immediately eliminates vegetarians and vegans from taking part in the diet. The Atkins Diet is high in saturated fats and cholesterol due to the amount of meat that is eaten.

Much like The South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet will allow you to successfully lose weight. However, many key nutrients and vitamins are being cut out on this diet. This diet is low on fiber and will lead to deficiencies of calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

You will and can lose weight on both of these diets. However, keeping the weight off is another story. Since these diets restrict many foods, staying on them is extremely difficult. Staying on them can also lead to health issues such as osteoporosis because of the continuous lack of nutrients and vitamins. Taking a daily supplement while on either of these diets can help offset the deficiencies. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and keep up with an exercise program. This plan is easy, healthy, and good for the long term.
About the Author
Michael Greeves, CEO and founder of Hyperstrike, wanted to develop an affordable fitness program for individuals and athletes that could be customized to their personal abilities and goals, and be delivered to any one, any where, any time. Learn more about HyperStrike exercise and workout programs.
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