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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some of the Benefits of Low-Carbing to Consider

A peaceful river scene to enjoy.

Guest post by Isabella Woods - the links are to a business that she freelances for.

Low Carb: Who Benefits?
Many people who start low-carb diets do so with the intention of losing weight, often over a short period of time after which they plan to go back to eating 'normally'. Sometimes they are encouraged by celebrities who have lost weight quickly and publicly when following low-carb diets, such as Jennifer Aniston and Geri Halliwell. Low-carb diets tend to be seen as a quick-fix solution to weight problems. However, the potential of low-carb is much greater than that. It can help many people, whether or not they need to lose weight. Low-carb diets can have some specific health benefits for people with certain conditions, and can also contribute to general well-being. While low carb diets are not a cure-all, they can be a very useful way for many people to change their lifestyle for the better. Here are some of the ways in which eating low-carb can help people live well and healthily.
1) Long-term weight loss
Low-carb doesn't need to be a quick fix. In fact, low-carb has been shown to be generally more effective in inducing long-term weight loss than calorie and fat restriction diets. They work because they force the body to burn stored fat for energy, and also because calories from protein tend to be more filling than those from carbohydrate. So, someone who relies on processed carbohydrates for a large part of their diet is likely to eat more as they don't stay full for long. Low-carb doesn't have to mean excessively restrictive either. Many people who don't need to lose weight but just want to stop the pounds creeping up and stop their hunger pangs can benefit from restricting their carb intake.
2) Diabetes control and prevention
Low-carb diets can help keep insulin levels under control, and therefore they can be good for anyone who suffers from diabetes, or who is at risk of it. Of course, losing weight will help prevent diabetes in itself, and so low-carb diets can be beneficial for that reason. However, they also help regulate glucose levels. High-carb foods turn into glucose very quickly once eaten. This can mean that the body has more glucose than it can process. That can obviously be dangerous for diabetics, and help contribute to the development of diabetes too.
3) Improvement in epilepsy
While epilepsy is a complex disorder which needs to be treated medically, there is some evidence that low-carb diets can help. Specifically, ketogenic diets have been shown to help reduce the number of fits suffered by some epileptics. Ketogenic diets are very low-carb diets which put the body into a state called 'ketosis'. That is, because there is little glucose in the diet, the liver converts fat into products called 'ketone bodies'. These are vital for energy in the brain, and they seem to help improve epilepsy symptoms as a result. Ketogenic diets can sometimes be prescribed by doctors for patients with epilepsy.
4) Improvement in poly-cystic ovary syndrome
Poly-cystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is suffered by 10% of women. It can cause problems with fertility, weight can, menstrual difficulties and susceptibility to diabetes. Women who have PCOS do not produce enough of the hormone which helps the body to metabolize fat and sugar and as a result suffer from insulin resistance. Low-carb diets can help sufferers because they reduce insulin resistance.
5) Lowered blood pressure.
High blood pressure is often called 'the silent killer', as it has few obvious ill-effects until it becomes dangerous, increasing the likelihood of heart attack and stroke. Low-carb diets can help lower blood pressure partly because they lead to weight loss, which is one of the best ways to help lower blood pressure. However it also seems to have an extra effect when compared to weight loss caused by other kinds of diets.
6) Improvements in mood and well-being
A low-carb diet can help people feel happier and more energetic, as well as bringing the usual weight benefits of any balanced diet which is a big allure for many wanting to squeeze into tighter clothing. Eating too many carbs causes insulin spikes, which in turn makes people sluggish and tired between meals. A carb-heavy snack will tend to increase energy levels briefly, before sending them crashing back down. That often leads to a cycle of snacking and crashing, which tends to lower the mood and to cause weight gain. Low carb diets can help keep energy levels steady throughout the day.


scratch-made wife said...

Thank you so much for the valuable information! My doctor recently put me on a low-carb diet (thanks to insulin resistance). I know I'll be spending quite a bit of time reading your blog!

Jennifer said...

It's great to hear that doctors are actually recommending a low-carb diet to their patients. That's awesome. Welcome to my blog. I'm going to check yours out. :)

MJCM said...

I have lost 25 lbs, gotten off Lipitor when my total cholesterol went down 114 pts, perfect triglycerides and improved mood and energy. My sister has lost 50 lbs and she feels better too. I consider this my permanent way of eating and down't feel deprived (not too often LOL).

Jennifer said...

Wow, MCJM! - THANK you so much for sharing the success you and your sister have had on a low-carb diet. That's wonderful news.

Tina said...

This is a very informative post. US doctors have been faced with a huge spike in diabetic patients these days due to poor eating habits. Also, they are getting younger and younger. It is sad that food is such big business in the US that they would never curb the kind of junk food that is being pushed to our kids in schools and in the media. On top of that, middle school and high school does not require physical eduction any more!

Curry and Comfort said...

I really should be eating more low carb for medical reasons. I try to stay away from all white foods (pasta, rice, bread) and stick to whole grain only. But being raised on rice and curry... I can't give up my rice. :( I still like to do low carb when I can. Thanks for sharing all this great info with us. :)

Jennifer said...

It is sad, Tina. I can't believe they are doing away with Phys schools. Yikes!

Jennifer said...

Ramona, I think since are young and healthy, some rice is really not such a bad thing. I think there are lots of things worse - such as too much sugar and white flour and products containing trans fats and MSG.

My own husband loves rice and eats it almost every day. I know it is high on the glycemic index, however, he seems to tolerate it just fine. If I do have rice, I have a small portion.

In the low-carb world we make a faux rice with cauliflower. Then to make it more rice-like, I often add some cooked quinoa which is a low-carber's maintenance-style option for rice.

Lizzy said...

Great to see a list of benefits! Excellent information~