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Sunday, January 13, 2008

A believer in the low carb approach

Too many people misunderstand the whole low carb approach to eating. Here are some of the misconceptions I've come across myself.

"It's not healthy to cut out carbohydrates"

"Eating meat all the time is not healthy"

"You'll get too much fat in your diet".

In actuality, its not healthy to eat as much carbohydrate as the typical person does, mainly because the vast majority of an individual's carb intake comes in the form of highly processed carbohydrate rich food. We're talking about foods that often contain little nutritional value, are low in fiber, contribute to fast rises in blood glucose, and contribute to insulin resistance. And if you think about it, ancient man, prior to agriculture, did not have access to this sort of food. He ate a paleolithic style, hunter-gatherer diet. And he did just fine on this. With modern medicine, including vacinnations and antibiotics, his life expectancy may have exceeded ours.

The meat thing. Just because you decrease your consumption of carbs does not mean that you necessarily increase your intake of protein. In my own case, I consume as much protein as I always have. The reduction in carbohydrate has simply meant reducing my overall calorie intake.

Finally, regarding fat intake. Too many people conceptualize low carb dieting as a free pass for eating all the sausage and bacon you might want. And why that is, I haven't a clue. Low carb eating doesn't, by necessity, equate with increased protein consumption and there's no reason why your protein can't come from practical plant and lean-meat sources.

Now, here are some factoids to chew on:

1. Protein takes longer to digest and can make you feel full.

2. From a CNN article - "A study of 100 women from Australian researchers found that overweight women who ate reduced-calorie diets rich in protein from red meat and dairy lost more weight than those whose reduced-calorie plans had little meat and more carbs".

3. A Pennington Biomedical Research Center study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast lost two times as much weight as dieting women who decided to start their day with a bagel.

Personally, I would stick with fish and chicken as my primary sources of animal protein and, for morning eggs in your breakfast, eggbeaters are a great solution since they contain zero fat and cholesterol.

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