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No Carb Diet, are they worth it?

By November 23, 2008 - 12:29pm
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I tend to eat right most of the time and was trying to rid myself of some body fat. I am not over weight but just wanted a little more muscular look. I recognize that the no carb diets are pretty popular but I am one who loves her noodles and potatoes.

Are no carb diets really necessary to cut down on body fat? I am physically active and workout daily. Is this going to cut down on my energy level since carbs create energy in the body?

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The problem with "no-something" diets is that they have to have "high-something" to try to balance out. As already mentioned, you need good carbs, good fats and good proteins in your diet.

The best way to reduce your body fat is through exercise, while maintaining a healthy eating regimen.

November 24, 2008 - 6:08pm
HERWriter Guide

The Glycemic Index (GI), as Alison mentioned, is one way to gauge how carbs work for your body. The GI scale ranks from 0 to 100.

I am not a fan of any diet that completely avoids a natural requirement of the body (such as carbohydrates). We need carbohydrates - that's how we get our energy! These kinds of diets are designed to work in the short term and fail in the long term. What we need to do is stop looking for short-term answers to long-term goals.

Speaking in every day terms, there are different kinds of carbs - amongst them are low GI carbs and high GI carbs. (Simple carbs are sugary and processed so they need to be kept to a minimal, complex carbs are whole grains, many fruits, vegetables, soy and beans amongst others.)

The body reacts differently to low and high GI carbs. Carbohydrates affect our sugar (glucose) and insulin levels and lower carbs are better for us because they don't cause very high or low levels - in fact, lower GI carbs cause the least amount of fluctuations in our sugar levels and that's what we should be looking for.

So what kinds of food are high GI level carbs and what ones are lower level?

The browner, the better, when it comes to our pastas, rices and breads!

Look for the word "whole" in the ingredients section, especially at the top and stick to low sugar breads with high fiber levels (5 grams of fiber or more per serving is considered "high fiber"). Avoid ingredients that show fructose, sucrose, "enriched" white or wheat flour, especially at the top of the list. This means you are eating a lot of sugar and simple carbohydrates and these are high on the GI index.

Foods like white rice, plain bagels, pasta, white breads, cakes, doughnuts, chips (you know, all the good stuff!) are higher on the GI scale than foods like brown rice, whole grains (including breads and pastas) beans, peas, and plenty of leafy vegetables.

There is a website that shows you the GI levels of all kinds of foods and you can punch in what kind of data you want, how you want it presented and even go by brand names. You can click to it here : http://www.glycemicindex.com/

November 24, 2008 - 1:58pm

You're right: completely eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, when it should be 30% of a balanced diet, would indeed rob your body of necessary energy.

If you are worried about your carbohydrate intake, an important gauge is to look at the types of carbs you are consuming, and opt for the "complex carbs" that have more "bang for the buck" (meaning, more nutrients and they fill you up and taste good!). You are a lover of noodles and potatoes-- have you tried simply eating the whole grain noodles (they have some that look white but have whole grains; they aren't as gritty and chewy as the brown whole grain version). You can also try to substitute sweet potatoes instead of baking potatoes, for added variety and nutrients.

Carbs are good for you, just limit the "refined" carbs (over-processed sugars, baked goods, chips, etc).

Do you think you can opt for complex carbohydrates (instead of the "simple carbs"), rather than avoiding carbs all together?

Someone may also be able to speak to the glycemic index, another indicator of sugar content in carbs (and other foods).

remember: eating for health and well-being for the long-term lifestyle is eating that is satisfying, joyful, flexible, adventurous, pleasing, balanced, varied, healthy and is not restrictive or limiting.

November 23, 2008 - 9:15pm
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