Dropping The Carbs - The Pro's and Cons of Ketogenic Dieting Part 1Written by Andrew Langhorn
Dropping The Carbs? The Pro's and Cons of Ketogenic Dieting Author: Andrew Langhorn
We must all now be familiar with Atkins Diet. Of all of ‘trend’ diets that move through our popular culture, none has caused as much interest or controversy. Put forward by late Dr. Robert Atkins in 70’s, diet that has caused a storm is continuing to acquire both dedicated followers and severe opponents both within and without medical community. The Atkins diet itself is only most popular of an approach usually called low-carb diets because of primary interest in restricting consumption of Carbohydrates. Since entire spectrum of our food is drawn from proteins, fats, carbohydrates or water, severe restriction of one group is seen by many as an arbitrary and possibly even dangerous step. Most of controversy surrounding low-carb approaches is not that they lie about weight-loss (studies continue to show marked weight-loss in many who use diets) but disturbing possibility that cutting carbs out of your diet just isn’t healthy. After all, what good is a diet that slims you down only to clog up your arteries and kill you? We’ve heard many arguments both for and against use of low-carbohydrate diets, this article asks a radical question: Can going Low-Carb actually be healthy? WHY SHOULD I LIMIT SUGAR & GRAINS? The first and most obvious carbohydrate group and one we rarely have much argument about reducing is sugar. Sugar is a catch all term for a number of simple carbohydrates including fructose (fruit sugar), Galactose (milk sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and glucose (simple sugars such as blood sugar). Sugar consumption has been on increase for decades and, despite numerous campaigns against saturated fats, is certainly biggest contributing factor to increasing obesity epidemic. Eating sugar causes a number of physiological effects in body. The most striking of these is sudden and marked increase in blood insulin. Insulin is hormone in our body responsible for ‘taxiing’ food broken down in out stomach to various parts of our body that require these substances, although it has numerous uses. First, and most importantly, sugar, as glucose levels in out blood is extremely toxic. Left in our bloodstream without control elevated sugar levels would kill us quickly, so powerful release of insulin helps keep our blood cleared of excess glucose. Unfortunately insulin is a double-edged sword. Excess sugar in our body cannot be disposed of in an unlimited number of ways. With our increasing sedentary lifestyles refusing to burn off much of this sudden and quick release of carbohydrate as we consume, sugar is rapidly converted to same saturated fats we are constantly warned about. (As you can see, limiting saturated fat in diet does not prevent us from accumulating fat in our bodies) Sugar has other unpleasant side effects. The constantly elevated insulin levels can eventually lead to decreased insulin sensitivity (Syndrome X) and another case of Type II diabetes. Sugar also has an effect on cortisol and our adrenal glands. It causes an excess of these hormones leading to symptoms of stress and fatigue. Sugar also competes with glucose carriers in our blood, which work with vitamins like Vitamin C, causing disruption to our preciously balanced immune system and causing premature ageing of skin.
Dropping the Carbs - The Pros and Cons of Ketogenic Dieting Part TwoWritten by Andrew Langhorn
Dropping The Carbs - Part Two The pros and cons of ketogenic dieting.
OKAY, SO ARE THERE ANY GOOD CARBOHYDRATES?? The good news for carbohydrates is that they can claim HEALTHIEST of foodstuffs amongst their number. Here is where a simple view of Atkins diet and other strict no or low carb diets flounder. Not all carbs are created equal as we know and carb group that is utterly essential to our survival? VEGETABLES! Low carb diets have often been seen as lacking in vegetables as people carefully trim away all excess carbohydrates, effectively throwing baby out with dirty bathwater. On subject of vegetables you won’t find much dissension amongst medical experts of any standpoint. These wonderful foodstuffs not only contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals, but also are often chock-full of fibre, water and a host of exotic cancer-fighting substances unique to vegetables. The important thing about vegetables is that they are nutrient dense and calorie sparse. In plain English, they contain a lot of good stuff in a very small package. You can eat virtually enough vegetables to fill you up and still have eaten only a tiny percentage of calories a normal diet would confer. One of arguments for regular grain consumption is necessary vitamins and minerals they contain, not to mention essential fibre for our digestive tract. But guess what? Vegetables make grains seem pretty redundant. A small handful of organic vegetables will contain more vitamins and minerals than virtually a day's worth of grains, all in an easier to digest package, with extra water and no danger of insulin overload. Even on a low-carb diet you can stuff yourself silly with vegetables without fear. The primary advantage of a low-carb diet is insulin control and vegetables won’t interfere with that. Remember organic vegetables have a much higher vitamin and mineral content, also darker green or red a vegetable higher amount of beneficial Chlorophyll inside plant. Try to eat your veggies raw and fresh and often. A regular supply of varied veggies is like nature’s most perfect multivitamin pill. OKAY, SO WE EAT VEGGIES BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER FOODS YOU NEED? So low-carb dieters are shedding pounds by avoiding insulin spiking grains and sugars. In process they’re moving over to eating other stuff though right? You stop eating bread and pasta and you’ve got to eat something! We see Atkins dieters especially loading up proteins and fats, burgers, sausages, bacon, full double cream, fried eggs and a host of other tasty but controversial foods. So, fine, we can accept that somehow these people still seem to shed weight much faster and more consistently than their carbohydrate munching friends but surely, surely, that can’t be HEALTHY? Too good to be true? Some Doctors definitely believe so. We’ve been warned about saturated fat and our rising cholesterol problem for a number of years. Suddenly a diet comes along that seems to throw all that conventional wisdom out of window. As it happens, American Medical Association was forced to declare Atkins diet ‘heart-healthy’ after a number of university studies came up with surprising findings that Atkins dieters were actually lowering their blood fat deposits and sparing hearts much more than those on a regular higher carb diet. That being said, heart isn’t only thing we have to keep healthy, so is there a third option? A kind of best of all worlds diet? A low-carb plan that works for your health as well as your waistline? You bet! First we know basis of that diet is our good friend, organic vegetable. But moving on, it seems our bodies were designed for a much greater range of essential nutrients than those found in vegetables alone. First up Fats. Yes, it may have finally begun to infiltrate mainstream press but its old news to many of us. Fat is essential! We need to eat fat. There’s no getting around it, our bodies don’t merely tolerate stuff, they absolutely need it to function. When you remember that our brains are over sixty percent fat, our organs require it and our very nerves are built from it, you begin to see how important it is. However much like our friend Carbohydrate, all fats are not created equal either. Our bodies need a small group of fats that we call ‘Essential Fatty Acids’. Our body cannot produce these from any other substances and needs a regular supply or it begins to see shortcomings in its internal workings. We can get by for a while on diminished supplies but our health begins to suffer greatly in long run. These healthy fats come in form of well-publicised fish and cod-liver oils, flax and various other nut oils and foods like avocado. (Although not essential organic coconut oil has a host of special benefits) Simply be ensuring that a large percentage of our daily fat intake comes from clean, healthy oils will go a long way to improving our health, from defending our brain against degenerative diseases to protecting our skin from harmful rays of sun. To be a healthy low carber you need to investigate healthy fats a little more and remember that high quality, preferably organic oils are a better choice than others. There are a host of books on this subject and a host of great products out there. Unfortunately due to mass pollution of seas, fish may no longer be healthiest option, although carefully filtrated fish-oils (by Companies who are clued up on science of keeping these oils in a health-giving state) are widely available and a must-buy for everyone.