I have tried a lot of different diets and the one I like most is a balanced one…
That being said, the nutrition world’s idea of balance is often a little crazy, take for example the food pyramid recommendation that people get 6-12 serving of grains per day, seriously? 6-12 servings? Who really needs to eat 3-6 cups of oatmeal per day, and how much room will that really leave you to eat foods like vegetables?
The health and nutrition medical community is often lagging far behind the cutting edge of nutrition and diet studies, and with good reason. Imagine the amount of effort and commitment it takes for a community to adopt an idea like “the heart healthy diet”.
It takes years to write new textbooks, educate new teachers, educate new students, and spread the knowledge to people interested in nutrition, but one or two well performed studies can cast doubt on everything that people have bought into for years.
It takes a LONG time to educate enough people to accept a belief, and by the time people have accepted it, science has probably already discovered some new reason why that idea was wrong; so the divide of experts and research in the nutrition world is understandable.
This is not a scientific expose, it is simply my experience and what I have seen from using a low carb diet, and from what others have reported to me while using low carb diets.
Consider first, that if you ask 100 “experts” in nutrition what they eat, what they believe, or what type of diet is the best for people to use, almost all of them will have a different opinion; also consider the amount of conflicting scientific research on everything diet and nutrition related and you will realize that few things are as cut and dry as people like to think they are.
Does that mean we should all just give up and eat whatever we want?
No, but I am sure that many people become frustrated enough with the uncertainty of nutrition to just say “screw it” and eat whatever they feel like.
So just consider one thing, that your diet should be whatever food choices feel best to you, that you believe in, and create the type results that you want in your life. So if you are happy being 300 lbs and feeling bad all the time, then eat Mcdonald’s and twinkies and be merry; if you are a middle aged father or mother who just wants to feel a little better and have energy to play with their kids, try making better choices each day and limiting bad foods; if you are an aspiring athlete and want to push your body to it’s limit, then you will need to exercise extreme dedication and determination in your food choices. Your diet- and how strict it is- needs to match the type of results you want to get.
I may be on a low carb diet now, but if I wanted to bulk up 10 or 15 lbs, you bet I would load up on carbs in an instant.
When I want to get bigger, I eat carbs: white rice, bagels, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, but when I want to get leaner I cut these foods out completely and use vegetables and a little bit of fruit as my primary carbohydrates sources.
From personal experience, when I choose a diet high in protein (poultry, fish, bread meat, and dairy), low in carbohydrates (sugar, grains, breads, oats, potatoes), and high in healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, and butter) I feel and look better.
My body is leaner; I don’t have post meal energy crashes; I can eat more without affecting my weight; I eat a lot more vegetables since I don’t have carbs or fruits as options; and I still get to eat a lot. After just a few days of very low carb intake I often shed tons of water weight and look my best.
Personally, when I eat a large meal of carbohydrates, I feel weighed down, heavy, and sluggish, but a meal packed with vegetables and some lean meat just doesn’t have that effect on me, but the main reason I choose to eat a diet low in carbohydrates is because of how carbohydrates affect insulin and fat storage.
Carbohydrates (especially sugars and simple starches) cause blood sugar levels to rise, and as they do, insulin must be secreted (in healthy individuals) in order to keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
So when you eat a piece of bread certain things are going to happen: first you burn the bread off as energy for your body, if you do not burn off the carbohydrate faster than it accumulates in your blood, then insulin will kick in and it will send the carbs to the liver where it is changed into either glycogen (stored in the muscle for later use), or it will be converted in triglycerides and turned into body fat.
Every carbohydrate you eat is going to be burned, stored as glycogen, or stored as fat, meaning if you eat a meal high in carbohydrates there is a good chance some of it will be stored as fat as your insulin converts it from blood sugar into triglycerides.
While theoretically a high protein and high fat meal of equal calories will still have the same energy equivalent, fat and protein do not produce the same rise in insulin and blood sugar levels like carbohydrates do, which leads to less fat storage in your body over time.
Additionally, since your body is already in a carbohydrate depleted state, it is more primed and ready to burn fat for energy since it doesn’t have an abundant source of carbohydrates to use for energy.
I still eat carbs sometimes
I eat a lot of vegetables (which have some carbs), I usually have a serving or two of berries a day (these are low carb, but still have some), I drink a little bit of whole milk each day, and usually eat a protein bar with a little bit of sugar, and I usually allow myself one cheat meal per week where I can get in some extra carbs.
Carbs aren’t evil, but eating large amounts of them can have a very bad affect on your body (unless you are lifting a lot of weights and doing a lot of cardio).
On days where I am more active, I allow myself a little more leeway in carbohydrate intake, and on days where I do less, I am more strict. Heavy workout days I might have a couple servings of fruit and some brown rice cakes, but on a lazy day around the house I won’t touch carbs at all.
Diet makes a BIG difference in the way you look and feel, and certainly by eating less bread, pasta, starch, sugar, and root vegetables, and by eating more protein, healthy fats, and vegetables you can greatly improve your health.
Eating a low carb diet can be a great way to get in more vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while eliminating out bad foods like white bread and sugar. Just be careful not to make the mistake some people on atkins make by loading up their diet with bacon, cheese, and lard. Aim to take in more healthy fats like nuts, avocados, coconut oils, and butter.
What do you think and what kind of diet has worked for you in the past? Have any experience with low carb dieting yourself or care to share your experience? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.