Low Carb Diet

Which diets lead the pack

Diet fads come and go, but low carb diets are getting more attention in the battle of the bulge. The more prominent low carb diets today are the Atkins Diet for Seniors, the Carbohydrates Addict's Diet and Sugarbusters for seniors. Proponents of these diets believe that carbs are the major cause of obesity and that calorie counting is not necessary if you follow the diet plans.

Low carb diets do present viable plans for natural weight loss through restriction of carbohydrate intake, but often diet originators add other philosophies about foods and calories that are not strictly in line with what experts and nutritionists agree upon, so the diets may place dieters at risk.

Low carb diet pills, say the marketing firms, are designed to help your body "burn excess glucose from refined and simple carbohydrate consumption." If you really want to take a diet pill, consult with your doctor first. Your doctor is your first and best source of information and cares about your safety in meeting weight loss goals.

In general, it's good practice to restrict carbohydrates for weight loss and healthy lifestyles, but moderation is recommended; the body needs some carbs to convert sugar to our body's energy stores. Complex carbohydrates found in fruits and grains are recommended as a healthy choice over simple sugars such as the refined sugar found in candy and pastries.

People with type 2 diabetes can benefit from low carb diets and weight loss, but for safety, they must follow a doctors recommendations rather than pursue a one-size-fits-all diet plan. The basic premise of most popular low carb diets today is that foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar levels, which leads to obesity and insulin resistance.

Atkins Diet

The Atkins low carb diet restricts intake of carbohydrates, but critics say the plan lacks clarity in instructions. It bans most carbs and discourages calorie counting. Atkins maintains that intake of refined carbs shortens life. The diet allows a high intake of protein, some of which also contains fat. A reduced carbohydrate intake and the addition of dietary supplements that contain anti-oxidant properties are the main components of this diet.

Nutritionists warn against the fat intake, especially for those with heart disease or diabetes, and further state that overconsumption of certain dietary supplements can place the dieter at risk.

The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet

This diet is for people who crave sweets much as a drug addict craves drugs. It restricts carbohydrates to one meal per day and is used by those who can't do without some carbs in their life. The authors, Richard and Rachael Heller, believe that 75 percent of overweight people are addicted to carbohydrates and that excessive insulin produced in the body triggers the carb cravings.

People with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes should not participate in this diet plan without permission from their medical doctor.

Sugarbusters for Seniors

This diet operates on the premise that foods that raise the blood sugar level sharply and produce or stimulate insulin production result in excess fat storage. With this low carb diet plan, whole and unprocessed foods are recommended for weight loss, and consumption of phytonutrient foods is also highly recommended. The diet does not restrict total carb intake but discourages consumption of any foods that are high in refined sugar.

Insulin resistance increases with age and health risks. Sugarbusters makes sense for those seeking to lose weight, but it is still highly recommended that anyone with a pre-existing condition consults their doctor before embarking upon the diet.

Foods You Can Eat on a Low Carb Diet

Some carbohydrates offer more nutrients than others. Unrefined foods such as fruits and grains contain vitamins, nutrients and fiber that get stripped away in refined foods.

Recommended foods are:

  • Raw fruits
  • Vegetables rich in phytonutrients
  • Dry Beans
  • Whole grain breads and pastas
  • Nuts
  • Berries

Moderation is still key, however, since some whole foods contain more sugar than others.

Elimination or restriction of the simple refined sugars in candy and other processed desserts and pastas will lead to weight loss and better health. Experts say you should be mindful of calories because consuming more calories leads to weight gain.

One very important element is missing from many low carb diets, and that is exercise. Exercise is all-important in maintaining health and fitness, whether you're overweight or not. If you incorporate this element into your diet plan, your overall health will show improvement. If you have a pre-existing condition, please consult with your doctor for the best diet plan that meets your medical treatment goals.

By Mona Gallagher