Low Carb Diets in Weight Loss Programs

February 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Weight Loss

A ‘low carb’ diet, or a diet low in carbohydrates, is very popular nowadays as a weight loss diet. Though some people seem to be under the erroneous impression that it is just some fancy diet, it is in reality not so. As part of a weight loss program, a ‘low carb’ diet is something ideal.

Perhaps there cannot be a completely flawless weight loss diet that suits everyone. But a low carb diet will be beneficial to many, as the underlying principle of any weight loss program is to make the body consume lesser calories than it is likely to use up. A diet low in carbohydrates substantially reduces the number of calories that is consumed.

If broken up into its elements, carbohydrates consist of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. They combine to form simple sugars or the comparatively complex form of carbohydrates known as starches. A weight loss program necessitates a reduced intake of both.

Carbohydrates are rich sources of energy. In the human society of a bygone era, predominated by hard physical labor, and which thereby did not necessitate any weight loss diet, people needed a ‘high carb’ diet to function successfully. But today’s sedentary life style does not require the same amount of carbohydrates and when a person sticks to the same type of diet, the extra calories get stored in the body as fat reserves.

However, a diet completely devoid of carbohydrates cannot be part of any weight loss program. Even a very ‘low carb’ weight loss diet must have at least 40% of carbohydrates. It can even go up to 65% based upon the constitution of the individual as some are able to process carbohydrates better than others. Of this 65%, at least 55% should ideally be more complex carbohydrates and the remaining 10% sugars.

And low carb or high carb, fruits and vegetables cannot be shown the door from any weight loss diet. Despite the fact that fruits and vegetables do contain a certain amount of starches and sugars, these are essential for body and have to be a part of the diet in any weight loss program. That much carbohydrate is necessary for the body.

The overall balancing equation of a low carb diet, as part of weight loss diet, is very simple. One has just to reduce the intake of more starchy stuff like bread or pasta and substitute it with fruits and vegetables and fat free dairy products so that there is less carbohydrates and more roughage and enough of proteins.

However, the efficacy of any weight loss diet depends substantially on the body requirement of the individual. Some may require more carbohydrates than others, based upon the constitution of their bodies, or their level of activities. Reducing carbohydrates too much might turn out to be counterproductive in their cases. The progress of a weight loss program has to be monitored to adjust the calories to match the required energy level.

In the case of some people, their body requirement of carbohydrates is such that any form of a low carb diet may not work for them as part of a weight loss program.

Then there is also the question of the fiber content in the diet. As fiber is essentially a carbohydrate, some feel that a low carb diet, by its very definition, might be one that is low in fiber as well. This is a very erroneous impression.

Fiber, needless to say, has to be an unavoidable ingredient in any weight loss diet, be it a low carb one or not. True, the enzymes of the digestive tract do not have much action on it. That is the essence of its power, because its caloric value is practically zero. At the same time it helps in digestion, and in getting the feeling of satiation, by contributing to the volume of the food.

A little research into the proffered low carb diets might be ideal to find out a suitable one for a weight loss diet.

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