What is a Low Carb Lifestyle?
A low carb lifestyle is one in which those who wish to slim down or improve their health cut the amount of carbs, or carbohydrates, that they consume every day. Carbohydrates are present in a range of foods, particularly those made with grains and sugars.
Carbohydrates can provide valuable energy when eaten in moderation. Healthy carbs include wild rice, quinoa and brown rice. The trouble is that in the modern world, we are surrounded by less healthy carbs, most of them derived from white wheat flour and sugar.
Complex carbs such as brown rice release their energy slowly over time. Simple carbs such as sugar drinks and candy release them rapidly, providing what is commonly referred to as a sugar rush. The energy release cannot be sustained, however, leading to tiredness, food cravings, and even a ‘carb hangover’ for those very sensitive to carbs.
Eating a high carb meal such as pizza and pasta can leave you feeling bloated and full, but hungry a short time later. Excess energy that is not burned through physical activity such as exercise will be stored in the body as fat and over time, will cause noticeable weight gain.
Lifestyles high in carbohydrates have been linked not just to weight gain and obesity, but to serious medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that the average American eats between 200 and 300 grams of carbs per day. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to try to be the best and healthiest you can be by cutting carbs and maintaining a healthy weight
Even if you have tried other diets in the past and not succeeded, a low carb lifestyle is guaranteed to help you shed pounds quickly and keep them off provided you stick to it. There are a number of popular low carb, high protein plans you’ve most probably heard of, such as Atkins, Dukan, South Beach and Paleo. The last 3 are variations on the original Atkins plan from the 1970s which has been improved over the years.
Eating the Atkins way is easy thanks to all the free information and recipes online. Atkins also produces a wide range of pre-packaged foods to help people eat low carb even on the go. Carbs are all around us, in everything from cereal to salad dressing. The Atkins food line provides low carb substitutes for a range of products, from ketchup to pancake mix.
The Atkins program has 4 phases that take you from losing weight to keeping it off. The most significant weight loss should happen in Phase 1, Induction. During Induction, you will be expected to cut your carbs all the way down to only 20 to 22 grams per day, 15 of them from permitted leafy greens and vegetables on the allowed foods list. This many sound impossible given the average carb consumption statistics we mentioned above.
Induction is tough, but in just a few days you should see a significant drop in weight. The reason for this is that body will undergo significant chemical changes which will trigger it to shed water weight and begin to break down fat.
You can choose to stay on Induction as long as you wish depending on your weight loss goals and how long you can tolerate eating so few carbs. The recommendation is generally 2 weeks before moving on to Phase 2, Balancing. During Balancing, you are allowed to add 5 grams more of carbs as you choose, for example, adding 5 more each week per day as you continue eating low carb, from 20 to 25, to 30, up to 60 grams per day.
Low carb is not for everyone because Induction can be so tough, but if you are concerned about your weight, you owe it to yourself to try, if only to make you more aware of how many carbs you are eating and what carbs are your ‘kryptonite’ when it comes to shedding pounds especially at the holidays when you are surrounded by so many tempting treats.