Atkins. South Beach. Zone. Low-carb mania is everywhere and has been for quite a few years. While it’s true that when eaten in excess, carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, the problem lies in the fact that many people are too uninformed or misinformed to actually utilize a lower-carb diet in a healthy manner. This week’s Fit Latina tips are common low-carb diet myths debunked.
Myth #1 – A person can live on a low-carbohydrate diet over a long, extended period of time. Reality: Even though a person will see short term benefits fairly quickly, even in a small period of time there are side effects. A person may experience bad breath, muscle cramps or exhaustion. Long-term, the effects are much worse. Many low-carb eating plans are higher in fats or protein. For some, this means an increase in saturated fats which can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol. A low-carb diet may also lack other necessary nutrients and be low in fiber – which can lead to some pretty uncomfortable bowel issues. Over time, a person may also experience kidney problems.
Myth #2– A person doesn’t have too worry as much about other calories if they are cutting carbs. Reality: The fact of the matter is that the amount of calories a person consumes are important regardless of your food lifestyle. If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, even if you cut out carbs, you are going to maintain the same size or larger. A balanced diet and exercise are necessary if a person is looking to lose weight or maintain current fitness levels.
Myth #3 – Low-carb/ high-protein man-made diet foods take care of nutrient needs in a low carb diet. Reality: Be very wary of these miracle products. Nothing is better for the body than real food with natural ingredients. Become a label reader. The more ingredients an item has, the more chemicals you are putting into your body. Not only that, many processed food items are high in sodium. While it is important to make sure you are getting all of your necessary nutrients, especially when cutting out certain foods and foods groups, unrefined, natural foods are so key to lifelong health and man-made, high processed options are never ideal.
Myth #4 – Carbohydrates are the enemy. Period. Reality: Some carbs are absolutely terrible for you – they really do nothing for you health-wise, however, there are plenty of carbohydrates that provide your body with energy and fiber – which keeps your digestive tract running smoothly and keeps you full longer. A diet including these carbs – also known as complex, fibrous, or natural carbs – is optimal while the others – simple or refined – may provide quick energy but contain no real nutrients or fibers. It’s these latter options that should be consumed in moderation and limited.
Cutting down on an entire food group is frowned upon by many health and wellness experts. By maintaining a balanced diet with small portion sizes and by leading an active lifestyle, a person can not only enjoy good health, but will find a regimen that is easy to stick with longterm.