Low carb, no carb, or moderate carbs??? Who’s confused? All of America! The Atkin’s diet hit the “crash diet” scene about 10 years ago and promised fast results with little to no exercise. Wow, a diet with fast results and no exercise?! Young or old; everyone jumped on board to lose weight fast.
Although fast results were the high point of this diet, not many (if any) kept the weight off after they had shed 30, 40, even 100 pounds! As a personal trainer, I deal with people everyday who did Atkins and still do it to a point. The result… extremely HIGH body fat! Here’s why–
- When the body lacks carbs to fuel the muscle it goes into a cannibalistic state. That’s right folks, your body starts eating your own muscle!!!! Remember Silence of the Lambs… you get my point.
- As your body loses muscle your metabolism plummets. You no longer burn the calories you once did. (for each pound of muscle you have you burn 50 more calories)
- Since you are on a reduced carb diet; this means that you usually lack energy. Hence, you move less and burn less calorie.
- During this diet, the main source of calories are derived from proteins, fat, and dairy. Since you aren’t eating carbs to fill you up, you tend to eat more of the bad foods filled with fat (such as, cheese and high fat meat). Fats derived from meats and cheeses are mostly saturated…. this means that you are more likely to store them. Saturated fat goes straight to the hips!
- Lack of Nutrients: Since the body is going without breads, pastas, and other carbs; it throws off your vitamin and nutrient balance. Your body becomes depleted. Depletions can lead to some serious problems. Not only that; people become very edgy.
- Long term use of Low Carb diets can be very taxing on your system especially your kidneys, which filter out toxins in your blood. If you aren’t filtering your blood properly then you are poisoning yourself. Hence, problems like gout etc.
Ok, so now that I have scared you out of doing low carb diets; then what should you do??? Moderate carbs is the answer. The real trick behind long term success is knowing WHENto eat your carbs. The majority of your carbs should be eaten in the beginning of your day. Say goodbye to the huge dinners that your mom made in the 1950’s; those days are over! Tapering your carbs off during the day leads to permanent success. That means you make breakfast your biggest and highest carbohydrate meal. Lunch should be moderate carbs, and dinner should be little to no carbs. Snacks should have moderate carbs as well.
Here is a sample diet when tapering your carbs off during the day……
1 cup of cooked oat meal
4 egg whites
1/2 cup of low fat milk
2 tbsp of raisins (or berries 1/2 cup; fresh)
Yogurt (6 oz low fat)
Low fat string cheese
Small salad or veggies with light dressing
Protein Shake (made with water)
1/2 piece of fruit
4 oz of meat (white meat) for women / 6 oz for men
Salad (mixed romaine)
2 tbsp of light dressing
Carbs aren’t the devil; they are your friend. Just make sure you know how to use them! They must be in your diet to lose fat the right way. You must retain your muscle to retain your youth. Remember, diet is important but exercise is what keeps you strong and lean. There is no point in looking hot is you can’t move your body to the other side of the room.