Monday, December 20, 2010

Carb Restriction is the Key to Permanent Weight Loss and Health

(Article first published as Cut Carbs, Not Fat to Lose Weight and Live Longer on Technorati.)
We’re having trouble changing our mindset about the best type of diet to promote health and weight loss. For decades we have been told that fat is bad and whole grain carbohydrates are good. Food manufacturers cleverly cut all the fat from many of their offerings and pumped up sugar and carbs to compensate. We merrily went along eating massive quantities of `healthy` low fat foods with the thought that we would avoid fat, get skinny and avoid the number one killer, heart disease.

Unfortunately just the opposite has happened. American obesity rates are at epidemic proportions and heart disease still unnecessarily claims the lives of millions each year. Fortunately it’s not too late to make changes that can save your life and help you to lose weight permanently.

Fat is Not the Problem
Current dietary advice from the USDA food pyramid promotes the idea that the bulk of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Fat is to be used sparingly and there is no differentiation between different fat sources. Information provided by medical researchers and published in the Los Angeles Times explains that we have been misled over the years and that fat is actually a vital component to cellular structure. Carbohydrates and sugars are the real culprit that influence how body fat is stored and can wreak havoc with normal metabolic activity.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health explains "If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases." Refined and processed carbs have become the core of our diet. Eventually, carb overload leads to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease and has a major impact on our ability to lose weight.

Carb Warfare: The Battle of the Bulge
Over time, our body becomes tired from processing large amounts of carbohydrates. The pancreas exhausts its natural ability to secrete insulin and counter the massive amount of sugar that is continually dumped into the bloodstream. The body preferentially burns carbohydrates for energy, and stores the remaining calories as fat. When given the opportunity, our body prefers to burn fat, but there must be an absence of carbs for this to happen.

The typical American diet provides a never ending flow of carbs and corresponding blood sugar spikes. We like to snack regularly between meals, so there is rarely an absence of carbohydrates. Our body is never able to tap into our fat stores because we continually provide a ready source of energy in the form of high carb consumption. The only way to trigger fat metabolism is to drastically limit our carb intake.

Cut the Carbs for Weight Loss Success and Health
Humans have not evolved with the ability to consume and metabolize huge quantities of carbohydrates. The typical American diet is 60% carbohydrate and the direct cause of the obesity calamity, as well as a significant trigger for many inflammatory diseases.

Drop carb intake to no more than 20% of calories and substitute healthy monounsaturated uncooked fats and protein sources with each meal. Fats and proteins are more difficult for the body to break down and slow the release of glucose from carbohydrates. Try drastically lowering your carb intake for 2 weeks and you’ll be on the road to successful weight loss and improved health.

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