When Is a Carb, Not a Carb
First off, my girlfriend is a diabetic. She’s also a celiac. That means we are minutely aware of what kinds of ingredients we are ingesting in this family. We read labels, we ask chefs to come out and tell us where the vinegar or other foods came from. We call companies and get clarification.
There is recently a growing number of companies advertising these “low-carb” or “no-carb” food and beverage items for their product lines. Subway Sandwich shops is one, Smirnoff vodka is another, and Applebees Restaurant is yet another.
Carbohydrates are in a lot of foods and beverages. The reason you’re seeing these “no-carb” advertisements is due to pressure from people using the fad “Atkins” diet (a highly dangerous diet, more on that in a moment). The Atkins people do not count seem to be counting the carbs found in foods containing fiber. A carbohydrate is a carbohydrate, regardless of whether or not it is in fiber or sugars or other ingredients. Not counting carbs found in fiber is a dangerous thing, especially to advertise to the public, for people who RELY on the exact number of carbs in their diet, to accurately gauge the amount of
insulin they should be taking at each meal.
The Atkins Diet, and others like it, trigger short-term weight loss through a process called ketosis. Ketosis occurs whenever the body lacks a sufficient supply of carbohydrates, a prime source of energy. During ketosis, carbohydrate-depleted metabolisms turn to other sources, including ketones from stored fat or protein, to satisfy daily energy needs. (more of Ketosis later). The first bit of weight loss is water weight, the carbohydrate that’s in your muscles, and then as you progress on the diet you will lose some fat, but you will also lose some muscle mass.
According to Dr. Chris Rosenbloom from the ADA (American Dietetic Association), she believe that this type of diet can have a negative long-term impact on health. “It’s so high in cholesterol and fat and total fat — the opposite of what all the health organizations, from the American Heart Association to the American Dietetic Association, recommend,” she points out. And she noted that the diet “is also low in fruits and vegetables and whole grains”– foods with proven health benefits. While some of the vitamins and minerals in these foods can be obtained through supplements, other benefits — like fiber or
phytochemicals — can only be found at the source.
Low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (such as the Atkins’ diet) are often high in fat, which may increase cholesterol and lead to many other health risks. The American Institute for Cancer Research has also evaluated the Atkins’ diet and their assessment is quite alarming. They say that the high-protein, high- fat, low-carbohydrate Atkins diet tends to promote the loss of water weight, and that if such an imbalanced diet is maintained, the body soon reverts to the fasting state of ketosis, in which the body begins to break down muscle tissue instead of fat over the term.
Ketosis is one of the body’s last-ditch emergency responses; deliberately inducing ketosis can lead to muscle breakdown, nausea, dehydration, headaches, light-headedness, irritability, bad breath, and kidney problems. In pregnancy, ketosis may cause fetal abnormality or death. It can also be fatal in individuals with diabetes! While supporters of the Atkins diet concentrate so much on the fat burning capability of ketosis they neglect to mention that over the long term protein, and thus muscle, is also burned!
The basic building block of energy is glucose, and basic carbohydrates provide that. The brain lives ONLY on glucose. You’re starving your body of the necessary building block of energy by reducing the single-most important (and efficient) way to deliver glucose to the cells; carbohydrates. Yes, you can get glucose out of the remaining two nutrients found in food; fat and protein. On the Atkins, they say, you can eat as much of those as you want, and refrain from ingesting carbohydrates. Our bodies, for millions of years, have been engineered to expect (and accept) carbohydrates as part of our biology. We are efficient at digesting them and converting them to glucose. By taking that away, you’re forcing your body to relearn how to digest fats and proteins into glucose.
By just ingesting fat and protein, you’re stressing your liver and kidneys out. You’re severely reducing your bodie’s water retention. An excess of fat and protein will also cause your cholesterol to rise to astronomical levels.
The reason people seem to lose weight on the Atkins, is because your body has to use a completely different metabolic pathway to turn that fat and protein into glucose. It takes a LOOONG time to turn fat into glucose, and similarly for protein. Your muscle tone and fat stores are severely depleted when you’re on the Atikins diet. You starve your brain of nutrients, your muscles of nutrients, your liver and kidneys of nutrients. Basically you’re killing yourself, slowly.
People have just up and dropped DEAD on the Atkins diet, because their heart or liver could no longer function. The reason more people aren’t dying on the no-carb diet plans is because NOBODY has the discipline to remove ALL carbohydrates from their diet, they only decrease their carbs to under 35 grams per day. Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of foods have carbohydrates in them? Probably not. Nor does anyone else, and that’s why it takes an enormous amount of discipline to cut out carbs altogether. You can survive on a low-carb diet if you want, but your body is slowly deteriorating; liver, heart, and muscle. You’re killing yourself by staying on that diet.
If you want to lose weight, eat more frequently, and more nutritious meals. This will increase your metabolism, and allow you to lose weight fast. Your body anticipates the next meal, and digests the previous one quickly, converting it into energy for your heart, muscles, and most-importantly (for developers like ourselves), your brain. If you want to do the most benefit to your brain, cut out gluten from your diet, and you’ll immediately notice a sharp spike in your awareness, retention, and memory/recall.
Go search the web and find the studies out there that clearly point out the Atkins diet and other similar “fad” no-carb diets are dangerous to human physiology.