One of the most popular short cuts to appear in the last ten years has been the low-carb or no-carb diet to lose weight. But it’s not a good diet for health, and not even a good diet for long-term weight loss.
The first thing that gets left out is that carbohydrates are an extremely important energy source for the brain, and as you eliminate them you decrease the available energy. In fact, the brain makes up almost 25% of energy consumption, so hitting your minimum daily calories is important!
The second thing that proponents of low-carb diets omit is that it’s a diet to lose weight not just from fat, but from muscle. Even if you don’t want an overly-toned or body-builder look, lean muscle burns fat even when you’re not working out. As your muscle mass decreases, so will the weight loss, and your overall vitality.
A good diet consists of carefully chosen carbohydrates: complex carbs like whole wheat breads (which also contain a fair amount of protein), or nutritious simple carbs like those found in apples.
As a final note, with people taking a more active interest in their health, they’re discovering more sensitivities…like to gluten. But the seeming spread of Celiac Disease (having an allergy to the gluten gliadin) doesn’t necessarily mean it will solve everyone’s gatrointestinal woes. If you’re vegetarian (or like alternative meat sources) gluten can be an important (and delicious) source of protein.
Before committing to a diet that excludes a potential source of nutrients, try adding more yogurt/probiotics, or excluding non-food additives like trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavors, or fillers. Since many pre-made gluten free foods also exclude these things, it will be hard to know whether it was eliminating gluten, or the additives that improved gastrointestinal health.
Proponents of new, radical diets tend to over-proselytize: what fad diets have you been tempted into? What effects did they have? Share below!