Just as some carbs are good and some carbs are bad, some low carb diets are good, and others can actually be dangerous. So what low carb diet is safe?

I dont know of any particular low carb diet that does this but here are the things you should avoid, not just as part of a low carb diet to help you lose weight but as a healthy lifestyle change. The information I am using in this article is taken from EverydayHealth.com.

The most important simple carbohydrates to limit in your diet include:
  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Artificial syrups
  • Sugar
  • White rice, white bread, and white pasta
  • Potatoes (which are technically a complex carb, but act more like simple carbs in the body)
  • Pastries and desserts
Meyerowitz says that you can enjoy simple carbohydrates on occasion, you just don't want them to be your primary sources of carbs. And within the simple carb category, there are better choices — a baked potato, white rice, and regular pasta — than others — chips, cakes, pies, and cookies.

Healthy carbs are a little harder to identify but the best and easiest way to do this is to look at the glycemic load of that food. Here is what EverydayHealth.com had to say about this topic:

Carbohydrates in the Diet: The Glycemic Load Factor

Describing carbs as being either simple or complex is one way to classify them, but nutritionists and dietitians now use another concept to guide people in making decisions about the carbs they choose to eat.

The glycemic index of a food basically tells you how quickly and how high your blood sugar will rise after eating the carbohydrate contained in that food, as compared to eating pure sugar. Lower glycemic index foods are healthier for your body, and you will tend to feel full longer after eating them. Most, but not all, complex carbs fall into the low glycemic index category.

It is easy to find lists of food classified by their glycemic index. You can see the difference between the glycemic index of some simple and complex carbohydrates in these examples:
  • White rice, 64
  • Brown rice, 55
  • White spaghetti, 44
  • Whole wheat spaghetti, 37
  • Corn flakes, 81
  • 100 percent bran (whole grain) cereal, 38
To take this approach one step farther, you want to look at the glycemic load of a food. The glycemic load takes into account not only its glycemic index, but also the amount of carbohydrate in the food. A food can contain carbs that have a high glycemic index, but if there is only a tiny amount of that carb in the food, it won’t really have much of an impact. An example of a food with a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load is watermelon, which of course tastes sweet, but is mostly water.

The glycemic index is not just a tool for diabetics to make sure they arent getting too much or too little sugar, its also a fantastic tool for ensuring that a non-diabetic is eating a healthy diet. Simple carbs give up their sugar very quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar. Spikes in blood sugar give you a burst of energy but a crash afterward. Complex carbs take longer to digest and give off sugar slower, giving your body a more sustainable energy source, keeping your blood sugar more stable. When your body is overloaded with sugar, so much so that it cant use all of it right then it stores it in the body...in what? Fat. 

A documentary called FatHead, which can be found in clips on YouTube and the complete documentary on Netflix, goes into the how and why of getting fat.  Click on 'Youtube' in the previous sentence to watch a clip from the movie that explains how high carb diets, such as what is recommended by the FDA, is actually what causes excess weight gain. Its really an eye opening documentary. The only part of it that I do not agree with, however, is the portion in which he talks about the Juice Diet. This is a diet I have used and absolutely love. Its where you replace all, most, or part of your diet with raw, fresh made fruit and vegetable juices. I can explain this diet in depth in another article. There is too much information I want to share on it to include it in this article. 

So low carb is not necessarily a bad diet. In fact, most diets are not inherently bad for you... if they are only done for short periods of time. Many diets, if maintained for long periods can cause some serious damage. These sorts of 'extreme' diets should only be used to achieve initial weight loss. To keep the weight off will require over all changes in your eating habits, what I like to call Lifestyle Changes. You cannot expect to keep the weight off after using an 'extreme' diet if you just go right back to the way you were eating before. These lifestyle changes, for some people, means portion control while for others it means avoiding certain foods. But for most people it means a combination of the two.

Leave a Reply.