5 negatives about low carb diets

  1. staple food in France; they're not obese. hmmm

    Where are the thin people? Anyone remember the Stillman Diet?  Low carb diets are nothing new, despite all the hype around branded names like Atkins.  The Stillman Diet, or Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet, was published in 1967.  Soon afterwards, obesity rates started going up.  If low carb diets are the answer, why didn’t obesity rates go down?  Or at least not go up?

  2. Boring!  How long can anyone realistically stick to such restrictive food plans?  After a short while, everything starts to taste the same.  The same old heavy meat flavors, the same old cheese, the same old plain vegetables or (gah!) “low carb” bread.  No joy in eating.  Meanwhile everyone around you is eating food they enjoy.  It doesn’t matter how effective a diet is theoretically.  If you can’t stick to it, it won’t work.
  3. Nutritionally unbalanced. No fruit?  No whole grains?  Few vegetables?  No milk or yoghurt?  Well, you can try to make up for all the missing nutrients with pills, but what about all the other stuff in foods we haven’t yet identified as beneficial?  What about fiber?  Low carb can be very constipating.  In addition to fiber, it’s lacking potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, B-vitamins, calcium, vitamin D.
  4. Socially isolating.  Unless everyone you know is eating low carb, you’re not going to be a favorite dinner party guest.  Of course, the informed and smart low carb dieter will simply pick out the permitted foods and quietly avoid the rest.  But unfortunately food restricters frequently believe that everyone around them is fascinated by their numerous dietary issues, which can lead to tiresome conversations (NOTE: low carb dieters aren’t alone in this tendency).  But the other possibility is if you’re on this type of diet, you exclude yourself from social events, fearful of the temptation to eat prohibited foods.  This is not a healthy attitude towards either food or socializing.
  5. Your brain needs glucose.  Glucose, which you get from digesting carbs, is the only fuel for brain cells.  As some endurance athletes know too well, when your blood sugar falls to low, you start to have very fuzzy thinking.  Hypoglycemia also causes confusion, fainting, coma or worse.  Type 1 diabetics must carefully balance insulin use with carb intake to prevent hypoglycemia.  A low carb diet sets up a state of constant lower blood sugar.  While this may initially be an improvement for some people with high glucose, extreme low carb diets can gradually lead to blood glucose levels that aren’t optimal.  You may not have severe symptoms, but you could end up cranky, mentally fuzzy and generally exhausted.

Rather than a temporary low carb diet, try a lifelong healthy carb eating style.  Emphasize whole grains fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy.  Keep foods with added sugars and simple carbs to a minimum.  If you want to call that approach “low junky carb”, fine.

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