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     Fitness Tips For 12/27/2006 

Low Carb Basics
By Doreen  

If you are new to a low carbohydrate way of eating (WOE), you no doubt 
have many questions about how "the plan" works, and what to eat and 
not eat. What are the "rules"? Where can one find lists of "allowed" 
foods? Well, the best advice I can give is that you really need to read 
any or all of the books on the subject. Low Carbing is NOT a short-term, 
quick-fix fad diet, where you follow a formula - eat this for breakfast, 
this for lunch, this for supper - for a few weeks, lose a few pounds 
then go back to your old eating habits. 

It is vital that you understand low carbing really is about lifestyle 
change. You've probably noticed on the different sites you've visited 
that people refer to this as a WOE, or WOL (way of life). You MUST 
learn to recognize how food makes your body feel, and how to feed it 
properly. Low Carbing isn't just about cutting out sugar and starchy 
food. It also means replacing all those carbs you cut out with quality 
protein foods, and quality fats as well. 

Below is a very basic, non-scientific explanation of how low carb eating 
will benefit your health and help your weight loss efforts. 

* Many people cannot eat large amounts of carbohydrate foods - sugars 
and starches - without making and storing body FAT. 

* ALL carbohydrates, except for dietary fiber, are ultimately broken down 
into simple sugar molecules by digestive processes. 

* The body will not burn fat for fuel as long as there is a steady supply 
of quick-to-burn sugar. Inversely, without sugar, the body will be forced 
to body fat for energy.

* The breakdown of fat will produce energy for the body, and ketones, 
which are eliminated in the urine.

* Insulin levels are stabilized because the pancreas no longer has to 
pump out large amounts in response to sugary, starchy meals or 
snacks. Insulin not only helps sugar enter the cells for fuel, it also 
promotes the conversion of excess sugar into FAT.

* So now, you are not only burning fat for fuel, you are also no longer 
making and storing body fat.

* Without surges and dips in insulin levels, your blood sugar remains

* Result: You no longer have cravings and blood sugar swings. The 
presence of ketones helps control hunger. You lose fat and you lose

There is a vast difference between "low fat" and "low carbohydrate" 
diets. The standard low-fat/low-calorie weight loss diets basically 
starve the body, and both fat and muscle end up being burned for 
fuel. You lose weight, but the loss of lean muscle tissue only serves 
to reduce your metabolic rate, thus slowing your efforts even more. 
With a properly planned low carb program, your body will burn 
mostly fat, and will preserve the lean muscle. If you exercise, you 
will add lean muscle while losing fat, which will increase your 
metabolic rate, and increase the fat-burning effect. Muscle tissue 
weighs more than fat, but takes up less bulk, so you may find 
yourself getting smaller in size without seeing a drastic drop on the 
scales. This makes it a good idea to check your measurements at 
regular intervals. Another difference between lowfat and low carb 
diets is the absence of cravings and hunger pangs. Until the 
excess carbohydrates are cleared from the system, there may be 
intense cravings. Once this is past though, the insulin and blood 
sugar levelling effects will serve to curb cravings. And most 
low carbohydrate plans allow unlimited amounts of allowed 
foods, so you eat when hungry, and as much as you need to 
ease your hunger. 

The information presented here is very basic. It is best for you 
to arm yourself with as much information as possible by reading 
at least one of the good books on the subject If you can't buy your 
own book, you may be able to borrow a copy from your local 
library. It will help you better understand the added health benefits 
of a low carb WOL, such as improved cholesterol levels, lowered 
blood pressure and other ailments. *NOTE* - It might be a good 
idea to familiarize yourself with more than one plan before
deciding which one is best for you and your lifestyle and 
personal situation. 

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