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Fitness Tips For 12/27/2006
Low Carb Basics
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