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     Fitness Tips For 1/4/2007 

Low Carb Diet FAQ
By Doreen  

1. First, and most important, I am going to assume that you have 
read at least one of the many excellent books explaining low 
carbohydrate and/or ketogenic diets. It's understandable that 
someone new to low carbing will have questions and might be a 
little confused about some information they have read. But it is 
frustrating when basic questions that are answered in detail in 
any of the books get asked over and over again - it's obvious
the person hasn't even bothered to read and inform themself, 
and just wants a quick guide to "the plan". Sorry, doesn't work 
that way!!

2. Why do I have to "read the book"?? I will repeat myself here. 
Low Carbing isn't just a diet "plan", where you follow a regimented 
menu for a period of time, then go back to old eating patterns once 
the desired weight-loss is achieved. This is about lifestyle change, 
learning and understanding how and why food makes you healthy 
or takes health away. Educating yourself is simply the 
"responsible" thing to do. 

3. You mean I can't have bread, pasta, rice or potatoes?? 
Carbohydrate foods are more than just sugars and sweets. Starches, 
especially refined starches such as white flour, white rice and white 
noodles and pasta - the backbone of standard lowFAT diets - are 
also carbohydrate foods, and are ultimately broken down by the 
body into sugars. Other carbohydrate-containing foods are cereals,
 whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits, vegetables, milk and 
other dairy products. Some meats contain carbs too - liver and 
other organ meats, clams, oysters, and especially processed 
lunch and deli meats, sausages, etc. 

4. What's left to eat?? Protein foods - meats, poultry, fish, eggs, 
isolated protein powders (soy, whey, egg) - and fats - butter, 
vegetable oils - are carbohydrate-free. Most cheeses, nuts, seeds 
and tofu contain a few carbs, but are generally low enough to fit 
well with a low carb eating plan. Low Carb vegetables - salad 
greens of all kind, spinach, broccoli, celery, eggplant, zucchini, 
green beans, asparagus, and much more. Some plans allow for 
a small amount of low carb fruit as well - eg. berries or melon. 
Most sugar-free diet foods are suitable, such as soft-drinks, 
gelatin desserts, etc - but read labels carefully. Sugar-free 
isn't always CARB-free. Arm yourself with a good food counts 
book, and you will find plenty of variety to eat! 

5. What about cravings, and "withdrawal pains"?? Many people, 
but not all, experience unpleasant symptoms during the initial 
period of switching to low carb eating, such as intense cravings
 for sugars and sweets, or maybe headaches, fatigue or 
irritability. This is not a sign of illness, or a reason to quit. Your 
body needs to clear itself of the excess carbs in your system
 left over from your previous high-carb diet. Once your blood s
ugar and insulin levels have evened out, you will feel better, 
and cravings will disappear. Most people find this only takes 
a few days, for a few though, it may last over a week. The best 
"cure" for intense sweet cravings is to eat PROTEIN. Have 
frequent, small protein-containing meals and snacks throughout 
the day; this will prevent blood sugar swings which trigger the 
cravings. Drink plenty of fresh, plain water to keep yourself 
hydrated and to flush the system of metabolic wastes and 

6. Do I need to check for ketones in my urine?? Some low carb 
programs recommend testing your urine for the presence of 
ketones. Dr. Atkins explains in detail the why's and the how's 
of ketosis and ketone testing in all of his books. Other 
programs do not require this testing, and some plans, such as 
the Zone, are not ketogenic at all. Make sure you are familiar 
with the plan you have chosen to follow, to find out if daily 
ketone testing is suggested. Some folks do not bother to test 
for ketones, even when following a specifically ketogenic diet. 
They prefer to go by the scales, and how their clothes fit as 
an indicator of success. Others need the daily reinforcement 
of knowing they are in ketosis, especially if the scales aren't 
moving. It's up to the individual and the particular program 

7. What's so important about drinking a lot of water?? Second 
only to oxygen, water is the most vital substance required by
our bodies, whether we are on a diet, or no diet at all. Yet so 
few of us do drink fresh, pure, plain water. Instead, we drink 
soda pop, or tea and coffee, juice or sugary fruit drinks, 
milk - anything but water!! Drinking LOTS of water is 
especially important when low carbing, to flush out the 
metabolic wastes and by-products of all that fat burning. It 
is generally recommended that you drink 64 fluid ounces of 
pure, plain water, plus an additional 8 ounces for every 
25 lbs you want to lose - every single day. 

8. Do I need to exercise?? Anything you do to move your body 
will burn fat. Since you're not eating carbs for fuel, this will 
further enhance the fat-losses induced by a low carb diet. 
Exercise also builds muscles; increased muscle will boost 
your metabolic rate, thus burning even more fat. There will 
always be some person to say they didn't lift a finger and 
lost weight, but for most of us, any exercise will definitely 
help our efforts. 

9. I cheated. Do I need to start over?? It would be a good idea 
to go back to Induction or early Intervention levels of the low 
carb plan you have chosen to follow, for a week or at least a 
few days to clear the excess carbs from your system and to 
get back into fat-burning mode. Many low carbers
experience unpleasant symptoms after a high-carb cheat, 
such as nausea, bloating, diarrhea, mood swings - all 
brought on by the sudden surges and dips in blood sugar 
and insulin. This becomes a great motivator to stick with 
to low carb, and to not stray very often. 

10. What are "hidden carbs"?? Generally, plain meats, poultry 
and fish contain no carbs. However, commercially processed 
meats, etc can have carbs added that you may not suspect - 
sausages and meatloaves may contain breadcrumbs, milk 
ingredients and sugars; bacon, ham, pastrami and other 
cured meats are made with sugar, corn syrup or dextrose, 
and many canned fish products contain sugar or starch-added 
sauces. Always read the label to be sure. Other sources of 
carbs that often get overlooked are coffee, and the cream and 
packets of sweetener used. These can add up quickly if you 
drink a lot of coffee through the day. Coffee has 0.8 carb grams 
for a 6 fluid ounce cup. That's a small cup. Think about it, 
especially during Induction or early Intervention phases of 
your low carb program. Avoid anything "lowfat", they are 
almost always high in carbs. Salad dressings and 
condiments can add up too, and make sure you are 
accurately measuring your allowed vegetables. 1/2 cup of 
broccoli is not 2 cups of broccoli. And remember to count 
the carbs in those breath mints and sugar-free gum. Cheese 
and cream are often overlooked as a source of carbs, so 
know how much you are consuming. If you are honest and 
accurate, you will see that there really are no "hidden" carbs. 
Read labels carefully, and get yourself a good carbohydrate 
gram counter. 

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