If you feel that losing some of those extra pounds is in your future there are many different weight loss programs, diet pills and books from which to choose to start your journey. One model that has been made popular by Atkins, South Beach and Glycemic Index is the low carbohydrate diet plan.
Individuals should always recognize that changing unhealthy eating habits and achieving weight loss is not a static activity. In other words, it requires effort and commitment from the participant. The weight was not gained in two days and it will not be lost in two. Weight loss has always been achieved by balancing calories that are eaten against those that are burned. It is important to achieve a negative calorie burn, which means that you eat less calories than you burn. Other factors to take into consideration are your age, gender, current fitness level, genetic makeup, stress level, amount of exercise you already do and the current foods that you like.
However, these concepts are not core to the low carbohydrate diet plan. Instead these programs are not concerned with the number of calories but rather the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you feed your body. This diet plan essentially places the body into ketoacidosis, during which it burns more calories quickly. However, there are also significant side effects which can include lower mental acuity, stress on the kidneys, feelings of being tired, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, diarrhea and severe headaches. (1,2)
Individuals who wish to start a diet plan which is outside the bounds of the food pyramid must consult with their primary care physician to determine if their current health can withstand stresses of ketoacidosis. You should also consider the medications that you are currently taking, your current blood glucose tolerance as well as any underlying medical conditions.
There are several things that individuals can do to help increase the success rate of using a low carbohydrate diet plan. Drink plenty of water, at least 10 8 ounce glasses per day, but limit the amount of caffeine. The the fluids should always be water, not soda, not coffee and not tea. Take an additional vitamin and fiber supplement to make up for the nutritional deficits the you will experience.
As with any weight loss plan you should also include exercise and physical activity to increase your body’s metabolism and change the method in which your body burns calories. This is especially important using a low carbohydrate diet plan as exercise will help decrease some of the side effects from ketoacidosis. And core to this diet plan is to monitor sugar levels and carbohydrates which you feed your body.
Individuals who start a low carbohydrate diet plan report that they initially feel cravings for foods they can no longer eat. To increase the chances of success those foods should be taken out of the house altogether. Remember not to go shopping when hungry.
Using any low carbohydrate diet plan you will be making menus. Shop for the foods and get the recipes you need before starting the diet. In other words, be organized and planned for the eventual and almost certain cravings and be sure there is food in the house to help you withstand the temptations.
It is important to begin a low carbohydrate diet plan at the beginning of the day and not in the middle. Starting in the middle of the day allows temptations to go off the diet since you did not eat the right things for breakfast. Spend your first day cooking and preparing foods for snacks and meals so you have quick access when you’re hungry.
One significant disadvantage to the low carbohydrate diet plan is that individuals take in an increased amount of animal protein which also decreases the absorption of calcium in the body. Although osteoporosis and bone loss depends on several vitamins and minerals physicians and researchers have found that a lack of calcium will always lead to osteoporosis. So, when choosing that vitamin supplement make sure it includes a mineral supplementation and calcium.
Using a low carbohydrate diet plan individuals can learn better eating habits and begin to lose weight quickly. To ensure total success take the advice of your physician about how long he should stay on the diet before transitioning to a healthy diet that you can maintain over the coming years.
(1) Psychology Today: Your Brain on Ketones
(2) Vanderbilt University: The Low-Down on Low-Carbohydrate Diets