I used to get asked when my baby was due and I was never pregnant. I cut down my carbs and I lost “the baby” (my gut)! Carbs is the problem!
As Americans cut fats from their diet (an unknowingly–protein as well), they replaced them with bad carbohydrates (good carbs are in vegetables). This is partly a result of Americans’ reliance on unhealthy carbs — bagels, pasta, pretzels, rice, potatoes, etc. So, now a full two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese, and nearly one of out four Americans is overweight.
The idea that cutting carbs from your diet can lead to weight loss is beginning to catch on and even moderate reductions in your carb consumption can help you shed extra pounds. When I finally cut down my carbs to between 50-100g a day, I finally lost my long-held weight gain.
An important point is that a reduced-carb diet promotes the loss of deep belly fat, also known as “visceral fat,” even when no change in weight is apparent.
Visceral fat is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. It is thought that visceral fat is related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation, which in turn can damage arteries and enter your liver, affecting how your body breaks down sugars and fats.
While it’s often referred to as “belly fat” because it can cause a “beer belly” or an apple-shaped body, you can have visceral fat even if you’re thin. So even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, cutting unhealthy carbs in your diet could have a positive impact on your levels of visceral fat, and thereby potentially reduce your risk of chronic disease.
People on low-carb diets lose weight in part because they get less fructose that can be made into body fat quickly. Although fructose is naturally found in high levels in fruit, it is also added to many processed foods, especially in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. If your only source of fructose came from eating an apple or orange a day, keeping your total grams of fructose to below 25 per day, then it would not be an issue.
But what many completely fail to appreciate is that fructose is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in the United States and the typical person is consuming 75 grams of fructose each and every day. Because fructose is so cheap it is used in MOST processed foods. The average person is consuming 1/3 of a pound of sugar every day!
Evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary factor in the obesity epidemic, so it’s definitely a food you want to avoid if you want to lose weight. This means you have to keep your fruit amounts down each day, but avoid added fructose in your food.
Many dieters snack on pretzels in lieu of potato chips and other salty snacks, believing them to be healthier alternatives. But eating pretzels is just as bad as dipping a spoon straight into a bowl of sugar.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that they’re “fat-free” – remember it’s the carbs that are the culprit.
Your body prefers the carbohydrates in vegetables rather than grains because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level. Grain carbohydrates, like those in pretzels and bread, will increase your insulin resistance and interfere with your ability to burn fat — which is the last thing you want if you’re trying to lose weight.
Even cereals, whether high-fiber, whole-grain or not, are not a food you want to eat if you’re concerned about your weight. If they contain sugar, that will tend to increase your insulin levels even more, regardless if they are so-called “healthy” cereals or not.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT?
A “healthy diet” is qualified by the following key factors:
- Unprocessed whole foods
- Often raw or only lightly cooked
- Organic or grass-fed meat/eggs, and free from additives and genetically modified ingredients
- Come from high-quality, local sources
- Carbohydrates primarily come from vegetables (except for corn or potatoes)