While the debate continues regarding the effectiveness of a low carb low sugar diet, it remains clear that it works very well for many people. By helping maintain steadier levels of insulin in the bloodstream, preventing a "sugar rush" and keeping energy levels steady, a low carb, low sugar diet has proven to be a helpful tool in the war against obesity.
Basics of a Low Carb Diet
There are several popular low carb diet plans. Some, such as the Atkins Diet, are centered around keeping track of total carb intake. Others, such as the South Beach diet, focus on glycemic index of various foods. In general, low carb diets limit intake of fruits, grains, bread, cereal and sugar. Some are more lenient about fruit than others--for example, the Atkins Diet allows no fruit at all during Phase I, while the South Beach diet limits fruit to low glycemic index, high fiber items like strawberries and blueberries in the early stages.
The theory behind this severe limitation on carbohydrates is based on the way the body reacts to this major food group. Ingesting carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels, which triggers the body to create insulin in order to properly digest the carbs, transforming them into energy. Low carb, low sugar diet proponents state that if carbohydrates are withheld, the body will then rely on fat stores to create energy, thus leading to weight loss. In addition, the reduction in carbohydrate intake also eliminates the rapid changes in blood sugar levels and dumping of insulin into the system, which is linked to sugar rush, the ensuing sugar crash and binge eating.
Most low carb diets allow nearly unlimited vegetables such as lettuce, peppers, and other vegetables that are high on nutrition, but low in carbs. Higher carb veggies, like carrots and peas, are more limited. Proteins and fats are treated differently depending on the diet plan. South Beach, for example, is centered around lean meats and heart healthy fats, while the Atkins Diet is more lenient of saturated fat.
Benefits of Eating Low Carb
Many who pursue a low carb low sugar diet find many benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Steadier energy levels
- An overall feeling of greater well-being
- More consistent moods
Those who find themselves feeling better with a low carb diet are often those who have depended on sugar snacks to fuel energy bursts, or those who have difficulty with sugar overall, but have not been diagnosed with a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition. The low carb diet is essential to maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels for diabetics, and can also help reverse adult onset diabetes.
Even medical professionals who cast doubt on the overall effectiveness of low carb diets for weight loss and general health agree that reducing sugar intake and the amount of refined grains and starches in the diet is good for overall health.
The only way to truly find out how a low carb, low sugar diet works and how it affects the body is to try it. If the result are a better overall sense of well-being accompanied by necessary weight loss, then this dietary change is likely a step in the right direction.