Good Carbs for Losing Weight

Avoid Carbs that Cause Insulin Surge

Good Carbs Do not Cause Insulin Surge
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Facilitate Weight Loss With Effective Strategies

Improve the Low Carb Diet & Loose Weight Quickly


The new year is almost here, and with it comes the  resolution of losing  weight and body fat.  Most of these new year's resolutions often go unfulfilled.  One reason for not meeting this weight-loss goal  is failure to use an effective dietary strategy.   Low carbohydrate and low glycemic index diets are among the most popular diet plans for losing weight, but some of the weaknesses in these diet  plans are often overlooked.  This oversight frequently leads to  poor results.

 .  Like most diet programs, low glycemic index and low carbohydrate (low carb)  diets have a few weaknesses that can be corrected to make them more effective for meeting your dietary objective of losing body fat and maintaining good health.  A few elements of these carbohydrate-focused diets can be combined or changed to achieve a more effective nutritional protocol for meeting your dietary objective.

 Common Attributes of the Low Carbohydrate and Glycemic Index Diets

 These two diet plans for body fat reduction  focus attention on the management of carbohydrates. Low carb diet plan restricts your carbohydrate consumption; whereas, low glycemic index diet  focuses on consuming quality carbs (carbs with low glycemic index values). These two diet plans share some common attributes that  make them effective for losing weight.

 Control the carbohydrate in your diet.  Low carb diet and low glycemic index diets  direct their attention primarily to controlling the impact of the carbohydrate in your diet. Targeting carbohydrates for weight reduction is a good approach because carbohydrate is not an essential food.  Although your brain relies exclusively on carbohydrates for its nutrition and survival under normal conditions, carbohydrate is a non-essential nutrient because your body can produce it from  non-carbohydrate sources. Therefore, it is not surprising that reducing carbohydrate intake or reducing its utilization for energy metabolism does not deprive your body of essential nutrients.

 Curb your appetite.  Both diets are very effective for curbing your appetite.  Diets that curb your appetite help you to lose weight by keeping your hunger in check. Appetite-curbing foods make it easier for you to lose weight without too much effort and determination.

 Calorie counting is optional. Calorie-counting is not an important feature of both diets.  Calorie-counting strategies often ignore the physiological processes that control your metabolism, body weight and body fat reduction.  People who count calories tend to consume diet foods and processed foods, because it is easy to figure out the caloric values of these foods.  Unfortunately, diet foods and processed foods can undermine your efforts to lose weight. 

 Losing weight would be easier if you stop counting calories and avoid diet foods and diet drinks. Most diet foods and diet drinks cause you to gain weight because they contain ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners andtrans fats, that promote obesity.  Some diet foods and processed foods also lack nutrients that support good health. Trying to separate the good diet products from the bad ones is typically a futile effort that often leads to obesity.

 Control the plasma level of insulin.  Both diets prevent insulin surges.  An effective dietary protocol for losing body fat requires that your blood insulin level be kept low at normal or near-normal levels. This is significant because sustained elevation of plasma insulin level supports body fat  synthesis and storage.

 Basic Principles of the Low Carb Diet 

 Low carb diet keeps plasma insulin level low by reducing the plasma level of glucose, the primary nutrient that stimulates insulin release from the pancreatic cells. When plasma level of insulin is low, your skeletal muscles (the major energy users of your body) can not obtain adequate amounts of glucose from the blood to power its activity. Insulin is needed to transport glucose into the muscle cells where glucose can be used for energy.

 These skeletal muscles which normally use glucose (carbohydrate) as the primary source of energy would then switch to using fats as the primary fuel for energy metabolism. In effect,  the skeletal muscles become fat-burning furnaces that voraciously burn both body fat and consumed fats. This switch in the preferential burning of fat spares plasma glucose for the brain which utilizes only glucose for its energy needs.

 Your body also increases  glucose production (gluconeogenesis) to assure that adequate plasma level of glucose is maintained to support proper functioning of the brain and various organs of the body.  Liver is the primary site for this gluconeogenic activity. Your body's ability to produce glucose goes up significantly when your carbohydrate intake goes down.  This type of increase in glucose production is also seen during periods of food deprivation such as fasting and starvation.

 The low carb diet puts your metabolic machinery and your overall body physiology under significant stress. These effects raised  significant concerns about the merits of the low carb diet, but these concerns are gradually subsiding. The current opinion on the low carb diet is leaning towards the point that this diet is a sound dietary approach for losing body fat.

 Basic Principles of the Glycemic Index Diet

 The glycemic index diet promotes a diet that prevents insulin surges, and supports normal physiology and healthy metabolism.    This diet plan focuses on consuming foods with low glycemic index values.  Specifically, the diet focuses on choosing  carbohydrates that have low glycemic index values, because carbs comprise the food group with the highest glycemic index values.   

  Foods with high glycemic index values stimulate insulin surge, a change that can lead to sustained elevation of plasma level of insulin.  Foods with low glycemic index values, on the other hand, do not stimulate excessive release of insulin.   These differences in glycemic index values of foods is important because foods with high values will promote obesity and numerous chronic diseases.

  Most processed and refined carbohydrates have high glycemic index values; whereas, most naturally occurring carbs have low or moderate glycemic index values.  Typically, glucose is used as the standard value, and its glycemic index value (GI) is set at 100.  Other foods are classified as low, intermediate or high  according to the following criteria:

 l  Low =  55 or lower

l  Intermediate = 56 to 69

l  High  =  70 or higher.

 How to  Improve  Low Carb and Glycemic Index Diets

 These  two diet plans can be improved to make them more effective for losing body fat. The two primary factors for  this dietary improvements are  proper management of high energy foods (fats and carbohydrates), and  inclusion of large amounts of healthy low energy foods. You can  preferentially modify  either one of these diet plans as described below to simplify your task of losing weight and meeting your goal within a reasonable time (3 to 18 months).

  Reduce the Glycemic Load

 The overall impact of carbohydrate on your metabolism and on your health is better reflected by the glycemic load  (GL) of the food. Your dietary strategy would be improved if you focus more attention on GL instead of the glycemic index value (GI).   GL is made up by two variables, the amount of carbohydrate in the food (in grams) and the GI value. In a formula, the glycemic load of a given food = GL =  {carb content  multiplied by GI value) divided b y 100.  GL values are categorized as follows:

l  Low  = 10 or lower

l  Intermediate  = 11 to 19

l  High  =   20 or higher.

 Each of these diet plans would be improved by maintaining low GL values in the diet.  Specifically, the low carb dieter needs to include carbs with low GI values; whereas, the glycemic dieter needs to reduce the amount of carbohydrate in the diet.  Quinoa  and sweet potatoes are examples of high quality carbs that would improve both diets.

 Consumption of Fats and Oils

 Fats and oils are  high energy foods that should be controlled in these carbohydrate-focused diet plans.  Proper management of fats and oils would help to  improve your strategy for reducing body fat.  Since fats and oils are non-carbohydrates and  have  low GI values, some dieters assume that it is not necessary to pay particular attention to their presence in their diets.  This is a   mistake.  The dieter should pay attention to the quality and quantity of fats and oils in their diets.

  Fats are essential nutrients that should be present in healthy diets.  It is also important to distinguish between good fats and bad fats.   Good fats (such as the unsaturated fats) promote good health; whereas, bad fats (such as trans fats) are harmful to health, and they can promote insulin resistance, obesity and numerous chronic health problems. Some saturated fats, such as the coconut oil,  support good health while others are harmful. The three basic caveats for consuming oil to lose weight and maintain good health are:

 l  Consume only healthy fats and oils. This includes olive oil, alpha omega-3 fatty acids, fats and oils from most nuts and seeds, and  most edible fats and oils that occur naturally in plants.

l  Consume good fats and oils in moderation. The recommended fat consumption is 25 to 35% of your daily caloric intake. Therefore, a person on a 2000 calories/day diet should keep  the  daily fat intake in the  55  to 77 gram  range.

l  Avoid trans fats. Trans fats are present in many processed foods, and they are often called partially hydrogenated oils. Note that healthy oils can be converted to hazardous products by partial hydrogenation. Therefore it is a mistake to consume processed foods that contain good oils if these good oils are partially hydrogenated.

  Leafy Vegetables

 Leafy vegetables are low energy foods that should be consumed in large amounts.  The primary reason for consuming large amounts of leafy vegetables (pesticide-free vegetables) is that this would curb your appetite and prevent you from over-eating.  One important way by which this approach prevents you from overeating is that vegetables add bulk to your diet. This is particularly beneficial for dieters whose eating activities are not controlled by hunger – ie. some people eat and over-eat for a variety of reasons other than hunger.  Large amounts of leafy vegetables would leave little or no room in your stomach. This makes it difficult or impractical for you to over-eat.

 Apart from curbing the appetite, leafy vegetables have numerous other health benefits, ranging from supplying important trace minerals to  strengthening the immune system.  Some of the health benefits of the leafy vegetables are shown below.

 l  Source of vitamins, including the antioxidant vitamins ( vitamins A, C and E)

l  Source of antioxidant phytonutrients for fighting cancer and other diseases

l  Support healthy digestion

l  Help to prevent gastrointestinal problems such  as constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

l  Helpful in stabilizing blood glucose at normal levels.

l  Help to improve insulin sensitivity which boosts your metabolism and fat burning.

 Super Fruits

  Include some super fruits in your diet.  Lycopene-rich super fruits with low glycemic load values, such as tomatoes, guava and papaya, should be included in the diet. These fruits are  anti-cancer and disease-fighting foods. Apart from fighting cancer and boosting the immune system, most of these super fruits  are rich in dietary fibers (soluble and insoluble fibers). Consequently, they support good digestion, healthy insulin sensitivity and proper functioning of the metabolic machinery.  It should be emphasized that foods that improve digestion and the metabolic machinery are more effective for losing weight and maintaining good health compared to  strategies that merely control your caloric intake. When it comes to losing weight, the quality of the food you consume is often more important than the caloric value of the food.

Lose Weight With Low Energy Foods

Leafy Vegetables Add Bulk to Your Diet

Curb Your Appetite with Leafy Vegetables
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Diet Plans for Losing Weight Glycemic Index Diet Plan Low Carb Diet Plan

Diet Plans for Losing Weight Glycemic Index Diet Plan Low Carb Diet Plan

Diet Plans for Losing Weight     Glycemic Index Diet Plan    Low Carb Diet Plan
Credit: Carl E. Lewis