Try an internet search for “diets that work,” and in less than a second you’re left to sort through more than 1.3 billion — yes, billion — results. To say that the world of dieting is confusing would be a colossal understatement. In fact, it almost seems that “new evidence” pops up every day extolling the virtues of one way of eating over another for effective weight loss and healthier living. So how do you know which diet is right for you?
At IBI Healthcare Institute our goal is to provide the Buckhead, Atlanta, and Loganville, Georgia, communities quality health care that considers each patient as an individual. We understand that no two people are alike, and we tailor our treatment programs to your unique situation, including your lifestyle, to ensure that you get the results you want.
To that end, here are three things to consider in deciding whether a low-carb diet is right for you.
1. It’s a low-carb diet, not no carbs at all
The first step to making any decision about a dietary plan is to arm yourself with the facts. So let’s start with one that’s fairly simple: Carbs are not your enemy. Carbs, which is short for carbohydrates, are nutrients in food that provide you with critical energy. When you ingest carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is sent into your bloodstream to provide fuel for almost every cellular function. And some glucose is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles.
Carbs only become problematic when you take in too many. Once your body uses and stores what it needs, the excess is turned into fat and tucked away for future use.
So when it comes to carbs, the trick is to strike the right balance by taking in only what you need and cutting out the excess. You can do this by reducing your carbs, as well as exercising more, which burns them off. In other words, there are several ways to tackle excess carbs, but you don’t need to cut them out entirely. We can work with you to find the level of carb intake that helps you meet your goals.
2. There are lots of other good foods you can eat
Aside from carbs, your body also relies on two other nutrient sources for fuel: protein and fat. Your body turns to carbs first because this energy is more accessible, but when there aren’t enough carbs, your body then turns to protein and fat to get the energy it needs. This means that when you embark on a low-carb diet, you can still provide your body with other essential nutrients.
In other words, by adding more proteins and healthy fats to your diet, you won’t be starving yourself. There’s nothing like a piece of chicken, and even a small steak, to energize your cells without glucose. We do urge you to approach these foods with discretion. Aim to add healthy proteins to your diet, like fish, poultry, and eggs, and steer clear of processed foods that tout high protein, like beef jerky and some protein bars, which can contain an alarming amount of sugar and sodium.
And when it comes to fat, try extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and nuts, and avoid the unhealthy fats that come in many of the processed foods that line our grocery store aisles.
3. A low-carb diet can benefit your health
More than 84 million people in the United States are considered prediabetic, while 30 million have crossed over into full-blown diabetes. If you fall into either of these categories, a low-carb diet may be just what you need. Diabetes is a condition in which your body is unable to regulate glucose levels in your bloodstream, which can lead to a dangerous buildup of blood sugar, creating serious cardiovascular and metabolic problems. Since carbs are turned into glucose, it makes sense to monitor your carb intake in order to avoid high blood sugar levels.
Low-carb diets can be beneficial if you have other medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. The best way to know whether your health may benefit from a low-carb diet is to come in for a complete physical and blood work so we can determine how to improve your health through your diet.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a low-carb diet fits your lifestyle, and we’re happy to discuss your unique situation and come up with a dietary plan. Just give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.