In summary, the existence of the low carb diet has been recorded throughout history. Before, it was thought that a low fat diet was the most direct and effective tool to losing or maintaining weight. Fat contains most of a food’s flavor. Low fat diets forced people to consume low fat foods with enhanced sugar content. In fact, all processed low fat foods contain added sugar. These sugars contribute to weight gain as sugar is the first element that the body converts into fat. This fat is stored for future use as energy. Next to sugar, carbohydrates are what the body uses to burn as energy. With minimal carbohydrates, the body is forced to convert fat into energy. This, in essence, is the philosophy of a low carb diet; take in fat and minimize carbohydrates to reduce, eliminate or reverse weight gain.
South Beach, Atkins and Zone are some examples of low carb dieting methods. These low carb diet methods effectively reduce insulin levels in the body. This forces the body to use fat for energy. Insulin is a hormone that commands the body to store fat. In addition, high carb diets stimulate eating which, in turn, stimulates even more eating.
In the United States, the penchant for and belief in low fat and high carb diets has resulted in the rise of obesity, morbid obesity and cardiovascular diseases. In a very glaring contrast, the French diet of high fats and low carbs consumption has resulted in lesser incidents of these diseases. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of a low carb diet where you get low carbs and high fats. Since the fats are not significantly reduced, the flavors of the foods are retained. The prospect of having to forsake one food group for better weight management is not present at all with this diet. It would seem that the food industry and nutritionists in the United States have mistakenly led people to believe in the effectiveness and healthy benefits of high carb-low fat diets. By all indications, the low carb diet should have been emphasized in the beginning as the correct method for losing or maintaining weight.
The Navy Hospital in Oakland, CA conducted a study back in 1965. They established a 1000 calorie diet for the test subjects together with a low carb diet and high fat consumption. Concurrently, another test group was subjected to fasting. After a ten day testing period, it was found that people who used the low carb diet method lost more weight than those who fasted. A negative effect of low carb dieting is that it lowers dietary fiber intake. This may result in constipation unless dietary fiber supplements are used in conjunction with a low carb diet. It is wise to eat natural foods such as fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods like cereals and baked foods to get your daily dose of carbohydrates. These natural foods tend to give better quality nutrients than processed foods.
In the food industry, negative effects on manufacturers of foods with high carb contents are slowly being felt. As more and more people move away from low fat diets to the low carb diet, some food producers such as pasta factories and doughnut makers are finding themselves needing to scramble in order to find equilibrium in a radically changed market. On the opposite side of the fence, food manufacturers have been able to meet the demand of low carb diet practitioners by producing low carb products such as soy to replace wheat flour and artificial sweeteners to replace sugar.
The low fat diet has served its purpose. How posterity will picture its success or failure, only time will tell. As of now, the low fat diet is close to being tagged as mistake. Quite rightly, the low carb diet is being heralded as the proper method for losing or maintaining weight. The biggest advantage of this diet is all about the fat. Again, fat gives flavor to the food. A low carb diet will ensure that your food tastes as it should taste instead of relying on artificial flavoring or too much seasoning to make your food taste like, well, something.