Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Most Nutrient-Dense Diet Is Low-Carb

I like to blow popular myths about livin' la vida low-carb to smithereens here at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog and today I've got a little help from Jacqueline Eberstein, RN, a friend and long-time medical assistant with the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins.

This Diabetes Health column she wrote about how nutrient-dense the low-carb lifestyle is makes a lot of valid points that are worthy of special attention.

Contrary to common belief, low-carb living as prescribed by the various proven and effective plans out there such as Atkins, Protein Power, etc. is extremely healthy because it gives you all the nutrients your body needs despite the fact that you are reducing the number of total carbohydrates in your diet.

Eberstein is quick to point out that "carbohydrates are not all bad" as long as you eat the right kind of carbs that will give you the fiber and nutrients you need without unnecessarily raising blood glucose or insulin levels.

One of the problems that Eberstein points out about livin' la vida low-carb is the fact that it is not well-defined.

"When talking about a lower-carb plan, one must define just how low it is," she remarked. "Should be implies that there is a standard—which there isn’t."

This is a problem that does come with any discussion of "low-carb," but I don't think it is one we should get hung up on. For the purpose of discussion at my blog, I consider "low-carb" to be anyone who eats less than 100g carbs daily. While 100g is way too much for some people and 0g is not enough carbs for others, I think anywhere in between those two parameters is SIGNIFICANTLY less carbs than the vast majority of people on the recommended low-fat diets are consuming in the form of sugar, white flour, starchy foods, and processed foods.

While the media likes to frequently refer to "low-carb" as "NO-CARB" (and thus inferred to be "cutting out an entire food group" and avoiding vegetables), Eberstein said nothing could be further from the truth for most low-carbers.

"Even on the most restrictive (20 grams of carbs allowed) Induction phase of the Atkins Nutritional Approach, there are five servings of fruits and vegetables, meeting the recommended daily intake," she explained, stating that fruits such as avocados, tomatoes and olives are highly encouraged even for people on Atkins Induction. "None of the low-carb plans suggest eating no carbs whatsoever, as is so often incorrectly stated."

You tell 'em, Jackie! Even better is the fact that after those first 14 days on Atkins Induction are over, you get to begin eating EVEN MORE fruits and vegetables. In fact, a survey last year of people following a low-carb plan found that vegetable consumption doubled from what the participants ate prior to their low-carb lifestyle. WOW! So what about the rest of the American population?

"A Journal of Nutrition survey that revealed that only 45 percent of Americans actually eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day," Eberstein revealed. "Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, French fries, bananas and orange juice accounted for 30 percent of those ingested. While tomatoes are low in carbohydrate and have vitamin C, lycopene and fiber, these other foods are high in glycemic response or low in nutrients."

In other words, these so-called healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables that people think they are eating as recommended by their government and health "experts" is nothing more than CRAPOLA! Pseudo-healthy junk food is what those things are and they are making us fatter and fatter all under the guise of being GOOD for you. UGH!

I overheard one of my co-workers today talking about how many grapes she ate before she got to work which she used to justify eating a high-sugar, high-carb snack out of the vending machine since she had "eaten healthy" with the sugar-loaded grapes. Yikes! No wonder we are in an obesity crisis today that just seems to keep getting worse by the minute. People are so poorly misinformed and misguided about what it means to eat a "healthy" diet.

On the subject of fiber, Eberstein said the Institute of Medicine recommends women need to be consuming 21-25g daily while men could use 30-38g daily. Since fiber can be hard to come by at the beginning of livin' la vida low-carb, she said fiber supplements such as Fibercon along with a good balanced multivitamin are recommended until adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables can be added back to your menu in the later phases of the plan. As I have blogged about before, fiber is needed to allow your bowel to shake, rattle and roll so that stored fat can come right out of you! EWWWW! :P

As far as other supplements, Eberstein recommends taking the mineral chromium (which I have been doing on her advice for about 4-5 months now) to produce a "healthy insulin and blood glucose balance."

"It is thought that 90 percent of Americans are low on chromium," Eberstein said. "It is lost in the processing of grain foods in particular and is not replaced. Tiny amounts can be found in foods such as beef, cheese, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, barley, clams, scallops and lobster."

So obviously you'll want to add this to your multivitamin and fiber supplementation to add another piece to the nutrition puzzle for your low-carb lifestyle. Eberstein concludes in her column that anything you put in your mouth in the form of a carbohydrate should only be what your "metabolism will allow."

We are all different when it comes to our individual Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium, or ACE, which is the number of carbohydrates you can eat and still maintain your weight. Making every carb you put in your mouth count and refuse to allow any junk carbs that you don't need to enter your body again will be the secret to your low-carb success.

"Use your individual carbohydrate budget well by including vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, legumes and whole grains," Eberstein concluded. "Keep in mind that by replacing refined carbs, you are eating foods that still contain what nature supplies: vitamins, fiber, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants."

As you can see without question, if livin' la vida low-carb is done correctly then it can be the most nutrient-dense diet you will ever be on in your entire life. Does anyone dare challenge this assertion? If so, then bring it on and tell me why by commenting below.

THANK YOU again, Jackie Eberstein, for sharing the truth about what the Atkins Nutritional Approach has to offer people who want to lose weight and get healthy. As you have written about previously, low-carb living is STILL one of the most safe and effective ways for people to eat healthier than they ever have while greatly improving their health in the process. We appreciate your voice in this neverending education process about what livin' la vida low-carb is REALLY all about.

And another myth bites the dust! :D

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Blogger BillyHW said...

You can eat sirloin steaks for months on end and never have any dificiencies.

I think if I tried that I'd have a happiness definciency.

8/24/2006 8:23 AM  

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