The current wiki answer to the question Are low carbohydrate diets halthy- based on recent evidence

Are low carb diets healthy in the long term or do they only help you to lose weight quickly

Low carb diet in the long term

  • We already know that a high carbohydrate diet is extremely unhealthy. A diet high in refined/processed carbohydrate has caused the obesity epidemic and the diabetic epidemic in America and other countries.
  • People in countries where more protein and fat is eaten but less carbohydrate, like France, tend to be healthier and less obese. Let us take it to the extreme as an example. Eskimos eating a zero carbohydrate diet consisting of 80% animal fat are extremely healthy. They have the lowest rates of heart disease of any group in the world. After the white man started getting them off their diet of blubber and fish and eating carbohydrates the rates of obesity and heart disease skyrocketed.
  • All diets are terrible. Eat a wide variety of healthy, tasty food and you will be healthy. The Atkins diet (few carbs, substantial amounts of fat and protein) was proven to work for one reason: protein makes you fuller sooner, so even though millions of Americans were ecstatic to hear that they could eat all the steaks they wanted. They would get full before eating much. Result: a loss of body fat. However, they were eating fatty steaks and handfuls of cheese.
  • I researched carbohydrate dieting before deciding that I liked stodge too much to do it. I did however learn a few things in the process. There is now emerging evidence that low carbohydrate diets are healthy. In addition, the Atkins diet suggests you find your individual level of carb intake and do not exceed it. Atkins propose you eat a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables, fat, protein and carbohydrate. Some fat is recommended as with other diets. However, Atkins is only one low carbohydrate diet. There are many forms of the low carbohydrate diet.
  • Consultant dietitians and doctors are now recommending low carbohydrate diets (not Atkins) as the first step to tackling obesity. In addition, low carbohydrate diets (not Atkins) are now being used by doctors and hospitals to treat insulin resistance, diabetes type 2, and epilepsy.
  • Refined (processed) carbohydrates are the major cause of weight gain, insulin resistance obesity, diabetes, and other diet related diseases. We now face an obesity epidemic and a diabetic epidemic. The only way forward, is to strictly limit our intake of refined (processed) carbohydrates and to choose carbohydrates from natural sources such as vegetables.
  • There is no quick or easy way to lose weight. Eating a well balance diet, drinking eight glasses of water a day, cardio exercise (brisk walks, jogging, etc) is great to lose that weight. It tends to take takes women longer to lose weight than men because they have more fat on our bodies. Vitamins and mineral are essential for health and we need to choose our foods wisely. Eat everything in moderation is a good idea unless you are already overweight or obese.
  • Low or no carb diets are not good for you. Carbs are what fuels your body with energy. If you don't work out or do a lot of walking, etc., a low carb diet may be a good way for you to lose some weight. But if you work out or "move around" a lot, then you need carbs to fuel yourself. Carbs are not bad for you. Too many carbs can be. Too much of anything can be bad. Everything in moderation is the best way to go.
  • Since the U.S. Government suggested that 8-11 servings of carbohydrates daily, obesity and diabetes has been out of control. People may say that was around the time the fast food fad started. This is true but there are far more carbohydrates in fast food than fat. Take for example a typical McDonald's trip. Ordered is a Big Mac, large fries, and large coke. In that order there is 54 grams of fat but above that is a whopping 194 grams of carbohydrates. That is 194 grams of carbohydrate in one sitting. Another 100-200 grams may be added to this persons diet during the rest of the day via sugary drinks, breads, or cereals. No one ever wants to think that carbohydrates may be the culprits in relation to our health problems! After all, carbohydrate foods can taste so good.
  • Your body has to burn carbohydrates before it can burn fat. Most Americans, for example, even on low fat diets consume a huge amount of carbohydrates (most of it is refined/processed carbohydrate), which does not allow them to burn the fat they would like to lose. Think of carbohydrate as gasoline and your muscles as a gas tank. If you overfill your gas tank, it starts to overflow. The leftover gasoline has nowhere to go except for the ground. That is the same way with carbohydrates, once your muscles absorb all the carbohydrates they can, the left over carbs have no place to go. Therefore, those carbohydrates turn into fat.
  • Many people live long, fulfilling, healthy and active lives on a low carbohydrate diet. You may not be aware of it but carbohydrates are not a required nutrient. Unlike protein and fat, there is no minimum daily requirement for carbohydrate. In other words, you will die if you do not have protein and fats. However, you can flourish physically and be perfectly health without carbohydrates. Unlike protein and fats, carbohydrates are not essential for health or life. Eskimos got along perfectly well without carbohydrates and you could too if needed. You do need, however, protein and fat. Certain carbohydrates, though, such as vegetables and fruits, have many beneficial phytochemicals and fiber so eating some is fine. For weight loss, the best sources are fresh non-starchy vegetables and low carbohydrate fruits such as berries.
  • On the other hand, refined (processed) carbohydrates can be a major problem. This is not a complete list but refined/processed carbohydrates are such things as: rolls, buns, breads, cookies/biscuits, ice cream, pasta, potato chips/crisps, nibbles/savory snacks, tacos, pizza, cakes, pastry, pies, desserts, puddings, thickened gravies and sauces, batter, sweets/candy, chocolate, cereals, sodas, jello, jelly, jams, all sugars, all products containing sugar, foods containing corn syrup, etc.
  • For the sake of good health and the health of future generations, it is wise for all people (not just people who need to lose weight) to strictly limit, apart from an occasional treat, refined/processed carbohydrates. No matter how nice they might taste, no matter how addicted to them we might be, refined processed carbohydrates remain a major cause of weight gain, obesity, and many diet related diseases.
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