Recently after a healthy living talk that I gave, a woman in attendance told me that she is on a low-carbohydrate diet and asked me if I thought it was a good idea. My answer was an unqualified no.
I thought the low-carbohydrate craze died out some years ago. But a recent Reader’s Digest cover article showed me that it is still alive and well. Low-carb diets emphasize protein (mostly animal protein such as meat and eggs), and eschew carbohydrates such as bread and fruit.
So here are four reasons not to go low-carb:
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Sure, we should avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugars, white flour and refined grains. But complex carbohydrates are full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need for optimal performance.
Fruits and vegetables are carbs! A diet high in fruits and vegetables provides:
- anti-oxidants: which are chemicals that get rid of free radicals that cause cellular and DNA damage.
- An abundance of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, C and E, to name a few, which are woefully lacking in the American diet.
- High water content: Not only do we drink too little water, but we also eat too much dry, dead food. Fruits and vegetables have high water content.
Whole grains, such as brown rice and barley are carbs! A diet rich in whole grains results in:
- Decreased risk of heart disease and stroke: Refined foods are inflammatory. And one by-product of inflammation is hardening of the arteries which leads to high blood pressure (making your heart work harder), and poor blood circulation to vital organs (like the heart and brain).
- Regularity: Fiber is critical for gut health; it stimulates proper elimination. At least 40% of Americans are chronically constipated because our diets are low in fiber.
- Weight loss: A major contributor to obesity is the excess sugar that we take in, whether it’s from actual sugar, or from foods that are quickly broken down to sugar (like white flour). In contrast, whole grains slowly and steadily release glucose into your bloodstream keeping your appetite under control. (see our March Change 1 Thing Challenge for more info…)
Complex Carbohydrates are brain-food! Another reason carbohydrates are critically important is because they are our brain’s main fuel source. Low-carbohydrate diets often lead to sluggishness and irritability because we are depriving our brains of a vital macronutrient.
It’s true that a low-carbohydrate diet will result in weight loss, but at the high expense of your long-term health. Rather, you are guaranteed to lose weight if you eat a diet that is rich in complex high-fiber carbohydrates, and the proper portions of lean protein and good fats.
Don’t go low-carb. Give your body an abundance of complex carbohydrates to lower inflammation, enhance anti-oxidant immune boosting power, and optimize your brain function.
For more information for your optimal health, visit us at www.ahealthytomorrow.org
Ruth Fuller says
Thanks for such helpful information. Haven’t mastered the change, but I’m working on it.
Have any suggestions for healthy meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?
How many eggs per day or week? Whole grain or high fiber bread, labels vary. What’s best?
Are the Healthy Choice meals of 300 calories a good idea?
Answer at your convenience. Thanks
Dr Fuller says
Great questions. Eggs in moderation are okay, meaning twice per week at the most. When eating eggs, load them with vegetables, like a spinach omelette, for example. Whole grain bread is best, and make sure the ingredients list whole grain as first (eg whole wheat flour should be the first ingredient in whole wheat bread). Healthy Choice meals are low calorie, but not particularly nutritious. Often they are heavy on meat, and low on fiber. Your meal should be at least 50% vegetable/fruit, 25% beans or whole grains, and 25% meat. The meat is optional, and it’s best to reduce meat (including chicken and fish) to one meal per day, and ultimately to 2 to 3 times per week. Thanks for posting your questions and comments!