The Most Common Low Carb Misconceptions
There are several myths and misconceptions about low carb diets. A high carb diet draws an image of people eating very unhealthy diets, with no vegetables or fruits, a hamburger loaded with grease and bacon, and dishes with lots of cream or butter. It is believed that these people are promoting heart disease, and are on a dangerous road to poor health. A low carb diet focuses on nutritious, healthy food, and some research shows more positive results.
Below are some myths about low carb diets most often heard.
Myth 1. Low Carb Equals No Carb
This misconception is the idea that a low carb diet must be really low in carbohydrates. It is believed that low carb diets attempt to eliminate carbohydrates from the diet.
Fact: The Atkins Diet is low in carbohydrates. Initially when a person begins the Atkins diet, they are advised to not eat carbs for one to two weeks then gradually begin adding carbs back into his or her diet.
Fact: Several authors of diet books who recommend reducing carbs have different ideas about carb levels.
Fact: The carb level should be adjusted to the individual.
Fact: Over the years, the Nutrition Industry has been gradually lowering the range of recommended carbohydrate in the diet, at the same time condemning reduced-carb diets, some of which may be recommending the lower end of the new “accepted range,” or close to it.
An example: Dr. Dean Edell, a prominent media physician, stated that the Zone Diet, a 40% carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet, “could be dangerous” because it is too low in carbohydrates. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that 45% to 65% of the diet be carbohydrate, depending upon the individual.
Myth 2. Low Carb Diets Discourage Eating Vegetables and Fruits
Because vegetables and fruits are mainly carbohydrate, people believe that they are not allowed on low-carb diets.
Fact: Non-starchy vegetables are usually at the bottom of the low carb pyramid, replacing grains in that role, and people who follow a low-carb way of eating almost always eat more vegetables than most people. Vegetables and fruits are the carbs eaten when following a low-carb way of eating.
Myth 3. Low Carb Diets Have Inadequate Fiber
Since fiber is carbohydrate, a low carb diet must be low in fiber.
Fact: Since fiber remains undigested and lessens the impact of other carbohydrates on blood sugar, it is encouraged on low carb diets.
Myth 4. People Eating Low Carb Are Promoting Heart Disease
Fact: Several studies show that blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and other markers for heart disease risk decline on low-carb diets. It has been studied that low carb diets with a lot of animal fat and protein did not raise the risk of heart disease.
Myth 5. Low Carb Diets Will Damage the Kidneys
Because people with kidney disease are usually encouraged to eat low protein diets, a diet that is higher in protein will cause kidney disease.
Fact: This has not been shown, and a low carb diet is often not higher in protein than the latest recommended levels.
Myth 6. It is believed that Low Carb Diets Will “Suck the Calcium Out of Your Bones”
This is based on the idea that low carb diets are always high in protein. People on higher protein diets tend to have more calcium in their urine.
Fact: It turns out that protein, rather than cause bone loss, actually protects our bones.
Myth 7. It is believed that Dr. Atkins “Died of His Own Diet”
Fact: Robert Atkins, originator of the Atkins Diet, died from head injuries resulting from a fall. Also, he was not overweight when he died, but took on a lot of fluid in the hospital while in intensive care after his injury.
There have been several articles published on low carb diets and whether they are healthy. The decision should be left up to each individual and his or her physician.
Shaline Miller is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Health Coach. Visit her website at www.shalinemiller.com. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/creathealthieru.