advice, Eating Well, goal setting, habit-building, Health

The Case for a Low-Carb Diet

So today’s post is different than many … today, I want to introduce a “new” eating “concept” I discovered recently while working my way through Gary Taubes’ book, Why We Get Fat … and What to Do About It.

In a nutshell, carbohydrates are what makes us fat, Taubes suggests. Sugars, white flour, potatoes, pasta, rice, and the like raise insulin levels in the body and insulin creates (and stores) fat in your fat cells … 

Of course, I had some “notion” of this prior to reading this book, and have dabbled with aiming to eat more complex carbohydrates over the years, assuming some are good and some are bad. I haven’t been perfect with this, of course, because, let’s face it … carbohydrates are DELICIOUS, especially my mom’s perogies and homemade buns (to give an example or two)! 

But carbohydrates in all of their forms make (and keep) us hungry … wanting more … craving more … our body processes these carbohydrates very quickly with sudden spikes in insulin levels and quick “transfer” to our fat cells for storage. This makes these bits of energy essentially unavailable, and we feel the urge to eat again … 

It’s a vicious cycle and the REAL reason we’re getting fat, according to Taubes, even though we’ve been told all these years that obesity is caused by eating too much and exercising too little … sure, these things contribute to weight gain, but they don’t explain WHY we get fat …

Instead, we get fat because of the KINDS of foods we are eating and the fact that they are constantly raising our insulin levels … 

As such, we should be eating low-carb foods that minimize that insulin “spike” … 

Here’s some tips to get you started …

  • don’t try to limit fat (“bacon, cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, butter, and oil are all healthy parts of a low-carb diet”);
  • say good-bye to pasta, bread, and rice;
  • be picky about vegetables … avoid the starchy (carb-heavy) ones like those grown underground, as well as corn;
  • say no to hidden sugars … remember, even fruit is packed with sugar (aka carbohydrates);
  • eat as much as you want … but stop eating when you’re full.

SOURCE: http://garytaubes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/WWGF-Readers-Digest-feature-Feb-2011.pdf

I’ve been experimenting with this plan for awhile now, and I have to say, I don’t feel like I am suffering at all … there are so many delicious foods STILL available to me … and, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised with how DELICIOUS the full-fat versions of some foods really are! 

To illustrate, yesterday for lunch, I had a salad with turkey, bacon, avocado, cucumber, broccoli, lettuce, shredded cheese, and Caesar dressing! Does this sound like a sacrifice to you? It was so yummy! For supper I had steak, broccoli with cheese, and cottage cheese! Another delicious meal!

The biggest thing I am missing? Fruit! Thinking it was a healthy choice, I would reach for a piece of fruit several times a day for a little “snack.” It’s definitely taken a bit of effort to kick this habit.

Do I still crave something sweet? Occasionally, yes, as I was in the habit of having something small but sweet (like a Werthers Toffee) after a meal. I’ve ALWAYS found sweets to be a slippery slope though, and it’s no surprise, since, as the science suggests, sugar craves more sugar!

Does eating in this way require a bit more preparation, planning, and effort? Definitely! We live in a carb-saturated world! Things that are “easy” or “convenient” are LOADED with carbohydrates! Just start taking a closer look at those food labels! It’s crazy!

Those Werthers Toffees I mentioned? There’s 5.3 grams of carbohydrates in one candy! To lose weight (not that this is MY goal necessarily), “most people have to stay under 20 grams of “net” carbs per day (net carbs refers to the number of grams of carbs minus grams of fibre, because fibre doesn’t send blood sugar spiking).” That one candy would be more than a quarter of my recommended carb count for the day!

This is all just a bit of food for thought for you today … as I learn “more” or “different” or “better,” I can’t help but aim to be and do better! I just want to be the healthiest version of me that I can be … and, now that I KNOW what happens within my body when I eat carbohydrate-rich foods, it’s hard for me to eat those foods … 

Will I make exceptions? Probably, but not likely in this initial “ingraining” stage. I’ve always been an advocate for an eating “lifestyle” in which weekdays are more “strict” and weekends are more “relaxed.” There’s a time and a place for “treats” … like birthdays and special occasions! Who can resist the first macaroni or potato salad of the summer? Or a piece of cake on your daughter’s birthday? Or a piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?

If you think you’d like to try setting some food-related goals, consider joining my 21-Day Low-Carb Challenge beginning May 1st, 2021! Just email me for the form link if you’re interested in joining: hintz.leanne@gmail.com.

You can decide what this will mean to you! Will you incorporate all five recommendations above? Will you cut out sugar (in all its forms)? Will you do some simple swapping of low-fat to high-fat versions? Or will you limit bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice? The options are limitless … just commit to SOMETHING for 21 days in May!

As always, I’ll be inviting you to also consider donating an amount of your choosing to a charity of your choosing (as you’re able) and to “stay accountable” with participation in my challenge group or with regular “check ins” with me!

If you need extra resources or more support or tips to get you started, I would LOVE to help you out!

Together, let’s make a change for the better!

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