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The Geography of Carbs: What Does it Mean?

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. They provide fuel for your muscles, which in turn give you strength and power. Carbohydrates also supply nutrients such as glucose, amino acids, vitamins and minerals to your cells. However, carbohydrates cannot be used directly by your brain or any other organ because they must first pass through the liver before being absorbed into them. Your body needs to burn fat instead.

Your Body Needs Fat to Survive

If you don’t have enough calories from food, your body will store some of its own fat in order to survive. If you do not eat enough calories, your body burns stored up fat for energy instead. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, then it is very important that you consume fewer than 10% of your daily calorie intake from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates Are Essential For Health

Without carbohydrates, your body would die. Without adequate amounts of carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels drop and you become lethargic. You may experience fatigue, headaches and even dizziness when you are deprived of carbs.

A lack of carbohydrate can cause an increase in urination due to low blood pressure and fluid retention. When your kidneys excrete excess water from their system, it causes dry mouth, nausea and vomiting. Long-term carbohydrate deprivation can cause your skin to become itchy, dry and scaly as well as cause diarrhea.

Carbohydrates Are Not Essential For Weight Loss

Although carbohydrates are essential for the body, they are not essential to lose weight. You can lose weight without eating any carbohydrates at all by following a low-calorie diet.If you consume fewer than 800 calories a day, your body is forced to burn fat for energy.

Carbohydrates Are Used As Energy

Your body breaks down the carbohydrates that you eat into a substance called glucose. Glucose can be used for energy or it can be used as a building block to make fat and protein. Your body prefers to use carbohydrates rather than other sources of energy such as fat or protein.

However, if you eat more carbohydrates than your body needs for its immediate requirements, then the excess amount of glucose is stored in your liver and muscles.

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Carbohydrates Are Addictive

Even though carbohydrates are not essential for life, your body has a strong dependence on them. If you do not consume any carbohydrates one day, you may feel slightly lethargic the next day. This is because you have an addiction to carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are not as addictive as alcohol, nicotine or caffeine, but they are more addictive than foods high in protein and fat such as meat and cheese.

Eating too many carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and obesity. However, if you do not eat any carbohydrates at all, then your blood sugar levels will drop and you will start to feel tired and lethargic. If you deprive yourself of carbohydrates for more than two weeks, you may even suffer from a host of medical conditions such as constipation, gout, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.

Luckily, the symptoms of carbohydrate addiction and withdrawal are not nearly as severe as those that occur with alcohol or nicotine.

Carbohydrates And Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight then you should consume no more than 10% of your daily calories from carbohydrates. This low-carbohydrate diet is sometimes known as the Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet or the low-carb diet.

If you want to lose weight, then you are better off avoiding carbohydrates such as sugar, pasta, potatoes, bread and rice. Instead, you should consume protein and fat. Some good sources of protein include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese and milk.

Some good sources of fat include meat, fish, dairy products, olive oil and coconut oil.

You can also eat carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruits but only in moderation because they contain a lot of natural sugars. A low-carb diet is often higher in fat than a balanced diet but this does not mean that you should go on a eating frenzy of hot dogs and bacon. When people talk about a low-carb diet, they are referring to the type of carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, potatoes and sugar.

It is much better to eat complex carbohydrates such as vegetables than foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as candy. Even though vegetables contain carbohydrates, they also contain a lot of fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.

Weight Loss On A Low-Carb Diet

Blood Sugar Regulation: When you don’t eat carbohydrates your blood sugar levels do not rise significantly. This means that you avoid the “sugar rush” and subsequent “sugar crash” that occurs when you have a candy bar or drink a can of cola. A stable blood sugar level prevents cravings and feelings of anxiety.

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Your body will also learn to burn off the fat that you have stored more effectively.

Lowers Triglycerides: Low-carb diets such as the Atkins diet are much better for reducing triglycerides than low-fat diets. High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease.

Lowers Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure can decrease when you follow an Atkins style low-carb diet.

Improves Cholesterol Levels: A low-carb diet can improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio, which is a useful marker of heart disease risk.

The main problem with low-carbohydrate diets is that people sometimes replace the carbohydrates in their diet with protein. This can cause problems because some sources of protein are high in saturated fat such as red meat.

Low-carbohydrate diets can be useful for weight loss, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome but you should consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.

Low-Carbohydrate Diet Myths

There are many myths about a low-carbohydrate diet and it is often confused with a high-protein diet. It is also promoted as a miracle weight-loss solution but this is not the case. Depending on how you change your eating habits, you may lose a lot of weight on a low-carb diet but this is mainly because you are restricting your calorie intake.

1.Myth: You can eat lots of fat and protein on a low-carb diet

Some people believe that they can eat as much fatty meat as they want when they are on a low-carbohydrate diet. This is not strictly true because eating too much fat can cause problems of its own. Some low-carb diets such as the “Atkins diet” do allow you to eat generous amounts of fat but it still restricts certain foods.

2.Myth: You never eat carbohydrates on a low-carb diet

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It is true that most low-carb diets are very low in carbohydrates but this doesn’t mean that you can never eat them. Some low-carbohydrate diets such as the “The Zone diet” and “The Carbohydrate Addict’s diet” allow some carbohydrates such as vegetables.

3.Myth: You don’t get hungry on a low-carb diet

Some people claim that you won’t get hungry on a low-carb diet but this isn’t true because your body needs time to get used to not having carbohydrates.

4.Myth: All low-carbohydrate diets are the same

While many of the popular low-carbohydrate diets share some features in common such as restricting sugars and starches, they do have their differences. Some are higher in fat while others are higher in protein.

5.Myth: You only lose water weight on a low-carb diet

Some people claim that you will initially lose a lot of weight when you start a low-carb diet because the weight loss is mainly water that is lost from your body. Once this water weight has been lost then the weight loss will stop. This isn’t true because you will also be losing fat when you lose weight on a low-carb diet.

6.Myth: You should never eat fruit or other carbohydrates on a low-carb diet

Some people believe that you should not eat any carbohydrates at all when you are on a low-carb diet. This isn’t true because your body still needs carbs to function properly and if you eliminate them completely then you may be missing out important nutrients.

7.Myth: Low-carbohydrate diets are bad for you

This is only true to some extent. Eating too much fat or protein can cause health problems and some people find that their bodies don’t digest food properly when they eat them in excess. Eating too much of any type of food can be bad for you.

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You should also consult a doctor before starting a low-carbohydrate diet to make sure that it is suitable for you and your lifestyle. Some people with specific health problems should not start a low-carbohydrate diet.

If you are interested in finding out more about low-carbohydrate diets then you will find a wide range of books on the subject in your local library or you can do an Internet search to find web sites that talk about them.

Low-Carbohydrate foods

There is a wide range of different foods that you can eat if you are following a low-carbohydrate diet. Common vegetables that are allowed on most low-carbohydrate diets include:

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Green beans

Green Peppers

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Eggplant

Mushrooms

Olives

Onions

Peppers

Spinach

You can eat as much of these foods as you like.

All types of meat, fish, seafood and eggs are also allowed on most low-carbohydrate diets including (or you may prefer to eat):

Beef

Lamb

Pork

Chicken

Turkey

Fish – such as tuna, cod and salmon

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Shrimp and other sea food

Eggs – especially the yolks which are a good source of fat!

When following a low-carbohydrate diet you are allowed to eat as much meat, fish and seafood as you like. You may also eat as many eggs as you like but you should stay away from eating too many yolked eggs because they are high in fat.

You can eat as much green vegetables, legumes and low-carbohydrate fruits as you like. Grains, on the other hand, should be avoided.

Green vegetables include:

Alfalfa sprouts

Bok Choy

Broccoli

Cabbage

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Celery

Chives

Collard Greens

Kale

Mushrooms

Peppers (Green Bell)

Spinach and many more…

Leafy Green Vegetables

Lettuce

Parsley

Seaweed

You can eat as much of these vegetables as you like. You should stay away from root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. Other vegetables such as carrots, beets and turnips should only be eaten occasionally.

Other low-carbohydrate fruits and nuts that can be eaten in small quantities include, avocado, olives, macadamia nuts and pecans.

When following a low-carbohydrate diet you should avoid foods such as breads, pastas, rice, noodles and cereals. There are many other foods that are high in carbohydrates such as bananas, corn and water melon. These should also be avoided.

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If you want to follow a low-carbohydrate diet then you can design your own meals or you can follow one of the many provided meal plans and diet books.

There are also a number of different low-carbohydrate packaged foods available, these may be good alternatives if you find it difficult to know what to cook or you don’t have much time to prepare meals.

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