Why High Carbohydrate Low Fat Diets Do Not Work!

High carbohydrate low fat diets have been promoted heavily by various government departments, 'health' organisations, dieticians and nutritionists as being the ultimate nutritional approach if you want to lose weight and enjoy optimum health.

Unfortunately though, the long-term results of these incorrect recommendations have contributed to the ever-growing obesity epidemic that is present in most developed nations around the world, the almost exponential growth in the incidence of type 2 diabetes and not to mention the massive confusion surrounding the essential area of nutrition!

In saying this, it doesn't mean you should follow a low carbohydrate diet either (if you're a healthy individual) and you certainly shouldn't load up on fats in your diet. However, what is wrong with following a more 'balanced' approach to nutrition? This means you should consume foods that provide you with a balanced 'macronutrient ratio', i.e. you consume carbohydrate, protein and fat in a more balanced way.

High Carbohydrate Low Fat Diets

Furthermore, it is also wise to be very aware of your source of carbohydrates because they play such an integral part in helping you achieve maximum weight loss and optimum health.

Are High Carbohydrate Low Fat Diets Healthy?

Many advocates of the high carbohydrate low fat diets use examples of certain cultures from around the world to promote this style of eating. For example, they are often heard to say, 'Most of the Asian countries have eaten rice as a staple food for centuries and they're not overweight!'

Unfortunately, they fail to mention several points:

  • The overall calorie intake of these people is very low compared to people from developed nations.

  • These people tend to be far more active on a daily basis compared to people from developed nations and therefore can easily 'burn off' the carbohydrates.
  • The advocates of the high carbohydrate low fat diets also say, 'It's not the carbohydrates that make you fat but rather what you put on them!' For example, butter on bread, sour cream on potatoes, etc.

    However, as you'll soon see, high carbohydrate low fat diets can easily contribute to an increase in your body fat stores. In addition to increasing the level of 'bad fats' in your bloodstream.

    Why High Carbohydrate Low Fat Diets Are Wrong!

    There are several reasons why high carbohydrate low fat diets are wrong and why you must avoid them if you are serious about losing weight and achieving optimum health.

    Here are the reasons why:

    1. Increased insulin secretion.
    2. Reduced fat intake.
    3. Incorrect carbohydrate sources recommended.

    Increased insulin secretion

    High carbohydrate low fat diets cause a significant rise in the blood sugar level. Since the body wants to keep the blood sugar level as stable as possible (because sugar damages blood vessels and nerves), the body stimulates the pancreas to secrete the hormone, insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone and is responsible for taking nutrients (including sugar/ glucose) from the bloodstream and storing them in the cells.

    It primarily shuttles the sugar (glucose) into the muscles and liver but once these sites are full the rest gets stored in the adipocytes (fat cells).

    Of course, if you're an athlete or are physically active during the day you can afford to have more carbohydrates in your diet because the activity or exercise will deplete your muscle and liver stores of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) and will need to be replenished.

    Unfortunately, most people are not spending most of their day being physically active or training like athletes and therefore it is not necessary for them to consume the amount of carbohydrates that active people do.

    Reduced Fat Intake

    Fat is an essential nutrient for our body; the omega-6 and omega-3s are the essential fatty acids. 'Essential' means that they cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet in order to allow optimum body functioning.

    Obviously, following one of the high carbohydrate low fat diets usually means that an insufficient amount of these essential fats is supplied in the diet and this is likely to result in impaired body functioning.

    For example, all of our trillions of cell membranes are made up of fats and if we try and cut fats from our diet then we make it difficult for our body to manufacture these cell membranes.

    Furthermore, fat helps slow down the absorption rate of carbohydrates from the gastrointestinal tract (gut), which results in a more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream, a reduced insulin response and less fat storage.

    It is so sad to see a parent in a shopping centre buying their child a frozen yoghurt dessert because it is 99% fat free. Even though their intention is positive, they have been mis-informed by the food industry and brain washed into believing that fat is bad. Ultimately, the result of this belief is a negative impact on the child's body!

    Incidentally, fat has a strong satiating (appetite-suppressing) effect. This means that high carbohydrate low fat diets are likely to result in cravings throughout the day.

    In saying this, it doesn't give you license to over-indulge in high fat foods. What it does mean though is that you don't have to read the food labels of everything in the supermarket and only select the lowest fat options! Let's face it, dessert yoghurt tastes so much better than diet yoghurt so go and enjoy it!

    Incorrect Carbohydrate Sources Recommended

    The high carbohydrate low fat diets that been so heavily promoted over the years have the most concentrated sources of carbohydrates (high-density carbohydrates) as the types of foods to emphasise most in your diet. These examples of carbohydrates include: bread, pasta, rice, cereals, etc.

    The reason why this has been done is largely political, especially since the Food Pyramid was designed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Furthermore, the companies that stand to benefit the most by the promotion of the Food Pyramid are the manufacturers of these processed foods, who incidentally provide funding to universities to research the benefits of their products (NOTE: They don't want unbiased assessments done on their products and the long-term health implications, they just want to know the benefits so they can use it in their marketing).

    Following on from this we see heavy promotion of their products through mass media all under the thin veil of 'education'!

    It seems very strange that so-called 'health' organisations would promote these types of packaged, processed carbohydrates over nature's own fruit and vegetables. Is there something going on behind the scenes there too?

    Overall, high carbohydrate low fat diets must be avoided and people need to arm themselves with the knowledge of what is really going on behind the scenes and don't let the 'wool get pulled over their eyes' when it comes to such an important aspect of their lives as is the area of nutrition.

    Click here to get examples of carbohydrates.

    Click here to get more information and a definition of carbohydrates.

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