Low Carb Diets

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Date Submitted: 02/13/2013 11:04 PM

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Low-Carb Diets: The Way to Go for Weight to Go?

Carbohydrates have come to be commonly perceived as danger foods for those trying to lose weight and for body builders. Today, diets have become a fad that many people buy into, such as the low-carb Atkins Diet. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates increases blood glucose levels, and insulin acts to balance them out. However, insulin plays a role as a storage hormone, so it causes the body to store future carbohydrates as fat in adipose cells. As a result, these low-carb diet plans allow their followers to eat anything they want except for carbs, as they would have only fat and protein to use as fuel. This approach sounds like a surefire way to lose weight, but does a low-carb diet actually have long term effects that are beneficial to weight loss and overall health? Proponents of such diets ascertain that there are successful results in terms of weight loss, but skeptics of low-carb diets argue that excess calorie consumption is not prevented, and that cutting out carbs does not provide a sustainable lifestyle improvement.

In 2003, a study by Brehm et al. attempted to answer the debated question of whether or not low-carb diets are effective for long-term weight loss in comparison to simple low-calorie diets. This study was conducted in the General Clinical Research Center of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital over a six-month period, and it consisted of 53 moderately obese women (BMI between 30 and 35) who were 18 years or older, 42 of whom completed the experiment. These participants were randomly placed into two separate groups: a low-carb diet group and a low-calorie diet group. In addition to assigning the women to groups, there was a screening process at the beginning, as well as at the end of the third and the sixth months of the study, in which height, weight, blood pressure, and fasting glucose were measured. The results showed that the group of women on low-carb diets experienced greater weight loss...