Newsletter 04, January 2007

At this time of year, many of us make 'New Year's Resolutions', and one of the top ones is to lose some weight! But choosing the right diet is far from easy. In this issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter we focus on the weight loss diets which are now popular and look at their safety and how and why they work. These are the diets which stabilize blood sugar and insulin, such as the Atkins and other low carb diets, and their close relations low GI (glycemic index) and low GL (glycemic load) diets.

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. New Year makeover for our sites
  2. Low carb diets - are they safe and do they work
  3. The science behind low carb, low GI and low GL diets
  4. Hot tips for living the low carb life
  5. Latest recipe released in The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook
  6. Visit our newsletter archive
  7. Test your knowledge
  8. Tell us what you think
  9. Your successes, requests and questions

1) New Year makeover for our sites

Those of you who are visitors to Good Diet Good's other websites Low Carb is, GI Diet and Special Diets Are may have noticed a change of image. We're not changing the content of our sites, we're just giving them a makeover to match the look and feel of our new parent site, Good Diet Good We hope you'll like the new look, and that you'll find the new layout easier to read. Most of the changeover is done, but we ask you to bear with us while we convert the remaining areas, such as The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook. Everything should work just the same - you may just not see the new colour scheme on every page of our sites yet.

2) Low carb diets - are they safe and do they work

Mainstream medicine is still reluctant to accept the low carb way as a healthy way to eat, mostly because it is not low fat. However, evidence continues to mount that low carb diets are not only more effective than the 'conventional' low fat / low calorie diet, but that they are also safe for your heart. Read more about the results of a 20-year study on participants in the Harvard Medical School Nurses' Health Study which were published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

If you're really in the mood for reading eye-opening articles about why a low fat diet is not the healthy diet we thought it was, then have a look at the following:

Researchers at the University of Florida, USA have published a paper entitled 'Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: a meta-regression'. They conclude: 'Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets favorably affect body mass and composition independent of energy intake, which in part supports the proposed metabolic advantage of these diets'. In other words, they are confirming what seasoned low carbers have been saying for a long time: (1) losing fat and/or weight is not a simple matter of calorie intake, and (2) low carb/high protein diets are better than low calorie diets at reducing fat and preserving lean body mass. The importance for permanent weight loss of ensuring that you lose fat and not lean muscle is explained further in the e-book "Why Can't I Lose Weight - The Real Reasons Diets Fail And What To Do About It".

3) The Science Behind Low Carb, Low GI And Low GL Diets

Recently we were asked the following question: 'Aren't low carb and low GI diets just the latest fad way of restricting calories?' Here is our answer:

Well, no. Their critics say they are, but that's because they haven't bothered to do their homework properly. Low carb and their close relations low GI (glycemic index) diets are fundamentally different to conventional low calorie diets. Low calorie diets are designed simply to restrict the number of calories that you eat, on the basis that if you take in less calories than you burn in your daily activities, you're bound to lose weight. In contrast, low carb, low GI and low GL diets take into account that the body is not just a simple machine which increases in weight when we feed it more calories and decreases in weight when we feed it less. The body is much more complex than that. Low carb, low GI and low GL diets recognize the many complex biochemical processes involved, not least our blood sugar control system.

What happens is this: carbohydrates are broken down during digestion into a sugar called glucose, which causes our blood sugar level to rise. In response, the hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that enables the cells to take in the glucose from the bloodstream and convert it to energy to be used or stored. Unfortunately, many of us are highly sensitive to carbohydrates and we produce an exaggerated insulin response when we eat carbohydrate foods, particularly highly refined and processed foods such as white flour and sugar. As a result, we become super-efficient at storing energy. We simply cannot handle today's typical diet, high in refined carbohydrates, without becoming fat. And there's a double whammy - all that circulating insulin prevents stored fat from being broken down - which puts extra barriers in our way when we try to lose the surplus weight.

What low carb diet authors such as Dr Richard Mackarness and Dr Robert Atkins realised was that low calorie/low fat diets are of little help to those of us who are especially carbohydrate-sensitive in this way. They believed that up to about 60 per cent of the population in the western world share this problem. So they based their diets on restriction of the foods which trigger an exaggerated insulin response, thereby tackling the root cause of many people's weight problem.

Low carb diets have another serious purpose besides weight loss. This relates to the fact that eventually, the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, resulting in type 2 diabetes. A disease which can cause many other serious health problems from blindness to kidney disease and amputations, it ranks alongside obesity as one of the greatest public health concerns of all western governments today. The low carb diet authors maintain that a low carb diet can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by avoiding the root cause - an overworked pancreas.

Far from being unhealthy fad diets, low carb diets are also strongly rooted in good nutrition. They emphasize fresh, nutrient-dense whole foods and discourage processed foods high in additives and low in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fats. Contrary to popular belief, they do not advocate limitless amounts of steak, bacon, eggs, cheese and cream. Nor do they exclude vegetables and salads. If this is your idea of a low carb diet, then you cannot have read the books properly!

Most low carb diets start with an initial more restricted period, often lasting two weeks, which many people mistakenly assume is the entire diet. After that, you are required to start gradually adding back the 'good' carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, until weight loss stops. This ensures that you find your personal level of tolerance for carbohydrates - everyone has their own critical level.

So if you struggle to control your weight, and especially if you have tried low calorie/low fat diets in the past but had little success, then it is likely that you belong to the carbohydrate-sensitive sector of the population. If that is the case, then you stand to benefit greatly from trying a low carb, low GI or low GL way of eating, not only from a weight loss viewpoint, but in terms of your overall health, too.

If you are thinking about starting a low carb, low GI or low GL diet but need more information on which type of diet is likely to be more successful for you and how to do it, then you will find all the information you need in two guides called the 'Easy Guide to Low Carb Diets' and 'GI & GL Handy Reference Tables'. These come free with The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook.

4) Hot Tips For Living The Low Carb Life

5) Latest Recipe In The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook

For those of our readers who are subscribers to The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook, we've released a new recipe - Spinach Tart. You will find this recipe already in your Cookbook next time you log in.

6) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

7) Test Your Knowledge

Did you know that ...

8) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

9) Your Successes, Requests and Questions

This is your spot! Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here are some low carbing questions we answered recently:

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director, Good Diet Good

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All rights reserved.