Low sugar, low carb diet?

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Low-sugar, low-carb diets restrict high-carb foods and prioritize high-quality proteins and vegetables. They aim to reduce insulin levels and use stored fat as energy. Some variations allow for limited consumption of whole grains. Critics claim initial weight loss is primarily water weight, and some variations can be dangerous. A low-sugar, low-carb diet can become a lifestyle choice with enough fiber and fewer processed foods.

A low-sugar, low-carb diet is one that greatly restricts the consumption of foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains, potatoes, beans, and dairy. Rice, most fruits, pasta, and bread, as well as processed sugar, are also avoided. Popular low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and the Zone diet, are also defined as low-sugar diets because carbohydrates are converted to sugar during the digestion process.

Excess sugar is transported by insulin to the liver and muscles, where it is stored as glycogen to be used for energy. The higher the blood sugar level, the more insulin the body produces. A low-sugar, low-carb diet is designed to stop this process; It is based on the theory that because insulin directs blood sugar for energy use, stored fat that the body would use for energy is not used. When insulin levels are lower, stored fat becomes a primary source of energy.

Low-sugar, low-carb diets prioritize high-quality proteins, such as those found in fish, chicken breasts, turkey, and lean cuts of pork and beef. Meatless sources include egg whites and lots of vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, corn, and peas should be avoided. Most other vegetables are recommended.

Variations on the low-sugar and low-carb diets include some that allow for limited consumption of whole grains, such as brown rice, whole barley, and minimally processed steel-cut oats. Proponents of this variation of a low-sugar, low-carb diet claim that whole or unprocessed grains take longer to digest than processed carbohydrates. The results are twofold: Slow digestion means the dieter feels full for a longer period of time, and unprocessed carbs don’t produce the insulin spikes created by their highly processed counterparts.

Strictly adhered to, a low-sugar, low-carb diet produces greater weight loss in a shorter period of time than traditional calorie-restricted diets. Critics of this type of diet claim that the initial weight loss is primarily water weight, since the combination of allowed foods acts as diuretics. They also state that some variations of a low-sugar, low-carb diet that limit vegetables to almost nothing in the first few weeks can be dangerous if the dieter does not prioritize monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats over high-cholesterol ones.

A low-sugar, low-carb diet that encourages a limited amount of whole grains and lean meats or other sources of protein can become a lifestyle choice. The fewer processed foods such a diet contains in general, the healthier it is. It’s important to get enough fiber in the form of certain plant foods, unprocessed grains, and seeds, such as flax or chia. Fiber simultaneously contributes to a feeling of fullness, moves food through the body and prevents constipation, and has been shown to be an effective protector against high cholesterol and cancer.

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