Pros and Cons of a Low-Carb Diet

According to its proponents, a low-carb diet helps you lose weight and avoid the unwanted side effects of a diet high in carbohydrates, ie. Fluctuations in blood sugar that they hyperinsulinemia produced by the pancreas. So a low-carb diet can help people with diabetes control blood sugar and the disease itself. But it is not necessarily recommended for all people in general. In fact, what is being done wrong today is to compare and contrast the health effects of two diametrically opposed, and therefore extreme, models of nutrition: the low-carbohydrate (low-carb diet, in fact, or low-carb) model and that of excessive carbohydrate intake. (high carbohydrate diet), always forgetting that there is also a more balanced and healthier approach to eating, which is to follow Low carbohydrate diet, based on the correct use, and quantity, of foods containing carbohydrates. The normocarbohydrate diet means that a person consumes carbohydrates and sugars only in amounts appropriate to their real needs, neither in excess nor in defectiveness. The same is true for low-calorie diets (used for slimming purposes) and high-calorie (fattening) diets, forgetting that the standard calorie approach exists, and the same for high-protein and low-protein diets, ignoring the standard protein approach that is actually that Healthier and more physiological.

What is it and how does it work

A low-carb diet is a food model in which carbohydrates and low in sugars are intentionally eaten. The adjective “few” should be understood as “reduced” but This does not mean that carbohydrates are completely excludedIt also often appears in some slimming shows. The Italian style of food is usually based on the consistent consumption of carbohydrates and sugars, because we are familiar with the culture of bread, pasta, pizza and a sweet breakfast based on brioche or biscuits. And we don’t even skimp on real sweets, and they are often eaten at the end of a meal as dessert (instead of the healthiest fruit) or as an after-dinner in the form of chocolate and other sweets. there Low carb diet Specifically intended to reduce this constant and excessive consumption of foods typical of Italian food culture to the bone (not to be confused with Mediterranean culture or diet, as we have explained in a previous article). These foods can certainly be eaten, but they are no longer present at every meal of the day or their portions are significantly reduced. Fats (Saucepan Proteins They are the main source of calories and energy in this diet, not carbohydrates. By keeping blood sugar and insulin low, the body is induced to burn fat stores. Moreover, being richer in protein, which will keep you feeling fuller for longer, the diet allows you to eat smaller portions, reduce snacking between meals and reduce your total food intake.

what are you going to eat?

Reducing a major food group requires a strategy to compensate. Foods rich in protein and natural fats can replace carbohydrates as energy sources, but care must be taken that the diet does not become too high in protein and too rich in fatty foods, as these foods lack fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion and for a healthy body. The health of our intestinal flora, which in turn is linked to the correct functioning of the immune system. You can get plenty of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce Increase intake of fiber and micronutrients As valuable as antioxidants and vitamins, they give more volume to low-carb diet meals. So greens and vegetables become a paramount food at every meal, not a fat-free side dish. By combining high-protein and high-fat foods with hefty vegetables, it becomes relatively easy to reduce carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, bread, rice, and sugary foods at every meal (and in some meals to exclude entirely).

Foods to limit (but not completely eliminate)

Some low-carb diets are very restrictive and in addition to eliminating foods rich in carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread, at least initially they also limit the intake of many other foods, including all sweet-tasting fruits and vegetables such as peas, potatoes, corn and pumpkin. Grain-like foods, such as quinoa and legumes, are also eliminated. This dietary approach is specifically called Ketogenic diet It is an extreme form of a low-carb diet. However, many of these foods that were left out are essential sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals (think oats, groats, or brown rice), which are essential to a healthy diet.

Personally, I am of the opinion that such foods should be limited and minimized in terms of frequency of consumption and quantity, but do not exclude, not even for short periods. Alternatively, they can be left out in individual meals, specifically to limit the total amount of use. No to zero-carb diets for days or weeks afterward, yes to single meals without bread and pasta during a day when these foods are present in the other meals. In any case, this helps the body not to be accustomed and not always settle for foods rich in carbohydrates, which are often more greedy and in demand because they increase serotonin (the wellness hormone that gives relaxation and drowsiness) more than proteins and fats.

Example of a food day on a low-carb diet

The following is just one of many possible things, eg.

breakfast: An omelette with eggs, spinach, mushrooms, or other vegetables such as sauteed zucchini. An omelette is an egg dish that is high in protein and very filling.

lunch: A salad made with tuna, lettuce or hot peppers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas or beans. For those who like it, it is also recommended to add red onions or leeks. A low-calorie, low-carb salad makes for a massive and filling meal.

Snack: Cheese or dried fruit. Eat foods that contain fats and proteins instead of carbohydrates, such as bread and crackers.

Dinner: Chicken breast, broccoli or cauliflower, two slices of whole-wheat or rye bread. As an alternative to bread, you can eat potatoes (up to 200 grams without problems) or a small portion of rice or pasta (60 grams raw).

What is the prevailing opinion on these diets?

Many doctors are aware of the effectiveness of low-carb diets for weight loss, but approx Nobody is recommending it as a long term strategy. Some categories of people should completely avoid the low-carb diet, otherwise their health will decline and even serious problems. This type of diet is not recommended for example in pregnant or breastfeeding women, in children who are getting older (unless they are already obese), in athletes and people who do heavy physical work, in the elderly (except in rare cases of elderly people who are obese) Excessive consumption as well as dependent on food or sweets, as this dietary approach can improve the health status for them) and for people with a chronic disease.

[di Gianpaolo Usai]

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