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The Flaws of Six Popular Diets

Posted: December 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

There are so many diets out there, and all of them claim to be based on good science and nutrition theory. Unfortunately, most of these diets don’t provide everything that a person needs to be healthy, or are too difficult to follow for the benefits that they offer. There are so many people in the United States that are overweight, and looking for a way to enhance and improve their health through the manipulation of their body composition, but many diets end up doing more harm than good in the long run, or are simply too difficult and unfeasible for all but the most tempered dieters.

The majority of the diets that are popular have something on the table that provides them with a sense of legitimacy, but often, they go too far with certain themes, or only follow certain aspects of what we know makes a healthy diet, while ignoring other important parts of good nutrition. On top of that, people tend to selectively follow their chosen diet, curbing or completely negating its effectiveness, or leading to issues related to poor nutrition, because they are missing out on certain important things that the body needs.

Of course, even the most scientifically flawed diet can be effective in many circumstances, because exercise and caloric restriction are two drastically important aspects of good diet, and a big part of most diets is eliminating foods that are proven to be bad for you, even though the recommendations regarding what to eat don’t provide real, scientifically-backed results.

The following are six weight loss philosophies that are based on some scientific ideas while ultimately giving way to weight loss myth.

What’s Wrong with the Low-Fat Diet?

There are three primary categories of energy that we take in through diet: Protein, Carbs, and Fats. We need some of all of these to function at our best. Many diets suggest significantly restricting the consumption of fats, based on science rooted in the Eighties and Nineties. It’s true that too much fat is very bad for you, but making a diet that revolves around not getting enough fat through the diet is a big problem as well.

During this era, margarine and carbohydrates were considered healthier than fats, and it was believed that saturated fat led to heart issues such as atherosclerosis and blocked arteries. In retrospect, the trans-fats that we were eating during this era were far more dangerous than saturated fats that are still recommended to be eaten in moderation.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Low-Fat Diets (aside from the dangerous abuse of trans-fats during the era in which it was most popular) is that the body has to get energy from somewhere, and if you don’t eat enough fat, than its more likely that you will eat more carbs, which our bodies can directly convert into fat. The field of nutrition today has evolved significantly from this era, but many still erringly turn to Low-Fat Dieting in order to lose weight, and end up putting their health in jeopardy as a direct result.

What’s Wrong with the Low-Carb Diet?

As the science evolved and the public learned more about the science of losing weight, carbohydrates entered the spot-light as the new Worst Food. By the turn of the century, the most popular diets were those that recommended severely cutting carbs of all kinds. Carbs were (and still are to a large extent) the keystone of the American diet, and there is no doubt that we consume too many carbohydrates. With these Low-Carb Diets, it was possible to lose weight quickly by limiting the consumption of a variety of carb-loaded foods, including beer, bread, potatoes, and pasta.

Unfortunately, in spite of the Low-Carb diet’s ability to encourage weight loss, and even rapid weight loss, it is not the body’s natural, preferred state, and cutting carbs too strictly often leads successful dieters to gain weight again quickly, sometimes weighing more than before! Carbohydrates are the body’s go-to source for quick energy, and forgoing carbs altogether leads to fatigue and slows metabolism, because the body is converting proteins and fats into energy.

The big issue with Carbohydrates is Simple Carbs, like refined sugar, white bread, and white rice. Complex carbohydrates take work to be digested and provide nutrients and a feeling of fullness, whereas simple carbohydrates encourage overeating and spiked blood-sugar levels. With regard to a healthy diet, it is important to split calories equally from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, while being smart and sourcing carbohydrates from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits, yoghurt, beans, and whole grains.

What’s Wrong with the Paleo Diet?

In recent years, the Paleo, or Paleolithic Diet has become incredibly popular across the United States. The theory behind this sort of diet is simple—by eating what our ancestors ate and had access to, it’s possible to lose weight and maintain a healthier body. Most people that are on the Paleo Diet eat a lot of fish, chicken, and meat, along with veggies, fruits, and nuts. On the other hand, they forgo processed foods, milk products, beans, and grains. After reading about the last couple of diets, you can obviously see that there are some things that this diet gets right, especially regarding getting rid of processed foods in one’s diet.

On the other hand, there are certain aspects of this diet that aren’t grounded in medical science. Most people that aren’t lactose intolerant can drink milk without issue, and beans are a perfectly healthy source of nutrient-dense, carbohydrates. Also, with the way that products like grains and dairy are fortified, there are few effective sources left to get Vitamin D, and calcium can be a struggle as well.

In the end, the big issue with the Paleo Diet isn’t that it’s an ineffective diet—for the most part, it shares a lot in common with the “ideal diet.” The problem with it is that it is overly strict and leaves out some perfectly useful and healthy staple foods such as whole grains, beans, and dairy.

What is Wrong with the Gluten-Free Diet?

Another diet that is growing in popularity today is the Gluten-Free Diet. There is a particular form of protein, known as Gluten, which is highly prevalent in grains such as rye, barley, and wheat. There are a small minority of people that can legitimately benefit from the Gluten-Free Diet—People with Celiac Disease—A condition in which the presence of Gluten in the diet leads to immune system malfunction and major symptoms which impede health and wellness.

For all other people, there isn’t a clinical reason to stop eating foods with gluten in them. Many magazines and websites purport that going Gluten-Free can help people lose weight fast, but there is no reason for this to be so, aside for the fact that it makes people more conscientious about carbohydrates in general, but that has nothing to do with the philosophy behind the diet. Foods that are advertised as Gluten-Free are actually usually worse for the dieter than if they had gotten the real things, this is because they often have both more calories and more sugar.

People often also go Gluten-Free without doing the proper research, and end up missing out on minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber that they would normally get from the foods they are cutting from their diet, because they don’t eat more meat, vegetables, and fruit to compensate.

Many people claim that they go Gluten-Free as a result of “Gluten Sensitivity,” which causes issues such as fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and gas, but research shows that this isn’t true, and the majority of people that have this issue that they believe is related to gluten are mistaken, and they a sensitivity to a carb group known as FODMAPs, which is present in wheat, but also in a wide variety of foods that they are still eating including many vegetables, fruits, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products.

If you feel that you have issues with Gluten, don’t simply turn to a Gluten-Free diet. There are tests that you can take that can reveal your underlying food sensitivities and help you discover what you actually should be avoiding, and they can only be performed through a licensed medical professional or dietician.

What is Wrong with the Raw Food Diet?

Another recent diet that has become more prevalent, somewhat related to the Paleo Diet in its theoretical principle, is the Raw Food Diet. In this diet, one completely eschews any food that must be cooked, and only eats foods that can be eaten raw. Sometimes, the diet is less strict, allowing 1/4th of food eaten to be cooked. The idea with this diet is that the cooking process reduces the caloric benefits of the foods that we eat, and by eating raw foods, we receive an improved nutritional balance from the foods that we eat.

Many people use the Raw-Food Diet as a vegetarian diet, while others will cook meats and eat other foods raw. There are some that will even eat a varity of raw meats and other animal products, though this obviously leaves a person wide-open for food poisoning and animal-borne illness. With regard to the rest of the diet, there is some science behind it—For example, boiling or overcooking foods does degrade the nutritional content in many foods—But it assumes too much in many cases. For example, tomatoes provide improved nutritional content when cooked. For that reason, the ideal diet would likely include significant amounts of both cooked and raw foods.

This diet provides all of the nutrients that a person needs, but is very difficult to follow. It involves preparing meals at home and escewing dining out almost completely. In the end, the benefits of raw vs. cooked isn’t really worth the time, but it can help people lose weight by being more conscientious and avoiding processed foods.

What is Wrong with the High Fat Diet?

There is a new fad diet on the horizon, based off of the good data that we have that Fats aren’t as bad for you as once believed and Carbohydrates are consumed at unhealthy rates nationwide—The High Fat Diet. Many dieters are beginning to hear advice that by making fat the staple part of one’s diet, it is possible to improve health and lose weight.

Often, these diets claim that you can eat whatever you want, as long as you limit carbs, but this is simply not true. People load up on fat and start packing on pounds, even though they have restricted their carbs. Again, it’s important to focus on caloric balance among food-classes, while limiting total calories. Overemphasizing one branch is one of the best ways to introduce nutritional deficiencies or overeating into your diet!

People on High Fat diets are also more likely to have issues with elevated Triglyceride Levels. It is true that combining reduced carbs with increased fat consumption can increase HDL (healthy) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, but eating too much fat leads to a surplus of triglycerides, which are even more dangerous than high LDL Levels. High fat consumption can also lead to unhealthy levels of inflammation that inhibit the health of the body. Finally, if your high-fat diet is combined with elevated glucose levels, this significantly increases the risk associated with atherosclerosis and plaque formation.

Could a Revolutionary Weight Loss Strategy Be on the Horizon?

Posted: October 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Brown Fat Metabolism-Boosting Method Discovered


Obesity is a national epidemic in the United States, and a growing problem across the world. As more and more countries are stabilizing their food supplies, they begin to have to deal with issues like overeating and obesity more often. According to the WHO, there are almost 1.5 billion men and women across the world that are clinically obese or overweight. On top of that, there are more than forty million boys and girls under five years old that are at least overweight.

Weight LossOur bodies simplyaren’t designed to withstand obesity, and it it incredibly detrimental to our long term health. For example, the eating habits associated with obesity significantly increase the risk of Adult-Onset Diabetes. Type-2 Diabetes is a form of Insulin Resistance, which reduces the ability of the body to transport energy, in the form of glucose, to target cells throughout the body.

Obesity can even lead to infertility or suppressed fertility. Adipose fat encourages the conversion of Testosterone into Estrogen, which can lead to low sperm counts and erectile dysfunction in men. Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease, because poor diet leads to elevated cholesterol levels which increase the incidence of dangerous plaques, and high blood pressure which increases the risk of conditions such as heart attack or stroke.

There is even growing evidence that the hormone inbalance associated with Obesity increases the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, as well as reducing overall cognitive health and function via fatigue and reduced blood supply. Obviously, obesity is a dangerous epidemic, which has led governments, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations to invest billions and billions of dollars into finding ways to help get this epidemic under control.

New research released in the academic journal, Nature, suggests that there may be a way to increase the rate at which a particular kind of fat metabolizes—known as brown fat—allowing it to be burned more quickly, leading to increased weight loss. Also, this research hypothesizes that it may be possible to even turn stored fat energy into brown fat, which can improve body composition and lead to a lower body weight. The lead investigator in this study was Thorsten Gnad, a German Researcher from the University of Bonn.

What Is the Difference Between White and Brown Fat?

There are two kinds of fat that are present in human beings and all mammals—white and brown fat, and both forms of fat perform significantly different functions and have very different metabolic profiles. White fat is the kind of fat that most people think of when they think about “fat.” White fat is distributed around the midsection and core of the body, and the body keeps this fat in case it needs an emergency source of energy. It’s also very difficult to burn this form of fat, because our bodies are designed to maintain it as a last resort.

Our bodies also have a second form of fat, however, known as brown fat. Brown fat is not stored for emergencies like white fat, but is burned constantly in order to keep body temperature stabilized and to keep us warm. In fact, the two categories of animals that have the most brown fat are babies which have just been born (including in humans) and mammals that go into hibernation.

Although human adults don’t carry as much brown fat around with them, they do still need and have some brown fat. Although human beings do carry around a lot of fat, the majority of this fat, by volume, is white fat. Women average around 25% bodyfat, whereas men average around 20%. Dependent upon the bodyfat composition of the individual, only between 3-7.5% of body weight is represented by brown fat.

The amount of brown fat that a person has is largely dependent upon their level of physical activity. People that exercise less don’t have as much brown fat as those that exercise regularly. This is because people that exercise regularly need more energy available to meet the needs of their activity level.

This is why it’s incredibly important to exercise in combination with a conscientious diet in order to both maximize weight loss and keep the weight off after you have reached your goal weight. It takes effort and exercise to convert white fat into brown fat, and dieting alone won’t accomplish that.

Is It Possible to Genetically Alter the Way That We Burn Fat?

Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

One of the authors of this study, Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, explains that there may be other mechanisms by which we can facilitate weight loss, using this knowledge of how brown and white fat work. He hypothesizes that if it were possible to “turn on” brown fat and increase its metabolism, or therapeutically convert white fat into brown fat, it would be possible to medically induce weight loss by inducing an “athletic” body fat state, even without exercise.

Of course, exercise would be an important part of any normal weight loss regimen, but by speeding up the body composition changes associated with exercise, or allowing those with limited mobility to benefit from increased brown fat, it would be possible to treat weight problems more quickly.

Some people, especially older people and people that are significantly overweight, could really benefit from this area of research because, they are the ones with the most issues engaging in healthy exercise. Dependent upon the safety of any medical treatment that facilitates these changes, they could become widely available to anyone in need of weight loss.

This is a relatively new field of research. Although scientists and health experts have long recognized that the human body houses both brown fat and white fat, it is only in recent years that they have recognized that the body has the ability to naturally convert stored white fat into active brown fat. It’s still years in the future, but current evidence suggests that we will one day have the capability to key into the body’s own conversion process and facilitate that change.

Adenosine and Caffeine Stimulate Metabolism in Brown Fat, but Not White Fat

Now, to the research at hand—Dr. Gnad and his associates have focused their efforts upon one particular receptor site in brown fat cells. This receptor is activated by Adenosine, and is referred to as A2A. Adenosine is a hormone that the body produces when it is under stress, to increase metabolism and and alertness. Most people are aware of an herbally derived analogue of Adenosine—Caffeine.

Many people use caffeine not only to increase alertness and ward off mental fogginess, but many people also use caffeine as a performance supplement. Caffeine increases metabolism and energy levels during exercise, and athletes, body builders, and fitness buffs often use caffeine before workouts to increase exercise capacity.

Even though bodybuilders have long used caffeine in their pre-exercise routines, we are still learning a lot of the mechanisms by which Adenosine and its analogues interact with the body. With regard to the A2A receptor, Adenosine facilitates increased fat-burning power.

Interestingly enough, white body fat does not have A2A Receptors, and this appears to be the primary reason why White Fat cells don’t burn energy nearly as fast as their brown counterparts. Dr. Gnad and his research associates performed animal research in which they introduced the A2A gene to White Body Fat Cells, and this led directly to increased metabolic activity in the White Fat. Essentially, the researchers proved that it is possible to directly convert white fat into brown fat simply by introducing these A2A Receptors to the cells.

There have been other studies which attempted similar results without success. Earlier studies monitored the impact of Adenosine upon hamsters and rats. In these mammals, Adenosine suppressed Brown Fat metabolism. Because of this, researchers hypothesized that the result would be the same in humans. Upon further study, however, it appears that rats and hamsters are designed differently, and that humans and mice respond in the opposite fashion to Adenosine, by stimulating metabolism.

This research is fascinating, and perhaps five or ten years down the road, this research will lead to real and amazing changes in our battle against weight loss. Of course, there are also other mechanisms by which this process can be stimulated. A2A is not the only means to stimulate brown fat metabolism that has been discovered.

Why Do Our Bodies Store White Fat So Readily?

Another study was released earlier this month in the academic journal, Cell, in which researchers discovered how to convince brains in mice to produce more brown fat and thereby increase metabolism. In this study, designed by representatives from Yale Medical School, researchers discovered that there is a hierarchy of “fears” which control how the brain optimizes metabolism. Two of the primary motivations which stimulate or suppress metabolism are the fear of freezing and the fear of starving. One reason why the body is so slow to convert white fat into brown fat is because the evolutionary mechanisms to prevent starvation are stronger than those to prevent freezing.

Of course, now that modern first world societies have effectively eradicated starvation for the vast majority of their populations, now it’s more important, at least in a first world context, to figure out ways to facilitate weight loss and increase brown fat in relationship to white fat.

Perhaps advances in stem cell research and hormone therapy will play a roll in this mechanism for weight loss. For now, there are steps you can take, like exercising regularly, which can increase the volume of brown fat, thereby increasing metabolism and improving weight loss gains. Perhaps in the near future, it will be possible to treat obesity as a disease, rather than as a lifestyle condition.

Doctor Mediated Weight Loss

The more that we learn about obesity, the more that it becomes clear that obesity is both a lifestyle issue and a disease, like many other conditions such as heart disease. By discovering new mechanisms to stimulate a healthier body composition while also encouraging individuals to make smarter lifestyle decisions, one day, Obesity may be a thing of the past.

DASH Diet Overview and Review

Posted: October 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

The Dash Diet is a balanced diet, designed to get an individual all of the nutrients that they need in a conscientious diet, with an emphasis on maintaining a reasonable and responsible salt intake. The Dash Diet is similar to a number of other diets including the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet, and the Vegetarian Diet. Specifically, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The ultimate goal of the DASH diet is to alleviate or prevent hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension is a dangerous circulatory state which significantly increases risks associated with heart and cardiovascular health.

The DASH Diet was developed in cooperation with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and its authors simultaneously claim that the diet can improve blood pressure while also making it easier to lose weight.

What is the Theory behind the DASH Diet?

The DASH Diet recognizes that there are certain nutrients that are vital to preserve healthy blood pressure, and builds a diet around responsibly providing the dieter with these nutrients. The four nutrients that are considered most important in promoting heart health are considered fiber, protein, calcium, and potassium.

Unlike many diets which encourage the dieter to keep track of nutrition and calorie counts regimen, this diet focuses primarily on moderation without excessive deliberation or calorie counting. These are the three aspects of the DASH Diet

Eat Foods That Encourage Hypertension Sparingly – The DASH Diet Recommends limiting the intake of Red Meat, Sweets, Processed Foods, and Calorie-Dense foods which provide little nutrition.

Eat Foods That Are Good For You and Your Heart – Foods such as lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy are encouraged. It’s important to note here that this is not a vegetarian diet.

Limit Salt Intake – Salt intake is strongly correlated with hypertension. Salt exacerbates existing high blood pressure, and may also contribute to the formation of such issues when used in excess.

You don’t have to track each one, though. Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), while shunning those we’ve grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!

The DASH Diet is an extensively researched diet plan, and there are two primary guides designed to show you how its done. Both are produced by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one is short and to the point, and the other is more elaborate and gets into the science and specifics of the diet.

First, the DASH Diet takes into account your activity level as well as your age in order to provide you with a rough gauge of how many calories that you need to consume daily. Second, the guide for the diet provides an extensive list of foods, and which meet your nutritional needs most effectively. Third, the diet simply encourages you to limit sodium consumption.

The DASH Diet is not a complicated diet, which likely will attract many dieters looking for a no-nonsense diet plan. On the other hand, other dieters that are looking for more direct meal-to-meal guidance may prefer a different diet plan, even if it is close to the current diet.

How Can I Lose Weight with the DASH Diet?

In order to lose weight with the DASH Diet, simply take the caloric recommendations for your age and drop them down by 300-500 calories per day. This builds a caloric deficit into your nutritional recommendations, which will help you lose weight while simultaneously meeting your body’s nutritional needs.

Of course, in order to maximize the weight-loss benefits of this diet, you’ll benefit greatly from increasing your activity level with a combination of Anaerobic and Aerobic activity.

Does the DASH Diet Improve Cardiovascular Health?

There is powerful evidence that the DASH Diet succeeds greatly in reducing the severity of hypertension, and that it can also prevent high blood pressure in at-risk patients. Hypertension is associated with a wide variety of dangerous cardiovascular conditions, including stroke, heart failure, and heart disease.

By following this diet protocol, you can expect to improve your blood pressure while also promoting healthier cholesterol balance, with a reduction in LDL Cholesterol associated with poor health outcomes and an increase in HDL Cholesterol, which is associated with improved heart health. Also, the DASH Diet reduces triglycerides in the blood stream, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

The ultimate goal of the creators of the DASH Diet was to quantify what is generally accepted in the medical community to be a diet healthy for the heart, which is a diet low in salt, sugar, and saturated fat which is high in vegetables and nutrient-dense fruits.

Can the DASH Diet reduce the risk of Diabetes

There is resounding evidence that the DASH Diet is fantastic for patients that are at risk for diabetes. The specifics of the DASH Diet share a lot in common with recommendations offered by the American Diabetes Association. That means that this diet is simultaneously good for patients that want to avoid hypertension as well as diabetes, and when pursued in combination with dietary restriction and increased activity level, the diet can also produce significant weight loss benefits.

Are There Any Risks Associated with the DASH Diet?

There are no health issues associated with following this diet, although there is a chance that patients that suffer specific health conditions may need to alter the diet to meet their needs or protect their health. Before starting even the safest diet, discuss it with your doctor if you have any health issues which have any potential to conflict with your regimen.

How Does the DASH Diet Relate to Currently Agreed Upon Dietary Recommendations?

Salt – The DASH Diet recommends salt consumption less then 2,300 milligrams per day, although patients that have kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension are recommended to intake no more than 1,500 milligrams per day, as well as all African Americans and men and women over the age of 50.

Fat – The DASH Diet is designed to reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat significantly, while keeping you in the 20-35% fat intake range that is ideal.

Protein – This diet focuses on lean meat, and provides plenty of protein to meet your daily needs.

Carbohydrates – It’s important to control both the amount of carbohydrates that you eat daily as well as their source. The DASH Diet strictly limits sweets and simple carbs, encouraging dieters to get their carbohydrates from more complex sources.

Vitamin B12 – The DASH Diet more than meets the minimum standards for this nutrient.

Calcium – As the DASH Diet places a premium upon cardiovascular health, it makes sense that the diet provides more than enough calcium to meet your daily needs.

Potassium – The DASH Diet is one of the only diets which successfully meet nutrition recommendations with regard to potassium. Ideally, you should be getting 4900 milligrams of potassium per day.

Fiber – Fiber is central to the success of the DASH diet, because the diet places a premium on satiety, and fiber is one of the best things that you can eat to feel full. Fiber also encourages healthy digestion.

Vitamin D – The DASH Diet includes no recommendations for Vitamin D, but it’s important to get at least 15 micrograms daily, whether through diet, sunlight, supplementation, or a combination of the three.

Low-carbohydrate diet – Wikipedia

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 11:43 am

Low-carbohydrate diets or low-carb diets are dietary programs that restrict carbohydrate consumption, often for the treatment of obesity or diabetes. Foods high in easily digestible carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, bread, pasta) are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of fats and moderate protein (e.g., meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds) and other foods low in carbohydrates (e.g., most salad vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard and collards), although other vegetables and fruits (especially berries) are often allowed. The amount of carbohydrate allowed varies with different low-carbohydrate diets.

Such diets are sometimes ‘ketogenic’ (i.e., they restrict carbohydrate intake sufficiently to cause ketosis). The induction phase of the Atkins diet[1][2][3] is ketogenic.

The term “low-carbohydrate diet” is generally applied to diets that restrict carbohydrates to less than 20% of caloric intake, but can also refer to diets that simply restrict or limit carbohydrates to less than recommended proportions (generally less than 45% of total energy coming from carbohydrates).[4][5]

Low-carbohydrate diets are used to treat or prevent some chronic diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, auto-brewery syndrome, high blood pressure, and diabetes.[6][7]

Gary Taubes has argued that low-carbohydrate diets are closer to the ancestral diet of humans before the origin of agriculture, and humans are genetically adapted to diets low in carbohydrate.[8] Direct archaeological or fossil evidence on nutrition during the Paleolithic, when all humans subsisted by hunting and gathering, is limited, but suggests humans evolved from the vegetarian diets common to other great apes to one with a greater level of meat-eating.[9] Some close relatives of modern Homo sapiens, such as the Neanderthals, appear to have been almost exclusively carnivorous.[10]

A more detailed picture of early human diets before the origin of agriculture may be obtained by analogy to contemporary hunter-gatherers. According to one survey of these societies, a relatively low carbohydrate (2240% of total energy), animal food-centered diet is preferred “whenever and wherever it [is] ecologically possible”, and where plant foods do predominate, carbohydrate consumption remains low because wild plants are much lower in carbohydrate and higher in fiber than modern domesticated crops.[11] Primatologist Katherine Milton, however, has argued that the survey data on which this conclusion is based inflate the animal content of typical hunter-gatherer diets; much of it was based on early ethnography, which may have overlooked the role of women in gathering plant foods.[12] She has also highlighted the diversity of both ancestral and contemporary foraging diets, arguing no evidence indicates humans are especially adapted to a single paleolithic diet over and above the vegetarian diets characteristic of the last 30 million years of primate evolution.[13]

The origin of agriculture brought about a rise in carbohydrate levels in human diets.[14] The industrial age has seen a particularly steep rise in refined carbohydrate levels in Western societies, as well as urban societies in Asian countries, such as India, China, and Japan.

In 1797, John Rollo reported on the results of treating two diabetic Army officers with a low-carbohydrate diet and medications. A very low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet was the standard treatment for diabetes throughout the 19th century.[15][16]

In 1863, William Banting, a formerly obese English undertaker and coffin maker, published “Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public”, in which he described a diet for weight control giving up bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer, and potatoes.[17] His booklet was widely read, so much so that some people used the term “Banting” for the activity usually called “dieting”.[18]

In 1888, James Salisbury introduced the Salisbury steak as part of his high-meat diet, which limited vegetables, fruit, starches, and fats to one-third of the diet.[original research?]

In the early 1900s Frederick Madison Allen developed a highly restrictive short term regime which was described by Walter R. Steiner at the 1916 annual convention of the Connecticut State Medical Society as The Starvation Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.[19]:176177[20][21][22] People showing very high urine glucose levels were confined to bed and restricted to an unlimited supply of water, coffee, tea, and clear meat broth until their urine was “sugar free”; this took two to four days but sometimes up to eight.[19]:177 After the person’s urine was sugar-free food was re-introduced; first only vegetables with less than 5g of carbohydate per day, eventually adding fruits and grains to build up to 3g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Then eggs and meat were added, building up to 1g of protein/kg of body weight per day, then fat was added to the point where the person stopped losing weight or a maximum of 40 calories of fat per kilogram per day was reached. The process was halted if sugar appeared in the person’s urine.[19]:177178 This diet was often administered in a hospital in order to better ensure compliance and safety.[19]:179

In 1958, Richard Mackarness M.D. published Eat Fat and Grow Slim, a low-carbohydrate diet with much of the same advice and based on the same theories as those promulgated by Robert Atkins more than a decade later. Mackarness also challenged the “calorie theory” and referenced primitive diets such as the Inuit as examples of healthy diets with a low-carbohydrate and high-fat composition.

In 1967, Irwin Stillman published The Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet. The “Stillman diet” is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diet. It is regarded as one of the first low-carbohydrate diets to become popular in the United States.[23] Other low-carbohydrate diets in the 1960s included the Air Force diet[24] and the drinking man’s diet.[25]Austrian physician Wolfgang Lutz published his book Leben Ohne Brot (Life Without Bread) in 1967.[26] However, it was not well known in the English-speaking world.

In 1972, Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, which advocated the low-carbohydrate diet he had successfully used in treating patients in the 1960s (having developed the diet from a 1963 article published in JAMA).[27] The book met with some success, but, because of research at that time suggesting risk factors associated with excess fat and protein, it was widely criticized by the mainstream medical community as being dangerous and misleading, thereby limiting its appeal at the time.[28] Among other things, critics pointed out that Atkins had done little real research into his theories and based them mostly on his clinical work. Later that decade, Walter Voegtlin and Herman Tarnower published books advocating the Paleolithic diet and Scarsdale diet, respectively, each meeting with moderate success.[29][not in citation given]

The concept of the glycemic index was developed in 1981 by David Jenkins to account for variances in speed of digestion of different types of carbohydrates. This concept classifies foods according to the rapidity of their effect on blood sugar levels with fast-digesting simple carbohydrates causing a sharper increase and slower-digesting complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, a slower one.[30] The concept has been extended to include the amount of carbohydrate actually absorbed, as well, as a tablespoonful of cooked carrots is less significant overall than a large baked potato (effectively pure starch, which is efficiently absorbed as glucose), despite differences in glycemic indices.

In the 1990s, Atkins published an update from his 1972 book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, and other doctors began to publish books based on the same principles. This has been said to be the beginning of what the mass media call the “low carb craze” in the United States.[31] During the late 1990s and early 2000s, low-carbohydrate diets became some of the most popular diets in the US. By some accounts, up to 18% of the population was using one type of low-carbohydrate diet or another at the peak of their popularity,[32] and this use spread to many countries.[citation needed]Food manufacturers and restaurant chains like Krispy Kreme noted the trend, as it affected their businesses.[33] Parts of the mainstream medical community has denounced low-carbohydrate diets as being dangerous to health, such as the AHA in 2001,[34] the American Kidney Fund in 2002,[35] Low-carbohydrate advocates did some adjustments of their own, increasingly advocating controlling fat and eliminating trans fat.[36][37]

Proponents who appeared with new diet guides at that time like the Zone diet intentionally distanced themselves from Atkins and the term ‘low carb’ because of the controversies, though their recommendations were based on largely the same principles .[38][39] It can be controversial which diets are low-carbohydrate and which are not.[citation needed] The 1990s and 2000s saw the publication of an increased number of clinical studies regarding the effectiveness and safety (pro and con) of low-carbohydrate diets (see low-carbohydrate diet medical research).

In the United States, the diet has continued to garner attention in the medical and nutritional science communities, and also inspired a number of hybrid diets that include traditional calorie-counting and exercise regimens.[7][40][41][42] Other low-carb diets, such as the Paleo Diet, focus on the removal of certain foods from the diet, such as sugar and grain.[43] On September 2, 2014 a small randomized trial by the NIH of 148 men and women comparing a low-carbohydrate diet with a low fat diet without calorie restrictions over one year showed that participants in the low-carbohydrate diet had greater weight loss than those on the low-fat diet.[44] The low-fat group lost weight, but appeared to lose more muscle than fat.[45]

No consensus definition exists of what precisely constitutes a low-carbohydrate diet.[46] Medical researchers and diet advocates may define different levels of carbohydrate intake when specifying low-carbohydrate diets.[46][not in citation given]

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines low-carbohydrate diets as diets that restrict carbohydrate intake to 20 to 60 grams per day, typically less than 20% of caloric intake.[47]

The body of research underpinning low-carbohydrate diets has grown significantly in the decades of the 1990s and 2000s.[48][49] Most research centers on the relationship between carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels (i.e., blood glucose), as well as the two primary hormones produced in the pancreas, that regulate the blood sugar level, insulin, which lowers it, and glucagon, which raises it.[50]

Low-carbohydrate diets in general recommend reducing nutritive carbohydrates, commonly referred to as “net carbs”, i.e., grams of total carbohydrates reduced by the non-nutritive carbohydrates[51][52] to very low levels. This means sharply reducing consumption of desserts, breads, pastas, potatoes, rice, and other sweet or starchy foods. Some recommend levels less than 20g of “net carbs” per day, at least in the early stages of dieting[53] (for comparison, a single slice of white bread typically contains 15g of carbohydrate, almost entirely starch). By contrast, the U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a minimum intake of 130g of carbohydrate per day.[54] The FAO and WHO similarly recommend that the majority of dietary energy come from carbohydrates.[55][56]

Although low-carbohydrate diets are most commonly discussed as a weight-loss approach, some experts have proposed using low-carbohydrate diets to mitigate or prevent diseases, including diabetes, metabolic disease, and epilepsy.[57][58] Some low-carbohydrate proponents and others argue that the rise in carbohydrate consumption, especially refined carbohydrates, caused the epidemic levels of many diseases in modern society, including metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes.[59][60][61][62]

A category of diets is known as low-glycemic-index diets (low-GI diets) or low-glycemic-load diets (low-GL diets), in particular the Low GI Diet.[63] In reality, low-carbohydrate diets can also be low-GL diets (and vice versa) depending on the carbohydrates in a particular diet. In practice, though, “low-GI”/”low-GL” diets differ from “low-carb” diets in the following ways: First, low-carbohydrate diets treat all nutritive carbohydrates as having the same effect on metabolism, and generally assume their effect is predictable. Low-GI/low-GL diets are based on the measured change in blood glucose levels in various carbohydrates these vary markedly in laboratory studies. The differences are due to poorly understood digestive differences between foods. However, as foods influence digestion in complex ways (e.g., both protein and fat delay absorption of glucose from carbohydrates eaten at the same time) it is difficult to even approximate the glycemic effect (e.g., over time or even in total in some cases) of a particular meal.[64]

The low-insulin-index diet, is similar, except it is based on measurements of direct insulemic responses i.e., the amount of insulin in the bloodstream to food rather than glycemic response the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Although such diet recommendations mostly involve lowering nutritive carbohydrates, some low-carbohydrate foods are discouraged, as well (e.g., beef).[65] Insulin secretion is stimulated (though less strongly) by other dietary intake. Like glycemic-index diets, predicting the insulin secretion from any particular meal is difficult, due to assorted digestive interactions and so differing effects on insulin release.[citation needed]

At the heart of the debate about most low-carbohydrate diets are fundamental questions about what is a ‘normal’ diet and how the human body is supposed to operate. These questions can be outlined as follows.

The diets of most people in modern Western nations, especially the United States, contain large amounts of starches, including refined flours, and substantial amounts of sugars, including fructose. Most Westerners seldom exhaust stored glycogen supplies and rarely go into ketosis. This has been regarded by the majority of the medical community in the last century as normal for humans.[citation needed] Ketosis should not be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous and extreme ketotic condition associated with type I diabetes. Some in the medical community have regarded ketosis as harmful and potentially life-threatening, believing it unnecessarily stresses the liver and causes destruction of muscle tissues.[citation needed] A perception developed that getting energy chiefly from dietary protein rather than carbohydrates causes liver damage and that getting energy chiefly from dietary fats rather than carbohydrates causes heart disease and other health problems. This view is still held by the majority of those in the medical and nutritional science communities.[66][67][68] However, it is now widely recognized that periodic ketosis is normal, and that ketosis provides a number of benefits, including neuroprotection against diverse types of cellular injury.[69]

People critical of low-carbohydrate diets cite hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis as risk factors. While mild acidosis may be a side effect when beginning a ketogenic diet,[70][71] no known health emergencies have been recorded. It should not be conflated with diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening.

A diet very low in starches and sugars induces several adaptive responses. Low blood glucose causes the pancreas to produce glucagon,[72] which stimulates the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the blood. When liver glycogen stores are exhausted, the body starts using fatty acids instead of glucose. The brain cannot use fatty acids for energy, and instead uses ketones produced from fatty acids by the liver. By using fatty acids and ketones as energy sources, supplemented by conversion of proteins to glucose (gluconeogenesis), the body can maintain normal levels of blood glucose without dietary carbohydrates.

Most advocates of low-carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, argue that the human body is adapted to function primarily in ketosis.[73][74] They argue that high insulin levels can cause many health problems, most significantly fat storage and weight gain. They argue that the purported dangers of ketosis are unsubstantiated (some of the arguments against ketosis result from confusion between ketosis and ketoacidosis, which is a mostly diabetic condition unrelated to dieting or low-carbohydrate intake).[75] They also argue that fat in the diet only contributes to heart disease in the presence of high insulin levels and that if the diet is instead adjusted to induce ketosis, fat and cholesterol in the diet are beneficial. Most low-carb diet plans discourage consumption of trans fat.

On a high-carbohydrate diet, glucose is used by cells in the body for the energy needed for their basic functions, and about two-thirds of body cells require insulin to use glucose. Excessive amounts of blood glucose are thought to be a primary cause of the complications of diabetes, when glucose reacts with body proteins (resulting in glycosolated proteins) and change their behavior. Perhaps for this reason, the amount of glucose tightly maintained in the blood is quite low. Unless a meal is very low in starches and sugars, blood glucose will rise for a period of an hour or two after a meal. When this occurs, beta cells in the pancreas release insulin to cause uptake of glucose into cells. In liver and muscle cells, more glucose is taken in than is needed and stored as glycogen (once called ‘animal starch’).[76] Diets with a high starch/sugar content, therefore, cause release of more insulin, and so more cell absorption. In diabetics, glucose levels vary in time with meals and vary a little more as a result of high-carbohydrate meals. In nondiabetics, blood-sugar levels are restored to normal levels within an hour or two, regardless of the content of a meal.

However, the ability of the body to store glycogen is finite. Once liver and muscular stores are full to the maximum, adipose tissue (subcutaneous and visceral fat stores) becomes the site of sugar storage in the form of fat.[citation needed] The body’s ability to store fat is almost limitless, hence the modern dilemma of morbid obesity.

While any diet devoid of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and essential amino acids (EAAs) will result in eventual death, a diet completely without carbohydrates can be maintained indefinitely because triglycerides (which make up fat stored in the body and dietary fat) include a (glycerol) molecule which the body can easily convert to glucose.[77] It should be noted that the EFAs and all amino acids are structural building blocks, not inherent fuel for energy. However, a very-low-carbohydrate diet (less than 20 g per day) may negatively affect certain biomarkers[78] and produce detrimental effects in certain types of individuals (for instance, those with kidney problems). The opposite is also true; for instance, clinical experience suggests very-low-carbohydrate diets for patients with metabolic syndrome.[79]

Because of the substantial controversy regarding low-carbohydrate diets and even disagreements in interpreting the results of specific studies, it is difficult to objectively summarize the research in a way that reflects scientific consensus.[80] Although some research has been done throughout the 20th century,[81] most directly relevant scientific studies have occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s. Researchers and other experts have published articles and studies that run the gamut from promoting the safety and efficacy of these diets[82][83] to questioning their long-term validity[84][85] to outright condemning them as dangerous.[86][87] A significant criticism of the diet trend was that no studies evaluated the effects of the diets beyond a few months. However, studies emerged which evaluate these diets over much longer periods, controlled studies as long as two years and survey studies as long as two decades.[82][88][89][90][91]

A systematic review published in 2014 included 19 trials with a total of 3,209 overweight and obese participants, some with diabetes. The review included both extreme low carbohydrate diets high in both protein and fat, as well as less extreme low carbohydrate diets that are high in protein but with recommended intakes of fat. The authors found that when the amount of energy (kilojoules/calories) consumed by people following the low carbohydrate and balanced diets (45 to 65% of total energy from carbohydrates, 25 to 35% from fat, and 10 to 20% from protein) was similar, there was no difference in weight loss after 3 to 6 months and after 1 to 2 years in those with and without diabetes. For blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes markers there was also no difference detected between the low carbohydrate and the balanced diets. The follow-up of these trials was no longer than two years, which is too short to provide an adequate picture of the long term risk of following a low carbohydrate diet.[5]

A 2003 meta-analysis that included randomized controlled trials found that “low-carbohydrate, non-energy-restricted diets appear to be at least as effective as low-fat, energy-restricted diets in inducing weight loss for up to one year.”[92][93][94] A 2007 JAMA study comparing the effectiveness of the Atkins low-carb diet to several other popular diets concluded, “In this study, premenopausal overweight and obese women assigned to follow the Atkins diet, which had the lowest carbohydrate intake, lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets.”[89] A July 2009 study of existing dietary habits associated a low-carbohydrate diet with obesity, although the study drew no explicit conclusion regarding the cause: whether the diet resulted in the obesity or the obesity motivated people to adopt the diet.[95] A 2013 meta-analysis that included only randomized controlled trials with one year or more of follow-up found, “Individuals assigned to a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet achieve a greater weight loss than those assigned to a low fat diet in the long term.”[96] In 2013, after reviewing 16,000 studies, Sweden’s Council on Health Technology Assessment concluded low-carbohydrate diets are more effective as a means to reduce weight than low-fat diets, over a short period of time (six months or less). However, the agency also concluded, over a longer span (1224 months), no differences occur in effects on weight between strict or moderate low-carb diets, low-fat diets, diets high in protein, Mediterranean diet, or diets aiming at low glycemic indices.[97]

In one theory, one of the reasons people lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets is related to the phenomenon of spontaneous reduction in food intake.[98]

Carbohydrate restriction may help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes,[99][100] as well as atherosclerosis.[101]

Potential favorable changes in triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol values when low-carbohydrate diets to induce weight loss are considered.[102] However, the type of LDL cholesterol should also be taken into account here, as it could be that small, dense LDL is decreased and larger LDL molecules are increased with low-carb diets.[citation needed] The health effects of the different molecules are still being elucidated, and many cholesterol tests do not account for such details, but small, dense LDL is thought to be problematic and large LDL is not. A 2008 systematic review of randomized controlled studies that compared low-carbohydrate diets to low-fat/low-calorie diets found the measurements of weight, HDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and systolic blood pressure were significantly better in groups that followed low-carbohydrate diets. The authors of this review also found a higher rate of attrition in groups with low-fat diets, and concluded, “evidence from this systematic review demonstrates that low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets are more effective at six months and are as effective, if not more, as low-fat diets in reducing weight and cardiovascular disease risk up to one year”, but they also called for more long-term studies.[103]

A study of more than 100,000 people over more than 20 years within the Nurses’ Health Study observationally concluded a low-carbohydrate diet high in vegetables, with a large proportion of proteins and oils coming from plant sources, decreases mortality with a hazard ratio of 0.8.[104] In contrast, a low-carbohydrate diet with largely animal sources of protein and fat increases mortality, with a hazard ratio of 1.1.[104] This study, however, has been met with criticism, due to the unreliability of the self-administered food frequency questionnaire, as compared to food journaling,[105] as well as classifying “low-carbohydrate” diets based on comparisons to the group as a whole (decile method) rather than surveying dieters following established low-carb dietary guidelines like the Atkins or Paleo diets.[106]

Opinions regarding low-carbohydrate diets vary throughout the medical and nutritional science communities, yet government bodies, and medical and nutritional associations, have generally opposed this nutritional regimen.[citation needed] Since 2003, some organizations have gradually begun to relax their opposition to the point of cautious support for low-carbohydrate diets. Some of these organizations receive funding from the food industry.[citation needed] Official statements from some organizations:

The AAFP released a ‘discussion paper’ on the Atkins diet in 2006. The paper expresses reservations about the Atkins plan, but acknowledges it as a legitimate weight-loss approach.[107]

The ADA revised its Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes in 2008 to acknowledge low-carbohydrate diets as a legitimate weight-loss plan.[108][109] The recommendations fall short of endorsing low-carbohydrate diets as a long-term health plan, and do not give any preference to these diets. Nevertheless, this is perhaps the first statement of support, albeit for the short term, by a medical organization.[110][111] In its 2009 publication of Clinical Practice Recommendations, the ADA again reaffirmed its acceptance of carbohydrate-controlled diets as an effective treatment for short-term (up to one year) weight loss among obese people suffering from type two diabetes.[112]

As of 2003 in commenting on a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association reiterated the association’s belief that “there is no magic bullet to safe and healthful weight loss.”[113] The Association specifically endorses the high-carbohydrate diet recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. They have stated “Calories cause weight gain. Excess calories from carbohydrates are not any more fattening than calories from other sources. Despite the claims of low-carb diets, a high-carbohydrate diet does not promote fat storage by enhancing insulin resistance.”[114][bettersourceneeded]

As of 2008[update] the AHA states categorically that it “doesn’t recommend high-protein diets.”[115] A science advisory from the association further states the association’s belief that these diets “may be associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease.”[34] The AHA has been one of the most adamant opponents of low-carbohydrate diets.[citation needed] Dr. Robert Eckel, past president, noted that a low-carbohydrate diet could potentially meet AHA guidelines if it conformed to the AHA guidelines for low fat content.[116]

The position statement by the Heart Foundation regarding low-carbohydrate diets states, “the Heart Foundation does not support the adoption of VLCARB diets for weight loss.”[46] Although the statement recommends against use of low-carbohydrate diets, it explains their major concern is saturated fats as opposed to carbohydrate restriction and protein. Moreover, other statements suggest their position might be re-evaluated in the event of more evidence from longer-term studies.

The consumer advice statements of the NHS regarding low-carbohydrate diets state that “eating a high-fat diet could increase your risk of heart disease” and “try to ensure starchy foods make up about a third of your diet”[117]

In 2008, the Socialstyrelsen in Sweden altered its standing regarding low-carbohydrate diets.[118] Although formal endorsement of this regimen has not yet appeared, the government has given its formal approval for using carbohydrate-controlled diets for medically supervised weight loss.

In a recommendation for diets suitable for diabetes patients published in 2011 a moderate low-carb option (3040%) is suggested.[119]

The HHS issues consumer guidelines for maintaining heart health which state regarding low-carbohydrate diets that “they’re not the route to healthy, long-term weight management.”[120]

Low-carbohydrate diets became a major weight loss and health maintenance trend during the late 1990s and early 2000s.[121][122][123] While their popularity has waned recently from its peak, they remain popular.[124][125] This diet trend has stirred major controversies in the medical and nutritional sciences communities and, as yet, there is not a general consensus on their efficacy or safety.[126][127] Many in the medical community remain generally opposed to these diets for long term health[128] although there has been a recent softening of this opposition by some organizations.[129][130]

Because of the substantial controversy regarding low-carbohydrate diets, and even disagreements in interpreting the results of specific studies, it is difficult to objectively summarize the research in a way that reflects scientific consensus.[131][132][133]

Although there has been some research done throughout the twentieth century, most directly relevant scientific studies have occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s and, as such, are relatively new and the results are still debated in the medical community.[132] Supporters and opponents of low-carbohydrate diets frequently cite many articles (sometimes the same articles) as supporting their positions.[134][135][136] One of the fundamental criticisms of those who advocate the low-carbohydrate diets has been the lack of long-term studies evaluating their health risks.[137][138] This has begun to change as longer term studies are emerging.[82]

A 2012 systematic review studying the effects of low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors showed the LCD to be associated with significant decreases in body weight, body mass index, abdominal circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, blood insulin and plasma C-reactive protein, as well as an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and creatinine did not change significantly. The study found the LCD was shown to have favorable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors (but concluded the effects on long-term health are unknown). The study did not compare health benefits of LCD to low-fat diets.[139]

A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 compared low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic index, high-fiber, and high-protein diets with control diets. The researchers concluded that low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets are effective in improving markers of risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.[140]

In the first week or two of a low-carbohydrate diet, much of the weight loss comes from eliminating water retained in the body.[141] The presence of insulin in the blood fosters the formation of glycogen stores in the body, and glycogen is bound with water, which is released when insulin and blood sugar drop.[citation needed][142] A ketogenic diet is known to cause dehydration as an early, temporary side-effect.[143]

Advocates of low-carbohydrate diets generally dispute any suggestion that such diets cause weakness or exhaustion (except in the first few weeks as the body adjusts), and indeed most highly recommend exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.[142][144] A large body of evidence stretching back to the 1880s shows that physical performance is not negatively affected by ketogenic diets once a person has been accustomed to such a diet.[145]

Arctic cultures, such as the Inuit, were found to lead physically demanding lives consuming a diet of about 1520% of their calories from carbohydrates, largely in the form of glycogen from the raw meat they consumed.[145][146][147][148] However, studies also indicate that while low-carb diets will not reduce endurance performance after adapting, they will probably deteriorate anaerobic performance such as strength-training or sprint-running because these processes rely on glycogen for fuel.[144]

Many critics argue that low-carbohydrate diets inherently require minimizing vegetable and fruit consumption, which in turn robs the body of important nutrients.[149] Some critics imply or explicitly argue that vegetables and fruits are inherently all heavily concentrated sources of carbohydrates (so much so that some sources treat the words ‘vegetable’ and ‘carbohydrate’ as synonymous).[150] While some fruits may contain relatively high concentrations of sugar, most are largely water and not particularly calorie-dense. Thus, in absolute terms, even sweet fruits and berries do not represent a significant source of carbohydrates in their natural form, and also typically contain a good deal of fiber which attenuates the absorption of sugar in the gut.[151] Lastly, most of the sugar in fruit is fructose, which has a reported negligible effect on insulin levels in obese subjects.[152]

Most vegetables are low- or moderate-carbohydrate foods (in the context of these diets, fiber is excluded because it is not a nutritive carbohydrate). Some vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, have high concentrations of starch, as do corn and rice. Most low-carbohydrate diet plans accommodate vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and peppers.[153] The Atkins diet recommends that most dietary carbs come from vegetables. Nevertheless, debate remains as to whether restricting even just high-carbohydrate fruits, vegetables, and grains is truly healthy.[154]

Contrary to the recommendations of most low-carbohydrate diet guides, some individuals may choose to avoid vegetables altogether to minimize carbohydrate intake. Low-carbohydrate vegetarianism is also practiced.

Raw fruits and vegetables are packed with an array of other protective chemicals, such as vitamins, flavonoids, and sugar alcohols. Some of those molecules help safeguard against the over-absorption of sugars in the human digestive system.[155][156] Industrial food raffination depletes some of those beneficial molecules to various degrees, including almost total removal in many cases.[157]

The major low-carbohydrate diet guides generally recommend multivitamin and mineral supplements as part of the diet regimen, which may lead some to believe these diets are nutritionally deficient. The primary reason for this recommendation is that if the switch from a high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet is rapid, the body can temporarily go through a period of adjustment during which it may require extra vitamins and minerals. This is because the body releases excess fluids stored during high-carbohydrate eating. In other words, the body goes through a temporary “shock” if the diet is changed to low-carbohydrate quickly, just as it would changing to a high-carbohydrate diet quickly. This does not, in and of itself, indicate that either type of diet is nutritionally deficient. While many foods rich in carbohydrates are also rich in vitamins and minerals, many low-carbohydrate foods are similarly rich in vitamins and minerals.[158]

A common argument in favor of high-carbohydrate diets is that most carbohydrates break down readily into glucose in the bloodstream, and therefore the body does not have to work as hard to get its energy in a high-carbohydrate diet as a low-carbohydrate diet. This argument, by itself, is incomplete. Although many dietary carbohydrates do break down into glucose, most of that glucose does not remain in the bloodstream for long. Its presence stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin, which has the effect of causing about two-thirds of body cells to take in glucose, and causing fat cells to take in fatty acids and store them. As the blood-glucose level falls, the amount of insulin released is reduced; the entire process is completed in non-diabetics in an hour or two after eating.[citation needed] High-carbohydrate diets require more insulin production and release than low-carbohydrate diets,[citation needed] and some evidence indicates the increasingly large percentage of calories consumed as refined carbohydrates is positively correlated with the increased incidence of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.[159]

In addition, this claim neglects the nature of the carbohydrates ingested. Some are indigestible in humans (e.g., cellulose), some are poorly digested in humans (e.g., the amylose starch variant), and some require considerable processing to be converted to absorbable forms. In general, uncooked or unprocessed (e.g., milling, crushing, etc.) foods are harder (typically much harder) to absorb, so do not raise glucose levels as much as might be expected from the proportion of carbohydrate present. Cooking (especially moist cooking above the temperature necessary to expand starch granules) and mechanical processing both considerably raise the amount of absorbable carbohydrate and reduce the digestive effort required.

Analyses which neglect these factors are misleading and will not result in a working diet, or at least one which works as intended. In fact, some evidence indicates the human brain the largest consumer of glucose in the body can operate more efficiently on ketones (as efficiency of source of energy per unit oxygen).[160]

The restriction of starchy plants, by definition, severely limits the dietary intake of microbiota accessible carbohydrates (MACs) and may negatively affect the microbiome in ways that contribute to disease.[161] Starchy plants, in particular, are a main source of resistant starch an important dietary fiber with strong prebiotic properties.[162][163][164] Resistant starches are not digestible by mammals and are fermented and metabolized by gut flora into short chain fatty acids, which are well known to offer a wide range of health benefits.[163][165][166][167][168][169] Resistant starch consumption has been shown to improve intestinal/colonic health, blood sugar, glucose tolerance, insulin-sensitivity and satiety.[170][171][172] Public health authorities and food organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Health Organization,[173] the British Nutrition Foundation[174] and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences[175] recognize resistant starch as a beneficial carbohydrate. The Joint Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Consultation on Human Nutrition stated, “One of the major developments in our understanding of the importance of carbohydrates for health in the past twenty years has been the discovery of resistant starch.”[173]

In 2004, the Canadian government ruled that foods sold in Canada could not be marketed with reduced or eliminated carbohydrate content as a selling point, because reduced carbohydrate content was not determined to be a health benefit. The government ruled that existing “low carb” and “no carb” packaging would have to be phased out by 2006.[176]

Some variants of low-carbohydrate diets involve substantially lowered intake of dietary fiber, which can result in constipation if not supplemented.[citation needed] For example, this has been a criticism of the induction phase of the Atkins diet (the Atkins diet is now clearer about recommending a fiber supplement during induction). Most advocates[who?][dubious discuss] today argue that fiber is a “good” carbohydrate and encourage a high-fiber diet.[citation needed]

See the original post here:
Low-carbohydrate diet – Wikipedia

2014-09-30 20:24:19 Whale on the Train, London

Posted: December 6, 2016 at 8:41 pm

MedEighty posted a photo:

2014-09-30 20:24:19 Whale on the Train, London

That’s a bit of a harsh title, isn’t it? :S

Read more:
2014-09-30 20:24:19 Whale on the Train, London

NHS or Not ?

Posted: December 5, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Neil. Moralee posted a photo:

NHS or Not ?

Health bosses have approved plans to delay routine surgery for smokers and obese people.
The restrictions, brought in by NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), mean overweight patients will have to lose 10% of their weight before surgery.
Smokers face a six-month delay. (I bet they wouldn’t do that to Gays, Lesbians or an ethnic minority).

Another step towards loosing our National Health Service.

The best things in life apparently are not free. it is starting to look like you will only be able to get medical treatment if its cheap.
Is it time we started telling the government what is important because it seems they don’t know.

The Olympics are an incredibly powerful platform in the world. And in 2012, London held the spotlight by creating the £486 million stadium. But in the aftermath, well the Olympic Stadium just kind of… sat there. What do you do with a giant stadium? Sell it to a football team! Renovations to make it football ready are costing £15million and then West Ham are to rent it for £2-2.5million annually as part of a 99 year lease. Still less than half the total cost of the stadium creation.

I.T mistakes are a biggie in the UK spending reports. Mistakes that (can you believe this !) – have cost taxpayers over £26 BILLION. The biggest waste was a £12.7 BILLION plan for the NHS to start using new electronic records. Fewer than 200 out of 9,000 health organisations are using the technology despite the fact that the money was spent on it.

In 2012, the Health Department racked up a £109,017 tea and biscuits bill in only three months. In total for the year? £3 million.

OK some of the problem is down to us the public:-

Each time a patient misses a hospital appointment in the UK they waste over £100 in NHS resources, costing taxpayers £769,679,700 in total last year.
YES THAT IS 769 Million POUNDS……
Go to your appointment or cancel it with time to spare. Free health care is great for a reason! It’s free, so let’s not waste the Gov’s money on it either.


Candid shot, Mid-Devon County show 2016.

Here is the original post:
NHS or Not ?

How to lose water weight quickly and naturally – Calorie …

Posted: December 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

If you are retaining fluid, your clothes may feel tighter, you may feel bloated or weighed down, and you may even look swollen or puffy. There are many reasons why you might be retaining fluid, but what is the quickest and most natural way to get rid of it?

Water weight happens when your body retains fluid. It happens when there is a buildup of fluid in the circulatory system or body tissues. There are many ways that it can be caused including:

When there is a change in pressure inside the capillaries or the capillary walls are too leaky, the water will remain in the tissues, and cause swelling.

If there is too much fluid in the lymphatic system, the excess fluid will remain in the tissues, which causes swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or any other parts of the body.

When the heart fails, in congestive heart failure, the heart has to work harder. This changes the pressure and causes water retention in the legs, feet, ankles and lungs.

Severe protein deficiency.

Insufficient B-vitamins.

During kidney failure

During pregnancy or menstruation

Lack of exercise

Certain medications such as hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta blockers.

Eating a lot of high sodium foods

Eating excess sugar.

As you can see, there are many causes of water retention, but depending on what is causing your body retain water, will determine how you should get rid of it. Obviously, if you have a medical condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease, you should see your doctor and they will likely prescribe diuretics for you and may even put you on a fluid restriction.

There are many foods or diuretic aids that may act as natural diuretics and will help produce urine, which helps to remove the fluids from your body.

Apple cider vinegar helps maintain potassium levels and is a natural diuretic


Asparagus contains asparagines, which helps flush the kidneys

Beets helps get rid of fatty deposits

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage help break up fatty deposits

Carrots speed up the metabolism and help remove fat and waste from the body

Cranberry juice



Horseradish also speeds up the metabolism

Lettuce helps flush toxins




Dandelion and Dandelion Leaf

Green tea


Before trying any of these to help with your water retention, you may want to talk to your doctor to find out what is actually causing your body to retain water. It is also important to treat what is causing you to retain the water, and not to rely on the natural diuretics.

If you are consuming too much sodium or sugar, you should cut back (See also: simple ways to reduce sodium intake). If you arent eating enough protein or B-vitamins, you should find out how much you need and include adequate amounts in your diet (see also: How to eat more protein). You should also make sure that you are getting plenty of exercise and following a healthy diet.

While most diet books are aimed to help people lose excess fat, The Waterfall Diet focuses on getting rid of fluid retention and removing water weight. It is written by Linda Lazarides, a nutritional therapist.

The book states that it might be fluid that is making you overweight, and not fat. The diet is divided into 3 phases. The first phase lasts 2 months, and is meant to help you lose any extra fluid from your body as quickly as possible. This phase focuses on cleaning your body of anything that may be causing you to retain fluid, and may also indicate a possible food allergy. There are very few foods that you can eat, and a long list of foods that you cant eat.

The second phase allows you to reintroduce foods one at a time to see if any of them were causing you to retain fluid.

The third phase should be followed long term, and allows more foods to be eaten, but still recommends that 90% of your diet should consist of the foods that you ate during the first phase.

The diet claims that you can lose up to 14 pounds in 7 days, but states that if your fluid retention is not caused by an allergy, that you may lose weight more slowly.

So, if you are retaining fluid, the first step would, of course, be to see your doctor to see what is causing you to retain fluid to make sure that you dont have an underlying condition.

If you dont have a medical condition that requires diuretics, you can choose to try adding some natural diuretics to your diet and make sure that you are following a healthy diet and doing some type of activity every day. You can also read: Does water make you lose weight. Or, you may want to try The Waterfall Diet to find out if there is an allergy causing you to retain fluid, which should help you lose water weight quickly.

References used in this article

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Paris 2016 Tribute to Miss.Tic by Mass.Toc

Posted: December 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Denis Bocquet posted a photo:

Paris 2016 Tribute to Miss.Tic by Mass.Toc

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Paris 2016 Tribute to Miss.Tic by Mass.Toc Leading Diet Review Site, New Healthy …

Posted: December 1, 2016 at 7:50 pm

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The Latest Diets and Diet Plan Reviews WebMD

Posted: December 1, 2016 at 3:41 am

Does changing your bodys pH levels through diet have any benefits? Read WebMD’s Alkaline Diet review to find out.

WebMD evaluates the Dr. Andrew Weil diet, starting with a basic overview.

Is a diet that allows you to eat things like bacon, cream cheese and steak too good to be true? Get the lowdown on one of the nations most talked-about weight-loss plans.

Does Bob Greenes Best Life Diet work? Read this WebMD diet review to learn about what you can eat on this plan and how effective it is.

Read WebMD’s review of the Body for Life diet and exercise program to find out if its right for you.

Read WebMD’s review of The Brown Fat Revolution to find out if this diet is for you.

If eating cookies sounds like your kind of diet, read this WebMD review to find out if a cookie diet is right for you.

WebMD evaluates the Dr. Dean Ornish diet philosophy outlined in “The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health.”

WebMD discusses the effectiveness of Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet and explains what to expect.

Does the diet plan formulated by Doctor Oz work? Find out in WebMD’s Ultimate Diet review.

WebMD reviews the pros and cons of Dr. Phil’s diet, which emphasizes emotions and thought patterns as much as food groups.

“Eat This, Not That” encourages eating a better food than the one you were planning on. Find out from WebMD whether this diet program works.

WebMD discusses pros and cons of following the Eat to Live diet plan by Joel Fuhrman.

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The Marthas Vineyard Detox Diet promises rapid weight loss: 21 pounds in 21 days. Read WebMD’s review here.

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WebMD reviews food writer Mark Bittman’s vegan VB6 Diet, including foods you can eat and more.

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WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Naturally Thin diet, which does away with calorie tracking.

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¿Dónde está Leoncia? En Madrid. Plaza de Colón.

Posted: November 29, 2016 at 4:41 am

Detox diets: Do they work? – Mayo Clinic

Posted: November 29, 2016 at 4:41 am

Detoxification (detox) diets are popular, but there is little evidence that they eliminate toxins from your body.

Specific detox diets vary but typically a period of fasting is followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. In addition, some detox diets advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to empty the intestines.

Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. However, there’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Indeed, the kidneys and liver are generally quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins.

So why do so many people claim to feel better after detoxification? It may be due in part to the fact that a detox diet eliminates highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar. Simply avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of why people feel better.

If you’re considering a detox diet, get the OK from your doctor first. It’s also important to consider possible side effects. Detox diets that severely limit protein or that require fasting, for example, can result in fatigue. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Colon cleansing, which is often recommended as part of a detox plan, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration also can be a concern.

Finally, keep in mind that fad diets aren’t a good long-term solution. For lasting results, your best bet is to eat a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.

If you do choose to do a detox diet, you may want to use it as a way to jump-start making healthier food choices going forward every day.


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