Dieting has become an industry in the United States, with low carbohydrate diets currently in vogue. The practice of dieting is due to the epidemic of obesity sweeping our nation since the 1980s. Nowadays it’s rare to find a person who hasn’t dieted, or at least thought about dieting, at one time in their lives.
Low-carbohydrate diets are currently the most popular diet approach. There’s still a lot of debate over whether a low carb diet is best. Americans are confused over what to eat and how to stay healthy. There’s a lot of conflicting information on diet available. Some of comes from diet gurus out to make a profit from their books. Some of it comes from the government.
The conventional wisdom about eating has seesawed between low carb and low fat. Although it may seem like a recent phenomenon, it is nothing new. It’s been going on since at least 1860s. That was the year that a British carpenter, William Banting, published a letter to the British public, describing how he lost weight when he gave up starchy foods like bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer and potatoes. Banting was vilified by the British medical community but people desperate to lose weight tried his diet and some had good results.
On the American side of the pond, the low carb approach first caught fire in 1967 with the publication of The Doctors Quick Weight Loss Diet by Dr. Irwin Stillman. As well as being very high in protein, this diet is comprised of almost no fat.
Dr. Robert Atkins published his first diet book in 1972. He advocated a high protein diet with low carbs. His first book was rejected by the medical community. Undaunted, he published a new book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, in the 1990s and was met with a better reception.
Low Carb Meals restrict carbohydrate intake to varying degrees. Their proponents argue that this keep blood insulin levels low. They claim that this helps your body burn stored fat. The basis of all of these diets is the same. The dieter eats more foods that are high in protein in proportion to foods high in sugars and refined starches.
A diet high in protein is also going to be higher in fat than a diet with little protein and lots of carbs. That’s where the debate comes in. The USDA recently changed its Food Guide Pyramid to reflect an increased emphasis on moderate, healthy fat consumption.
Some examples of modern day low carb diet plans are the Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet, and the South Beach Diet. These three popular diet plans differ mainly in their advised ratio of protein to carbohydrates.
The medical community is hotly debating low carb diets. Most of them agree that they result in quick weight loss. They disagree on whether a diet high in protein is healthy. That hasn’t kept the public from using these diets, though. People are desperate for anything that will help them lose weight.
Before you decide to undertake any diet plan, be sure to consult a medical professional.