It’s unsurprising that, with so many health fads around, diets which might actually benefit our bodies are dismissed. However, it is the fault of the fad that this happens. Fads come about when a health claim is made, for instance, that raw cacao is rich in iron. This claim is true. However, if tons of people then go on to exist solely on raw cacao powder, this becomes a fad diet, as it is the hyperbolic product of a single health claim. Learning how to sift a fad from a fact can take some time at first; however, it becomes easier if you get to know your food and your body really well. It’s also about having a little common sense.
It can be difficult to choose which diet you should follow, as there are so many to choose from. Low carb diets are based on the idea that the body stores excess glucose as fat and, by starving the body of glucose found in complex carbohydrates, it has no choice but to burn fat instead. Whilst the science is sketchy, a lot of people have lost weight when low carbing and, for many, it can be the beginning of a healthier lifestyle.
Whilst following extreme diets might not be the best way to lose weight, they can pose an interesting model as to how low carbing could be beneficial. Those who have decreased their carbohydrate intake have reported lower blood pressure, better workouts, and more energy. Managing your carb intake could be the key to a healthier lifestyle but the key is in the proteins and fats that you consume. It might feel difficult to organise your life so that you’re not just grabbing a sandwich on the go. However, with food delivery companies such as Deliveroo, you can order things such as fresh Poke (sashimi) salads to make sure you stay on the wagon.
Ensuring that you are eating lean proteins such as oily fish and chicken will ensure that your organs are getting the vital nutrients that they need to stay healthy. Pairing these with vegetables such as spinach and broccoli will give you the vitamins you need to stay alert. Once you start looking at your food in this way, eating becomes more about fuelling yourself with nutritious food, as opposed to eating food of a low nutrient density, which is high in sugar, such as biscuits. However, you should definitely treat yourself from time to time. If your diet is making you miserable, you’re probably looking at it in the wrong way or attacking it too hard. Small changes are all that are needed to begin with. This might mean replacing your morning toast with a smoothie or opting for a burger without a bun.
The low carb approach to eating was originally made famous by Dr. Atkins, who suggested an extreme diet of cutting all carbohydrates and consuming only proteins and fats as an “induction” into low carb eating. Whilst many people have lost weight on the Atkins programme, people often substitute healthy proteins for easy, processed meats which can raise cholesterol and put strain on the heart and liver. Dr Atkins’ guidelines suggest that dieters stay away from processed food and instead focus on fresh, lean proteins.
In recent years, the rise of ‘clean eating’ has given way to a more scientific approach to dieting. The popularity of Atkins has been replaced with “Keto” which refers to the state of ketosis, when the body reaches the level where it is burning fat and not excess glucose. The idea is that you only consume 40-60g carbohydrate per day, depending on your body weight and lifestyle.
As with any diet, you should not see low-carbing as a quick fix but as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle. Attempt to get 30 mins exercise per day, even if that means going for a stroll around the park. It can be tough to break old habits but it’s more rewarding to build new ones. Don’t forget to allow yourself a slice of cake every now and again!