Jul 042010
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Diets of this type are based around the reduction of carbohydrates. Typically, they advise that you consume carbohydrates equivalent to only 20-30% of daily food value of suggested carbohydrate consumption.  The most famous diet of this type is the Atkins diet. During the first few weeks on it you will be allowed to eat a maximum of 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Over time you will be able to slowly increase that amount up to 70 grams. However, you will have to continue eating this way throughout your life. At first your body weight will decrease dramatically, but this is not fat loss. You lose glycogen in your muscles due to the fact that you are not supplying your body with the normal amounts of water and glucose it is used to.

When our bodies lose water we immediately lose weight. This happens due to the fact that water is rather heavy on a molecular level. The number showing on your scale may look more acceptable, but do not be fooled. Your body measurement will stay the same. This is why my coach used to tell me that if I want to lose weight I should check my body measurements not my weight.

If we compare diets that focus on low carbohydrate intake and diets with low fat intake, the low carb diet will allow for faster weight loss with less physical harm to your body initially. This is only true during the first months of dieting, however. After a year of dieting both types of diets results will show the same results most of the time.

One of the most wide-spread low carb diets was offered by famous French nutritionist Michelle Montinyak. He found a method of giving a numerical value to products according to their glycemic index. This allowed him to differentiate carbs as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

The glycemic index of carbohydrates is based on their ability to increase your glycemia level compared to glucose. This index is a scale that maxes out at 100. The numerical index value of “good” carbs is below 50, “bad” carbs  are over 50. So the point of the index is to eat ”good” carbs and to not eat “bad” carbs. It is not hard to guess that “bad” carbs are food items such as patatoes, grapes, everything white (sugar, flour, bread), semolina, sweets, and chocolate. Good carbs are buckwheat,  oatmeal porridge, vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce), fresh fruits, beans, mushrooms, etc.

One of the advantages of Montinyak diet is that it is not harmful for your health. Unfortunately, following it for a long period of time is not comfortable.  You can, of course, count up the glycemic index of your meal using the calculator in your cell phone, but the actual discomfort is the fact that it can be hard to live without sweets and chocolate.

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