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An Introduction to Low Carb Diets

By: Dan Lanicek

Low carbohydrate (or low carb) diet plans have really increased in popularity in the last ten years or so. This is in large part due to the success of the ever-popular Atkins diet and the low carb diets that followed it such as the South Beach diet. But you don't need the latest book or high priced diet program to follow a low carb diet. All you need is some basic dieting knowledge and one of the many low carb free diet plans that can be found on the web.

Low carb diets are typically low in carbohydrates (duh!) and high in fats and proteins. How low the carbs are supposed to be depends on the particular diet plan. Typically, low carb diet plans start you off for a week or two of very low carbs. Meals typically consist of meat (lots of meat!) and vegetables with some zero carb sauces or dressings; no dairy, grains, or fruit allowed. Then certain carbs are slowly added to the meals but never at a high percentage. Typically, carbs will account for 5% - 20% of your calories on a low carb diet.

Why low carbs? When you eat carbohydrates it raises your blood sugar level. This in turn causes your body to release insulin. It is insulin's job to get that sugar (glucose) out of the bloodstream and into your cells. First it tries putting glucose into muscles and when the muscles are full of glucose insulin pumps the remaining glucose into fat cells. While the insulin is doing its work your body will burn the glucose in your bloodstream first before trying to burn your fat. So, if you can keep the glucose level low in the bloodstream, insulin won't put that glucose in your fat cells and the body has very little glucose in the bloodstream to use for energy. Therefore, the body must use something else, like fat, to burn for energy. This is the theory behind low carb dieting.

So now that you know the basics of low carb diets you know what to look for when searching for free low carb diet plans on the web or diet books in the bookstore. The low carb diet plan should steer you far away from starchy carbs like white bread, white rice, and pasta and encourage you to eat leafy green vegetables to get the fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs without spiking the glucose levels.

One final thing to take into consideration is that a low carb diet totally goes against the USDA's food pyramid guidelines. Although low carb diet plans are popular modern science has not determined whether they are healthy or not. There are issues with the increased levels of fat consumption (particularly saturated fat consumption) and it's effect on cholesterol in a low carb diet. You should do the research and check with your doctor to see if low carb diets are right for you.

About the Author

Dan Lanicek is a health enthusiast, weightlifter, and armchair nutritionist. For more information about low carb diets and to learn more about dieting in general and healthy eating, please visit http://www.smartdietplans.com

Visit Site: http://www.smartdietplans.com

Source: ArticleWareHouse.com

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