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Terre Haute, IN
A Low-Carb Diet You Can Live With
By Suzanne Rostler
Nearly a decade ago, Carolyn Gretta lost 50 pounds on a low-fat diet. A typical breakfast was a bowl of nonfat cereal with skim milk, while lunch consisted of tuna salad made with vinegar—not a drop of oil or mayonnaise in sight. But within a few months of reaching her goal weight, Gretta began to feel ravenous. Sometimes she found herself devouring an entire box of cereal or a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting. When she had regained all of her weight and then some, she knew it was time to try something else.
Gretta’s sister was having luck with the Atkins diet and suggested she give it a try. Indeed, low-carb diet books and products were everywhere Gretta looked: on best-seller lists, in grocery stores, even in vending machines.
The claims behind these diets are certainly compelling. Cutting carbs allows you to melt fat quickly, proponents promise, and without leaving you hungry. The reason? Restricting carbs helps to moderate blood sugar and, consequently, levels of insulin in the blood. The point is controversial, but high insulin levels are thought to promote weight gain because of the blood sugar crash they cause. When that happens you get hungry quickly, and the foods you crave tend to be the very ones that caused the problem in the first place: processed foods that hike blood sugar quickly. So the pattern continues—and you continue to put on pounds. (Some experts also think excess insulin causes the body to store more fat in fat cells.)
Low-carb diets help you break that bad pattern because they depend on protein and fat, which stay in your system longer than most carbohydrates and keep you from feeling hungry.
Gretta liked the sound of it, but when she looked into the Atkins plan she learned that, initially anyway, she’d have to give up fruits and most vegetables—healthy foods she loved—and eat far more meat and cheese than she thought was good for her. As it turns out, her concerns are the same ones nutrition experts have been raising for a while now. The Atkins diet, in particular, has been panned for being too rich in protein and artery-clogging fats and too light on disease-fighting fruits and vegetables.
Luckily for Gretta, a brand-new crop of low-carbohydrate diets has also found a place on best-seller lists, regimens that aren’t quite so radical and that would let her eat more of the foods she liked. Her nutritionist suggested The New Glucose Revolution, which, along with The South Beach Diet and The Zone, purport to help people lose weight and stay healthy for life.
How do they reach this lofty goal? By being discriminating. Take the issue of fats. In early versions of the Atkins plan, butter is considered just as good as olive oil, and you can eat as much saturated fat as you like. But the newer low-carb diets steer people away from such artery-cloggers and toward healthy fats like olive oil, expeller-pressed canola oil, nuts, and avocados. (Even Atkins, before his death last year, abandone...
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