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Untangling the Yo-Yo

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Untangling the Yo-Yo

In our age of quick fixes and instant solutions, crash weight-loss plans and fad diets seem almost mandatory. Who wants to wait weeks to see results when magazine covers promise that we can melt fat overnight, and drop 10 pounds in seven days?

In our age of quick fixes and instant solutions, crash weight-loss plans and fad diets seem almost mandatory. Who wants to wait weeks to see results when magazine covers promise that we can melt fat overnight, and drop 10 pounds in seven days?

But while the idea may seem appealing that, in just a few days, we can shed the extra pounds we’ve accumulated over several years, it’s far from realistic, let alone healthy. Fad diets often create nutritional imbalances, and the weight loss they facilitate is rarely maintained when the diet ends.

High protein and fat risks

Many of today’s popular diets, including the Atkins diet, prescribe reduced carbohydrate intake and increased consumption of protein, fat, or both. This encourages weight loss because it creates ketosis–a condition in which the body metabolizes body fat to produce energy.

Sounds fabulous–tricking the body into fat-burning mode, doesn’t it? Only if you’re prepared to live with the diet’s side effects, which include headaches and muscle weakness, as well as diarrhea or constipation resulting from inadequate fibre intake.

Eating too much fat can also cause your liver to become fatty and may even damage this vital organ, according to a University of Minnesota study published in the May 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Similarly discouraging are the findings by Professor Arne Astrup of the research department of human nutrition at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark, which showed that weight loss achieved with the Atkins diet doesn’t last. After six months, study subjects began to regain their weight.

Perils of High Carb

On the opposite side of the coin are high-carb diets advocating low protein and fat intake. A classic prototype, the Pritikin diet, first became popular in the 1970s. But those who cut too much protein and fat from their diet risk

failure because, not only are both nutrients important for health metabolic function, a certain amount of protein and fat increases satiety; when they are missing from the diet, we experience a continuous hungry feeling, likely to result in overeating.

Recent research links high-carb diets with increased risk of certain types of cancer, notably breast cancer. A study published in Diabetes Care in 2005 suggests that these imbalanced eating regimens may also increase blood pressure in diabetics.

However, it is important to distinguish between healthy carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which are highly nourishing, and refined starches and sugars, which supply empty calories and rob the body of nutrients during metabolism.

Whole Foods Key to Lasting Weight Loss

Several studies confirm that only a varied diet consisting of natural whole foods and balanced nutrients achieves long-term weight loss and optimal health. Settle for nothing less in your quest for your ideal weight.

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