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Low Carbohydrate Diets

Contributed by: News Canada

Is following a low carbohydrate diet an effective way to lose weight?

Ask a registered dietitian

(NC) - Seventy eight per cent of overweight North Americans still believe the myth that what you eat makes a diet succeed or fail. Research shows that it's not necessarily what you eat - but how much of it you eat. In Canada, food portions have increased over the years and super sizing means more calories and more pounds. Many Canadians also opt for unhealthy fad diets such as the low carb diet which keeps your body from getting the necessary fibre, protein and vitamins it needs.

B-vitamins, in particular, are very important to health. They help metabolize food into much-needed energy to fuel an active lifestyle. They are also shown to help to prevent heart disease and maintain a healthy nervous and immune system, as well as reduce the risk of birth defects.

The U.S. National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), recently expressed concern over the burgeoning popularity of low-carbohydrate diets and their potential to prompt an increase in the prevalence of birth defects. The organization warned against more and more people adopting a low carb lifestyle. It encouraged all women of childbearing age to eat a variety of foods and take a multivitamin to get the recommended 0.4 mg of folic acid daily, to prevent birth defects.

Overall, a healthy diet is based on balance, variety, moderation and common sense. When a food group is avoided or eliminated, important nutrients are compromised in the diet. Any diet that focuses on one food or food group at the expense of others just doesn't make sense.

You should focus on a lower fat diet that is moderate in carbs, high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and proven safe over the long term. If you are cutting back on carbohydrates, it's important to take a daily multivitamin to meet daily nutrient needs. Losing weight is almost always a good thing, but it shouldn't come at the expense of a complete, healthy diet.

Samara Felesky-Hunt is a registered dietitian and nutritional educator for Global TV and A-Channel TV.


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