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What are Low Carb Diets?


Reader Arthur Mead asks:

“Hi. I have heard nothing but low-carb this and low-carb that lately. My wife is trying to get me to drink low-carb beer because she thinks it will help me to lose my beer belly and some weight. I would like to know if she is right? Also, just what is a low-carb diet and do you think these work?

Kris Etheridge –  Sports Movement, Strength Conditioning and, Balance and Agility Trainer

What is a low carb diet? The answer to this question varies greatly depending on whom you talk to.

A real low carb diet involves going into ‘ketosis’. This word means that your body is using fat and protein for its energy sources, not carbohydrates. To achieve this your not consuming any carbohydrates from food sources which leads to depleted levels of glucose in the body requiring your body to convert protein and fat into glucose for energy.

There is a perception in the general public that reducing the amount of sugar and the amount of white processed foods that you consume means you’re on a low-carb diet. But, the truth is, replacing these sugary, processed foods with these so-called healthier options is no better for your health. Why? Well, these foods contain a similar amount of carbohydrate as the sweet processed varieties.

The difference is these forms of carbohydrates is they are high in fibre and slow release causing less of a spike in insulin levels. An excellent example of this is vegetables.

To learn more about insulin and carbohydrates click HERE.

Does a low carb diet work?

Yes and no. The most important element to weight loss is the number of calories you consume daily. Followed by the source of your calories.

Over the years there have been numerous studies into the effectiveness of a low carb diet on weight loss. As a result, low carb consumption continues to be one of the fastest ways to lose body fat.

I recommend switching from highly processed carbohydrates and sugar to lower sugar alternatives if your goal is weight loss and general health. This method will allow your body to get more fibre and nutrients. Plus, this will also help keep your fat storing hormones like insulin in check.

Should you switch to low carb beer?

Switching to a low carb alternative can help shed up to 60 calories per bottle. Of course, this dependent on the variety you’re changing from and then electing to drink instead.

This simple change may be enough to cause you to lose weight. However,  on the other hand, if you’re only having a few drinks a week, then you’re going to have to have a look at the amount of food you’re consuming. The types of foods you’re eating and how much exercise you are or are not doing.

Kris Ethridge | © Kris EthridgeKris Etheridge is a Melbourne based health and fitness expert that has delivered over 20,000 personal training sessions in the last 10 years. Kris has worked with world champion athletes and numerous well known celebrities. He is currently working on his first female weight loss book, which is due out later in 2012.

As a fitness expert, Kris is always looking for ways to help more people live a healthier life. He is a certified personal trainer,  sports movement, strength conditioning and, balance and agility trainer,  and he has just opened his own studio in Toorak, Victoria. This exclusive private studio specialises in weight loss and has all the latest equipment and facilities, and is for one-on-one training only.


Wendy Bentley – Body Pump and RPM Instructor, Public Speaker and Mindset Specialist

The first question you need to ask yourself is not whether low carb is better for you, but rather, “Is this a sustainable nutritional program?”

Carbs are critical as they provide an essential energy source known as glucose. If you have ever attempted a low carb, high protein diet you would have experienced a type of ‘brain fade’ after a few days. This fade occurs because the brain, cells of the body and red blood cells prefer glucose as the energy source. If we deplete the body of this power supply, it can reduce your energy levels and cause you to feel lethargic and sleepy.

Carbs are in many food sources. In fact, most vegetables have carbs with starchy vegetables such as potato hosting the highest concentration. A low-carb diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates you eat by replacing them with a greater proportion of protein such as fish, chicken and red meat.

Do they work? Essentially, yes they do. You will lose fluid, and you will lose weight. However, you will not be able to sustain this for an extended period due to the mental and physical side effects.

Now let’s talk about beer…
Many studies have shown it is not the beer that causes a beer belly, but instead, it is the food that you eat when you are drinking beer. Quite often beer is accompanied by potato crisps, hot chips, party pies and many other versions of saturated fat. Ask yourself, “What am I eating when I drink beer?”

Finally, it is more important for you to monitor how much beer you drink rather than whether it contains carbs. Simply put, weight loss comes down to three basic things:

1. Eat a variety of clean foods. For example, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, protein and healthy fats.
2. Eat smaller, well-balanced meals more often to keep your metabolism cranking and;
3. Move your body.

Wendy Bentley grew up in the fitness industry and did her first aerobics class with her mum at the age of seven. She has been a qualified personal trainer since 2005, and is a Body Pump and RPM instructor, an author, public speaker and a mindset specialist. Wendy is a qualified NLP practitioner and has completed the level 1-3 workshops with neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza. Her greatest passion is helping people to break out of their own thinking and create a new existence of health and wellbeing. In addition, as a result of a family tragedy Wendy created  a revolutionary product called Think for Fitness and she is studying a Bachelor of Health Science – Nutritional Medicine.

Your Questions Answered

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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