For a start lets think of the word “Diet”.
For me –
A diet is the sum, total or the usual food that is consumed or eaten by a human or an animal. Since it concerns eating it can also refer to something that is regularly provided and enjoyed. In health care terms it can mean the regulation or restricting of what is eaten or consumed with the aim to improve health or appearance.
The word diet can be as general as someone’s day to day eating habits or as specific as an athletes extreme way of eating, counting all calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins and making and acknowledgement of all vital nutrients and minerals the person has an intake of.
Diets can be good and healthy or bad and unhealthy, diets can be used to lose body fat, gain body fat, lose muscle, build muscle, help with body function and health or improve body appearance. To me the word diet can cover a large spectrum of nutritional possibilities.
Now, Everybody talks about “Cutting out carbs completely”
I NEED to stop eating carbs !!! … No you don’t
When you cut the carbs out of your diet, your body empties out the “emergency” stores of carbohydrate it keeps in the liver and muscles in the form of a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is a normal part of our metabolism and allows us to do energy-intensive things like sprinting, for example, by letting us draw on the carbs stored in our muscles for energy.
More importantly the glycogen stored in our liver allows us to keep our brain functioning. A person who is not low carbing needs 100 gms of glucose a day merely to supply the brain’s basic needs. If the body can’t get glucose from the diet it has two choices: use stored carbohydrate–our friend glycogen again, or convert dietary or muscle protein into carbohydrate using a lengthy process called “gluconeogenesis” which takes place in the liver. Because the body wants to avoid using its own muscle fibers for fuel, it does what it can to keep that liver glycogen store filled up.
Nutritional research that shows that a typical 150 lb man is carrying about three quarters of a pound of glycogen. But what most people don’t know is that each molecule of glycogen is bound to four molecules of water and water has weight too. This means that when your liver and muscles are charged up with glycogen it adds an additional four pounds or more to your body weight.
When you start a very low carb diet you cut off the body’s supply of dietary carbohydrate and this leads to a rapid emptying of these liver and muscle glycogen stores. And when you lose that glycogen, you also lose the associated water. That’s the reason why, during the first couple days of a low carb diet, you lose weight so dramatically. It’s also why you may feel slimmer and lose “inches.” You haven’t lost fat. You’ve simply dumped the water out of your muscles and liver.
And that is why people are all praising a low carb diet when losing a load of weight in the first week – in a nutshell.
Now that we are aware of a couple of facts…
Here is why crash dieting does not work long term –
Trying to take short cuts in life without hard work is very rarely successful, hence why all those get rich quick schemes (although they may seem like a gold mine at the time) never seem to pan out. The same principle goes with losing weight and attaining the body you desire. The phrase slow and steady wins the race has never been truer in this instance, gradual weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a sure fire way of reaching your goals and staying there. All the crash diets that you see advertised are either –
b) A money making scam for the inventor of it
c) A means of losing temporary weight then cause it to regain weeks later.
It has been clinically proven that going on extremely low carb diets cause you to lose a lot of weight through water and glycogen in your body causing you to be satisfied with the results only to still hold body fat. These diets also cause you to lose muscle, not to mention a lot of other nutrients you are deprived from. If you were to measure your body fat each week, I know from experience that good results from hard dieting and training you would lose around 1%. This may not sound like much but appearance wise this is a lot, especially if you can manage to hold onto muscle, especially once you get leaner. Whereas, If you lose even 6lbs weight your first week on a crash diet, you could see yourself losing less than 1% body fat with the rest water weight and muscle. So the true definition of fat loss on a crash diet isn’t the correct term. Weight loss, water loss and muscle loss is more suited for such an extreme diet. Skipping meals is another popular one as people think it may cause you to lose fat and “The less you eat the more you will lose weight”. There has never been a more false statement made. Again, It has been clinically proven that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, skipping breakfast leaves your body in a state of catabolism causing your body to break down muscle for energy and depriving your brain of carbohydrates. Not to mention putting a halt to your metabolism and causing your body to hold on to fat as it doesn’t know when its next meal may be. Then there is the angle of having extremely small meals causing a huge calorie deficit. By doing this you are depriving yourself of nutrients, causing low energy levels and a unhealthy lifestyle. The main reason for a diet to me is health. Promoting better health all round, nutritional and fat loss not one or the other.
The best way to lose weight –
A good well balanced diet.
At least 3 meals a day with 1-2 nutritious snacks throughout the day.
Sensible calorie reductions, carbohydrate monitoring and a variation of good healthy fats and proteins.
Some exercise 3-4 times a week consisting of cardio vascular work and resistance training.
Drinking at least 3 litres of water each day.
Stay away from fast food, excess alcohol and cigarettes.
In my opinion you cannot go wrong with following a healthy lifestyle as stated above.