To put the Atkins Diet 20g-carbs-per-day number into perspective, many mainstream diet nutritionists recommend that about 55 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates. That equals 275 grams of carbohydrate for anyone consuming 2,000 calories a day.
Low Carb Theory
Carbohydrates - essentially starches and sugar - supply energy and play a role in the functioning of the entire body, including the brain. Carbohydrates not used immediately are stored as fat, which converts to energy. When carbohydrates are severely restricted, more fat turns to energy, causing weight loss, low-carb advocates say.
Low Carb Diets - Simply Low in Calories?
While thousands of Americans say they've reduced weight through carb-reduction, nutrition experts remain divided over these diets. Critics contend that dieters who have lost weight did so not because they cut carbs but because they trimmed calories. On this point, studies are mixed.
Complex, Low-Glycemic Index Carbs Still Good for Diet Nutrition
Both the low-carb and high-carb advocates agree, however, that it's best to get any carbohydrates from high-fiber, whole-food sources - often referred to as complex or low-glycemic-index carbs. Whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta and brown rice, for instance, are favored over white bread, white-flour pasta and white rice. Refined (white) sugar - high in both calories and carbs but lacking nutrients - is discouraged by both camps.
Effect of Low Carb Diet on Cholesterol
Still undetermined is the effects of a low-carb diet on "good," "bad" or total blood cholesterol. Some diet experts worry about a possible negative impact on heart health because many low-carb diets encourage immoderate consumption of high-protein foods, including meats, cheeses, cream and other foods loaded with saturated fat.
But several recent studies have failed to show negative effects on cholesterol, however, surprising some experts. At least one study even showed a decrease in harmful triglycerides.
Long Term Effects of Low Carb Diets
Experts warn, however, that the dietary studies so far have been short-term. Long-term effects of low-carb diets on both health and weight loss remain unknown.
Related Low Carb Diet Links
of Dr Atkins Diet
For types and effects of carbs, see: Facts About Carbohydrates
See also: Free Diets
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