Bacon is okay to eat while being on one diet and not okay to eat while being on another diet. Foods low in fat are better than foods with no fat. And every food is okay in moderation.
With all the new studies out there, it would be easy to feel confused and overwhelmed about the best and healthiest way to lose weight.
The latest studies on dieting from USA Today and Health Today are saying that a low carbohydrate diet can be more successful for weight loss compared to a low-fat diet. However, a group of four dieticians from Trinity Health want to inform people that there are benefits, disadvantages and risks when trying to follow a low carbohydrate diet.
From left, Jenna Kourajian, Cory Doucet and Alyssa Hobbs, all registered dieticians, and Kayla Wahlin, clinical dietician, discuss the benefits of healthy eating in their office at Trinity. They said there are benefits, disadvantages and risks to being on a low carbohydrate diet and it helps to be knowledgeable in order to do it correctly.
Registered dietician Alyssa Hobbs said low carbohydrate diets cut out non-nutritive foods that are high in carbohydrates, sugars, fat and calories - foods like soda pop, juice, cookies, cakes, chips and high calorie/high fat snack foods.
A low carbohydrate diet would consist of 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories, or 50 to 175 grams of carbohydrates a day at 2,000 calories total, according to the recommendation. It's a drastic cut from the typical 40 to 65 percent or 250 grams of carbohydrates in total daily calories, Hobbs said. There is initial weight loss, but many people see weight loss from cutting out those foods to begin with.
Low carbohydrate diets can give someone a "jumpstart" to weight loss, but low carbohydrate diets are difficult to maintain and people end up gaining some, if not all, of the weight back within one year, Hobbs said. Studies have shown that low carbohydrate diets were also found to promote weight loss, but also increase the risk of heart disease. Also, she added, the studies weren't looking at the kind of fat.
"It's important to make sure you're eating healthy fats on a low-carb diet," Hobbs said, "like fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, fish and healthy oils."
The Mediterranean diet is the better diet, she noted, because it emphasizes healthy food rather than the high fat and high calorie diets of many Americans.
Initially, a person on a low carbohydrate diet will see weight loss in six months, Hobbs said, but it's mostly fluid. It also depends on the person and their state of health, she added, so diabetics should not go on a low carbohydrate diet.
Foods included in a low carbohydrate diet, said Hobbs, would include eggs, lean meat, nuts, seeds, a little amount of fruit, non-starchy vegetables, and canola or olive oil. Meat does not have any carbohydrates, she noted, so chicken, beef and fish would be OK to eat on that diet. Milk, however, would not be OK to have, unless it's milk from almonds or coconuts. Mostly, a person on a low carbohydrate diet would eat salad, meat and nuts, Hobbs remarked.
There are some health benefits to a low carbohydrate diet, though. Hobbs said the diet cuts out the non-nutritive foods like sweets, junk food, white bread and pasta.
"If you focus on eating healthy fats, then you'll eat more healthy fats," she added. It's also a fast way to lose weight, helps maintain blood sugars, and decreases insulin response, Hobbs said. Another benefit is that it will increase your vegetable intake because you'll get the crunch that people like and are looking for, she remarked.
However, there are also some disadvantages to the low carbohydrate diet. Cutting out too many carbohydrates will make you feel sluggish, Hobbs said, because carbohydrates keep the brain functioning and provide energy. Your brain requires 120 grams of glucose a day in order to function, she said. A person will also miss out on nutrients from whole grains and fruits and will have some constipation issues, Hobbs noted, and eating fewer carbohydrates cuts out a lot of foods, leaving room for foods high in bad fats. There have been studies that find people who eat a low carbohydrate diet lose more fat than those who follow a low fat diet, Hobbs said.
If people are going to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they consume, Hobbs said dieticians encourage people to add more fruit to their diet. You also need to be knowledgeable in order to do a low carbohydrate diet correctly, she said.
Hobbs said her advice to people would be to cut out the high carbohydrate, high fat foods and focus on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
"It's really about portion and balance. Diet is what you eat everyday, what you do to maintain," Hobbs said.