Promotion: Are low-carb diets the way to go?
A lot of my friends seem to be following a low carb diet recently for weight control. Is this a good idea?
LowLow nutritionist Dr Evelyn Hannon replies:
Low-carb diets have received a lot of publicity lately. These diets usually recommend cutting out most starchy foods such as bread, cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta.
Cutting out starchy foods, or any food group, can be bad for your health because your diet is not balanced and is missing important nutrients to nourish your body.
Vital nutrients that starchy carbohydrates provide include fibre, iron and B vitamins.
Sometimes people mistakenly think starchy foods are fattening, however this is just a myth. Weight for weight, carbohydrates contain less than half the calories of fat.
You do need to watch the added fats such as butter on bread or creamy sauces with pasta as these can significantly increase calorie content.
Low-carbohydrate diets can result in high saturated fat intakes (e.g. from cream, butter, fatty meat) which can increase the chance of developing heart disease.
Low-carbohydrate diets may also restrict the amount of fruit and vegetables that you eat which are vital for good health.
People on low-carb diets can lack energy. Research shows that in the long term, high carbohydrate diets are the most beneficial for health and dietary guidelines recommend that we should be getting about half our energy intake from carbohydrates.
Aside from the consequences on health, food is to be enjoyed and removing a food group from our diet that for many of us is the basis of all our meals, can take a lot of the enjoyment out of eating.
Thanks to LowLow Nutritionist Dr. Evelyn Hannon RPHNutr. For more information on LowLow check out www.facebook.com/lowlowireland
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