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Are You a Low-Carb Diet Dropout?

Make the change to a healthier lifestyle
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Tired of living in a low-carb world? Low-carb diet dropouts regularly light up our community message boards, with comments ranging from how afraid they are of adding carbs back to their diets to how fatigued they felt on carb-cutting regimens.

If you're one of these diet defectors, thank goodness you've found the Weight Loss Clinic! We don't push butter, bacon, or other foods high in saturated fat -- just plenty of smart carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Our program is not just another fad diet that recommends you eat strange combinations of foods or give up perfectly healthy foods. In fact, it's not a diet at all, but a way to help you change unhealthy habits -- a solution for life.

Fear of Carbs

For centuries, different cultures around the globe have lived primarily on carbs, in the form of grains. You've heard it before: you could live on a diet of bread (carbs) and water; and bread is "the staff of life." And it's true; your body operates much more efficiently when roughly half of your daily calories come from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred form of fuel. They're easily broken down into glucose, which circulates throughout the blood and is used to fuel your bodily processes. Your brain uses glucose to help it think, and your muscles prefer glucose to help them function normally.

Other nutrients, such as protein, can be converted into glucose. But this process is far more complicated, and your kidneys must work harder to get rid of the byproducts.

'Smart' Carbs

Before Atkins and South Beach, most people paid very little attention to how many or type of carbohydrates they ate. I do credit the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets for enlightening consumers about "smart carbohydrates."

"Smart carbs" are carbohydrates in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients and are chock-full of fiber. The fiber content, along with the complex nature of these foods, means that your body absorbs them slowly and that you really feel full after you eat them. So not only are they good for you, they help keep you from overeating between meals.

As you make the transition from a low-carb diet to your individualized Weight Loss Clinic eating plan, keep in mind that we advocate a diet that meets the standards of the National Institutes of Health. We follow the NIH guideline that carbohydrates make up 45%-65% of your total calories.

Your best bet is to go slowly. And when you choose carbohydrate foods, go for the "smart carbs" -- like whole fruits instead of fruit juice, brown rice instead of white. Your fears will soon be put to rest. And better yet, you will feel great and have more energy.

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