Test Your Weight Loss Wisdom
How much do you know about calories and carbs?
3. True or false: Most of us eat too many carbohydrates.
True. Americans eat too many calories, period, and many of
them come from sweets, sugars, and fats. It's not just about too many
carbohydrates but too much of everything, including protein, fat, and
alcohol. Your WebMD Weight Loss Clinic eating plan follows the guidelines of
the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS recommends a diet in which 45%
to 60% of total calories come from carbohydrates, primarily in the form of
low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as
whole-wheat bread and brown rice. The NAS recommends that 10%-35% of calories
come from protein, such as seafood, skinless poultry, and lean meat, and
20%-35% come from healthy fats such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
4. True or false: Weight loss is faster and more effective on a low-carbohydrate diet.
False. Any diet that drastically cuts calories will result in fast
weight loss, but research shows that fast weight loss tends to be followed by
fast regain. Weight loss results from eating fewer calories and expending more
energy with physical activity. The real test of any diet is whether it helps
you keep the weight off permanently.
Following a low-carbohydrate diet generally puts you into a state called
"ketosis," which means your body has no carbohydrates to burn for
energy, so it burns stored fat or whatever else is available. Ketosis tends to
reduce hunger, so often you end up eating a very low-calorie diet. Of course,
it's calories that count when you are trying to lose weight. And every fad
diet, one way or another, manages to cut calories.
There are some undesirable side effects of a low-carbohydrate lifestyle,
including constipation, bad breath, headaches, and potential vitamin and
mineral deficiencies. In the long run, a diet high in fat -- especially
saturated fat -- may also increase your risk of heart disease and some cancers.
The National Academy of Sciences suggests that everyone should eat a minimum of
130 grams of carbohydrates each day. Do the math. That comes to 520
carbohydrate calories a day.