Low-carbohydrate weight-loss plans have become very popular.
You may know people who have lost weight by following Dr.
Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Sugar Busters!, The Zone, The
Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program, or other
low-carbohydrate diets. While these programs may help you lose
weight, it is too soon to tell whether they are safe. In fact,
low-carbohydrate diets that are high in saturated fat and red meat
might increase your chances of getting heart disease or cancer.
Good carb, bad carb
Certain types of low-carbohydrate diets are healthy. Although
cutting carbohydrates out of your diet completely is never a good
idea, reducing the number of "bad carbs" in your diet
can help you lose weight safely. Bad carbs such as cookies, cake,
crackers, potatoes, white bread, white rice, and pasta are
digested very quickly. Because they do not stick with you for
long, you may feel hungry again soon after eating them.
"Good carbs" are slowly absorbed by the body and may
make you feel full longer than bad carbs do. Green vegetables such
as spinach, green beans, lettuce, and broccoli are examples.
Nonstarchy vegetables and whole grains are a necessary part of any
healthy diet. Whole-grain cereals and whole-wheat foods are also
excellent sources of fiber. Because they tend to keep blood sugar
at a consistent level, good carbs are especially healthy choices
for people with diabetes.
• Eat about 4 servings of whole grains and at least 5
servings of nonstarchy fruits and vegetables (like berries and
leafy greens) each day
• Limit the amount of bananas, potatoes, carrots, and other
starchy fruits and vegetables in your diet
• Replace white bread, white pasta, and white rice with
whole-wheat and brown rice versions
• Cut back on sugar
• Eat chicken, beans, and fish for protein instead of red
If you do not feel full, eat more fruits and nonstarchy
vegetables rather than sweets and junk food. Whatever you do, do
not begin eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, cheeseburgers
without the bun for lunch, and steak for dinner. Over time, such a
weight-loss plan could have dangerous effects on your overall
health. A healthy diet is a balanced one that is based on foods
that come from plants rather than animals. Meat (especially red
meat) should be eaten sparingly—no more than a few times per
Get in shape
As with any diet, exercise is key to losing weight and keeping
it off. Consult your doctor about an appropriate program of
physical activity. In most cases, at least 30 minutes of aerobic
activity each day is recommended.
Consult your doctor
Never begin a diet or exercise program without first speaking
with your doctor—especially if you have a chronic condition such
as diabetes or hypertension. He or she can give you advice on
whether the plan you are considering is right for you. Your doctor
can also keep track of your progress, make sure your health is
improving, and make suggestions on how to change the plan if it is
not working. His or her knowledge is based on years of medical
training and experience not usually found in fad diet books. There
is no quick way to lose weight. But with a balanced diet,
determination, and the help of your doctor, you can make yourself
healthier and lighter on the scale.
Breakfast: a bowl of high-fiber cereal
Lunch: salad, vegetables, and a lean source of
protein such as baked skinless chicken
Dinner: soup (with a clear broth base instead of
cream), salad, and a green vegetable followed by a small amount of
protein and starch (such as fish and rice). The trick is to fill
up on the soup, salad, and green vegetable as much as you can, so
you will only eat a tiny portion of the protein and starch.
Healthy snacks (choose 1): vegetables,
fruit, yogurt, a dozen nuts, or a 2-oz low-fat cheese stick.