The Low Carb Movement

Are you a person struggling with your weight? Are you frustrated because of failed attempts at dieting? Are you trying to watch calories, but the weight just doesn’t seem to be coming off? If so, I want to assure you that you are in good company. Two out of every three of us are struggling to maintain a healthy weight. But why? Why are so many of us having so much trouble getting those extra pounds off?

In my 25 years of practicing medicine as a P.A. – over half of which has been focusing on the treatment of obesity – I have learned a lot about why we have such a difficult time getting the results we want. Let me share a few things my experience has taught me:

Meghan Trainor sings that she is “all ‘bout that bass ‘bout that bass” – but I’ll tell you that I’m “all ‘bout those carbs, ‘bout those carbs, baby.” If there is a common theme among the patients I work with who struggle with their weight – it is that they love their carbs. And really, who doesn’t? They taste great and give us an immediate rush of “happy” chemicals in our brain. Many would say that they have an addictive property to them, not unlike tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

First, let’s talk about what a carbohydrate really is. A carbohydrate can be defined as an organic compound found in food (sugar, starch and celluloses), most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods. In more practical terms, I think of carbs as something that comes from a plant. For instance, fruit, vegetables and grain all contain carbohydrates.

In addition to tasting good, carbohydrates are an excellent source of immediately available fuel that will power your muscles, your brain, and all the other cells of your body needing energy. However, there is an important window of opportunity that you have after consuming carbs. Once those carbs are ingested, they break down into fuel. If those carbs are not burned quickly, they will be stored as fat. As you learn more about the carb-effect on weight gain, you’ll find that some carbs break down into fuel faster than others. This is where some people refer to carbs as being either “good” or “bad”.

In the coming days, I’ll be posting more on this subject. There is so much to be said and so much to be learned.

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