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Are low-carb and paleo diets really healthy?
(14.06.2021) back
Low-card or paleo diets are not recommended
Low-carb diets promise to make the fat around your midsection and hips disappear, but be warned: these diets do not work, and they're also unhealthy
Meat is high in fat and should only rarely be included in your meals
Meat is healthy according to the low-carb or paleo philosophy, but meat is fatty and low in nutrients so it should only rarely be on the menu
Natural, quality carbs are the most healthy foods you can eat
Eating high-quality, natural carbohydrates will help you to lose weight and reduce your body fat
Eating natural and wholesome carbs on a regular basis promotes a long and healthy life
Brown rice, wholegrain products and other natural, wholesome carbohydrates, together with fresh fruits and vegetables, are the most healthy foods for your body

There are more and more articles in many different kinds of magazines about eating low-carb or "paleo", and there are also reports in the media about how such diets promote weight loss. One really has to ask if it's sensible and heathy for us to give up carbohydrates or even simply eat less of them for the longer term.

Completely avoiding carbohydrates – a danger to the body that should not be underestimated

It's now common on websites to find information about low-carb diets and how effective they are when it comes to losing weight.

It's true: people who follow this philosophy and eat less carbohydrates may indeed notice some small successes, at first anyway, as the kilograms or pounds seems to be melting off. The bigger question that you should be asking yourself is whether or not this eating concept can in fact represent a long-term solution. Can eating this way really supply us with all the nutrients we need throughout our lives while keeping our bodies youthful, beautiful and full of energy?

The latest research results show that the low-carb approach in this context gets very low marks indeed. If we continue with the analogy from our time in school, it could be said that those who follow a low-carb method will be taking a make-up exam sometime in the future. The reason for this is easy to explain: if we take in carbohydrates through the foods we eat, they are digested and pass into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestines. This increases our blood glucose levels. The body's natural reaction to this is the production of insulin by the pancreas, and one of the jobs of the insulin is to transport the glucose into our cells where it is used as a source of energy. If we entirely avoid carbohydrates, this process that is natural for the human body does not take place. What the body does instead is break down stored fat in the cells for energy, and we do indeed notice some weight loss. Through the breaking down of fats, something the body normally only does in emergencies, substances called ketones are released. Ketones cause the fluid in the body to become more acidic, which can in turn lead to damage to the organs or muscles.

The fundamental question when it comes to how and what we eat should involve consideration of the following: which foods keep us healthy, mobile and youthful, and – combined with sufficient physical activity – ensure that we do not develop fat deposits in the first place?

In a nutshell: a plant-based diet is simple and healthy

Another problematic aspect of the low-carb movement is the fact that when you eat this way, limiting the amount of animal products one consumes is not in the picture. Part of eating low-carb actually involves no second thoughts about eating meat, dairy products and almost all oils. These are the specific foods that most influence the digestive tract in a negative way, and thus this diet does not provide optimal support for our overall health. Frequent meat consumption promotes weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as arterial sclerosis. Milk products also don't score much better here, and their frequent consumption is something you really ought to consider if you are looking to stay healthy.

If we accept the premise that the regular consumption of carbohydrates ultimately leads to weight gain – a position that is advocated by many in the low-carb movement – then we would have to conclude that the majority of people living in Asia must be overweight. Looking at the facts, this is not at all the case for people living in the West just as it is not the case for those enjoying a traditional Asian diet.

Carbs don't make you fat…fatty foods make you fat!

The clear majority of the diseases of modern civilisation first became prevalent with the adaptation of a predominantly Western-style diet, which includes the abundant consumption of animal products and fats. Considering the alternatives, it actually becomes crystal clear what we need to do to make ourselves more healthy in a sustainable way. Eating wholesome and healthy foods is the proper diet – here are some guidelines:

  • quality carbohydrates that are wholegrain (e.g. spelt, oats, buckwheat, quinoa and barley)
  • lots of fresh and organic vegetables from your region
  • legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas
  • organic fruits from your region
  • plenty of fresh and pure water, or tea if you like

Sources: Dr. Hiromi Shinya, The Rejuvenation Enzyme – Reverse Aging, Revitalize Cells, Restore Vigor, 2012 & Dr. McDougall, John A. and McDougall, Mary, The Starch Solution, Rodale Press, 2013

Of course you'll find a wealth of 100% natural products in our healthy online shop.

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