My Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard today is a follow-up to my column from last week about low-carbohydrate diets. These diets are both popular and effective for weight loss, but are criticized by many because they restrict many foods that are known to be an important part of a healthy diet—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is possible that these diets are effect not because they restrict all carbohydrates, but because they limit the intake of “unhealthy” carbohydrates such as sugars and refined grains. The downside is that carbohydrate sources like whole grains are also restricted.
The best diet, then, might be one that emphasizes the right carbohydrates in the diet by limiting sugars and refined grains. Considering that these nutrients are a major part of the typical American diet, this would also have the effect of reducing calorie intake, leading to weight loss.
Two important goals of any weight loss diet should be to 1) reduce calories to promote weight loss and 2) promote the consumption of healthy foods. These two goals are essential for long-term weight management and reducing the risk of chronic disease. One excellent diet that meets both of these goals is the DASH diet. It is so effective that people who follow the DASH diet tend to lose weight even when they aren’t really trying! You can learn more about the DASH diet here.