Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Carbohydrates Affect Health and Weight

Here are just a couple blurbs from the Diet Heart News article 25 Reasons the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol & saturated fat that refer to carbohydrates:
  • The primary dietary cause of diabetes and heart disease is the excess carbohydrates in our diet, especially sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the easily-digested carbohydrates found in grain and grain products. Since 1980, Americans are consuming at least 400 additional carbohydrate calories a day – much of it sugar and corn syrup.
  • Blood-sugar-raising carbohydrates have a direct and immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin levels and, in the words of science writer Gary Taubes, “on the disruption of the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body.”
  • High insulin levels (hyperinsulinism) explain why Americans have fattened. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we make and store fat and lock it up in adipose tissue. When fat is locked up, it is not available as a fuel to the trillions of cells in the body. Hunger is the result.
  • By stimulating insulin levels, carbohydrates make us hungry and fat. High circulating insulin – in response to excess dietary carbohydrates – is the root cause of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and coronary heart disease – which leads to congestive heart failure.
  • According to the CDC in Atlanta, 1 in 3 children born today will become diabetics and 80 percent of diabetics die of heart disease. We have both an expanding population and a steadily increasing incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Americans need relief. How bad do things have to get before we revise the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in favor of a higher fat whole foods carbohydrate-restricted diet?

Low Carb Flaxseed Pancakes

Recently I tried out a low carb flaxseed pancake recipe (which I found on another low carb blog, Unbreaded) and I was impressed with how delicious it turned out! I love pancakes and it is one food I miss while living la vida low carb, so this is a great and healthy alternative, plus it tastes just like a whole grain pancake; And with some splenda or sugarfree syrup on top, it's even better!

3 medium eggs (or two jumbo eggs)
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
3 teaspoons Splenda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything and pour into a skillet or onto a griddle on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the sides become firm and rounded and then flip over. Eat and enjoy!*

*I don't have an exact carb count, but I'm assuming this would be a recipe for later phases of Atkins (pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.) Even so, it's a nice recipe to use once in awhile, even on earlier phases when you get a hankering for a good ol' pancake! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back for Round 2

Round 2

After a long hiatus from blogging on Ready2GetHealthy, I'm back and ready for more!

I saw great continued success early in 2012 following the Atkins lifestyle, but didn't do well the second half of the year. So here I am, uncomfortable and with plenty of extra weight (thanks, Holidays!) and ready to start again.

If you're not familiar with Atkins, it is a low carb diet that consists of mostly vegetables, protein and healthy fats, as well as gradually adding in fruits, nuts, and whole grains in the later phases for lifetime maintenance. By reducing the amount of processed, refined sugars and carbohydrates the body intakes, the body is then able to burn its fat stores for fuel rather than just burning all that sugar and storing the extra sugar as fat. Not only that, but you will find that you have more energy, stamina, and are healthier overall. You will also eliminate those nasty carb cravings that occur with blood sugar spikes, so you'll naturally eat less and be less hungry throughout the day.

Low carb diets are recommended by doctors for diabetes and pre-diabetes patients, and many studies show that low carb diets help lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and improve blood pressure. Don't believe it? Try it out for yourself and see if your health indicators improve!

I know there are lots of negative misconceptions about low carb diets, so I want to point out that I am not completely eliminating carbohydrates, nor eating an excessive amount of meat. The focus of this lifestyle is on reducing bad carbs (white bread, pasta, sugary fruits, processed foods) and utilizing good carbs (vegetables, whole grains, berries, nuts) while eating an adequate amount of protein and healthy fats. As with any healthy eating plan, I believe in moderation...but I don't count calories!

For more information, visit or check out the book The New Atkins for a New You, which I have read and recommend.

Check back often for low carb recipes and tips!