Low Carb diets – Healthy or Harmful?

Low Carb diets – Healthy or Harmful?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 13:18

Atkins, South Beach…Low Carb diets are all the rage…but are they good for us?

The first thing to clarify is what we mean by good. The most important thing to remember is that these diets are ‘Weight Loss’ diets, NOT HEALTH DIETS. For losing weight, yes they can work great…however for overall health, they can be disastrous.

In Ayurvedic terms, high carb foods(pasta, rice, bread etc) are ‘kaphic’ in nature – heavier & sweeter in quality – which is why they can increase weight more easily. What Western science fails to fully appreciate though is that food also has a very important ‘emotional’ component. Carbohydrate/Kaphic foods (‘comfort’ foods) are what nourish us not only physically but emotionally. By lowering carbohydrate intake too much, you subject yourself to a high fat/high protein diet, which not only increases your risk of many other problems – heart disease etc, but long-term can lead to weakened tissues, lowered immunity, disturbed energy levels and undernourished emotions.

Next time you see someone who has been on one of these diets, notice how they probably seemed great initially – because they feel good about losing the weight – but over time, if they stay on the same diet, they can start to become irritable/cranky – i.e they lose their ‘sweetness’, and with time they may start to experience seemingly unrelated health problems.

Summary – WHAT TO DO?

1. Understand we are not ‘bagging’ these diets – it’s just they not suitable for everyone(especially long-term) – no ‘generic’ diet is.

2. If you are a Kapha type (sweet natured, more cuddly – easily put on weight etc) these diets can have some merit for you. Reducing carbs is ‘generally’ good for you and the recommendation of reducing them at night (after 5-6pm) is definitely valid. Follow this, but DO NOT eliminate them completely from your diet, and eat small amounts regularly once the weight is lost.

3. If you a different constitutional type and still have a weight problem it is more likely to be digestion/lifestyle based, not ‘food type-caused’. For these types to follow a low-carb diet could actually be very damaging long-term. You need to address the underlying cause – of which there are too many possibilities to discuss here.

4. Remember any diet alone is not the answer – exercise, lifestyle, stress, digestion etc all need to be considered in totality to enjoy ideal weight & ideal health.

Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.