Monday, December 24, 2007

Low Fat or Low Carb? Or Neither?

With all the conflicting headlines about diet in recent years, it's no wonder you're confused about what diet you should follow. You ask yourself, "Should I restrict carbs because everyone following Dr Atkins plan loses a ton of weight? Or, should I restrict fat because that's what most bodybuilders do, and they're almost fat-free!?"

Then, you ask yourself, "Maybe I shouldn't restrict any nutrient, and just eat a careful balance within a certain caloric parameter?"

What's the best answer? What should you do if your goal is to shed fat, lose size and keep your weight stable? (Personally I think question number 3 is the best)

You see, there's really no correct single answer for every woman. Each of us is completely different than the next. What works for your girlfriend to keep her lean and healthy, may not be the option that works for you. The best explanation for this is that you're not what you eat, but you are what you DO with what you eat. If a food causes you to store calories, where in another women it causes her to burn them, you'd want to stay away from that food, where should would want to eat it.

This is why you'll see thousands of women tout that carbohydrate-restricted eating patterns are the best of all the options, and then hear that cutting back on fat is the best pattern for a thousand others.

I even see this in my research experience. In highly controlled settings, I'll have some participants respond extremely well to a low-carb diet, while others do completely horrible. The ones who have a bad response say that they're always hungry and they feel terrible eating so much meat, fat and no whole grains or fruit. The ones who do well tell me they can barely eat all their food, and don't have any cravings for sugars or sweets (where as before, they couldn't stay away).

It all comes down to differences in how your body metabolizes and utlizes certain macronutrients compared to others.

The overall point of all this is that to take control of your eating habits and reach a goal (whether it be body composition or health-related), you have to find what works best for YOUR body. Sheild yourself from all the news headlines and just stick with what is working for you.

If you're trying something that's supposed to be amazing, and you feel terrible, stop it right away. Your body is a smart machine and will guide you to the right choice. Yes, there are times when your mind will trick you (i.e., tempting you to eat all those Christmas cookies), but think before you act and understand if your brain is really trying to tell you something important or if it's just testing your ability to think about the most ideal nutritional choice.

I hope that you all can discover the right plan for your body no matter what your goals may be - just remember, you're unique and there is a right plan for you, but it might not be the same as the person next to you. Don't give up.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.

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