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What Are Low-Carbohydrate Diets?
Low-carbohydrate diets are those that reduce the amount of carbohydrate-containing foods you eat each day, from about 60% of total calories in the typical American diet to as little as 5%. Foods that contain mostly protein and fat are substituted.

Low-carbohydrate diets have not been scientifically proven to be effective for long-term weight management, and their long-term safety is questionable and unproven.

Disadvantages of Low-Carbohydrate Diets
The following is the list of disadvantages of low-carbohydrate diets:
  1. Important nutrients are missing from these diets and cannot be replaced by supplements.

  2. These diets are hard to follow because they lack variety, resulting in cravings for high- carbohydrate, high-fat foods. Eating less than 100 grams of carbohydrates a day is very hard in the long run, since Americans are accustomed to eating 275 grams a day.

  3. Although the diet produces rapid weight loss initially, the weight loss doesn't come from weight loss alone. Instead, it comes from loss of water and electrolytes.

  4. Maintaining weight loss is difficult, and if a dieter "cheats", a surge of insulin can cause sodium and water retention and subsequent weight gain.

  5. Poor athletic performance may result in the depletion of stored glycogen. Carbohydrates are the main source of this chemical in human body.

  6. Potential risks include:
    • The risk of chronic disease from too much fat and protein.

    • The risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke from diet low in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.

    • Dizziness, headaches, confusion, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems, etc. that result from mild dehydration.

    • Rise in blood pressure with age.

    • Rapid falls in blood pressure when standing up.
The Smart Way to Lose Weight
Follow official dietary guidelines, such as those of the American Heart Association. A safe rate of weight loss is no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Make small, consistent changes in food selection and control portion sizes.
  • Eat a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables daily.
  • Select food low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in other fats.
  • Reduce sweets, desserts, and beverages that contain sugar.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Record your body weight frequently.
Keeping the Weight Off
Anyone can lose weight on a diet. The harder part is maintaining the weight off. The diets do not deal with the underlying causes of being overweight, nor do they teach better lifelong eating and exercise habits. No food or diet provides a magic answer. Good habits are the key.

Ultimately, there is no escaping the fact that weight loss boils down to eating less (of the wrong foods) and moving more.

Calories Burned Per Hour In Activities
Please remember that calorie counts vary with intensity of the workout and your body weight.
Activity Calories Burned/Hour
Aerobic Dancing 200-500
Badminton 200-450
Basketball 150-600
Boxing 400-650
Cross-country skiing 400-600
Cycling 150-400
Downhill Skiing 400-500
Fencing 300-500
Hiking 150-350
Jogging 480-600
Running 600-650
Skating: ice, roller, or in-line 350-400
Social Dancing 300-350
Swimming 300-800
Tennis 400-500
Walking 350-400

Useful Links
  1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    The US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services provides these guidelines for you to know how to eat healthy. The guide discusses in detail the rules Americans should follow to stay healthy (such as which diet to follow, what activities to perform, etc.).

  2. USDA's My Plate
    USDA's My PLate program is an outline of what to eat each day based on the Dietary Guidelines. It's not a rigid prescription but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that's right for you.
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