Low-Carb or Low-Fat?

North Americans in record numbers are dieting to lose weight – an estimated 50 million of us will go on a diet this year. The sheer number of diet books on the market today – more than 1,200 at last count – makes losing weight  overwhelming as well as confusing.

Many people are trying to fight the fat by cutting out the carbs. According to a recent survey, low carbohydrate diets are already being followed by 17 percent of Americans, a number that is growing by the day.

lowcarbWhat exactly are “low-carb” diets? Generally speaking, they are based on restricting the consumption of processed and refined carbohydrates, especially sugars, breads, pastas, and starchy vegetables.

There are numerous variations on the low carbohydrate theme. They differ in their recommendations as to just how low one’s carbohydrate intake should be and whether all carbs are created equal. One of the most popular allows unlimited consumption of protein and fats – including bacon, cheese, eggs, and butter – along with very limited quantities of all types of carbohydrates, even fruits and vegetables.

katzDavid L. Katz, M.D., of the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut is a nationally known nutrition expert and nutrition spokesperson for the American College of Preventive Medicine. He warns against any approach to losing weight – low-carb or low-fat – that doesn’t correct the energy imbalance that ultimately causes people to gain weight. “If you want to lose weight, you need to ingest fewer calories than you expend,” he explains.

“Any diet that doesn’t do that will not stand the test of time.”

fatcaloriesDr. Katz extends an important caution to low-carb dieters in this regard: be smart when it comes to consuming new low-carb products. Low-carb offerings, from crustless pizzas to bunless burgers, are popping up on restaurant and fast food menus everywhere. In grocery stores, low- or reduced-carb products – including low-carb beer, cereal, cookies, chocolate bars, chips, pork rinds, even low-carb marshmallows – are flying off the shelves, while their “high-carb” counterparts are seeing dramatic declines in sales. Last year, for example, Nielsen reported sales of instant rice were down 8.2%; pasta, down 4.6%; and, white bread, down 4.7%.

Dr. Katz says that it’s a case of history repeating itself. “Why don’t low-fat diets work? Snackwells, that’s the answer,” he explains, referring to a popular line of reduced-fat cookies and crackers.

It’s not all about Snackwells per se, of course. In fact, our focus on lowering fat has led Americans to reduce their consumption of fat from 40% of  calories in 1968 to 33% in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have similarly reduced the amount of saturated fat in our diets from 18% to 11%. So why are more than a third of Americans overweight or obese today, and why has that percentage continued to grow?

It’s because, in terms of body weight, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) the average amount of fat in the American diet has actually increased from 81 grams to 83 grams per day, even though the percentage of calories from fat has gone down. How is that possible? It’s because the number of calories the average person eats has increased as well, from 1,989 to 2,153 calories per day. A low-fat diet only “works” (in terms of losing weight) if you reduce the percentage of  calories from fat while maintaining or reducing the total number of calories.

The same problem could occur with low-carb diets as well. Dr. Katz describes the problem this way: “as the food industry produces more and more products labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘low-carb’ Americans line up to eat them.“ There are 3,800 alories produced in the U.S. every day for every man, woman, and child in America.

“We eat too much because there are too many calories available.” says Katz.

Another potential problem with low-carb product offerings is that there is presently no FDA definition for the term “low-carb.” This allows food manufacturers to make low-carb claims about products that may not be so low in carbohydrates after all.

Lisa Sanders, M.D., also from the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Center, believes that regardless of which side health professionals are on in the low-carb/low-fat diet debate, the reality is that “patients are using these [low-carb] diets. We need to work with that.” That’s where  Juice Plus+ can play an important role, both for low-carb dieters and the health professionals who look after them.

Dr. Katz recommends Juice Plus+ and, in my opinion, everyone needs Juice Plus+. But certainly no one needs Juice Plus+ more than the low-carb dieter. The problem is that while no one questions the nutritional value of the thousands of antioxidants and other phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables, fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets recommend that you eliminate or drastically reduce the consumption of all fruits and most vegetables other than a few green leafy ones.

In a very real sense, the nutritional baby is getting thrown out with the carbohydrate bathwater. Low-carb diets typically “allow” only four or five of the 17 different fruits, vegetables, and grains used to make  Juice Plus+. The few that they do allow tend to be ones like spinach, parsley, and kale that most people don’t like anyway – especially people who are being told that they can eat as much meat, butter, and cheese as they want.

newbottlescapsulesJuice Plus+ is the perfect addition to any low-carb diet because it helps provide the wide variety of healthful antioxidants and phytonutrients that can only be found in fruits and vegetables. Our recommended daily serving of Juice Plus+ – two Orchard Blend, two Garden Blend and two Vineyard Blend capsules – contains only 3 grams of carbohydrates. For perspective, the most popular low-carb diet limits carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day, a mere fraction of the 250 grams of carbohydrates that the average person takes in.

Doctors and dieters concerned about the potential negative nutritional implications of low-carb dieting should take a serious look at  Juice Plus+. Juice Plus+ is also perfect for everyone watching the fat content of his or her diet, because Juice Plus+ contains no fat at all.

Despite the emerging popularity of low-carb diets, major disease prevention organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, still recommend that we eat at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, preferably more.

So, the diet debate rages on. But whether you believe that low-carb or low-fat is the best way to shed pounds, there’s one thing you can count on: the nutritional goodness of  Juice Plus+ will be a good fit with any diet you choose.

Of course, all this talk about dieting misses the mark. The only way to be truly healthy and achieve our perfect weight, is to make the right choices every day: the choice to ‘eat clean’. That’s what our Transform2014 program is all about – learning the make the right choices, and making that a habit; for a lifetime.