Low Carbohydrate Diets In America

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Diet has long been a topic of debate in America. For the last fifty years, the standard recommended diet in the United States has been a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Low carbohydrate diets began to appear in the 1970’s, but have been viewed negatively by the majority of the population. Recently, the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, South Beach diet, and Paleo diet have been gaining popularity. Studies show that these types of diets can be used to lose weight healthily and quickly. However, the most of the general public still believes that low carbohydrate diets are unhealthy. This is a large and potentially harmful misconception. Low carbohydrate diets, while being easy to stay on, are effective for weight loss and for managing health problems …show more content…
Only in the 1950’s did scientists in the United States begin studying the impact that diet has on people, and trying to find the most healthy type of diet for humans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released dietary guidelines for Americans once every five years since 1980. According to the most recent update on the USDA’s website, a healthy diet “emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars” (USDA, 2014). These recommendations are very different from a low carbohydrate diet. While there are many different types of low-carbohydrate diets, they all restrict the amount of carbohydrate consumed per day, usually ranging between 10-150 carbohydrates. They also typically do not put a restriction on amount of calories or amount of fat consumed. The Mayo Clinic website states that the current United States Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 225-325 carbohydrate every day, which show how different the standard American diet is from a low carbohydrate diet (Mayo Clinic Staff, …show more content…
Low carb diets do not restrict the amount of calories or fat taken in by the consumer. Low-calorie diets restrict calories, which greatly limits the amount of food eaten every day. Since most foods have some calories, not all foods have carbohydrates. This means that low carb dieters can have more food during a day than low-calorie dieters. They can eat as much as they need to feel full and satisfied. Another reason that low carb diets are easy diets to stay on is that being on a low carbohydrate diet reduces hunger and appetite. Once adjusted to a low carbohydrate diet, the foods that a person eats sustain them for longer periods of time than a carb filled meal would. Authority Nutrition states that the reason for this is not completely understood yet, but many people think that it has to do with how food affects insulin levels in the body. Others believe it involves how the hormone leptin reacts to different foods (Gunnars,

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