Due to these health risks, and oftentimes for reasons of vanity, many Americans are choosing to diet. Judy Mahle Lutter, in her book “The Bodywise Women” said that fifty percent of all women in America are dieting at any given time. The number of diets advertised to combat this problem in our society can be overwhelming. Marketdata stated that in 2004, Americans spent over 46 billion dollars on diet products, more than any other country. How does a person know which diet will work best for them when they all advertise about grand results?
Two of the most popular diet plans are a low-calorie diet and a low-carbohydrate diet. These two diets seem similar in concept, but they have numerous differences that should be investigated before a dieter attempts, either. Both low calorie and low carbohydrate diets both aim to force one’s body to burn fat for fuel, causing loss of body weight. Low calorie diets are based on the process of thermodynamics, where the body burns a specific amount of fuel each day. If a person’s fuel intake is lowered through calorie control, their body will be forced to burn fuel that is already stored.
This diet aims to force the body to burn calories by taking in fewer calories than your body needs to run each day. When a person does not take in enough calories through food, their body uses stored energy sources such as fat. While low calorie diets are often effective in burning some fat and causing weight loss, they can often cause the body to burn from not only fat, but also from lean tissue found in muscle mass and organs. When the body relies on muscle and organ tissue as a source of fuel the dieter could experience a condition known as “muscle wasting” and be subject to extreme fatigue.
On the other hand, low carbohydrate diets are typically not low in calories; however, they also can be effective for weight loss by forcing a person’s body to burn fat. The body does this because of lack of insulin in the blood stream. Low carbohydrate diets aim to cause a person’s body to use only stored fat as a source of fuel. It does this by inhibiting insulin production when intake of carbohydrates is suspended. When insulin production is lowered, the body will begin burning stored fat for fuel.
This process is called ketosis. So, unlike a low calorie diet, a low carbohydrate dieter will be less likely to burn lean tissue from muscles and organs and more likely to only lose fat. There are pros and cons to both of these types of diets. Low calorie diets can often cause the dieter hunger, but can also provide more variety. Because the amounts of calories a person on a low calorie diet can consume are significantly lower than their regular diet, dieters using this approach may often find themselves hungry.
Low calorie diets allow for dieters to make any food choice as long as he or she does not exceed the calorie allotment for the day. So if they make poor food choices in the beginning of the day, they may not have many food options later in the day. There is also a risk of taking in too few calories each day, then the dieter’s body will begin to need fewer calories to survive, and they may stop losing weight. Conversely, low carbohydrate dieters rarely find hunger to be an issue, but there is very little variety in food choices.
Hunger is not a problem on this diet since the dieter is allowed to eat as many of the allowed foods as he or she wants and the allowed foods tend to be heavier and more filling (bacon, eggs, butter, other meats, cheese, and cream). Cravings may become an issue for a low carbohydrate dieter since many comfort foods such as cakes, cookies, chips, popcorn, pastas, and breads are completely banned. Both of these diets, low carbohydrate and low calorie, are very popular and can be followed in a number of ways.
Many weight loss companies follow a low calorie regime such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and “the special K diet”. Many foods a person can find in his or her local grocery store advertise their calorie count predominantly on the packaging, and there is a large selection of low calorie foods available at any grocer. People choosing to follow a low carbohydrate diet also have a number of different options to use as a guide, such as Atkins, South Beach, and the Protein Power Diet all follow the low carbohydrate principals.
Many of these low carb diet options offer frozen meals and shakes and bars along with books or diet guides at your local grocer. Both diets have been found to be effective, and their effectiveness can be increased with regular exercise. Even though these diets have been practiced by millions of people, a potential dieter would want to discuss any changes to their diet and exercise regimen with a professional, since there are both pros and cons to each choice. For the 62 percent of Americans suffering from obesity or overweightness, losing weight, even with the right diet, can be difficult.
While searching for the right diet an American will find many options, some of which will sound too easy to be true. A potential dieter should steer clear of diets that do not make sense, or seem easy. Losing weight is not easy. Since all diets are different, and if dieters do not stick with their diet choice they will likely gain back any weight lost, it is very important to research each diet before making a choice. MarketData Enterprises Inc. http://www. marketdataenterprises. om Melpomene Institute for Women’s Health Research (1990). The Bodywise women: Reliable information about physical activity and health. New York: Prentice Hall Press LiveStrong (2013). Retrieved from http://www. livestrong. com/article/72387-low-carb-diet-vs. -calorie/ http://www. cdc. gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db01. pdf Obesity Among Adults in the United States— No Statistically Significant Change Since 2003-2004. (2007, december). NCHS, (), . Retrieved from http://www. cdc. gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db01. pdf