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Less sugar a day keeps weight away

When faced with multiple exams, busy traffic and long lectures, most of us rarely stop to think what is the best way to feed and fuel your body for the day.

Because of the desire to decrease weight, low-carb dieting has lured in followers from all over the nation.

The low-carb diet involves cutting down on carbohydrates. Tom Storer, who teaches fitness and nutrition, said that although the diet is effective, he questions whether it is the lack of carbohydrates or the reduction of calories that gives dieters good results.

“I think most dietitians and people who have studied this area would think that it is probably the low calories, not the low carbohydrates,” Storer said.

The Atkins diet, founded by the late Robert Atkins, has actually been around since the 1970s, Storer said.

The many people who have benefited from the diet have drawn in new believers.

The Atkins diet involves two phases, Storer said.

Phase one, the induction phase, recommends the dieters eat no more than 20 grams (which equals 80 calories) of carbohydrates per day.

For phase two, dieters are advised to gradually start re-introducing more carbohydrates into their system.

“A lot of people think that low-carb just means eating meat and cheese, and that’s not correct,” Sean Williams, the vice president of Carb Cops, the Low-Carb Superstore in Redondo Beach, said.

Williams said that the Atkins approach’s goal is to get a carbohydrate intake from vegetables rather than from refined sugars and starches.

He said that Carb Cops, located down the street from EC at 2739 Manhattan Beach Blvd., has customers who have been on the Atkins diet for 25 years or more.

Williams said that he has been on the Atkins diet for two years and has lost 30 pounds.

He also said that his cholesterol went down, his allergies decreased, which helped him with his asthma.

It is also known to help people with diabetes.

“You have to make a lifestyle change,” Williams said, “you can’t really go back to your old way of eating because you’ll put yourself in the same cycle again.”

Sue Ellen Warren, a nutrition instructor, said she doesn’t personally approve of the diet.

Instead, Warren said she is going to reserve judgment to see what happens to the dieters in the future.

She said that the diet is definitely effective.

She, like Storer, however, wonders if dieters lose so much weight because the low-carb diet cuts down on their calorie intake.

“I still believe carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy,” Warren said.

“When we get our energy from protein and fat, we’re disturbing the balance of our body,” Warren said.

Storer said the low-carb diet is basically limiting high glycemic foods, such as sweets and carbohydrates.

“Everybody thinks that they should be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and I just don’t believe that’s true,” Storer said.

He also said that the high-protein intake required in low-carb diets is risky for people with unhealthy kidneys.

Also, the current recommendations from the Institute of Medicine is a daily carbohydrate intake between 45 and 55 percent, Storer said.

Weight loss is valuable to prevent cardiovascular disease, but any amount of weight loss, even five pounds, would be considered valuable, Storer said.

“Weight-loss is simple, but not easy,” Storer said.

He said that everyone should be aware of the types of fats they are consuming. Saturated fats are risky, while “good fats” like canola oil or olive oil, are healthier.

Also, Storer said exercise is extremely important for success in long-term weight loss.

“Weight loss is still a matter of calories in and calories out,” Storer said.

Storer recommended dieters see a dietitian and be patient.

He said the Institute of Medicine suggests exercising at a walking-level for at least 60 minutes a day, every day.

Although not everyone can start at that level, Storer said that they could build up to that level.

They could start by walking for 30 minutes a day, until they reach the point where they are able to walk for an hour or longer.

“We need to get more active,” Storer said.

Warren said that another way to diet would be to use the government’s food-guide pyramid, and to follow the minimal amount of servings suggested on it.

“You can’t deprive yourself of something, and I feel that the more you deprive yourself, the more you’re going to crave it,” Kathryn Zimmer, nursing major, said about the low-carb diet’s guidelines.

Firman Syah, manufacturing technology major, said that his aunt has benefited from the low-carb diet by not mixing starch with protein in her diets.

Storer called this “glycemic load,” the effect of carbohydrates combined with other foods, which is another cause of weight gain.

Jean Wilkerson, illustration major, said that although she’s heard positive things about the low-carb diet, she thinks the diet can get too extreme and believes that balance is important.

“I think anything in moderation is all right,” said Summer Mance, sociology major, about the low-carb diet.

Storer said that simpler, more moderate adjustments for dieting may prove to last longer.

“Low-carb dieting has short-lived results. Most people will lose weight, but whether or not that weight loss is maintained is a big question,” he said.

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