Mind, Body and Soul by Lola Olarewaju

ARE LOW CARB DIETS BAD FOR YOU?

We’ve all heard of low carb diets, right? Perhaps you’ve tried one before, or might still be on one. Or perhaps you know someone currently on such a diet. So, what exactly do we mean by a low carb diet, and are they good for us? A low carb diet has many definitions and comes in the form of many different diets – from the Atkins to the South Beach diet.

One simple definition of a low carb diet is reducing the amount of carbohydrates in a diet. Foods, such as bread, rice and pasta are significantly reduced – or sometimes removed completely – for a length of time, depending on the type of low carb diet being followed.

So, is a low carb diet good or bad for us? Some experts say Yes, when done properly, and others say No, because they argue that removing certain food groups from a diet can lead to serious health problems. When done properly, where low carb, fibrous vegetables are included in a diet, people can experience very rapid weight loss, which is usually the reason most people choose this diet. However, the question of maintaining such a diet has to be asked.

For those against such a diet, the argument is that when carbs are either cut out or significantly reduced from a diet, people tend to load up on animal protein and fat, which can heighten cholesterol levels which, in turn, can lead to some diseases. Another argument against this type of diet is that when fibre is reduced from a diet, constipation is experienced which again, if left, can lead to other problems in the body.

Much of the fibre we eat usually comes from different carbohydrates, such as grains, fruits and vegetables, which help us to have bowel movements; however, if you remove these foods from your diet, some experts believe we could be doing more harm than good. So, if you think a low carb diet is the one for you, just remember to do your research beforehand and be safe. What you should always be aiming for in a diet is ‘balance’. Give your body the right fuel and it will serve you.

Vegetables

Fresh vegetables vs frozen and canned vegetables

Unless you have the privilege of picking your vegetables direct from the vine, or digging up your potatoes straight from the ground and then eating them within hours, then technically our foods – labelled as ‘fresh’ – are not fresh. This is because our vegetables spend a lot of time in transit to the store, with varying conditions that cause them to lose nutrients before they hit the shelf of the supermarket, and ultimately our plates. Frozen and canned vegetables, on the other hand, are immediately taken from the vine, put into their packaging and held at a steady temperature to maintain nutrients. There can, however, be a difference in taste between fresh and frozen or canned, often because of the additives used, which we should watch out for when choosing.

Health

Strength training

What is strength training? Strength training is exercising with the goal of increasing your strength. Gone are the days where we could rely on our physical jobs to keep us in shape. Nowadays, for many of us, sitting all day in front of a computer screen is the norm, which unfortunately does nothing for building up strength. What are the benefits of strength training? Apart from making us physically stronger, which can help us carry out our daily tasks much more easily, strength training burns calories, keeps the metabolic rate high, strengthens the joints, increases endurance, improves sleep, and tones the muscles. Strength training is recommended by the Department of Health as part of our regular exercise programme, aiming for at least two or three times a week. And, by the way, for you ladies afraid that you’ll bulk up, don’t worry; it won’t happen unless you want to become Miss Musclewoman and you start lifting some seriously heavy weights!

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