Don’t Be Confused About Low Carb Diets – 7 Key Points Explained

With all of the conflicting studies and fuzzy interpretation of

information, it’s no wonder that confusion reigns when it comes

to the value and safety of low-carb diets. It seems like heated

debates are raging everywhere!

Whether it’s Atkins, the South Beach or some other low-carb plan,

as many as 30 million Americans are following a low-carb diet.

Advocates contend that the high amount of carbohydrates in our

diet has led to increasing problems with obesity, diabetes, and

other health problems. Critics, on the other hand, attribute

obesity and related health problems to over-consumption of

calories from any source, and lack of physical activity. Critics

also express concern that the lack of grains, fruits, and

vegetables in low-carbohydrate diets may lead to deficiencies of

some key nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and

several minerals.

Any diet, weather low or high in carbohydrate, can produce

significant weight loss during the initial stages of the diet.

But remember, the key to successful dieting is in being able to

lose the weight permanently. Put another way, what does the scale

show a year after going off the diet?

Let’s see if we can debunk some of the mystery about low-carb

diets. Below, is a listing of some relevant points taken from

recent studies and scientific literature. Please note there may

be insufficient information available to answer all questions.

– Differences Between Low-Carb Diets

There are many popular diets designed to lower carbohydrate

consumption. Reducing total carbohydrate in the diet means that

protein and fat will represent a proportionately greater amount

of the total caloric intake.

Atkins and Protein Power diets restrict carbohydrate to a point

where the body becomes ketogenic. Other low-carb diets like the

Zone and Life Without Bread are less restrictive. Some, like

Sugar Busters claim to eliminate only sugars and foods that

elevate blood sugar levels excessively.

– What We Know about Low-Carb Diets

Almost all of the studies to date have been small with a wide

variety of research objectives. Carbohydrate, caloric intake,

diet duration and participant characteristics varied greatly.

Most of the studies to date have two things in common: None of

the studies had participants with a mean age over 53 and none of

the controlled studies lasted longer than 90 days.

Information on older adults and long-term results are scarce.

Many diet studies fail to monitor the amount of exercise, and

therefore caloric expenditure, while participants are dieting.

This helps to explain discrepancies between studies.

The weight loss on low-carb diets is a function of caloric

restriction and diet duration, and not with reduced carbohydrate

intake. This finding suggests that if you want to lose weight,

you should eat fewer calories and do so over a long time period.

Little evidence exists on the long-range safety of low-carb

diets. Despite the medical community concerns, no short-term

adverse effects have been found on cholesterol, glucose, insulin

and blood-pressure levels among participants on the diets. But,

adverse effects may not show up because of the short period of

the studies. Researchers note that losing weight typically leads

to an improvement in these levels anyway, and this may offset an

increase caused by a high fat diet. The long range weight change

for low-carb and other types of diets is similar.

Most low-carb diets cause ketosis. Some of the potential

consequences are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and confusion.

During the initial phase of low-carb dieting some fatigue and

constipation may be encountered. Generally, these symptoms

dissipate quickly. Ketosis may also give the breath a fruity

odor, somewhat like nail-polish remover (acetone).

Low-carb diets do not enable the consumption of more calories

than other kinds of diets, as has been often reported. A calorie

is a calorie and it doesn’t matter weather they come from

carbohydrates or fat. Study discrepancies are likely the result

of uncontrolled circumstances; i.e. diet participants that cheat

on calorie consumption, calories burned during exercise, or any

number of other factors. The drop-out rate for strict (i.e. less

than 40 grams of CHO/day) low-carb diets is relatively high.

What Should You Do? – There are 3 important points I would like

to re-emphasize:

– The long-range success rate for low-carb and other types of

diets is similar.

– Despite their popularity, little information exists on the

long-term efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets.

– Strict low-carb diets are usually not sustainable as a normal

way of eating. Boredom usually overcomes willpower.

It is obvious after reviewing the topic, that more, well-designed

and controlled studies are needed. There just isn’t a lot of good

information available, especially concerning long-range effects.

Strict low-carb diets produce ketosis which is an abnormal and

potentially stressful metabolic state. Under some circumstances

this might cause health related complications.

The diet you choose should be a blueprint for a lifetime of

better eating, not just a quick weight loss plan to reach your

weight goal. If you can’t see yourself eating the prescribed

foods longer than a few days or a week, then chances are it’s not

the right diet. To this end, following a moderately low fat diet

with a healthy balance of fat, protein, carbohydrate and other

nutrients is beneficial.

If you do decide to follow a low-carb plan, remember that certain

dietary fats are associated with reduction of disease. Foods high

in unsaturated fats that are free of trans-fatty acids such as

olive oil, fish, flaxseeds, and nuts are preferred to fats from

animal origins.

Even promoters of the Atkins diet now say people on their plan

should limit the amount of red meat and saturated fat they eat.

Atkins representatives are telling health professionals that only

20 percent of a dieter’s calories should come from saturated fat

(i.e. meat, cheese, butter). This change comes as Atkins faces

competition from other popular low-carb diets that call for less

saturated fat, such as the South Beach diet plan. Low-carb

dieting should not be considered as a license to gorge on red

meat!

Another alternative to “strict” low-carb dieting would be to give

up some of the bad carbohydrate foods but not “throw out the baby

with the bath water”. In other words, foods high in processed

sugar, snacks, and white bread would be avoided, but foods high

in complex carbohydrates such as fruit, potatoes and whole

grains, retained.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes

only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any

disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any

health care program.

Health Tips From Your Own Body?

While going about our lives, especially as we get older, we think of our mortality and focus more emphasis on health tips. We read glossy magazine articles which advise us what to eat, what to drink, and how much of it should we consume. Morning and evening news broadcasts exhibit daily or weekly health tips informing us of the latest in nutritional information.

Visually dazzling websites blog about cutting edge wonder mechanisms which will help us burn fat and achieve ideal abs. Mass media outlets have shaped our philosophy involving what’s good for us. They’ve inculcated in our heads what we should do for our bodies based on countless laboratory experiments sponsored by corporate conglomerates.

But what about taking a more holistic approach to health tips? How about using common sense to listen to your body and learn what it specifically needs, or doesn’t need, to be at its best? Sounds strange? Not if you put it in the right light.

Ever realize how specifically eating fried chicken livers gave you heartburn? Notice when you specifically ate white rice instead of the healthier brown rice, you felt sickeningly bloated? Remember specifically eating a couple of oysters that sent you scampering nervously for the nearest bathroom?

In each of these instances, you’ve specifically identified what your body does not like. You listened to your body because it was wildly protesting the foods you fed it. Now, recall the last time you ate an apple, or chomped on a celery stick. Even though it may have happened a long while back, you don’t remember feeling anything, did you? You just kept right on going with your day, thinking nothing of how your body greatly appreciated a nutritious snack. Your body kept quiet because it was contented. You provided your body with your own health tips without even realizing it!

It turns out, for a growing number of people, you don’t have to spend lots of dollars to buy lots of magazines to get lots of health. You don’t have to spend hours clicking through websites, one after the other, staring at your monitor, trying to absorb every health tidbit you come across. You just have to listen to your body and use common sense. There’s no need to join a trendy gym. Cut out the perpetual beatings mass media provides despite their good intentions, and be your own source of health tips.

Each day brings a whole slew of new tips or old ones viewed from a different angle. You’d go crazy trying to read and absorb them all. Then what usually happens? You get fed up and reach for a donut, tired of the incessant media barrage and wander off, seeking solace in sugars.

Take a moment and simply remember your body is your individuality. Those articles you see and hear about are for the masses. Yes, they’re there to help you, but take them only as a guide. When it comes right down to it, the best health tips are those which you’ve gained over the years living your life.

Look, your body will give you your own fitness tips, it will tell you what you should be eating and what you should be steering clear of. You just have to listen for those health tips!

What Have You Read Lately About Long-Term Care Insurance?

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,”. I am sure Mark Twain wasn’t thinking about Long-Term Care or today’s news media when he said this long ago. Today it is very easy to place a news story for people to consume. Between traditional TV and radio, an expanded 24/7 news cycle with cable news there is a lot of information available. The biggest difference today, like the old days when anyone with a printing press could print anything they like, now you just need a computer to create a news story. It seems almost everyone has a computer or smart phone and they are not afraid to use it.

The topic of Long-Term Care has become a big one with an aging America. By 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will be over the age of 50. By 2050, 1 of every 5 Americans will be 65+ according to data from data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems like once you get around the age of 50 the conversation about Long-Term Care starts coming up. In today’s world that means you hit the internet and see what information you can find. However, some articles are providing misleading or even completely erroneous information on Long-Term Care Insurance.

We have heard the term fake news, but perhaps the best way to define what is being written about Long-Term Care is just “lazy news” or “advocacy news”. It seems like everyone with a computer, including myself, has an agenda. How much of this is “truth” is a matter to discuss.

Generally, there is more to a story… and the stuff left out is usually very important. The stories about Long-Term Care insurance premium rate increases are very misleading. They usually leave out many details. The reporters or “professionals” writing these articles often have an agenda to push the public in one direction or another.

The other thing to remember is the internet is also “old news” as nothing on the internet usually gets deleted. You may find and read something that is old but that story may have been updated numerous times since the first story was published making the information you are reading outdated. You must do more due diligence today to see if you are getting accurate information.

Since the issue of planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging is so important to American families you should know the facts. Often the reason the articles talk about premium increases is to scare the consumer. Maybe the writer wants the government to pay for all long-term care (not going to happen as too many people require care and budgets are tight as it is trying to take care of those with little or no savings). Perhaps the writer wants to have the consumer spend large sums of money of certain type of financial product they are selling. The consumer should understand the truth, so they can plan in advance with more peace-of-mind.

These increases that are being reported are primarily on “legacy products” These are older plans that were priced well before the interest rate crash and rate stabilization regulations.

Today, all plans are priced with the very low interest rate environment in mind (interest rates have been low in the United States over the last decade). These older plans which had increases were based on a few factors:

· Interest rates

· Lapse rates (meaning, how many people drop their policies. In practice, very few do, but this was not factored into premium pricing on many older plans)

· Claims and underwriting experience

These policies are paying huge benefits as well. In 2017 over $9.2 billion was paid in benefits to American families protecting assets and easing family burden.

The fact is these older policies were underpriced to start with and even with increases they still have outstanding value and huge benefits. Nobody likes an increase, but you must put that increase in perspective. Many of these people I speak with have huge benefits which have been increasing 5% compounded every year since they had the policy. Many have unlimited lifetime benefits as well. Since they have these huge benefits many can reduce the benefit or inflation factor to keep the premium the same. As their benefits increase far greater compared to the cost of long-term care they remain in an outstanding position.

Today’s Long-Term Care insurance policies remain very affordable as people start purchasing plans prior to retirement. Underwriting is more conservative but since consumers are younger most people can still find an appropriate plan.

Experts say that the risks of increases are small but like anything there is always a chance of an approved increase. However, if you read some of the articles being published you would think the industry is dead and consumers no longer have any interest in the product.

The fact is there are still numerous insurance companies marketing Long-Term Care insurance. Consumer interest has never been greater. As I speak to other Long-Term Care Insurance specialists, like myself, we have all noticed a big increase in both consumer awareness and interest. Consumers are younger, more knowledgeable with the risks (often with first-hand experience with an elder parent or other family member) and we are bombarded with requests for information and quotes.

Consumers are seeking help from Long-Term Care specialists as most financial advisors and general insurance agents have limited knowledge and experience with the products, underwriting, policy design, benefit options and the federal/state partnership program which is available in most states. Therefore, some of these professionals push consumers into options they are more comfortable with despite the fact they might not be the best and most affordable way to address the costs and burdens of aging.

Long-Term Care Insurance, despite what you read, is very affordable for most people. With regulation and better pricing consumers enjoy additional peace-of-mind knowing they have a plan they can count on in the decades to come that will remain affordable once they retire and get older.

Many people can obtain outstanding coverage for under $150 a month, some even under $100. Premiums are based on your age at the time to get a plan, your health and the amount of benefits who wish to have. Most of the people I speak with nationwide are from ages 45 to 60.

A true Long-Term Care specialist will ask you numerous questions about your health, family history and retirement plans in order to make the proper recommendation. Anyone willing to give you “quotes” without asking very many questions should be avoided.

Long-Term Care insurance is custom designed. Plus, every insurance company has its own underwriting criteria. A true Long-Term Care specialist will represent most or all the major companies. They will have a keen understanding of underwriting and policy design. They should have processed many claims, so they have the first-hand knowledge of how these policies get used at the time of claim.

Finally, a real Long-Term Care specialist will not steer you to certain type of policy without spending time speaking with you to determine which type of plan fits your specific situation. Working with a Long-Term Care specialist will allow you to get the accurate information you seek. There are several reference websites for research:

LTC News offers articles and resources: http://www.ltcnews.com

US Department of Health and Human Services: https://longtermcare.acl.gov/

The main concern for most people is they understand caregiving is hard. An older spouse can’t be expected to be a caregiver without impact their own health. Adult children and their own families, careers and responsibilities. Paid care is expensive and drains savings and impacts lifestyle.

For many, Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable, rate stable income and asset protection. It reduces the burdens which your aging will have on your family. However, speak with a true specialist. There are not many Long-Term Care specialists with extensive experience, but I help people nationwide and a number of others like myself do as well.

This will give you and your family tremendous peace-of-mind and that is not fake news.