Decrease your carbs, improve your health

By Blake Glosson

Paleo diet is your healthiest option

Low-carb dieting isn’t winning the race for popularity right now. But in terms of maximizing health, a diet with reduced level of carbohydrates is the proven champion.

I’m not going to tell you carbs are evil, because they aren’t. The problem is the food sources carbs come from in the typical American diet, as well as the quantity consumed.

Think about your own diet: breads, pasta, cereals, pastries, pizza, soda, sweet teas, candy, anything fast-food related — these are staples, and they’re carbs.

Plates full of these dishes have led to an overweight and disease-ridden population.

The Paleo diet is one approach I recommend that calls for lower carbs from healthier sources.

The Paleo diet is based off the natural foods our ancestors ate: nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, seafood and lean meats.

“I think it’s very healthy,” said Judith Lukaszuk, doctor of exercise physiology and associate professor of nutrition and dietetics.

Eating carbs, especially sugar, increases your blood sugar levels.

This stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that puts your body in storage mode.

Not only is fat storage more likely to occur during this period, but spikes in blood sugar also make you hungry sooner, which leads to overeating. If this wasn’t bad enough, excess sugar in overweight people contributes to inflammation, which can provoke insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes.

Our bodies require far less carbohydrates than we are consuming.

“There are studies — peer-reviewed studies — that indicate [when you] eat a higher protein, higher fat diet, lower carb diet, your memory is better [and you have a] lower risk of dementia, lower risk of Alzheimer’s … lower risk of heart disease, lower risk of diabetes,” Lukaszuk said.

Another advantage of the Paleo diet is it’s nearly allergy-proof: No lactose because there’s no dairy, no gluten because there’s no wheat and no intestinal discomfort from processed foods because it’s all-natural.

As far as diets go on campus, it doesn’t take long to see which eating habits could lead to a multitiude of health problems.

“Whenever I go to the dorms, I don’t really see a lot of healthy choices — more so like greasy pizza and cereal,” said Tori Halbur, senior nutrition and dietetics major. “That’s like all I ever see people eat.”

Even if you adjust your diet to be more Paleo without making the full switch, you can still reap some of the Paleo diets benefits.

For me, this meant dramatically decreasing the amount of grains and processed foods in my diet. The change left me feeling healthier and more energetic.

A low-carb diet rich in vitamins in minerals will fight chronic illness, improve gastrointestinal health and give you a more sustainable path for losing weight.

You don’t have to live tired, sick and hungry. Give Paleo a try for a few weeks; you may never go back.