“I follow the rubric almost from its beginning and after explaining the pros and cons of high-fat low-carb diet I ask myself similar questions about the diet with almost full deprivation of fat with moderate to high intake of slow carbohydrates and moderate protein intake, mostly vegetable ones. Is this a healthy slimming?”

Hello and thanks for the great question!

The question you ask is quite topical because this is the time of the Christmas Fast. The fast, from nutritional point of view, is a kind of vegan diet with carbohydrate predominance and intake of vegetable proteins and less fat or rather fats of vegetable origin.

The high-carb diet is a regime which gives energy to the organism, using carbohydrates exclusively. In most of the cases, this is the closest regime to the diet of the Bulgarians, because of the widespread use of bread and bakery products in our country.

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This nutritional regimen is characterized by high and usually stable blood glucose level, almost throughout the day, which on the other hand contributes to better protein absorption from the food.

First, it should be noted that not all carbohydrates, as well as not all fats, are equal. The complex carbohydrates, from biochemical point of view, don’t necessarily mean “good” carbs, if they are with high glycemic index or if they raise insulin too fast. The modern understanding of high-carb diet includes the ratio protein: fat: carbohydrates as follows: 30:15:55, but not as it was in the past -5-10% for fat, 10-15% for protein and the rest 75-85% for carbohydrates.

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In spite of the modern modification of the diet, many people fail to lose the already gained kilograms, eating in this way, no matter they intake the right calories. This is mainly due to a condition called insulin resistance, in which the pancreas secretes more insulin than needed and/or the peripheral tissues have lost the ability (they resist) of insulin impact, namely the utilization of carbohydrates and their transformation into energy.

How to understand whether we are insulin-resistant?

Sometimes, this is not an easy task and numerous lab tests and calculations are needed. People with insulin resistance usually store more fat in the abdominal region and following a high-carb diet is hardly a good solution exactly for them. The high-carb diet will be of benefit to people with normal carbohydrate metabolism or in other words said – with good insulin sensitivity. It is best applied in active athletes, especially in periods of gaining muscle mass.

The reduction of subcutaneous fat with high-carb diet is possible with proper selection of foods and their amount, as well as the time of their intake. First, you have to put yourselves in a state of negative calorie balance, i.e. to intake less energy with the food than you burn.

Furthermore, the carbohydrates you choose should be absorbed and burnt slowly, thus blood glucose levels will change smoothly, without peaks and troughs of insulin, respectively. These are mostly the technically unprocessed foods: brown rice, oats, wholegrain and rye bread, beans.

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In spite of the higher glycemic index, potatoes also can fall into the group when properly combined with vegetables and protein sources, which will slow down their absorption and utilization respectively. Talking about fruits, they can be used too, especially in the morning and of course in moderate amount.

The whole amount of carbohydrates for the day should be distributed in approximately equal parts between the meals, because not only the “fast” increase insulin, but also the “slow”, especially when they are in large amount per one serving.

The constantly high insulin levels have muscle sparing effect and the typical for low-carb diet decrease in metabolism is not observed after several weeks, as the thyroid hormones levels are maintained.

After all that was said, my advice to you and to all readers is to consult a specialist and to consider carefully what is your metabolism and what is the most proper and long-term effective way to reach and maintain the desired kilograms before you start whatever type of diet.

Greetings and good luck,

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