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Low carb ketogenic terms.


In a nutshell, there are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Some refer to them as bad and good carbs, fast and slow digestion carbs and other possibly confusing lingo. Here's the scoop.


Foods with simple or refined carbohydrates most often have a low nutrient content and a high-glycemic index. They are quick to digest and can cause blood sugar to soar then fall dramatically within a short span of time. In order to keep the body running more healthy and stable, health advisors recommend that these type foods be limited.

Examples of these simple carbs are white bread, potatoes, bananas, and sugary treats like cookies, candy, cupcakes and cakes, and soda beverages like popular cola products.


Foods with complex carbohydrates contain many nutrients and have a low- to moderate-glycemic index. Higher fiber content in these foods means slower digestion, which is healthier for the body. And these foods are considered good choices by health advisors.

Examples of these complex carbs are whole grains, most fruits and vegetables. Legumes, plants of the pea or bean family, are also in this category.


While studies like one from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in January of 2004 show that low-carb diets can help with weight loss; the carbs need to be of the complex, low-glycemic type. Notable is that a total avoidance of the simple carbs is not necessary, either. In other words a treat now and then, in moderation (and approved per your dietary advisor or in accordance with your health practitioner), should be fine.

As a side note, your teeth will also be healthier without the build up of sugar decay from simple carb foods. So healthier smiles will shine with healthier bodies.


Here are some other terms to help explain the science and health issues behind low-carbohydrate dietary planning solutions. Note these are only basic definitions and can be explored at your leisure through other resources to further define their roles in the body's health system.


A calorie is a measure of heat. Calorie also refers to a measure of the amount of energy a body gets from food. In a nutshell, the more calories in food, the more energy is required for the body to use up the nutrients.


A carbohydrate is one of three major nutrients that provide the body with energy. Carbohydrates are made up of either single sugars or bound strings of sugar. Examples of single sugars (simple carbohydrates) are sucrose or table sugar, fructose or fruit sugar and lactose or dairy sugar. Bound strings of sugar or complex carbohydrates that are found in plants are often called starches. Examples of digestible kinds of complex carbs are wheat flour or potato starch. A non-digestible example is cellulose from celery. Carbs are converted by the body into sugar and used for energy. Unused carbs are stored in the body as fat.


A Fat is one of the three major nutrient groups that provide energy to the body. Fat is derived from animal or plant oil sources. It is broken down by the body into simpler fats and are burned or stored in the body.


Fructose is sugar derived from plants, especially corn, that is used to sweeten commercial food products like sodas and other prepared foods. First gained widespread popularity in the 1970s and is usually listed in ingredients as “high-fructose corn syrup”.


Glucose is referred to as blood sugar. All carbohydrates whether simple or complex are converted by the body into sugar and the sugar within the body's bloodstream is of this form. The level of glucose in the blood is the main stimulus for insulin secretion.


Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that encourages fat cells to convert their stores to glucose and release them for energy use. Glucagon must be released for the body to release and break down body fat. The pancreas cannot efficiently release both glucagon and insulin and will not release glucagon if blood sugar and insulin levels are high.


Glycogen is the main form of carbohydrate storage in animals and occurs primarily in the liver and muscle tissue. It is readily converted to glucose as needed by the body to satisfy its energy needs. Also called animal starch.


The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly individual foods will raise your body's blood sugar level.


Insulin is one of two main hormones produced by the pancreas and the body's major metabolic hormone. When the blood's glucose increases, insulin is released by the pancreas to help transfer glucose into the cells for energy. Insulin also helps convert extra glucose to storage in fatty tissue, and helps promote amino acids which are turned into protein and stored in muscle. In the liver, it aids in extra glucose being stored as glycogen. Insulin can raise cholesterol levels and cause retention of fluids and salt and it gets in the way of breaking down stored fat. A lack of adequate insulin or lack of sufficient sensitivity to insulin's effects in the body can lead to diabetes.


Insulin resistance is a state reached when the body does not properly respond to and process the insulin it releases. Insulin resistance causes the pancreas to overproduce insulin. According to Drs. Michael and Mary Eades of Protein Power, insulin resistance causes high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, coronary artery disease (heart disease), obesity, Type II diabetes and a host of other diseases and disorders.


When the body breaks down fat for energy due to the lack of sufficient glucose for energy needs combined with the liver's depletion of glycogen, ketones is a type of chemical result. Excess ketones cause bad breath and show up in urine during strip testing.


Ketosis is the body's process of burning stored fat for energy when glucose is not readily available. A survival mechanism used during times of famine. Generally thought not to be a good long-term state for the body to operate in. When ketosis takes place in someone who is the victim of famine, or who is not eating food for whatever reason, it can cause serious illness and eventually death.


Protein is one of the three major nutrient groups that provide energy to the body. Protein is derived from animal and soy products and from some plant products like legumes (beans, peanuts and peas). Converted to amino acids by the body during digestion and stored in muscle cells as protein.


Another name for sucrose is table sugar; it is derived from sugar cane plants.


Starch is a type of sugar found in potatoes, white rice, breads, bagels and other foods.


Trans fat is a type of processed fat that does not occur in nature (also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat/oil). Used in baked goods like doughnuts, breads, crackers, potato chips, cookies and many other processed food products like margarine and salad dressings.









Fort Madison, IA 52627

What I Read

Books by

Lyle McDonald

The Protein Book, The Protein Book is a comprehensive look at the issue of protein intake for both strength/power and endurance athletes. Coaches looking for the latest scientific developments in terms of optimizing protein nutrition for their athletes as

A Guide to Flexible Dieting is a look at some of the psychological and physiological reasons why diets so often fail. Among these is the research demonstrated fact that individuals who are too rigid in their approach to dieting (e.g. expecting complete un

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook offers a scientifically based approach to quick weight and fat loss. Recognizing that people need or simply want to lose weight and fat rapidly, I set out to develop the safest, most effective way of accomplishing that goal.

The problem of stubborn body fat (typically the abdominals/low back for men and hips and thighs for women) is one that lean dieters have been trying to deal with for decades. Various simple explanations (typically involving estrogen) have been offered but

When trying to diet to extremely low levels of body fat, muscle mass and performance loss, crashing hormones, runaway hunger and others are perennial difficulties that the non-genetic elite (or natural) dieter has to face.

Very low-carbohydrate (aka ketogenic) diets such as The Atkins Diet, Protein Power and The South Beach Diet have come and gone repeatedly over the years and there is currently great research and real-world interest in their effects. Unfortunately, altoget


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