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The Effects of a High Carbohydrate Diet on Run Times

Abstract
The paper focuses on the problem of the impact of carbohydrate diet and its effects on human body. The major assumption of the research is the premise that the high carbohydrate diet contributes consistently to the development of the obesity or, at any rate, increases the risk of the development of obesity. In stark contrast, low carbohydrate diet can have the opposite effect and can prevent or minimize the risk of the development of obesity. This research is particularly important in the context of the current significance of the problem of obesity. In fact, obesity evolves into epidemic, which affects a large part of the population. In this respect, the problem of the healthy nutrition is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the research of the impact of carbohydrates on human body is particularly important. At the same time, this research allows specialists interested in the problem of obesity and healthy nutrition to continue studies and develop effective diets which could decrease the risk of the development of obesity consistently through the low consumption of carbohydrates and the increasing consumption of elements which contribute to the faster and effective digestion of fats by human body, such as omega 4 fatty acids. In order to prove the negative effects of a high carbohydrate diet and a positive impact of a low carbohydrate diet, two researches were discussed, which led to the conclusion that the decrease of the consumption of carbohydrates is an effective tool which may be used to decrease the risk of the development of obesity.


Introduction
Today, the problem of obesity is one of the major challenges to the national health. In this respect, it is important to underline that obesity is a relatively new problem and the research of its causes and development are essential for the understanding of effective tools which can be used to stop the epidemic of obesity nationwide. Many people suffering from obesity are unaware of the potential danger of this health problem and, what is more, they are often helpless in its solution because they do not really know what exactly provokes the development of obesity and what they should do to avoid obesity.
On the other hand, there is no definite answer what is the main cause of obesity. In fact, specialists (Diamond, 1990) name several reasons explaining the development of obesity. First of all, it is worth mentioning the changed lifestyle of modern people. Today, people lead a sedative lifestyle and their physical activities are insufficient to maintain their good physical shape. As a result, the low physical activity of people, both at home and at work, contributes to the increasing weight which eventually results in obesity.
However, the nutrition and the food culture at large are not less important factors which cause obesity. At this point, it is necessary to lay emphasis on the fact that the quality of food, ingredients used in the modern food and the way of the consumption of food are crucial factors leading to the development of obesity not only among adults but also among adolescents and even children. What is meant here is the growing consumption of food containing trans fat and other elements which contribute to the stocking of fat in human body. In addition, people often eat irregularly and, instead of healthy food they are forced to choose fast food which is rich in fats and carbohydrates. As a result, people consume unhealthy food and increase their weight.
At the same time, the consumption of carbohydrate may produce a significant impact on the health of people, at large, and the development of obesity, in particular. Today, low carbohydrate diet is considered to be a very effective tool, which can help to decrease wait in a relatively short period of time (Eaton et al., 1985). In actuality, this diet is grounded on the idea that the consumption of food with a high amount of carbohydrate produces a negative impact on the health of people and increases their weight. In stark contrast, the low carbohydrate diet implies that the low amount of carbohydrate prevents obesity and increasing weight.
Obviously, in the contemporary world, the prospect of the decreasing weight and prevention of obesity by means of the reduction of the consumption of carbohydrates is very attracting for people, who are disenchanted with other diets. However, it is necessary to remember about the fact that the low carbohydrate diet as well as any other diet aiming at the decreasing of body weight cannot work effectively if it is not accompanied by physical exercises. In other words, people should lead an active lifestyle, work out, do jogging, etc. in order to balance calories consumed during a day by the energy wasted on physical activities. In addition, they should balance their nutrition since the high carbohydrate food is not the only cause of obesity. This means that people need to change their food culture and lifestyle.
Moreover, the low carbohydrate diet naturally evokes the question concerning its effect on human health, since some specialists (Diamond, 1990) warn that, even though high carbohydrate diet increases the risk of obesity, people cannot refuse from carbohydrates and minimize radically their consumption. In fact, such a change of the diet can undermine their health and positive effects of under-consumption of carbohydrates minimizing the risk of obesity do not necessarily outweigh its negative effects. Nevertheless, specialists (Cassidy, 1980) agree that the high carbohydrate food should be avoided in order to prevent the development of obesity.


Methods and Materials
On analyzing the impact of carbohydrate on obesity, it is necessary to focus on the research of the influence of low carbohydrate diet on people. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the study conducted by Gary D. Foster et al. (2003), where the researchers studied the impact of the low carbohydrate diet on obesity. The base-line characteristic of subjects is presented in the Table 1 (see below).
Table 1. Base-Line Characteristics of the Subjects.
In fact, researchers attempted to select subjects representing different sex and racial group in order to obtain possibly more objective results. This is very important because, in the contemporary society, the problem of obesity affects practically all layers of society, regardless of gender and race. Therefore, it is necessary to understand possible impact of the low carbohydrate diet on representative of different groups of population.
The results of the research reveal the fact that the low carbohydrate diet does contribute to the decrease of the weight of the subjects compared to the control group, which used a conventional diet (see table 2).
Table 2.

On the other hand, Figure 1 shows that the research which was conducted within a year proved a very interesting trend. Subjects using the low carbohydrate diet has lost consistently their weight compared to the control group using conventional diet. However, by the end of the experiment the gap between weight curves of the group using the low carbohydrate diet and the group using conventional diet has started to close (figure 1). In such a way, it is possible to presuppose that the low carbohydrate diet does not necessarily leads to positive results in a long-run perspective.
Figure 1. Mean (±SE) Percent Change in Weight among Subjects on the Low-Carbohydrate Diet and Those on the Conventional (Low-Calorie, High-Carbohydrate) Diet, According to an Analysis in Which Base-Line Values Were Carried Forward in the Case of Missing Values (Panel A) or an Analysis That Included Data on Subjects Who Completed the Study and Data Obtained at the Time of the Last Follow-up Visit for Those Who Did Not Complete the Study (Panel B).
In Panel B, the low-carbohydrate group had 28 subjects at 3 months, 24 subjects at 6 months, and 20 subjects at 12 months and the conventional-diet group had 21 subjects at 3 months, 18 subjects at 6 months, and 17 subjects at 12 months. Asterisks indicate a significant difference (P<0.05) between the groups.

Moreover, the researchers revealed even a more disturbing fact. The Figure 2 shows that the percentage of subjects with a positive urinary ketone concentration was consistently higher among people using the low carbohydrate diet compared to people using the conventional diet. Therefore, it is possible to estimate that the low carbohydrate diet can expose people to a risk of development other health problems but obesity.
Figure 2. Percentage of Subjects with a Positive Urinary Ketone Concentration, According to Whether They Were on the Low-Carbohydrate Diet or the Conventional (Low-Calorie, High-Carbohydrate) Diet.
A positive urinary ketone concentration was defined as 5 to 100 mg per deciliter. Asterisks indicate a significant difference (P<0.003) between the groups.


The similar trend could be traced in regard to the cholesterol level among people using the low carbohydrate diet compared to the group using the conventional diet (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Mean (±SE) Percent Change in Serum Concentrations of Triglycerides (Panel A), Total Cholesterol (Panel B), Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol (Panel C), and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol (Panel D) among Subjects on the Low-Carbohydrate Diet and Those on the Conventional (Low-Calorie, High-Carbohydrate) Diet.
Data were obtained at the end of the study for subjects who completed the study and at the time of the last follow-up visit for those who did not complete the study. The low-carbohydrate group had 28 subjects at 3 months, 24 subjects at 6 months, and 20 subjects at 12 months. The conventional-diet group had 21 subjects at 3 months, 18 subjects at 6 months, and 17 subjects at 12 months. Asterisks indicate a significant difference (P<0.05) between the groups.

In such a way, the researchers revealed the fact that the low carbohydrate diet, being able to decrease the body weight, is necessarily positive for human health at large.
However, the researchers studying the impact of the high carbohydrate diet (Bierer and Bui, 2004) arrived to the similar results. Even though the researchers used dogs as the subjects of their experiment, the results of their study are reliable since the reaction of dogs on the high carbohydrate diet is similar to that of humans due to the similarity of their constitution and effects of carbohydrates on their body. In this respect, figures 4-6 reveal the negative impact of the high carbohydrate diet on the health of subjects, especially in regard to the growing body weight. In other words, the study proved the fact that the high carbohydrate diet, which used during twelve weeks, led to the increase of the body weight of the subjects using the carbohydrate diet.
Figure 4. Mean percent of baseline body weight in dogs fed diets containing high carbohydrate [control (CON), n = 10], high carbohydrate + CLA (CLA, n = 10), high protein, low carbohydrate (HP, n = 9), or high protein, low carbohydrate + CLA (n = 10) for 12 wk at 85% of maintenance calories. An asterisk (*) indicates a significant change (P < 0.05) as compared to the change in the CON group.

Figure 5. Mean percent change (± SEM) in fat mass and lean body mass over 12 wk in dogs fed diets containing high carbohydrate [control (CON), n = 10], high carbohydrate + CLA (CLA, n = 10), high protein, low carbohydrate (HP, n = 9), or high protein, low carbohydrate + CLA (n = 10) at 85% of maintenance calories. An asterisk (*) indicates a significant change (P < 0.05) as compared to the change in the CON group.

Figure 6. Mean serum TG (± SEM) at baseline and 12 wk in dogs fed diets containing high carbohydrate [control (CON), n = 10], high carbohydrate + CLA (CLA, n = 10), high protein, low carbohydrate (HP, n = 9), or high protein, low carbohydrate + CLA (n = 10) at 85% of maintenance calories. An asterisk (*) indicates a significant change (P < 0.05) as compared to the change in the CON group.

Speaking about human diet it is particularly important to realize that it should be balanced and adequate to human needs. Nowadays numerous carbohydrate diets become more and more popular and their developers estimate that they are very effective and do not threat human health.
However, not all specialists agree with this statement. First of all, it should be said that the consumption of low amount of carbohydrate in our everyday diet may have negative consequences. For instance, low carbohydrate consumption may lead to the decrease while higher to decrease of so-called glycemic index, i.e. a qualitative indicator of carbohydrate’s ability to raise blood glucose level.
Furthermore, another argument against carbohydrate restriction focuses on the purported health risk of this dietary approach. Of the three macronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrate, it is only carbohydrate that is nonessential to the human diet. Humans can exist for extraordinarily long periods of time without carbohydrate consumption as long as essential protein and fat needs are met. It is thus perplexing why nutritional dogma ascribes so many risks to the restriction of this non-essential nutrient.
On analyzing my personal food consumption, and carbohydrates in particular, I would say that basically the level of carbohydrate consumption is a bit higher that is obviously not very dramatic but still disturbing fact. On studying the effect of low/high carbohydrate consumption, I came to the conclusion that it should be well balanced and adequate to human needs. IN fact humans should not consume more or less than they need at the moment carbohydrates, especially, if we take into consideration that they should be naturally supported by proportional consumption of proteins and fats.
Trans fat, which may be also called hydrogenated fat, may be found in processed food or hydrogenated vegetable oil. These ingredients certainly contribute to the calorie content of a food, often making it unsuitable if you’re trying to lose weight. But worse than this, foods containing these ingredients also contain trans fats – and these are thought to be as harmful to heart health as saturated fat (Eaton et al., 1985).
Ironically, it’s the processing of pure vegetable oils – a good source of heart-friendly unsaturates – that creates harmful trans fats. During manufacturing, these liquid oils have hydrogen bubbled through them in a process called hydrogenation to improve their texture, flavor and shelf life. The resulting product is a more solid fat, called hydrogenated fat or hydrogenated vegetable oil, which goes on to be used as an ingredient in many processed foods.
Essential Omega-3 Complex is a natural marine lipid concentrate, formulated with the oil of cold-water fish - sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies - which is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids (Eaton et al., 1985).
Traditionally, Omega 3 fatty acids are recommended to use as an effective mean of resistance to a negative influence of trans fats or hydrogenated fats. It is recommended to eat two servings of fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids each week in order to optimize heart health. At the same time, instead of such fish diet it is possible to take fish oil capsules that could be taken by those who cannot afford eating fish regularly.
In such a way, it is obvious that diet and food culture are very important for human health and the consumption of carbohydrates should be carefully regulated in order to avoid possible negative effects.

Conclusion
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of obesity disturbs many specialists (Bierer and Bui, 2004), who work on the problem of the minimization of the risk of obesity. In this respect, researches dedicated to the effects of carbohydrates are particularly important because carbohydrates can provoke the increase of the body weight and, therefore, they can result in obesity. At the same time, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that along with carbohydrates, it is possible to name the sedative lifestyle, fast food and unhealthy food culture as the major causes of obesity. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid underestimation of negative effects of the consumption of carbohydrates. In fact, researches aforementioned reveal the negative impact of the high carbohydrate diet because it leads to the increase of the body weight. On the other hand, the low carbohydrate diet can be also dangerous to human health and evoke different health problems, though it can decrease the body weight.
In such a situation, it is obvious that the effects of carbohydrates on obesity should be researched further, but it proves beyond a doubt that it is necessary to avoid extremes in the consumption of carbohydrates. What is meant here is the fact that a balanced diet is needed, which should be supported by the change of food culture of people and their lifestyle.


References:
Bierer, T.L. and Bui, L.M. (August, 2004). “High-protein low-carbohydrate diets enhance weight loss in dogs.” Journal of Nutrition, 134: 2087S-2089S.
Cassidy, C.M. (1980) "Nutrition and health in agriculturalist and hunter-gathers: a case study of two prehistoric populations." Food and Evolution. Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits. pp 117-145. Redgrave Publishing Company.
Diamond, L. (1992) The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of The Human Animal. pp 180-191. Harper Collins.
Eaton, S.B. et al. (1985) "Paleolithic Nutrition, a consideration of its nature and current implications." N Engl J Med; 312:283-289.
Foster, G.D. et al. (May 22, 2003). “Randomized trial of a low-carbonate diet for obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 348(21): 2082-2090.


 

 
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