There are many people in the world who scoff at low carb diets, thinking they are very unhealthy. Here is a letter you can refer them to, to explain what low carb is all about.
Dear Anti Low Carb Person -
My name is Lisa. I understand completely where you are coming from with your concern about low carb. For many years I was strongly anti low carb. I only knew what the media had told me - that it was about eating a ton of fat, living on fatty steak all day long. It was about avoiding vegetables. I knew that people who ate this way would all die a horrible death.
As with anything in life, it's important to research the truth and to not trust the media. We can all name times the media has gotten things wrong!
Low carb is NOT about eating a ton of steak, or eating a ton of fat. If you know someone who lives on steaks and cheese, they are not doing low carb. They are doing a vitamin deficiency diet. Low carb is literally about eating "few carbohydrates". That is, it is about eating things that are fresh, natural, and full of nutrients.
Fiber, for example, is highly recommended. Fiber is a very healthy carb. Most vegetables are highly recommended. Low carbers eat a ton of broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, and so on - far more than the average person. In fact, the average child only eats one vegetable - a potato! You have to wonder what kind of caring parent would only feed their child potatoes, and consider that a healthy diet, considering that every food pyramid instructs *green* vegetables be in a kid's diet.
The problem with many modern day carbs is that they have been over processed to the point that they are all sugar, no fiber, and no nutrients. Bread is white and has the nutrients stripped from it. The same is true of rice. Many people eat pasta which is full of calories but has few nutrients. People eat all of these things because they're easy and cheap. The result is that they gain weight quickly. They also get diseases like scurvy because they are not taking in the proper vitamins.
In the old days, people ate high calorie foods like potato because they needed that energy to plow the fields or do heavy labor. In modern times we are not doing those heavy activities - but if we still eat the high calorie foods, it makes sense that we will gain weight.
The solution is to eat foods that are very healthy and full of vitamins - but low in natural sugars and starches. These are foods like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower. Tuna, grilled chicken. Whole wheat bread. Low carbers shouldn't be eating entire bins of sugar-free ice cream. The point of low carb is that your stomach only holds X amount - so it is important that when you fill it, you fill it with items that will provide a lot of nutrition and healthy building materials for your body's daily needs.
Yes, low carbers should be active! Every low carb diet recommends healthy activity as part of the daily routine, to maintain strong bones and working muscles.
A benefit of low carb is that the low sugar intake helps keep blood sugar levels stable. They aren't getting spikes from candy or sugary foods. Because of this, hunger levels are stabilized as well. Instead of the "Chinese Food Effect" of eating a starchy / sugary meal and being hungry again a short while later, eating low carb (i.e. low sugar) means your body stays fuller for longer. This helps the body maintain a healthy weight level.
In short, eating low carb is about eating the way all humans did before the year 1900 or so. It's about eating a lot of fresh vegetables, about eating whole grain breads, and eating fresh meats. It's about driking a lot of water to help the nutrients reach their destinations. If you have any other questions about low carb, please contact me or look around my site at LowCarb.BellaOnline.com.
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books