What Belly Dancers Need to Know About Low Carb Diets
There are a myriad of reasons to follow a restricted carb diet and many people are heeding this advice. The idea of low-carb diets is to lower the amount of carbohydrate intake so the body will begin to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, therefore dropping weight quickly, increasing energy, and avoiding low sugar slumps. So how will this diet affect a belly dancers performance on and off the stage?
What Are Carbs?
Simply put, carbohydrates are a category of food that breaks down quickly into sugar. They come in the form of complex and simple carbohydrates and are contained in fruits, starches, and even vegetables. They are used to fuel the body and are a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. While carbs are the body’s quickest source of energy, too many of them can wind up as storage on a person’s body contributing to obesity and insulin resistance.
Low-Carb Diet Theory
The theory behind low-carb diets is that significantly reducing carbohydrate intake will increase the efficiency of insulin, amplify weight loss, and fuel the body with fat rather than with sugar. While cutting out carbs may seem counter-intuitive to gaining energy, it actually can sustain energy levels better because there is no significant drop in glucose levels after eating a meal high in protein like there is with a meal high in carbs.
Since cardiologist Robert Atkins first introduced the low-carb diet in the 1970’s, its popularity has soared. Other diets have branched off from his original Atkins Diet including The Zone, Protein Power, and most recently, The South Beach Diet. There are a smattering of critics who claim that a low-carb diet can encourage a diet high in saturated fat, leading to heart disease and other cardiac problems. However, most plan proponents praise its fast effects and rave about how even their energy levels are.
Low-Carb, High Impact
While there may be some controversy regarding low-carb diets’ place in society, there is no question that it yields dramatic effects when used for weight loss. Many people who have tried countless other weight loss diets state that their only or biggest successes come from low-carb diets. In addition to fast, efficient weight loss, low-carb diets also sustain energy levels as the body burns long lasting fat for energy.
Low-Carb Diets and Belly Dancers
Low-carb diets still leave wiggle room for some carbs, and it would be beneficial for belly dancers to take advantage of that room just before entering the belly dance studio. Eating a handful of strawberries before class will allow the body to draw on that short burst of energy for a better performance. Just ensure that the carbs that are eaten are healthy choices to take advantage of the fiber and vitamins available to bolster each belly dance.
The most successful way for belly dancers to take advantage of the benefits of a low-carb diet is to remember that belly dancing is a fitness regimen. Therefore, the diet should provide ample calories to sustain muscle performance and the carb choices that are eaten should include only those that are best for the body, such as fruits and vegetables. This will help to make performances the most enjoyable to perform as well as to watch.