Low-carb Diet: Can it Help You Lose Weight?
While there are many types of diets, the low-carb diet has been a growing trend in the last two decades. The low-carb diet has some positive and negative attributes , like other diets. When one removes a macro nutrient like carbohydrates, they must be aware of the full spectrum of effects. Else, they may encounter complications and downsides that will render the diet ineffective. With improper application of a low-carb diet, one can even experience negative health effects. Thus, knowing the factors of the low-carb diet is important.
Defining the Diet
In the easiest definition possible, a low-carb diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates that one consumes during the course of the diet. Items like grain, starch found in certain vegetables, and some fruits are to be avoided in the low carb diet. Some low carbohydrate diets completely remove many of the items that are considered moderate or high in carbohydrates. Others simply reduce the amount one can eat in particular categories. Finally, there are those that allow all genres of carbohydrates in, but do simply limit the amount. Regardless of the type you partake in, low-carb diets are to be monitored closely and taken seriously. When restricting a macronutrient that is general fuel for the body, negative side effects can occur if not careful.
Why Use It?
One utilizes a low-carb diet specifically to lose weight. Carbohydrates help facilitate water weight. Carbohydrates also are easily turned into fat cells, especially when too many consumed at once. But the reasons for one chooses to follow the diet may be different depending on the person. There are some who simply need to change their bad eating habits, and cutting out carbs is the best overall idea. There are those who simply see the low-carb diet as the most natural for them to transition. Perhaps one has a high carbohydrate sensitivity or difficulty processing carbs properly. For others, their dieting flaws are always linked to carbohydrates. For them, losing all the carbs they usually eat is the best way to lose the weight they need to. For instance, those with a considerable sweet tooth might find the low-carb diet the best possible source for weight loss. Of course, it is always best to make sure that your doctor or health specialist is aware of the diet you are about to partake in. There is considerable reason to avoid a low-carb diet if you have specific nutritional needs.
Details of the Diet
Being on a low-carb diet is not as simple as cutting out candy bars and cake. Lowering your carbohydrate intake takes effort that extends beyond simple carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates. There are simple carbs like fructose or sucrose. There are also complex carbohydrates that take considerably more energy and effort for your body to break down. So when you are speaking of cutting down on carbohydrates, it also entails cutting down on potatoes and other starchy foods. It can mean cutting down on fruits and vegetables that you may otherwise eat regularly. The reason you must cut out all types of carbohydrates is due to the impact carbohydrates have on your body. When you intake too many carbohydrates, your pancreas releases high levels of insulin. This causes your body to store the content as fat cells more easily. Thus, when you begin to remove the carbohydrate amounts in your system, the insulin level also drops. Often a low-carb diet is also accompanied by an increase in protein. This further assists your insulin levels and keeps your metabolism working harder than it would with carbs.
Proteins are the name of game in low-carb diets. Your body still needs a strong level of macronutrients. When you are removing a high level of carbohydrates, you will still need vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats. Thus, the low-carb diet often consists of protein from eggs, fish, poultry, and other sources. Most of the grains, beans, breads, and many fruits are removed by the diet. Of course, sweets and pastas are removed (and are often nearly demonized by low-carb dieters). There are low carb diets that do allow one to partake in certain carbohydrates. When they do, they usually allow for consumables like whole-grain pastas or breads as well as high-carb vegetables like potatoes. Still, even the more liberal of low-carb diets demand a heavy restriction on such foods.
Since each person is different and deals with the diet in different ways, it is hard to say what results can be expected. Generally, weight loss comes from two main areas. There is general fat loss and water-weight loss. The reason for the former is that the body is burning more calories while at rest due to an increased metabolism. Higher protein levels mean more energy is used to digest and absorb the food. The metabolism is thus kept at a higher resting rate while food is being digested. The water weight being lost is simply a positive side effect of a low-carb diet. Carbohydrates help the body retain water. It is only natural that when that facilitator is lost, the weight from water is lost as well. This is why many bodybuilders and those who are cutting weight for wrestling or mixed martial arts tend to use low-carb diets.
Risks of Low-Carb
With any diet, risks tend to come from severe or drastic attempts at weight loss. With proper cycling into and out of low-carb diets, there is truly little risk. The reason it is often best to cycle into and out of the diet is that your body must adjust. Since you are removing a source of fuel for the body, allowing it time to acclimate is important. If done properly the side effects are very mild and usually include headaches, dizziness, and general fatigue. With proper hydration, nutrition, and cycling the side effects should remain at manageable levels.
Image credited to telegraph.co.uk; happylowcarb.com
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