Low Carb Diet
In recent years, low-carb diets have become a hot topic in the world of fitness, with so many people following it to shred and lose stubborn fat. But what exactly is a low-carb diet, and is it worth the hype?
Let us read ahead to find out more about low-carb diets.
What Is A Low Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet restricts the eating of food items high in carbohydrates and promotes eating more protein and fat. The limit for carbs intake is set to less than 26% every day. Some diets include lesser carbs than 26%.
Carbs are mainly present in fruits, food grains, and starchy vegetables. There are several low-carb diets, and each of these diets has certain restrictions towards the number of carbs to be consumed during the diet period.
Some of the well-known low-carb diets are Dr. Frank, Atkins, Dukan. Some other ones are the Mayo diet, South Beach, and Total Wellness Diet.
Why Do You Need A Low Carb Diet?
The primary purpose behind a low-carb diet is to lose weight effectively. As you restrict carbs which are the body’s preferred source of fuel, the body starts burning fats to provide energy to the body, leading to fat loss.
Sometimes, to get away from the usual food habits, people follow a low-carb diet or generally like those food items that include fewer carbs. Some of these diets also have other health benefits, such as reducing Type-2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Some low-carb diets focus on it is better to avoid some carbohydrate sources to lead a healthy life.
What To Eat And What Not To
Since low carb diets restrict those food items that have high carbohydrates, you will have to avoid:
- Sugars such as fruit juices, soft drinks, ice cream, and anything that has sugar.
- Refined grains like wheat, rice, pasta, barley, and rye.
- Legumes like beans, lentils.
- Any starchy vegetable.
- Highly processed foods.
- Low-fat dairy products
- Many kinds of fruits
Instead of all these, low carb diet encourages eating more protein-fat sources like meat, vegetables, fish, fats, healthy oils, non-gluten grains, nuts, seeds, eggs.
What is Ketosis?
Low carb diets lead to a metabolic state in the body which is called Ketosis. As the body sustains itself on a low percentage of carbs, it cannot burn carbs for energy, so it starts using the fat deposits to fuel the body.
Special chemicals called ketones are released in this process, and the body enters the Ketogenesis or ketosis stage. The body starts mimicking the fasting diet. It is also known as the ‘Keto’ diet and has become very famous for attaining quick fat loss.
Pros of Low Carb Diet
- Weight Loss: Undeniably, the primary benefit of a low-carb diet is weight loss. Your body starts shedding extra pounds as you restrict yourself from carbohydrates, which add up to the calorie counter. In the absence of carbs, more protein and fat keeps the body full for a more extended period, thus making you less hungry. Only foods with high carbs are restricted, whereas you are allowed to eat enough protein and fats. Weight loss is more effective when the diet is followed for the short term.
- Cardiovascular health: Low-carb diets that are mostly plant-based promote better cardiovascular health with decreased mortality.
- Other benefits: Low-carb diets also help to control type-2 diabetes and reduces cholesterol levels.
- Fewer Restrictions: Compared to some traditional diets, you need to avoid carb-rich foods. You can easily consume other sources of food.
Cons of Low Carb diet
- Ketosis: Low carb diets work by inducing the body to attain a metabolic state where the body uses up fats since it doesn’t get carbs to burn. There are some side-effects of staying in Ketosis for a short period, such as feeling sluggish, tired, or have bad breath. These side-effects will subside in a few weeks. But it is of significant concern when the body stays in Ketosis for a longer duration.
Being on a low-carb diet for too long will increase your chances of having cholesterol, kidney damage, abnormal heartbeat, and osteoporosis. Your age matters a lot while following a low-carb diet.
If you are in middle age, eating so much protein may lead to diabetes, cancer, and sometimes premature death.
- Excluding fruits: We all know that fruits are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. In a low-carb diet, most fruits are excluded, depriving you of many essential nutrients. The extreme the diet, the less will be the number of carbs to consume.
Studies have shown that fruits play an important role in keeping our bodies healthy and strong. They have fewer calories than other food items and are an excellent option for weight loss.
- Gut health: Everyone is aware of the fact that a healthy gut also means a healthy body. In low-carb diets, the gut bacteria in our digestive tract get disrupted, messing up our digestion.
- Less fiber: Since many food grains are restricted in a low-carb diet, it reduces the amount of fiber in our diet, giving rise to constipation and other issues relating to indigestion.
- Increases Cholesterol: Going on a low-carb diet may increase bad cholesterol and fatty liver because of saturated fat in the food item.
While choosing a diet for yourself, always consider particular factors such as age, chronic illnesses, time constraints, finances, etc. The main aim of your diet should be to keep you fit physically and mentally.
Low carb diets are a great option to break the monotony of everyday routine life. The best part about this diet is that you don’t need to eat less, but you need to eat right. If you plan to lose weight or tune-up your eating habits, then a low-carb diet is a great option.