A low carb diet has become a popular way to lose weight and improve health. The great publicity it has received has led many people to think that carbohydrates are harmful to health and should not be included in the diet. But what exactly does a low-carb diet have?
Are Carbohydrates Really Harmful To Health? What happens to your body when you stop eating them?
Carbohydrate foods bring energy to the body and the body needs them to function properly. If you stop eating carbohydrates completely, it can be detrimental to your health. A diet high in carbohydrates, on the other hand, can also cause negative side effects. So it is important to find the perfect balance and learn to choose the most suitable foods.
The effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on the body: what are the benefits?
The low-carbohydrate diet has not only aroused interest in humans, but has also become the subject of research. In that way, efforts have been made to determine the health benefits it brings.
Thanks to research on the subject, we know that a low-carbohydrate diet has a positive effect on weight loss and improves overall health.
Here are some of the main changes it causes:
- The body begins to use fat as an energy source as the amount of immediate glucose from carbohydrates decreases.
- There are positive changes in weight loss. First a lot of fluid is removed and then the lipid stores start to drop.
- The risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced. Although experts have yet to conduct long-term studies on the subject, they have found immediate positive effects on body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood insulin levels.
- The management of type 2 diabetes is improved, as noted in this study.
- Appetite is reduced due to the increased amount of fat and protein.
Effects of a low carb diet
Adherence to a low-carbohydrate diet can be accomplished by a variety of methods. The restriction can be very strict (as in a ketogenic diet) or reasonable. Studies show that in both cases, there are several irritating symptoms and imbalances in the body.
The most common of these are:
- Headache and confusion
- Leg cramps ( usually due to a lack of magnesium and other minerals; it is not severe but can be painful)
- Dehydration due to increased water loss
- Constipation due to reduced fiber content and habituation of the digestive system
- Bad breath (if your diet is really low in carbs)
The above studies have also found possible negative effects when such a diet has been followed for a long time. The main concerns of the experts are:
- Long-term studies on the safety of the ketogenic diet have not been performed. This is the most limited form of a low carb diet.
- If dehydration occurs, people who engage in physical activity may have poorer performance, fatigue, higher body temperature, or changes in blood pressure.
- Low carbohydrate levels combined with high protein levels increase liver glucose production and reduce tissue response to insulin. These two factors affect insulin resistance.
- Cardiovascular health may be impaired if the amount of saturated fat increases.
Recommendations for a healthy low carb diet
The effects of a low-carbohydrate diet can be helpful if you follow certain guidelines to avoid the negative side of the diet. It can become a varied, healthy, and satisfying way to eat.
So what should you consider? Keep reading to find out.
1. Add significantly more vegetables
In this respect, there is no deviating guidance from the general recommendations. Since vegetables do not contain any (or very little) grains, they can be eaten more. If the guidelines are not too strict, you can also add starchy vegetables to your diet.
2. Monitor the amount of excess protein
A low carb diet does not need to contain large amounts of protein. It’s enough to follow normal recommendations and include protein in every meal. The main sources of protein are eggs, fish, meat, nuts and legumes.
3. Increase the amount of fat in your diet
When you stop eating carbs, lipids become your main source of energy. They are essential for maintaining good overall health and provide a feeling of satiety, making it easier to follow a diet.
Here are the major daily sources of fat:
- Olive oil and olives
4. Fruit and cereals
You should include only a small amount of fruits and grains in your diet when following a less restricted low carb diet. However, foods and beverages with added sugar and processed products should be completely eliminated from the diet.
5. Monitor salt and water consumption
Reducing the amount of carbohydrates can lead to a large loss of water and electrolytes, including sodium. This can cause a number of side effects that should be avoided. To do this, it is necessary to drink enough water and ensure adequate salt intake.
Sodium-rich processed products should be avoided. However, you can use salt as a spice in home cooking, for example, in low-carb recipes or soups.
It is possible to follow a healthy diet even if you stop eating carbohydrates
Low carb diets are in vogue due to their positive effects related to weight loss. In addition to this, they have also shown excellent results in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, in reducing the waist circumference, and in lowering blood pressure.
Nevertheless, it is important to know that there is also a risk of negative effects from such a diet. It is important to consider dietary recommendations and follow them safely. It is therefore advisable to ensure optimal intake of fresh vegetables along with fat and protein.
It is recommended that you visit a nutritionist before starting a low carb diet . This kind of diet is not for everyone. The expert can then determine if it is right for you or not.