How Low Carbohydrate Diets Work For Weight Loss
Low carbohydrate diets are a part of food diet programs or schedules that have been specially designed for weight loss.
Carbohydrates are chemical compounds comprised of carbon atoms, oxygen, and hydrogen that are arranged in sugars that are either found separately or are combined into long chains. Foods that possess high levels of carbohydrates include breads, pastas, cereal, bran and potatoes.
The reduction in insulin levels is the central purpose of low carb diets
Low carbohydrate diets are based on the concept that a diet low in carbohydrates leads to a reduction in the level of insulin produced by the body. This results in the fat and protein stores being used as the main source of energy.
Low carbohydrate diet advocates call for consumption of food that is low in carbohydrates, as unregulated consumption of the same may lead to an increase in blood insulin levels and obesity. The main purpose of a low carbohydrate diet is to force the body to burn fat as its main energy source.
Those planning to undertake a low carbohydrate diet are advised to refrain from or limit the consumption of food containing carbohydrates like sugar, grain and starches and instead consume foods containing mostly proteins and fats. Low carbohydrate diets are classified on the basis of the carbohydrate intake recommended by them.
Research states that such diets are indeed effective and often do help in reducing weight. Any low carbohydrate diet will strictly limit sugar consumption. However, the recommended levels of food grains, vegetables and fruits may vary from person to person.
Most nutritionists have accepted the fact that vegetables are better than fruits and fruits are better than grains. As such, vegetables play a very important role in some low carbohydrate diets.
Over the years, many scientific studies and trials have been conducted to establish the efficacy and safety of a low carbohydrate diet. Independent trials carried out in clinics have shown that a low carbohydrate diet can be followed to loose weight successfully.
Going into the metabolic state called “ketosis”
However, critics have also pointed out that low carbohydrate consumption can also lead to a metabolic state known as ‘ketosis’, which leads to a host of problems including a general dizzy feeling, continued headaches, dehydration, fatigue, and an unusual sweet-smelling breath odor.
Reduced consumption of carbohydrates also tends to lower the intake of dietary fibers that may lead to constipation if not supplemented. In the short run, people following a low carbohydrate diet tend to loose weight quickly.
However, this weight loss mainly occurs due to the loss of water and muscle tissue, which may lead to weight related problems later on in the person’s life. Dietitians and nutritionist across the world feel that a diet low in carbohydrates is not at all healthy. This is because vital vitamins and nutrients can only be obtained by following a balanced diet.
To a certain extent, a low carbohydrate diet proves to be really effective. People who follow a low carbohydrate diet do loose weight quickly. However, while following this diet, care should to be taken to include foods that supplement the body with other essential vitamins and nutrients that are required for normal bodily functions.
7 Examples of Low Carbohydrate Diets
- The Atkin’s diet
- The High protein diet
- Stillman diet
- Scarsdale diet
- Hollywood diet
- Ketogenic diet
- The Zone diet
Before starting a low carbohydrate diet, it is advisable that you consider the tips and directives issued by a qualified and reputed nutritionist or dietitian.