First things first, what exactly is a low-carb diet?
There is no official definition of a low carb diet however, there is different classifications. But a general overview is: cutting down on the amount of carbohydrates you eat to less than around 100g a day. However, low-carb eating should not be no-carb eating.
Traditional carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, to name a few, are excluded and instead replaced with vegetables, fruit, legumes, and some wholegrains. To make up for the lower amount of carbs, high-protein foods and healthy fat sources are added.
Best Foods to Include
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts, nut butters, and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables
Foods to Avoid
Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet
Low-carb diets tend to work in favour for people who are prediabetic or diabetic. Cutting carbs can lower your blood sugar and insulin levels drastically. In one study, diabetics who began a low-carb diet were able to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% almost immediately. In another case, low-carb diets have seen to even reverse type-2 diabetes. If you are a diabetic and are considering switching to a low-carb diet, please talk to your doctor before making these changes.
Cutting carbs out of your diet may also be one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Here’s the science: your body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source and during digestion carbs are broken down into glucose and released into your blood stream. If the glucose is not burnt up, it is stored as fat. When eating low-carb, the body turns stored fat into energy, which leads to weight loss.
Drawbacks of a Low-Carb Diet
A restrictive diet can be hard to maintain in the long term which means weight loss may be temporary. A lot of the initial weight loss from reducing carbohydrate intake tends to be water weight. For people with eating disorders, a restrictive diet such as a low-carb diet is not recommended as it can create an unhealthy and obsessive relationship with food.
Some low-carb diets are often high in saturated fats, which can lead to an increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. On the other hand, a high fat diet can increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, also known as the good cholesterol. The higher your levels of HDL relative to LDL, the lower your risk to heart disease.
In conclusion, just like any diet, low-carb diets have their pros and con. However, the important thing is trying to understand if this is the right diet for you. As previously mentioned, if you have any existing medical conditions please contact your doctor before making changes to your diet. Will you be trying a low-carb diet?
By Pooja Depala