One of the best ways to lose weight is by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. This choice leads to reduced appetite and causes automatic weight loss without the need to count calories or control portions. This means that you can eat until satiety, feel satisfied and still lose weight.
Why should you choose a low carb diet?
Over the last few decades, health authorities have recommended eating diets restricted in calories and low-fat.
The problem is that this diet doesn’t work. Even when people manage to keep it, they don’t see good results
And an alternative that has been available for long years is the low carbohydrate diet, which restricts the consumption of foods such as sugars and starches (bread and pasta, for example) and replaces them with protein and fats.
Studies have shown that these low-carbohydrate diets reduce appetite and push for lower calorie intake. It loses weight with very little effort, as long as it is always kept under the consumption of carbohydrates.
In studies where low-carbohydrate diets are compared with low-fat ones, researchers needed to actively reduce calories in groups that consumed low fat to make the results matchable. So, the group that ingested few carbohydrates had better results.
Low-carbohydrate diets also have benefits that go beyond weight loss. They lower the sugar in blood, the blood pressure and the triglycerides. They elevate HDL (“good”) cholesterol and improve LDL (“bad”) patterns. Thus, the status of effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets is, at this point, a scientific fact.
» Summarizing: There are many studies that show that low-carbohydrate diets are more effective and healthier than low-fat fats that are still being recommended around the world.
How to determine the need for carbohydrates
There is no exact definition of what constitutes a low-carbohydrate diet. What is “low” for some people may not be for others.
The optimal consumption of carbohydrates for an individual depends of age, sex, body composition, levels of activity, personal preferences, food culture and metabolic health.
Physically active people who have greater muscle mass can tolerate more carbohydrates than sedentary individuals. This applies particularly to those who perform high-intensity aerobic exercises, such as speeding or weightlifting.
Metabolic health is also a very important factor. In people with metabolic syndrome who develop obesity or type 2 diabetes, the rules change.
Individuals who fall into this category cannot tolerate the same amount of carbohydrates as healthy people. Many scientists even refer to these problems as “carbohydrate intolerance.”
» Summarizing: The optimal range of carbohydrates varies between individuals depending on activity levels, metabolic health and several other factors.
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If you simply remove the less-healthy carbohydrate sources from diet, wheat, and added sugars, you are already on a good path to wellbeing.
However, to enjoy all the metabolic benefits of a low carb diet, it will also be necessary to restrict other sources.
Even without specific scientific studies explaining exactly how to adjust carbohydrate consumption to individual needs, these instructions can be very effective:
» 100-150 grams a day: This intake of carbohydrates can be considered “moderate”. It is very suitable for thin, active people who only seek to maintain weight and good health. It is possible to lose weight by consuming this amount, but you may need to count calories and control portions.
» Carbohydrates that can be consumed: all imaginable vegetables. Several portions of fruit a day. Something (not too much) of healthy starches such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and cereals like rice and oats.
» 50-100 grams a day: This range is ideal for effortless weight loss while allowing a little carbohydrates in the diet. It also serves carbohydrate-sensitive people. Carbohydrates that can be consumed: many vegetables. Maybe two to three portions of fruit a day. Minimum amount of carbohydrates rich in starch.
» 20-50 grams a day: This is where the metabolic benefits really start to make themselves feel. This is the perfect range for those who need to lose weight fast, have problems with metabolism, obesity or diabetes.
When consumed less than 50 grams a day, the body enters ketosis, providing energy to the brain through ketone bodies. This usually kills the appetite and automatically loses weight. Carbohydrates that can be consumed: many low-carb vegetables. Some berries, maybe with whipped cream.
Avocados, walnuts and seeds.A low-carb diet never completely eliminates them. There’s room for low-carb vegetables.
It’s important to experiment. We are all unique individuals and what works for one person might not work for another. It’s important to experiment with oneself and find out so that’s what’s good for us.
If you have a medical condition, talk to a doctor before making any changes because this diet can drastically reduce the need for some medicines.
» Summing up: For physically active people who want to maintain their weight, a range of 100-150 grams per day is optimal. For people with metabolic problems, going below 50 grams per day is a good idea.
Good carbohydrates, bad carbohydrates
A low-carbohydrate diet has nothing to do with losing weight. It’s also supposed to improve health. For this reason, it must be based on real, raw food.
Low-carb junk foods are a bad choice. If you are looking for better health, it is better to choose meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats and whole dairy.
It is also good to incorporate carbohydrate sources that include fiber. If moderate carbohydrate intake is preferred, it is necessary to choose sources of unrefined starches, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, rice and other gluten-free cereals.
Added sugar and wheat are always bad choices and should be avoided except on special occasions.
In short, it is very important to choose healthy and fiber-rich carbohydrate sources. There is room for many vegetables, even in the lowest range of carbohydrate consumption.
You’ll become a fat-burning machine
Low-carbohydrate diets greatly reduce insulin levels in the blood. This hormone is the one that carries glucose derived from carbohydrates to cells.
Another function of insulin is to store fats. Many experts believe that the reason why low-carbohydrate diets work so well is because they reduce the levels of this hormone.
And another function of insulin is to tell the kidneys to accumulate sodium. Therefore, high-carbohydrate diets can cause excessive fluid retention. When carbohydrates are eliminated, insulin is reduced and the kidneys begin to remove excess water.
It is common, so, that people lose a lot of weight in water in the early days of a low carb diet. Weight loss will be less accelerated after the first week, but this time the fat deposits begin to burn.
A study that compared low-carbohydrate diets with low-fat diets and use dexa (highly successful) meters to measure body composition. Those who consumed low carb diets lost a significant amount of body fat and gained muscle at the same time.
Studies also showed that low-carbohydrate diets are particularly effective in reducing the accumulated fat in the abdominal cavity, associated with several diseases.
If you just start a low-carb diet, you may need to go through a stage of adaptation while your body gets used to burning fats instead of carbohydrates.
This is usually called “low carb flu” and usually lasts a few days. After this initial phase, many people claim to have more energy than before, without relapse during the afternoon, common in high carbohydrate diets. Adding a little more fat and sodium to the diet can help at this point.
» To summarize: it is common to feel strange in the first few days after lowering the consumption of carbohydrates. However, after that phase of adaptation, the wellbeing rises.