Studies about the efficacy of low-carb diets have been conducted for many years now, and the proof of their effectiveness has been proven by the thousands of people who not only have lost weight but also have been able to keep the weight off. For many, a low-carb eating plan offers a well-sought out substitute for the low-fat diet plans, and it has become not a fad diet, but, in fact, a lifestyle change.
What Exactly Is a Low-Carb Diet?
There are several differing opinions as to what actually constitutes a low-carb diet. Anything from 20 grams to 150 grams can be considered low carb.
With a low-carb diet, your intake of carbohydrates is significantly cut from your meal plan. With the Ketogenic diet, for example, your carbohydrate intake is limited to non-starchy vegetables and only some dairy products.
With a low-carb diet, starch and sugar carbohydrates are exchanged for healthy fats and a few proteins. You’re not allowed to have sugar, pastries, breads, pasta, cereal, beans, or any other starches. Instead, you will eat vegetables, fatty foods such as fatty fish (e.g. sardines, salmon, trout), butter, oils (olive, avocado, and coconut oils), eggs, steak, seafood, and chicken along with other sources of protein and some dairy.
With a low-carb diet, your body no longer gets its energy from the glucose produced by the carbs, and your body begins to burn fat for energy.
How Does It Aid in Weight Loss?
1. Removes insulin-trigger foods: Insulin triggers that cause blood-sugar spikes which lead to weight gain are eliminated. With a low-carb diet, starch and sugar carbs., insulin triggers, are excluded from the meal plan.
The advantage: The body = a fat-burning machine instead of a fat-storing one
2. Activates Ketosis: Eating a low-carb diet starts the process of ketosis, which is “a metabolic state in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body. It occurs when there is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which is the preferred fuel source for many cells in the body.”
The advantage: A very efficient way to burn stored fat and to shed unwanted pounds
3. Is high in protein: Proteins eaten on a low-carb meal plan help to keep you feeling full and satiated; therefore, you will automatically eat less. Protein also helps to increase lean muscle which help in the fat-burning process.
The advantage: High protein, one of the reasons why low-carb diets are effective
4. Controls the appetite and helps to reduce calorie intake: With a low-carb diet, you don’t feel hungry. Your appetites are satisfied because all of those insulin-trigger foods that create sugar spikes are no longer there! You do not overeat, and you’re able to control your cravings.
The advantage: Out-of-control cravings gone and weight loss results
5. Gets rid of water weight: People who have gone on low-carb diets usually lose a noticeable amount of weight within their first couple of weeks of dieting.
The advantage: A source of accomplishment which may inspire you to continue on creating a healthy lifestyle
Are Low-carb Diets Safe?
This is a frequently asked question by those who want to begin their weight-loss journey on low-carb diets. Some people do, in fact, experience some side effects with low-carb diets; however, for the most part, the side effects are usually short-lived. The research and statistics indicate that when compared to the low-fat diets, low-carb diets are more effective in helping people to lose weight and even to rid them of some health issues.
You must remember, however, that not every diet is meant for everyone. Do your research and understand what a particular low-carb diet has to offer, its pros and cons. And, as with any diet plan, you should consult your physician or other health-care professional before starting any nutritional program to determine if it right for you.
Low-carb diets are not fads, but lifestyle changes that have helped thousands of people fight obesity and get rewarded with improved health! A low-carb diet may just do the same for you!