Does A Low Carb Diet Help You Lose Weight?

November 12, 2012

Does A Low Carb Diet Help You Lose Weight?

Carbohydrates or carbs are micronutrients found in foods with a lot of starch, such as potatoes, pasta, legumes, milk and baked goods. Carbohydrates normally make up 45 to 65% of the total daily calorie intake for a healthy person. For example, if a person is on a 2000 calorie diet, than 900 – 1300 calories would consist of carbohydrates.

But in low carb diets such as the South Beach Diet, these carbohydrates are temporarily eliminated and then gradually added back to only 50 – 150 carbs per day. Other low-carb diets stress that their followers need to greatly restrict carb intake for a long period of time. Some diet plans insist that by following the diet, not only will you lose weight but reduce your chances of contracting some cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.

What is the Problem with Carbohydrates?

According to the authors and followers of a low carb diet, the modern diet is too rich in carbohydrates. This causes cravings to eat more carbohydrates. The sugar in carbohydrates is used by the body for energy. The body never breaks down any fat deposits to make blood sugar because people eating sugar-rich carbohydrates. This keeps the body’s insulin levels high.

In order to lose weight, a person’s body needs to break down fat deposits. But it will not do this if the insulin levels are high. By following a low carb diet, followers report that their insulin levels dropped and so did their weight. However, the world-renowned Mayo Clinic reports that over two years, dieters on a low carbohydrate diet lost just as much weight as dieters that were allowed to eat higher amounts of carbohydrates.

Allowable Foods

So, what do dieters eat if they cannot eat carbohydrates? This depends on which diet plan the individual is following. For example, the Atkins diet stresses meat (including fat), vegetables and some fruits to make up the bulk of a person’s diet. Any products made from grains have to me made from whole grains.

Some diet plans such as the South Beach Diet only severely restrict carbs for two weeks. After that, the dieter is allowed to gradually re-introduce carbs, but never eat as many carbs as he or she did before starting the South Beach Diet.

Potential Risks

Following a low carb diet will help you lose weight only because following any diet that insists you eat fewer calories will cause you to loose weight. The Mayo Clinic also warns that some dieters may experience serious health risks if they follow a low carb diet. These risks include headache, nausea, dizziness, feeling tired all of the time, constipation or diarrhea. Dieter’s salt intake plummets and so dieters may need to consume salt tablets and vitamins.

Carbohydrates should never be completely eliminated from a diet. Eating less than 20 carbs per day can cause ketosis, a serious health condition caused by a body starved for insulin. Symptoms of ketosis include nausea, excessive confusion, chronic headache and abnormally bad breath. Never begin a diet without first consulting your doctor.

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