Low Carb Diets are They Healthy or Not?

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Does this scenario ring any bells?

You want to go on a low carb diet because you have heard about the success of a friend’s friend, or seen it pop up on social media about a celebrity that ditched a lot of weight before making a dramatic comeback in their career.

Or you are getting bombarded with adverts on your social media page about this great new weight loss system that has magically appeared in the limelight.

Well, although low carbohydrate diets can have a bit of an appeal, they can also be rather controversial.

The idea of being able to shed loads of weight, while still being able to enjoy the many foods that you love to eat does sound a little too good to be true, wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of going on a low carb diet and see if we can get a clearer picture to the question of whether they are healthy or not.

Benefits of Going on a Low Carb Diet

I suppose the main benefit of going on a low carb diet would be that you don’t really have to actively cut right down on your calorie intake in order for it to help you lose weight.

The reasoning behind this, is that carbs are quite easy for your body to digest and therefore they don’t use up many calories during the digestive process.

On the other hand, you can burn a lot more calories when you eat protein.

Because research suggests that when you eat protein, up to 25% of those protein calories are used up during the digestion process.

You will find that a lot of leading low carb diets on the market will recommend having a high consumption of protein.

And as a result of this, the people on the diet will naturally burn more calories and lose more weight without having to constantly check their calorie intake.

Another big benefit of a low carbohydrate diet would be that it can produce a positive effect on your blood glucose levels, by helping to keep them stable.

This can be more beneficial in particular for people that are suffering from diabetes, because studies have shown that in some cases, changing to a low carbohydrate diet has allowed some diabetics to manage their condition naturally.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are diabetic or have any underlying medical condition, and are considering going on a low carb diet, you should always go and check that this is ok with your doctor first.

Possible Risks of Following Low Carb Diets

We’ve discussed that going on a low carb diet can have some benefits, that’s all well and good if you are following one sensibly.

But there are a number of them out there that recommend cutting to extremely low levels of carbs, and doing this can have a number of negative effects on your health.

To start with the more you lower your intake of carbs the lower you are going to find your energy levels getting.

Carbs are your body’s preferred source of extracting energy, and although it can also get the energy it needs from the fats and protein you eat, it can’t really do it with the same kind of efficiency.

So in turn this can leave you feeling all lethargic and tired.

Secondly, by not having many carbs in your diet you can soon find yourself becoming deficient in fiber.

This indigestible carbohydrate which is found in fruits and vegetables, not only helps to protect you from a number of health disorders and diseases.

But also improves your blood glucose regulation and supports good bowel health as well.

Not getting enough fiber means you can miss out on these benefits and have a negative impact on your digestive system to boot.

And if that wasn’t enough, having too few healthy carbohydrates can also cause you to end up with a deficiency in a variety of vitamins and minerals.

The majority of high quality carbohydrates are jam packed full of vitamins and minerals and these important nutrients support tons of functions in the body and allow it to operate efficiently.

Being deficient in vitamins or minerals prevents your body from operating as efficiently as it is supposed to and so will end up having a number of negative effects on your health.

So is a Low Carb Diet Healthy?

Going on a low carb diet can be healthy and quite a few people follow them ok without any negative effects.

But, to make sure that you don’t suffer from any of the potential negative consequences of carb deficiency, make sure that you have at least 20% of the calories you consume each day from quality healthy carbohydrates.

Then by doing that, it will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a low carb diet, while also maintaining your energy levels, getting an adequate amount of fiber and also a supply of vitamins and minerals.

 

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Rick Freeman is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor. International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT) approved, CPD accredited and YMCA awards endorsed. Health coach, health and fitness enthusiast. And a husband and father of 2 beautiful daughters. My mission is to help people to take control of their health and well-being by following a healthy enjoyable lifestyle, that not only gives them the body they’ve always wanted, but helps towards living a longer, happier, disease free life.

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