Low carb diets are currently the rage. But are they effective for losing and maintaining weight loss and what are the consequences of this type of diet?
There are a number of different pros to choosing a low carb diet, primarily that it promotes weight loss. This is due to the fact that food sources that are high in carbohydrates also have a higher calorie load. The lower the amount of calories that you consume, the less hard you need to work to burn energy and prevent it becoming stored as fat.
The less carbs in your diet, the faster your body is likely to reach ketosis. Ketosis is the process whereby the body burns stored fat and is reached only when no energy is available from food sources, mainly carbohydrates. This type of diet is also great for building lean muscle mass. A low carb diet goes hand in hand with a higher protein diet which promotes muscle building.
In addition, energy levels become more regulated. Instead of experiencing momentary high surges of energy after eating carbohydrates, you may experience longer periods of sustained energy levels. Feelings of lethargy or tiredness are less likely. The longer the diet is maintained, the more regulated energy levels will become.
Low carb diets result in better overall health and well being. Lowered insulin production from a decreased carb intake slows the ageing process and regulates blood sugar in the body. Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol are additional health benefits and the diet will help avoid certain diseases such as type II diabetes.
Unfortunately, there are some significant disadvantages to diets with no carbohydrates inclued. Most people experience extreme tiredness and lethargy at the beginning of the diet as the body adjusts to the lowered amount of instant energy that carbohydrates supply. However, sustained dieting should result in regulated energy levels over a period of time.
Perhaps the most important consequence of a low carb diet is the lack of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals that are sourced from foods that are high in carbohydrates. This can result in an electrolyte imbalance which has a variety of different negative consequences. This problem can be overcome with a good vitamin and mineral supplement that can be obtained from your local pharmacy.
Extended low carb dieting may also result in kidney disease. Ketosis is the main cause of this problem but once again, this side effect can be overcome by consuming more water on a daily basis in order to promote kidney function. 8 glasses of water a day is optimal but can be increased slightly during a low carb diet.
Like all types of diets, it is best to stick to the plan for a period of time to get the best benefits and desired effects. However, if you are experiencing side effects, it is best to discontinue the diet and consult with a medical professional (nutritionist) to avoid long term health risks and consequences.