High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have been widely promoted in recent years as an effective approach to losing weight. Grocery stores, restaurants are flooded with Low carb foods. Even if you’re not aiming to lose weight, you cannot hide from the low-carb craze! We read or hear about low carb almost daily in the media that make us feel almost guilty for eating anything with carbs!
The most popular low carb diet plans are Atkins Diet, South Beach diet, Zone diet, and Protein Power.
What is a low-carbohydrate (carb) diet?
Low carb diet is known as “reduced carbohydrate” or “low sugar diet” that means less or no consumption of foods that are high in carbohydrate.
Carbohydrate is the major source of energy. When you eat food body burns carbohydrate and stores fat in the body whereas when you don’t eat much carbohydrate, your body looks for an alternative source of energy i.e. “Fat” to fulfill the requirement of body. Over a time, a low carb diet reprograms your body to burn fat for its energy first, then carbohydrates second.
Which foods are high in Carbohydrates?
Foods high in carbohydrates include breads, pasta, pizza, beans, potatoes, bran, rice and cereals (unless they are special “low carb” types). Some meats contain carbs too – liver and other organ meats, clams, oysters, and especially processed lunch and deli meats, sausages, etc.
What is left for me to eat then?
Low carb dieters have choice to eat foods rich in protein such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, isolated protein powders (soy, whey, egg), fat like butter, vegetable oils, low carb vegetables like salad greens of all kind, spinach, broccoli, celery, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, and low carb fruits like berries or melon.
Does low carb diet help in losing weight?
Yes, Low carb diets helps in weight loss and can deliver results within the first 1-2 weeks. Clinical study http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases have demonstrated that low-carb diet burns more excess liver fat than low-calorie diet.
Though after first six months, low-carb diets do not work any better than other diets.
What is the concept of low carb diet in weight loss?
There are three factors...
responsible for weight loss with low-carb diets:
- Loss of water weight Carbohydrate is stored in the body attached to water molecules (in muscles and in the liver). So, as the body naturally stores carbohydrates as a source of energy, it also stores lot of water. When you begin a very low carb diet, your body uses its stored carbohydrate (known as glycogen) for energy and at the same time releases water out of the body. In result of that you start losing weight and think this is fat loss.
- Increased feeling of fullness. Low-carb diets are typically higher in fats and proteins, which take longer time to digest, as a result you feel fuller longer.
- Reduced calories. Most low-carb diets reduce your overall calorie intake as they stringently limit the variety of foods you can eat like breads, pasta, pizza, few vegetables and fruits. Thus leads to a significant reduction in calorie intake.
In the first week of a low carb diet, it’s fairly easy to lose at least four pounds of weight. But be cautious you can regain the water weight, if you start consuming carbohydrate.
What are the health risks associated with high protein, low carb diets?
- A high animal protein diet causes the body to lose calcium. This can increase your risk of Osteoporosis.
- Eating large amounts of meat causes high levels of uric acid, which increases the risk of gout.
- A high-protein diet may increase the risk of kidney disease in those already at risk (people with diabetes or high blood pressure).
- Low carbohydrate diets cause dizziness (possibly due to dehydration) and constipation (low fiber intake).
- Low carb diet can cause ketosis that leads to breath smell.
Note: Please note these are just brief discussion and in no way should substitute the need to consult your doctor.