Low Carb Diet

Fad diets have a way of disappearing as quickly as they became popular, but low carb diets look like they are here to stay. Read on for more information about low carb diets, how they work, and some of the possible risks and benefits associated with following them.

The recent explosion in the popularity of low carb diets has led to a huge change in the way America thinks about food. Fast food restaurants now offer low carb diet friendly options on their menus; you can buy low carb pasta, and you can even find low carb diet ice cream in the freezer that tastes just like regular ice cream. With all of these options for a low carb diet, you would think it is the perfect way to lose weight. Why not jump on the bandwagon? Here is some basic information about the way low carb diets work with your system, the benefits you will be able to receive from a low carb diet, and also a few of the possible risks for your body.

The Basics

Carbohydrates are the fuel for your body, your muscles and especially, your brain. When you go on a low carb diet, you starve your body of the fuel it needs to function; and your body essentially goes looking for this needed energy elsewhere. It will begin to take this energy from the fat and possibly from protein in your muscles. When your body starts getting its energy from other places, namely the ketones from the fat in your body, this process is called “ketosis.” This usage of alternative sources of energy from your body (ketosis) is what triggers such dramatic and quick weight loss.

The Benefits

No. 1 benefit of a low carb diet: you lose weight, and you lose it quickly. No calorie counting is needed. Many people appreciate the easy-to-follow diet — no bread, pasta, fruit, grains, snacks, etc. Basically, if it is red meat, it is okay. People who like steaks, bacon, sausage, hamburger and other fatty foods love the diet.

Recent studies published by “Time” and “The Sunday New York Times Magazine” looked at cholesterol levels before and after following a high fat, low carb diet. The studies found both good and bad cholesterol levels improved after following a low carb diet.

The Risks

As with any diet, risks are involved in changing your normal eating habits. A low carb diet, though, has some different health risks attached to it because of the way it puts your body into ketosis.

A low carb diet is a phenomenal way to lose weight. It causes you to break down the ketones in your fat, which makes you lose pounds and inches quickly. The risk with a low carb diet and the resulting ketosis comes to your kidneys. The ketones are larger particles, and as they pass through your system, they cause extra strain on your kidneys. Therefore, a low carb diet is not as good on your kidneys as a well-balanced regular diet.

Because of the restrictions placed on they types of food you intake when you are trying to lose weight through a low carb diet, you usually do not get enough fiber, phytochemicals, and calcium, which come from vegetables and fruits. Fiber helps keep your colon and your heart healthy, and calcium protects you from osteoporosis. Unfortunately, supplements usually do not give you enough of the nutrients you need. The phytochemicals help prevent disease and cannot be found in supplements.

You Choose

Talk with your healthcare professional about the pros and cons of a low carb diet and whether it would be right for you. Always include exercise with any diet; but never begin any diet or exercise program, even today’s popular low carb diets, without consulting a doctor first.