The Pros and Cons of Following a Low Carb Diet
Losing weight, needing more energy, and having a healthier lifestyle are all reasons most people find themselves ready to embark on a new diet. Whether someone is needing to lose a few extra pounds they’ve gained over the holidays or have struggled most of their life with their weight, choosing the right diet can be the determining factor in a successful lifestyle change and failure. One of the most popular diets used to make the needed changes in a person’s life is a low carb diet. When adapting this kind of diet into your life, you’ll find yourself seeing a lot of debate on whether cutting all carbs out is healthy or whether moderation is the key. Oddly enough, even scientists and health gurus are still debating this question.
Are carbohydrates bad? Do we need them to be healthy? Is it best to cut them out completely? Are there side effects to be concerned with? These are all important questions a person must ask themselves before starting one of these diets. In this blog, we will try to answer these questions, and more, while we discuss both the pros and cons of following a low carb diet. Those debating on adapting this kind of diet into their lifestyle can then make a more informed decision on whether it is best suited for their health and well-being.
The Health Benefits of a Low Carb Diet
There are quite a few health benefits to adding a low carb diet to your life. Here, we will discuss a few of these advantages and how they can help you maintain your active, healthy, lifestyle.
One of the main reasons people consider following a low carb diet is to lose weight. When properly followed, these diets are one of the popular ways to shed extra pounds and make the body feel and look better. This weight loss is due to the lack of carbohydrates in the body being stored for energy. When carbs are consumed, the body uses what it needs to stay energized. What happens to the extra carbs? They are stored in the body, to be used when they are needed. If a person lowers their intake of carbs, the body still needs its energy source. Instead of turning to the stockpile of carbohydrates, the body will begin burning fat, which aids in a person lose weight and feeling better.
Most of these types of diets focus on either eliminating, if you choose to follow the more extreme options, or significantly lowering the number of carbohydrates you consume. To do this, certain foods are either eliminated from a person’s diet or avoided as much as possible. Here’s a list of a few of the foods a person will find they need to avoid if they hope to lose weight on a low carb diet plan.
- White bread
- White rice
- Sugary drinks and sodas
- Cakes, pastries, and other sweets
Lowering Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a condition that many people find themselves struggling to control. When living with diabetes, knowing what you are allowed to eat is essential to staying healthy and fighting the condition. A low carb diet can make this much easier due to the foods people need to avoid. The same food that most of these diet plans require you to eliminate are the same ones people with diabetes must avoid. Many sufferers of this condition have found that implementing this lifestyle change can make their diabetes more manageable, and in some cases, help them come off the medications they take daily for control purposes.
The Mental Benefits of a Low Carb Diet
Following a diet plan in hopes of losing weight and being healthier comes with additional benefits people often overlook. These mental benefits can make life more enjoyable and help with a person’s perception of the world around them. Below, we will discuss these benefits and why implementing one of these diets may be a winning situation.
Deprivation Isn’t an Issue
For many people, following a diet isn’t all that easy. Some feel they are never fully satisfied and that their cravings become more than they can handle. Low carb diets often offer a different effect. These diets focus on eliminating certain foods that are considered high in carbohydrates and bad for the body. Those who follow this method of eating, find they can easily feel full by focusing on adding healthier food options into their meal plan. Meats and other proteins are one of the most popular choices of fighting this feeling of being food deprived. Enjoying a meal with the allowed components will leave you feeling full, which helps fight the chances of cheating or overeating.
Many people who follow low carb diets speak of feeling more energized and better all around. This is due to the body burning the stored fats for fuel instead of the carbohydrates. When the weight begins to drop, which often happens quickly on these types of diets, energy levels and self-confidence both raise. Feeling better about how you look, and feel are amazing ways of regaining control of one’s life and taking on new activities and goals.
The Downside to Cutting Carbs
As with most things in life, low carb diets also have a few disadvantages a person should take into consideration when making the decision to follow one of these plans. Below, we will discuss these possible issues, in hopes of showing you both the pros and cons of this type of lifestyle change.
When wanting to lose weight, many people don’t take into consideration what drastic changes to their lifestyle can do. When eliminating or lowering carbohydrates from your diet, ketosis occurs. Ketosis is the technical term for your body burning fat instead of carbs. For some people, this change in their body isn’t an issue. Others sometimes find themselves feeling different side effects. Knowing whether you are suffering from minor side effects of ketosis or more significant issues is important and something we will explore here.
Minor Side Effects
When taking something away from a body that is accustom to it, side effects may arise. When you adopt a low carb diet and ketosis sets in this is possible. Some of the most common of these side effects are listed here.
- Bad Breath
- Temporary Hair Loss
- Temporary Heartburn
Each of these issues has the potential for making someone new to the low carb lifestyle uncomfortable or nervous, but often you’ll find they subside after the first few weeks. If these symptoms continue, consulting with your physician may be necessary.
When certain side effects like lethargy and tiredness linger, larger issues may be taking hold. One of the most common things those who adopt a low carb diet suffer from is low blood sugar. By ridding your body of sweets and carbs, blood sugar can quickly drop. Those who have never suffered from diabetes may find their blood sugar is affected too drastically from this type of lifestyle change. When this occurs, a trip to your doctor may be in order.
Long Term Effects of Low Carb Dieting
Keeping your body in a long state of ketosis can be dangerous. This is especially true for people who are a bit older or already suffer from certain medical issues. Here, we will discuss these more dangerous issues and what you should keep an eye out for if you decide to follow a low carb diet for weight loss management.
Protein and Age
When implementing a low carb diet, one normally finds themselves focusing on eliminating carbohydrates and adding protein. Unfortunately, this isn’t always safe for everyone. Older people who find themselves following this type of diet can easily add too much protein to their diet. This addition can result in serious issues such as higher cholesterol levels, increased cancer risks, and of course heart disease.
For older individuals who need to eliminate carbs from their diet whether it be for weight loss or to help control health issues such as diabetes, measures can be implemented to help them feel safer. Its often recommended for middle-aged dieters to take low carb dieting in stride. Often, taking breaks in between dieting sessions is recommended. Following the plans strictly for a few weeks, then turning to less extreme measures is often the best route to take for these individuals.
Another possible side effect of long term, low carb dieting is the increased risk of kidney disease. The added protein present in low carb diets can often put added stress on a person’s kidneys. For those who may already suffer from kidney concerns, this could be quite serious. If you suffer from any type of kidney problem or are prone to issues such as kidney stones, speaking with your health care provider should be done before starting any specific type of diet.
Like most of the other long-term effects of low carb dieting, heart disease is a possibility due to the extra protein intake the body undergoes. With the rise in cholesterol, the possibility of increased heart rates, and other things the body goes through, the heart is often strained. This strain can easily lead to heart disease or other heart problems for those of a certain age.
Important Things to Consider
When making the decision to take control of both your health and weight, there are several things you should take into consideration. The most important of these is your overall health. If you are hoping to implement a low carb diet in hopes of fighting obesity and becoming healthier, the weight loss effects can be quite attractive. However, if you suffer from any types of underlying health issues such as diabetes, kidney disease, or heart problems it is crucial that these health concerns are addressed before you implement any lifestyle change.
Another thing to take into consideration when implementing a low carb diet into your health routine is which one is best suited for you. If you are a healthy individual who simply wants a better lifestyle or to lose a few pounds, then this type of diet may be exactly what you need. For those who are a few years older, turning to this type of change may result in health issues arising that you previously didn’t have. When starting any diet, it is important to speak at length with your health care provider about your reasons, goals, and overall concerns.
The Final Decision
It is easy to see there are several pros and cons associated with following a low carb diet. Answering the question of whether this type of diet is suitable for you and your body is something only you and your health care provider can decide. With the options available to those who want to lose weight, and keep it off, knowing your goals, your strategies, and the plan you want to follow is a key decision that must be heavily considered. Learning about the different low carb diets on the market, such as Atkins or The South Beach Diet before making a decision can also help you in determining which plan is best suited to your body’s health.
When faced with losing weight, knowing all the information before choosing the right diet is crucial. The possibility of failure and yo-yo diets is something everyone who is suffering from weight loss must consider. As with all diet plans, low carb dieting relies on changing your habits and taking in fewer calories than your body burns. Once you know the possible effects low carb diets you can easily decide which diet plan is best for you to follow.
This brings us to the end of this blog on low carb diets and the pros and cons associated with them. This information is intended to help you decide whether following these diet plans can be beneficial to your weight loss needs while maintaining your body’s health. Keep in mind that doing proper research and speaking with your physician or weight loss specialist is a must before starting any diet.
- AZ Central The Pros and Cons of Low Carb Diets
- Weightlossresources.co.uk The Benefits and Risks of Low Carb Diets
- Shape Fit The Pros and Cons of Low Carbohydrate Diets