Low-carb diets usually restrict consumption of carbohydrates. Food sources that are generally high in carbohydrates like cereal, rice, breads, sugar, jaggery etc are restricted and foods containing higher percentage of fats and proteins like nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, cheese etc are consumed. The idea behind the low carb diet is that decreasing carbs in the diet will in turn lower insulin level which will cause the body to burn the stored fat for energy and thus lead to weight loss.
Benefits of Low-Carb Diet:
Generally low-carb diet is safe, but one must change the diet since the body gets used to certain type of diet within few days and then no difference is seen in weight. So it is advisable to keep changing the diet.
Low-carb diet can help reduce your triglyceride levels which can lead to cholesterol and heart issues, can help increase HDL level which is good cholesterol. It also helps reducing blood sugar levels. Fat loss would happen mainly from belly region and liver which is considered as dangerous visceral fat which builds up in and around the organs, during inflammation and diseases. Also it is difficult to reduce fat which is around stomach but low-carb diet would help reducing that.
Low carb diet lowers insulin levels. Insulin has its role in metabolism of carbohydrates and fat. One function of insulin is to produce and store fat. It also picks up glucose from blood stream and burns that instead of fat. So when insulin levels are low on low carb diet burning of stored fat will occur since insulin promotes lipogenesis (production of fat) and inhibits lipolysis (burning of fat).
It will turn your fat burning capacity which is known as ketosis. During ketosis – ketone bodies are formed in the body which will have suppressing effect on your appetite. It is found in several studies that compared to low-fat diet, low-carb diet has a better effect on weight loss.
What Can You Eat in a Low-Carb Diet?
You are suppose to cut down on carbohydrates and replace it with protein mostly and fat. You can have protein rich foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, oilseeds, high fat dairy products like cheese, paneer, butter, heavy cream, yogurt. Some non-starchy vegetables and fruits like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, apple, oranges, pears and some others are allowed. Oils like coconut oil, olive oil can be included in low-carb diet. A daily limit of 20 – 60 grams of carbohydrates that to from complex sources is okay to have which will give you around 80 – 240 k calories from it. Drink a lot of water with this so the toxins flush out of your body. Max Protein Products like Active Choco Slim bars can be a good companion while on a High Protein Low Carb Diet.
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Things to Avoid on Low-Carb Diet
On a low carb diet you have to strictly avoid the following foods:
- Sugar – avoid sweets, candies, ice cream, fruit juices, soft drinks that contain a lot of sugar.
- Refined grains / cereals – wheat, rice, barley, bread, maida, pasta are not allowed in low-carb diet.
- Starchy vegetable like potato, beets, green peas, corn are to be avoided.
- Trans fat like hydrogenated oils like margarine, dalda are not good for health.
Side Effects of Low-Carb Diet
You may feel fatigued, may have headaches, weakness, muscle cramps, bloating etc. You may get skin rash, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestive issues, bad breath etc. It may also cause vitamin mineral deficiency when continues for longer time. Eating a lot of non-veg foods like red meat can also lead to heart problems. Thus you must eat healthy unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats.
Considering some risks mentioned above people with existing kidney disease, heart problems, pregnant or lactating woman, people with type 1 diabetes, pre-existing liver condition must avoid such type of diet.
It can help you lose weight but it should be used for short term only. Once you lose weight try to maintain it with normal diet and exercise and lifestyle changes.