Extremely popular and controversial, low-carb diets arrived on the scene in the early 1970s with the Atkins diet. Invented by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins, the Atkins diet severely restricted carbohydrate intake in an effort to turn the body into a fat-burning machine on the premise that the body burns sugar – carbohydrates – before burning stored fat. By limiting the amount of sugar consumed, the body enters into a fat-burning phase called ketosis.
While the Atkins diet has gradually faded in popularity only to be replaced by less restrictive low-carb diets, the science behind such diets remains the same: eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Many people swear by the benefits of a low carb diet for weight loss. This way of eating has proven to be very effective for those with the willpower to resist carbs.
Things You Should Know before Cutting Carbs
Many claim that low-carb diets are high in fat which can lead to heart disease and other health problems, several other factors exist that can influence the success or failure of a diet low in carbohydrates. That is not always the case. You can do Low-Carb in a healthy way and eat foods that are full of vitamins and macronutrients. Before beginning a low-carb diet, consider the following:
- Calories Count – In the past, most low-carb enthusiasts stated that you could consume as many calories as you wanted as long as those calories came from protein-rich foods. However, calories do count. If you take in too many, you will gain weight regardless of their source. If you eat too few, you will slow your body’s metabolism. Make sure that you are eating lean and plant based proteins, eating healthy fats like coconut oil, whole grains, limiting salt and getting lots of fiber.
- Eat a Variety of Foods – No, you cannot exist on bacon and eggs. You must eat a wide variety of foods in order to stay healthy. One of the biggest misconceptions about low-carb dieting is that you can eat all the meat, cheese, and eggs you want. While these foods are low in carbohydrates, you also need to eat vegetables and get some fiber in your diet. In fact, you can consume more vegetables on a low-carb diet than you do meats or cheeses.
- Stay Alert – Some people encounter health problems as the result of restricting carbohydrates. In many cases, the problem lies in not following the diet properly, severely cutting calories, or choosing the wrong types of foods. Monitor your health and stay in tune with your body. Invest in an actual book on going low-carb or do plenty of research with reputable online sources. If you see your energy levels plummet and you are feeling weak and deprived all the time, this may not be the plan for you.
- Exercise – As with all diets, you must exercise to receive the full benefits. Develop a full exercise regimen that includes cardio and weight training. Since you are feeding your body a lot of protein, you might as well get the muscle building benefits of eating this way. Muscle burns fat at rest and takes up less space than fat so it helps you preserve your curves while losing the fat.
- Quitting and Weight Gain – One of the biggest problems associated with restrictive diets is that they’re too hard to maintain. Once your body becomes accustomed to doing without a certain food group, your metabolism adapts, becoming slower and more sluggish. When you get fed up with not eating the foods you crave and start indulging, you stand to gain all the weight you’ve lost plus some. You can’t just expect the carbs to stay gone if you start eating them again. You have to do your research and really understand what you are committing to in terms of how you can keep this weight off for life after you lose it on a low-carb plan. Can you go low-carb for life?
Low-carbohydrate diets are the answer for some, and many people do extremely well on them. However, low-carb diets are not for everyone. Before you try cutting carbs, do some research. Make sure you’re dieting in a healthy way and take measures to turn your new habits into a way of life rather than a few weeks of sacrifice.