The Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss
Low-carb diets are all the rage. Everyone swears by them, from the dedicated athlete to the high-end bikini model. But how can you get the most out of a low-carb diet for weight loss?
Low-carb diets have a number of documented benefits. For starters, eating fewer carbs means lower insulin production. This enables your body to burn excess fat that has been stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, resulting in weight loss.
Studies have shown many other positive effects of a low-carb diet, including: better skin, more energy, improved concentration, better sleep, reduced muscle and joint pain, relief from intestinal problems, decreased PMS symptoms, reduced headaches (possibly due to a gluten intolerance), and better dental health.
The challenge, as with most diets, occurs when commitment and motivation dwindle. It is important to consider if the low-carb diet is a realistic one for you. While it may lead to great results for your friend, it may or may not be the best option for you. Here are some tips to get you started.
The Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss: What to Eat
Low-carb does not mean cutting out all sources of carbohydrates. In order to maintain a balanced diet, refined carbs should be cut and replaced with smaller portions of whole grains.
In the long run, cutting all excess carbs is not a healthy option, as carbs are vital to your body’s energy production.
A typical low-carb diet includes lean meats, such as fish and poultry (be sure that these are not processed, as they may be rolled in flour). Lots of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables are important as well.
Whole grains are the best option when it comes to carbs, but these should be highly limited. It is recommended that you eat between 50 and 150 grams of carbs a day, depending on your personal goals and needs.
You may want to consult a registered dietician, who is also able to tailor the diet to your individual needs. Bodybuilders and athletes are often advised against this diet because they may not have enough energy to build muscle and strength.
Everyone’s body is different, and personal needs should always be considered first.
The low-carb diet is suitable for a number of goals, from weight loss to overall improved health. People primarily choose this diet because it has proven results for weight loss.
In the beginning, most of the weight you lose is water weight, as the diet has a diuretic effect. This also cleanses toxins out of the body, which further contributes to weight loss. Overall caloric intake is reduced because low-carb foods generally have fewer calories.
By eating more protein, non-starchy veggies, and healthy fats, you will notice that you are satisfied faster and stay satisfied longer. This is because fats and proteins take longer to break down in your body, giving you a longer feeling of being full.
Despite all of the benefits offered by a low-carb diet, it can have a downside if not performed properly. This diet often fails because burning fat requires calories. Without the carbs, fat is retained as there is no medium for burning it off. It also causes severe energy depletion in some people due to reduced glycogen levels, which your body uses as fuel.
Yet another problem is a lack of dietary fibre and important nutrients that often accompany carbohydrates. Proteins and fats are not good sources of dietary fibre. Bad breath is also possible, but this can easily be cured with gum or mints.
Remember that limiting your food options may mean missing out on important nutrients. Be sure to make the appropriate adjustments to maintain a balanced diet.
The Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss: Tips for Boosting Positive Results
- Take a good quality multivitamin with antioxidants to ensure that you are getting adequate nutrition (try: Optimum Super-Multi Pak.
- Choose a high-fibre supplement (like Fitness Fiber or Psyllium Husk Powder) and remember to drink lots of water. Water is a non-caloric beverage, so feel free to indulge. If you are getting bored with plain water, simply add some fresh mint or lemon slices to amp up your taste buds.
- Taking muscle building and sustaining supplements is also a smart move. You are much more susceptible to muscle deterioration during this diet. It is advised that you take a good quality glutamine supplement (try: Scivation Xtend, which will support continued muscle growth.
Have any questions or feedback about the low carb diet for weight loss? Please leave a comment below…
I need some help big time! I’m a vegetarian and it’s so hard for me to lose weight. I haven’t lost any weight in years despite working out a lot (haven’t gained either). Any ideas for modifying a low carb diet to be vegetarian friendly?
Cut out soy products and focus on beans and whole grains.