What Is Low Carb Diet? - The Truth Low, High and Normal CarbAug 20, 2023
What Is Low Carb Diet? - The Truth Low, High and Normal Carb
With every new diet trend comes a wave of confusion and misconceptions. The low carb diet was never new, however more and more people are learning about it and for them, it is not an exception.
You'd ask though - what exactly is a low carb diet? Is it healthy to cut out carbs completely? How low is low carb? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Is it good for me?
In this blog, we will debunk the myths surrounding low carb diets and provide you with the truth about nutrition.
We'll dive into the reality of what our natural, human diet should consist of and analyze both extremes of carb consumption.
You will come away with a clear understanding of what your body needs to thrive and why going extremely low carb may not be the best choice for your overall health.
And maybe, you will decide to do a positive change in your life (or so I hope)!
Defining Low-Carb nutrition
Low carb diets, often misunderstood and criticized, are mainly used by the people for weight loss and improved health. Not that these are the only things it is good for.
A gram of carbohydrate has about 4 calories. Low-carbohydrate diet practices such as ketogenic diet often suggest to not take the calories from fiber into the account counting only glucose, fructose and such. Avocado is a great example of really healthy food rich in fiber and good types of lipid. Olive oil and olive derivatives are wonderful too.
By restricting the consumption of foods high in carbohydrates such as grains and sugars, low carb dieting can effectively manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that low carb diets may be more effective for weight loss than traditional low-fat diets due to extremely increased satiety and decreased appetite.
A low carb diet emphasizes the importance of nutrition by encouraging the consumption of whole foods like cauliflower, broccoli, and plain yogurt while cutting back on processed starches and legumes. By reducing the amount of carbs consumed, the body shifts into a state of ketosis, where it uses more fat as the source of energy. (Do not believe these who say that you actually will use fat instead of carb, it can't be further from the truth). This metabolic shift offers numerous health benefits, including improved blood pressure, decreased triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, and even potential benefits for individuals with diabetes mellitus.
In conclusion, debunking misconceptions surrounding low carb diets and acknowledging their health benefits is crucial. As long as the diet is undertaken with proper guidance from a dietitian and includes a balanced meal plan, low-carb diets can be a sustainable and healthy approach to managing body weight and promoting overall well-being.
The Misconception of Low-Carbohydrate Diets
There seems to be a prevailing misconception surrounding low carb diets. Contrary to popular belief, these diets don't require eliminating all carbs from our plates. Instead, they focus on reducing carbohydrate intake and carefully selecting the types of food we consume. Many people mistakenly assume that low carb diets are overly restrictive and difficult to adhere to. However, it is very easy to adhere if you follow the guidelines from your coach and do not try to substitute the processed foods with processed foods without sugar. It's important to note that when low carb diets are properly designed and personalized, they can be nutritionally balanced, providing essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it's crucial to understand that a low carb diet isn't truly "low carb" when compared to the standard Western diet. In fact, it reflects a more natural, human diet that is in tune with our biological needs. It is basically how humans are designed to eat in the first place. We have never evolved to digest high carb foods, including the grains. There was not enough time for that. Evolution takes millions of years.
The Reality of a Natural, Human Diet
Our ancestors thrived on a diet that can be considered low carb by today's standards - a diet consisting mostly of lean meats and plants. For them, it was simply their natural way of eating. The human body is finely tuned to function optimally on a normal (low) carb, high-protein diet, similar to what our ancestors consumed. However, the rise of processed foods and excessive carbohydrate intake in our modern diets have led to a surge in obesity and chronic health conditions. And the surge is continuing.
Also, calling this way of eating a "low carb" diet might even be misleading, as it suggests it is something extreme or unnatural. In reality, this way of eating is what our bodies are designed for.
Research indicates that adopting a low carbohydrate diet can not only prevent but also help manage various health conditions. By reducing our reliance on starchy foods and focusing on whole, nutrient-dense options like cauliflower, broccoli, and low-carb dairy products, we can fuel our bodies with the right combination of nutrients while keeping our carbohydrate intake in check.
It's about time we take charge of our health and embrace a diet that aligns with our ancestry. Let's ditch the excess carbs, embrace a low-carb, high-protein meal plan, and reap the numerous health benefits that come with it.
The Extremes of Carb Consumption and Their Effects
Extreme carb consumption can have detrimental effects on our health. Diets that are extremely high in carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The excessive intake of carbs causes spikes in blood sugar levels and can contribute to insulin resistance. On the other hand, extremely low carb diets done poorly can also harm our health. These diets can promote heart disease, muscle loss, osteoporosis, eating disorders, and more.
When it comes to carb consumption, personalization, moderation, and balance are key. It's important to find a healthy balance that works for your body and lifestyle. Rather than focusing on extremes, consider incorporating vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, and mindful portions of low-carbohydrate foods into your meal plan. This approach can provide you with the necessary nutrients while still managing your carb intake. Oh, and it is so, so important to consume enough protein. I didn't see even one new client (except elite athletes) who came to seek my help and were eating enough protein. But protein article is for another day.
By personalizing your carb consumption and focusing on a balanced approach to nutrition, you can support your overall health and well-being. Remember, it's not about completely eliminating carbs, but finding the right amount and quality for your individual needs. Stay informed and consult with a dietitian if you need guidance in creating a sustainable and healthy diet.
What Should Humans Really Eat?
A healthy, well-rounded diet involves incorporating a diverse range of whole foods from different food groups. It's important to focus on consuming lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods, sugary beverages, grains, and excessive refined sugars. Tuning into your body's hunger and fullness cues through mindful eating is essential, however it is impossible for these who eat excessive carbs and processed foods, since they override our satiety hormones.
I still don't get WHAT is low carb diet and how does it work?
A low carb diet is a dietary approach that focuses on reducing the intake of carbohydrates, particularly refined sugars and grains. By limiting carbs, the body is forced to burn stored fat for energy instead, leading to weight loss. This can also help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve overall health. Ultimately, maintaining overall health and well-being requires a balanced diet combined with regular physical activity. A low carb diet is a popular approach to weight loss and overall health. It involves reducing the intake of carbohydrates, specifically refined sugars and grains. By doing so, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss. The main idea behind a low carb diet is to limit the amount of glucose produced from carbohydrates in the body. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is then used as fuel by our cells. However, when we eat an excess amount of carbohydrates, our body stores the extra glucose as fat. By reducing carbohydrate intake, our body is forced to find an alternative source of fuel. This leads to a state called ketosis, where the body begins to burn stored fat for energy. As a result, weight loss occurs.
There's more to it!
A low carb diet is an eating plan that focuses on reducing the intake of carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and grains. By doing so, the body switches to burning stored fat for energy instead of relying on carbs. This can lead to weight loss and improved blood sugar control.
In addition to weight loss, a low carb diet can also have other health benefits. By avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, you are reducing your intake of empty calories and unhealthy ingredients. Instead, you focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.
By stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity, a low carb diet can be beneficial for managing diabetes and preventing insulin resistance. This is particularly important for individuals with Type 2 diabetes, as a low carb diet can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the need for medication.
Moreover, research has shown that a low carb diet can have positive effects on cardiovascular health. By reducing the intake of refined sugars and grains, you lower your risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Additionally, a low carb diet may improve mental clarity and focus. Some studies suggest that reducing carbohydrate consumption can help stabilize brain function and enhance cognitive performance. This could be particularly
Is Going Low Carb Healthy?
Going extremely low carb, like with the keto diet, can aid weight loss and manage health conditions. However, it's crucial to plan it properly to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Long-term sustainability and potential side effects should also be considered. Consulting a health coach is recommended before starting an extreme low carb diet.
Going low carb can have numerous health benefits. Not only does it help with weight loss, but it also offers other advantages for your well-being. By eliminating processed foods and sugars from your diet, you're reducing your intake of empty calories and unhealthy ingredients. Instead, you focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.
One important benefit of a low carb diet is its impact on blood sugar levels. By stabilizing these levels and improving insulin sensitivity, it can be beneficial for managing diabetes and preventing insulin resistance. This is especially significant for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing it.
Furthermore, a low carb diet can be effective in reducing cravings and hunger pangs. By cutting back on carbohydrates, you eliminate the spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels that often lead to overeating. This can be particularly helpful for those struggling with emotional eating or food addiction.
It's also worth noting that a low carb diet encourages the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods. These foods are typically rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which promote overall health and well-being. Additionally, they provide a steady source of energy.
Keto vs Low-Carb? How does a low carb diet make sense?
A low carb diet is a way of eating that focuses on reducing the intake of carbohydrates, such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables, and sugary foods. The goal of a low carb diet is to minimize insulin production and promote fat burning for energy instead.
On the other hand, the ketogenic diet (keto) is an extremely low carb, high fat diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. In this state, the body primarily uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Both a low carb diet and the keto diet can have benefits for weight loss and overall health. By reducing carbohydrate intake, these diets can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cravings, and promote satiety. They may also improve markers of metabolic health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The main difference between a low carb diet and keto is the level of carbohydrate restriction. Keto typically limits carbs to 20-50 grams per day to achieve ketosis, while a low carb diet may allow for slightly higher carbohydrate intake.
Ultimately, the choice between keto and low carb depends on individual goals and preferences. Some people may find it easier to adhere to a less restrictive low carb approach, while others may prefer the more intense state of ketosis achieved with keto. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.
Are lowered carbs diet still beneficial without ketosis?
Yes, a low carb diet will definitely be beneficial even without achieving ketosis. While most people think that ketosis is the primary goal of the ketogenic diet, it cannot be further from the truth. Reducing carbohydrate intake alone will achieve almost all benefits normally attributed to the state of ketosis, except perhaps diabetics and people who have epilepsy. By cutting back on carbs, you can stabilize blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote weight loss (given you're in a caloric deficit, of course). Additionally, a low carb diet can help reduce cravings, increase satiety, and improve markers of metabolic health such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So aiming for ketosis is mostly useless while adopting a low carb approach will have very positive effects on your overall well-being.
Protein to fat ratios - Truth or Lie?
There's zero benefit to reducing protein ever. Unless one has a very specific kidney disease (and no, protein does not cause it). There's no connection or interaction between protein and fat and reducing protein on the account of fat is one of the major lies of "big keto gurus" such as "Dr." Berg and similar folks. Reducing protein leads to all the main drawbacks of ketogenic diet and will inevitably cause major damage overtime if the person continues with these changes long term. Bone and muscle loss are destructive and resulting insulin resistance is not the desired of dieting for any smart person.
ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOUR PROTEIN IS ADEQUATE. I can't emphasize this enough. Don't fall a victim to big fat keto lies.
What are real low-carbohydrate foods?
When it comes to low-carb diets, there are plenty of options that can keep your carbohydrate intake in check while still satisfying your taste buds. Here are some examples of low-carbohydrate foods that you can incorporate into your diet:
1. Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and lettuce are excellent choices that are not only low in carbs but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
2. Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and bell peppers are versatile options that can be enjoyed raw or cooked, adding a healthy dose of nutrients to your meals.
3. Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu are all great sources of protein that are low in carbs. They can help keep you feeling satisfied without adding a lot of extra carbohydrates to your diet.
4. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are nutritious options that provide healthy fats and a good amount of fiber while being low in carbs. (However nuts can be extremely addictive and people who really like nuts can rarely achieve the physique they desire.)
5. Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are fruits that are low in carbs compared to other fruits. They can add some natural sweetness to your meals or be enjoyed as a snack on their own.
6. Healthy fats: Avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil are examples of healthy fats that can be incorporated into a low-carb diet.
7. Eggs: Eggs are a versatile and nutrient-rich food that is virtually carb-free. They can be enjoyed in various ways/
So, the concept of a "low carb diet" has been heavily misunderstood and misrepresented. The truth is that humans have evolved to thrive on a balanced nutrition that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in appropriate proportions. Our bodies require carbohydrates for energy and optimal bodily functions. Going to extremes by completely eliminating carbs from our diets can have negative effects on our health and well-being.
Instead of demonizing or idolizing carbohydrates, it is important to focus on consuming high-quality, whole-food sources of carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These provide essential nutrients and fiber that support overall health.
So, let's move away from the extremes and embrace a balanced approach to nutrition that incorporates all macronutrients. It's time to prioritize our overall well-being and make informed choices that support our long-term health goals.
And you can always ask me how YOU need to do it based on YOUR personal traits. And we can always discuss what is low carb diet too.
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- The low-carbohydrate diet and cardiovascular risk factors: evidence from epidemiologic studies - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24613757
- Efficacy of a low FODMAP diet in irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and network meta-analysis - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34376515/
Work with me
If you're interested in becoming a healthier version of yourself and you have tried multiple ways or want to avoid mistakes of a typical dieter - I am here for you. You can connect with me using this link and tell me how I can help you.
Julian Ribinik. Certified Health Coach. Certified Sports Nutritionist.