Does a low carb diet work is a question I get asked a lot. When celebrities started raving about low carb diets a lot of people take notice but wonder if it’s just a fad.
For most people the idea of following a low carb diet does not come easy. That’s because many people are used to eating foods loaded with carbs. In fact, most of the calories that make up the standard American diet came from carbs.
High carbohydrate foods such as such as pasta, bread, pizza, cereals, cereal bars, milkshakes, ice-cream, cakes, cookies, pies, muffins, sweetened canned fruits, sugary drinks, fruit juices, corn chips, potato chips, and candies are the mainstay of many people’s diets.
Related reading: Best Carbs to Eat for Weight Loss
So, the idea of cutting out bread and pasta other carbs seems virtually impossible for most people to do. But then again, if celebrities are talking about it and there are scientific studies that can back their claims, then it must be really working. So let’s find out more about low carb diets to see if it’s worth the hype.
Related reading: Does Low Carb Dieting Result In Successful Weight Loss?
What Is A Low Carb Diet?
As the name suggests, a low carb diet is the type of diet that requires eating fewer carbs that the average diet. There are several different types of low carb diets, and the keto diet is just one of them.
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The amount of carbs you should eat each day would vary depending on the diet. The range varies from 100 grams to zero grams which is almost impossible unless you follow a strict carnivore diet. But generally, the standard low-carb diet will only allow about 50 grams of carbs per day.
Related reading: 3 Common Misconceptions about Low Carb Diets
When following a low carb diet, most of your calories should come from fats and protein. When following the keto diet, you will get most of your energy from fats instead of carbs. Only 5 percent of your daily calories must come from carbohydrates, which is a stark difference from the US Dietary Guideline.
Related reading: Best Fats To Eat On A Low Carb Diet
Studies show that removing carbs from our diet comes with many health benefits. But its biggest benefit is in helping us to lose weight easily. Even so I still see a lot of people in some of the online health groups asking “how well does a low carb diet work for weight loss?”
How Does a Low Carb Diet Work?
The different types of low carb diets work differently. However, the main idea behind them is pretty much the same. By decreasing the amount of carbs that you consume, your body will be forced to use the stored fats for energy, which ultimately leads to faster weight loss.
While the Atkins Diet gradually increases carb consumption overtime, keto places a firm limit on carbs. The keto diet requires drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing your calories with fats.
This reduction of carbs will put your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. And when your body is in ketosis, it will use the fats stored in your body to produce ketones, which in turn is used for energy.
Related reading: How Ketosis Works for Burning Fat Faster?
Even though low-carb diets are sometimes considered a “fad”, researchers have been studying these diet plans for decades. The most recent studies have shown that low carb diets are more effective than calorie-restricted diets and those diets that limit fats when it comes to losing weight.
In addition, these diets have been found to provide several other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and improving insulin resistance.
Related reading: How a Low Carb High Fat Diet Affects your Cholesterol
Does a Low Carb Diet Work for Weight Loss?
There have been several studies that can prove that a low carb diet can help with weight loss. But for those who are still asking, “does a low carb diet work”, here are more reasons why a low carb diet can work for weight loss.
Perhaps, one of the biggest explanations of why weight loss can happen in a low carb diet is because of its ability to suppress one’s appetite. In one study, it was found that people who followed a low carb diet noticed that they felt less hungry and satisfied for longer, so they ended up eating fewer calories, which helped them to lose weight.
There are many explanations behind the appetite-reducing effect of the low-carb diet, but the protein intake may have played an important factor. For a keto diet, about 60 to 65 grams of protein is required per day.
Related reading: How A Low Carb Diet Keeps Your Appetite Under Control
Studies show that protein can make you feel full longer and can reduce the level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. There is also evidence that ketosis has the ability to suppress appetite so people who follow the keto diet don’t get hungry too often.
Less “Empty” Calories
There are no essential components in those calories from refined carbohydrates, unlike with fats and protein. Dr Campbell Murdoch a GP in Somerset, England states:
Concerns some people have include: ‘Carbohydrates are essential in our diet.’ This is not true, there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate
Fats contain essential fatty acids, while proteins have amino acids that are good for our health. Foods made from refined carbohydrates may taste good and be quickly satisfying for a short time but they are not good for health.
Unrefined carbs do however provide fiber and nutrients such as antioxidants which you can still get from eating an abundance of low carb vegetables and fruits.
Reduce the Rewarding Effects of Food
For many people, gorging on sweets and carbs can increase their brain’s reward centers. And this can lead to constant food cravings. By reducing your intake of carbs, you can reduce the rewarding effects of food in the brain, which is helpful for weight loss.
But following a low-carb diet does not mean you can no longer eat rewarding foods. In fact, one of the best things about low-carb diets like keto is that you can still eat a lot of your favorite foods. From mains, desserts, breakfast, and snacks, you’ll find delicious low-carb recipes that can satisfy your cravings without worrying about weight gain.
In addition, eating nourishing low-carb meals can help you feel full longer. This is not the case with carbs, where you won’t be satisfied even after eating several servings.
Despite the availability of scientific evidence, there are still some people who will find it hard to believe that low carb diets work. This is not surprising because people on a low carb diet can usually eat as much as they want, which violates the rule of calorie-restricted diets.
I hope that this answers the question “how does a low carb diet work for weight loss?”. It might be hard at first if you are used to eating lots of carbs, but once you start preparing delicious low-carb meals which halts hunger and cravings you’ll realize that it’s not as difficult as it sounds.