Nutritionists cringe when you mention the phrase “ low carb diet ” because of the negative connotation that surrounds this type of diet. The Atkins diet of the 1990s is really what started the popularity of the low carb diet and started consumers thinking that carbs are evil and overly fattening.
Common thoughts surrounding carbs are:
- Body fat is gained when you eat carbs because your blood sugar and insulin levels spike
- Carbs cause inflammation, especially when sugars and grains are consumed
- Fat and proteins are a crucial need in your diet but carbs are not
Unfortunately, this is oversimplifying carbs and doesn’t tell you the whole story. Let’s look at the facts behind carbohydrates.
Consuming carbs does actually increase your insulin levels. However, eating carbs doesn’t lead to fat gain like many of us think. Insulin is actually a hormone that tells your body when you are full, that is all. So to say that insulin spikes lead to weight gain doesn’t make any logical sense.
Most carbohydrates are actually not the cause of inflammation. Eating whole grain bread will not cause you inflammation.
Carbs are as important to your nutrition needs as proteins and fats. The key is to not eat as many processed carbs and instead focus on minimally processed carbohydrates.
Cutting out all carbohydrates from your diet will actually help you to lose weight quickly but keeping your body on a no carb or low carb diet could prove disastrous to your long term weight loss goals. Carbs are not as necessary for people that lead a more sedentary lifestyle because the body does not use them as much as if you are steadily exercising. If you are actively exercising then drastically reducing your intake of carbs can lead to:
- Decreased immune system function
- Lower levels of testosterone
- Increased cortisol levels
- Lower thyroid function
- Decrease in cognition and suppressed mood
Essentially, this means that you will start to feel sluggish and tired. Unfortunately, this will cause you to lose a lot of weight quickly but will not be sustainable. You could actually get sick if you cut out carbs from your diet for too long.
Decreased thyroid function will primarily affect your metabolism but will also affect the way your body is managing your blood glucose levels. If your metabolism is low for too long then you can start to become chronically cold and sluggish. So, in order to keep your thyroid healthy and operating well, you need to consume carbs and enough calories to keep yourself functioning optimally.
When you decrease your carb intake, your testosterone levels will rapidly decline and this causes your cortisol (stress hormone) levels to rise just as rapidly. Unfortunately, this will end up causing an increase in fat retention and a quick loss of muscle. Increased cortisol levels will make you feel stressed out all of the time and can lead to chronic fatigue. A controlled study conducted in 2010 studied the effect of low carb diets where only thirty percent of the participants’ calories came from carbs, the drop in testosterone was approximately forty three percent. The other study group consumed sixty percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates and saw no change in their testosterone levels.
- October 19, 2016 Is the Ketogenic Diet a Bacon Dream Come True?
- December 5, 2016 Stressed and out of shape?
- October 20, 2016 How High is Too High? No Ceilings for This Protein Diet
- October 16, 2016 Legumes… Are They a Waist Slimming Super Food?