Low-carb diets are now attracting a lot of media attention because over the years they have proven to be beneficial and work. There has been a lot of confusion out there about carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and so forth.
This article hopefully will help guide you through the maze of misinformation and provide you with some important details and facts on why you should change to a low carb diet.
For example, many proclaim that fat clogs a person’s arteries and is therefore harmful but in reality fats are essential for good health whereas carbohydrates are not.
Key Benefits of the Low-Carb Diet
So let’s start bt beginning to examine how you can kickoff a low carb diet while at the same time taking a look at some of the main advantages for switching to a low-carb diet.
1. Helps Control Blood Sugar
The first, and probably the most important advantage, is insulin and blood sugar levels.
When you eat any carbohydrate it will have a big impact on your insulin and blood sugar levels. If you restrict the amount of carbohydrates that you eat then it will result in a lowering of insulin and blood sugar levels and needs.
It is a proven fact that a high sugar level will affect your body in many negative ways such as chronic diseases, cancer, dementia, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. When you lower your carbohydrate intake it will allow you to control your blood sugar and insulin levels. If you suffer from type I or type II diabetes then this lowering will be incredibly beneficial.
2. Controls Hunger
When it comes to hunger a low-carb diet will also be a good idea. A low-carb diet will help to balance blood sugar levels and therefore throughout the day insulin and blood sugar levels will not spike but rather they will be kept to a minimum.
Recent studies that have analyzed appetites and food cravings have shown that the participants who were placed on a low-carb diet, in comparison to others who were on a low-fat diet, suffered much lower hunger cravings.
It is therefore easy to conclude that a diet that is high in healthy fats will keep cravings away.
3. Can be Heart-Healthy by Promoting Weight Loss
Another distinct advantage of a low-carb diet is the benefits for your heart. Low-carb diets reduce a major factor for cardiovascular disease, triglycerides.
A low-carb diet will also increase your body’s good cholesterol concentrations, HDL. Things that can damage the heart include inflammation and high blood sugar levels.
A low-carb diet will help reduce both of these factors. Another great advantage is that a low-carb diet helps to reduce weight which will be beneficial for your heart. Simply put in latman’s terms, a low-carb diet lowers triglycerides, increases weight loss, reduces systemic inflammation, increases HDL levels, and lowers insulin and glucose levels.
To further investigate how serious it is for your cardiovascular system to be overweight you can research and analyze over 53 different studies done by the Harvard School of Public Health.
These informative studies featured more than 68,000 participants. The results of the studies were not surprising. The group that followed a low-fat diet lost less weight than the group that had a low-carb diet.
The bottom line is that a low-carb diet will have a positive impact for weight loss which will be beneficial for your cardiovascular system.
Each and every day we are seeing new studies showing the clear evidence about low-carb diets and why they are worth pursuing. You may feel that you will suffer on a low-carb diet but in reality this type of diet contains amazingly fresh and delicious foods.
Besides, you will feel so much better as your health improves and at the same time as you decrease all risks of illness. Once you grow accustomed to the taste for real food it will be impossible to go back to all of the un-naltural processed foods or genetically engineered foods.
How to Start a Low Carb Diet
Now that you have decided to switch over to low-carb diet your next question may be about “how do I do it?” Following a low-carb diet is quite simple because it means eating nutrient dense plant foods and healthy animal foods.
There are many programs out there that can help you transition to the low-carb lifestyle, including South Beach Diet or even the Mediterranean Diet. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, it can be a good idea to research them more, so you can get started on the right foot.
The plant foods should be the majority portion of your diet. For example, an avocado or spinach is packed full of wonderful nutrients while at the same time being very low in digestible carbohydrates.
On the other side of the coin, we have rice and bread which do have a few nutrients but not as many in comparison. They also will raise your blood sugar levels incredibly fast.
You may be also confused about how many carbs you should eat on a daily basis. One person who decides to follow a low-carb diet may consume only a few grams of carbs each day whereas another person may consume quite a bit more.
This simply means that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” low-carb diet. However, it is always advisable to make a goal that is towards the lower end of the scale. As a basic rule of thumb you should try to eat 25g – 75g of carbs or less each day.
Diets in both North America and Europe are producing epidemic amounts of type II diabetes. This is one reason why many who suffer from type II diabetes decide to turn to a low-carb diet. This is a no-brainer because anyone who suffers from type II diabetes is now someone who is producing inadequate amounts of insulin.
This inadequate amount of insulin will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels when eating any foods that easily convert to glucose. In a sense, anyone who suffers with type II diabetes is basically intolerant of carbohydrates.
Therefore, would you think it wise to give a plate full of pasta and bread to someone who has such an intolerance? On the other hand, certain fats and proteins do not have very much of an impact on blood sugar levels.
When someone who has type II diabetes eliminates carbs they are removing a macronutrient that causes a spike in blood sugar levels.
There are many cases where people who have type II diabetes have reversed the disease by following a strict low-carb diet.
How Many Carbs Should You Eat?
A relaxed low-carb diet will allow you to consume anywhere between 25 g and 150 g of digestible carbs. Even when people consume 150 g of carbs they will be consuming a far smaller amount than the majority of people in North America, Canada, and Europe. Some athletes may choose to consume a higher carb diet to help their performance. Nevertheless, it is advisable to try and keep on the lower side of the carbohydrate scale.
Factors That Can Derail You
Some of the advantages that you will notice on a low-carb diet include more energy, weight loss, and a healthier relationship with food. One mistake that is common when people switch to a low-carb diet is that they do not replace the reduced amount of carbs with healthy sources of fat.
This results in fatigue and lack of energy along with a constant craving for food. In most cases, these type of people will give up on their low-carb diet before giving it a fair chance.
They often conclude that a low-carb diet is too stressful and is not the diet for them.
It is therefore important to emphasize that a low-carb diet should include large amounts of fat. However, there are plenty of bad fats in the supermarket store and it is vital to include only good fats.
One rule of thumb that many people follow is to only choose naturally occurring fats from nature as opposed to choosing chemically processed fats that are constructed in a factory. A good example is butter over margarine. Butter is organic whereas margarine is processed.
Also, do not become overly concerned about the carbohydrate GI index. The glycemic index is misleading and there is no corresponding relationship to a low-carb diet. Some people may consider “high GI’ as bad and at the same time “low GI” as good. The GI index is simply an indication on how the body digests certain carbs. Some carbs are digested slower than others.
There is no correlation when it comes to how fast or how slow a carbohydrate should be digested.
Health Fats, Clean Foods
Never be afraid of introducing more healthy fat into your low-carb diet. Always select fresh, single ingredient foods whenever possible. You will need to follow a low-carb diet correctly. You will need to choose specific foods that are healthy as opposed to unhealthy. You can spend some time on the Internet and investigate a few of the different websites that will provide you with low-carb diet examples.
Switching to a low-carb diet may take some time. You should not become frustrated if every once in a while you fall off of the low-carb diet wagon. Simply dust yourself off, get back on the diet, and do your best. Also, take note on how you are starting to feel as you lose weight and eat healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
Do not give up because your quality of life and you well-being are both at stake.
Ben Corbin brings nearly 20 years of experience as a health and wellness author and writer. He holds a master’s degree, has a passion for health and fitness, and is driven to provide readers with accurate and honest diet reviews. Learn more about Ben and the DadQuarters mission at our About page.