The concept of consuming low carbohydrate diets as a weight loss tool has been popular since decades. It involves living on a diet with hardly any carbohydrates. Only fats and proteins are consumed. Pasta, bread, alcohol and rice are replaced with meat, butter and cheese.
How do they work?
Low carbohydrate diets have the objective of compelling the body to produce energy from fat and protein. The diet achieves its goal by reducing insulin production in the body due to low carbohydrate intake.
Dr Robin Atkin’s famous Atkin’s diet, high protein diet, Stillman diet, Scarsdale diet, Hollywood diet, Ketogenic diet and the zone diet are popular low carbohydrate diets. All these diets are known for initiating weight loss.
Are they effective?
These diets lead to rapid weight loss. But, since the weight loss occurs due to muscle loss and loss of water, it is not permanent. Moreover, it may cause harmful side effects. It is generally used by movie stars who want to lose weight at a rapid rate to fit into his or her character for a particular movie.
Low carbohydrate permits This makes the body produce ketone bodies to provide energy to the brain, red blood cells and other body parts that cannot use fat to produce energy. This creates the condition of ketosis wherein the person’s breath has a nail varnish like acetone smell and he experiences side effects like nausea and weakness.
Majority of the weight loss comes from loss of muscle in case of these diets. Muscle tissues burn calories and remain metabolically active even when the body is at rest. Further, loss of muscle will mean that lesser number of calories have to be burned per day to maintain body weight. Loss of muscle thus translates into weight gain in the long run.
Important vitamins and minerals are supplied to the body by fruits, vegetables and grains which are not part of these diets. They are hence deficient in nutrients; they contain too much of protein which is strenuous and harmful for the kidneys. They can cause bone and liver disorders too. They have an adverse impact on your health in the long run. The presence of lots of saturated fat in these diets can cause heart ailments in the long term.
Balanced diet and regular exercise regimen are the best ways to lose weight. These methods take time to give results and require perseverance but they are definitely safer than low carbohydrate diets which are against all the healthy eating principles.