Low Carb Diet – Benefits and Side Effects

Low Carb Diet

Low Carbohydrate Diet, more commonly it is called as Low Carb Diet. It is a diet that involves restricted inclusion of carbohydrates in everyday food. It is more commonly advised for Diabetic or Obese patients.

However, the frenzy for Low Carb Diet has increased with the passing times. More and more people tend to consume healthy food and are diet conscious. However, carbohydrate contained food cannot be dispensed wholly as an unhealthy food. Also, it cannot be ignored that some of the carbohydrate food items have been found a catalyst to burn fat. Also, studies have revealed that many leafy vegetables rich in carb do not add weight. With normal exercises in a routine manner, carb food items give energy to nerve system particularly the brain.

Low Carb diets are usually restricted in Carbohydrates.  They have a higher content of Proteins and a considerable amount of Fat. There are various types of Low Carb diets based on the amount of Carbohydrate contents in the diet.

These diets are usually used for the  treatment of certain diseases.  These diseases could be anything like Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure and fat loss. It is essential to include low carb diet in our meal. But, it is a commonly perceived that low carb diet is suggested for diabetics and obesity.

Different types of Low Carb Diets

There are multiple low carb diets that can be followed as per the individual need and purpose of the diet.

I have prepared a synopsis of the most widely followed Low Carb diet plans across the world and the purpose of these diets. This should help you get a better perspective on the diet you would want to follow on the basis of your needs.

1Bernstein’s Diabetic Diet

This diet is specially designed for Diabetic patients to normalize the blood sugar levels. To give you an introduction, this diet is named after a physician Dr. Bernstein who was himself having Type 1 Diabetes. This is the kind of diabetes where the body makes less to 0 insulin. With years of research, he devised a system with certain low carb diet which could help him control his blood sugar level

This diet includes food that is a sugar-free alternative, eliminating simple sugar. They are  glucose, fructose, and additional sweeteners.

A list of healthy vegetables like asparagus, avocado and  broccoli should be consumed. We could have most of the cheese except cottage cheese (rich in protein and fat and less carbohydrate). Drinking  plain milk yogurt, soy milk & soy products. is also advisable.  Bran crackers are  also some of the foods listed to be consumed under this diet.

2Paleo Diet- Evolutionary Diet

This is a Neanderthin diet, as commonly called, based on its origin. It is a diet designed for extensive research and scientific studies on the diet followed by the ancestors and the effect of this diet on the physical growth and immunity.

This diet is based on the idea of the diet consumed by man before it reached the Neolithic period. In this period,  there was a huge change in the farming activities, hence affecting the food habits of the human.

The Paleolithic age is a prehistoric period of human history. This is  prominently distinguished for the development of stone tools. Their diet consumed a large proportion of leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and insects, meat, fish and shellfish.

The modern diet contains added sugars, grains except for small amounts of whole grains and  legumes. It also has  dairy products and food additives. These could not have been there in the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo Diet allows Meat, fish, eggs, most vegetables, fruits, nuts and honey in a very small amount. It is advised to consume organic food as to avoid consumption of any artificial ingredients.

This is not an ideal diet as it includes the meat (consumed by the people should be|) of animals, which would  have eaten organic food so as to carry the same nutrients.

3Protein Diet

As the name suggests, this diet is designed to consume an adequate amount of protein and restricted carbohydrates.

One needs to calculate their protein intake and carbohydrate count to design a Protein Diet.  Designing the Protein Diet  is based on the individual needs.

People on Protein Diet are recommended to consume the carb allotment to gain nutrition. Proteins and Carbs are spread evenly between three meals.  They can also be divided further for a need from an individual perspective.

4Ketogenic Diets

The ketogenic diet is derived from the process of Ketosis. In terms of science, Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy supply come from ketone bodies in the blood. This is in contrast to the blood glucose. In layman terms, Ketosis is a state of the body where there is a lack of blood glucose.  The body switches to a state where molecules called Ketones are generated during fat metabolism as a source of energy.

There are two types of Keto Diets:

  •  TKD – Target Keto Diet
  •  CKD – Cyclic Keto Diet

In TKD, you consume carbohydrates before and after the workout. This is more advisable for people who are involved in intense physical activities.  They  require carbohydrate content for their activities of the day.

CKD is a diet which is designed to include only a minimum amount of carbohydrates per day, apparently a maximum of 50 grams. On weekends, it is advised to include a heavy carb  diet to refill for the muscle glycogen storage.

The inclusion of carbohydrate is lessened to 50 grams per day.  This will lead to your daily diet which may  include more of protein and fats to inculcate for the daily energy requirement.

The above plans are beneficial to the ones who want to follow a low carb diet plan. Doesn’t it make your life easier if there is a list of low carb foods which you can include in your diet to keep the carb count low?

Here is that one great list!

  • Low Carb Veggies: Zucchini, Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, Mushrooms, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash
  • Low Carb Fruits: Apricots, Avocado, Strawberries, Red Grapefruit, Watermelon, Peaches, Blackberries
  • Low Carb Meat and Fish: Catfish, Canned Pink Salmon, Chicken Drumsticks, Ground Turkey, Pork Tenderloin, Top Sirloin Steak, Roast Beef, Bison, Ground Beef, Turkey Breasts
  • Low Carb Dairy Products: Gruyere Cheese, Butter, Eggs, Plain Greek Yogurt, Goat Milk, Goat cheese, Sour cream, Cream cheese
  • Low Carb Plant Proteins: TOFU, Tempeh, Canned pinto beans, Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Edamame, Unsweetened Soymilk
  • Low Carb Snacks: String Cheese, Walnuts, Kale Chips, Pepperettes, Hazelnuts, Mixed nuts
  • Low Carb Grains/Flour: Almond Flour, Shirataki Noodles, Hazelnut flour, Coconut Flour, Peanut Flour, Wheat germ
  • Low Carb Drinks: Unsweetened iced tea, unsweetened almond milk, Maple water, Tomato juiceHerb TeaClub Soda, Sugar-free seltzer water

Why should you follow a low carb diet?

Wondering why you should be following a low carb diet and what are the health benefits of this diet.

A list of proven scientific health benefits of a low-carb diet is provided for your reference.

  • Low Carb diets can help you kill your appetite in a way beneficial to maintain the diet, to realise the essentials of this diet
  • A low carb diet will help you realise more weight loss and at a faster pace compared to other diets
  • Low-carb diets are very effective in reducing harmful abdominal fats
  • Low carb diets are highly effective at cutting blood triglycerides which are the fat molecules in the blood. This is one of the major factors for risks of heart diseases
  • Since the low carb diets contain a lot of fats, it leads to an increase in the High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) often called the good cholesterol
  • A low carb diet is the most effective way to reduce the blood sugar level and insulin level due to a reduced carbohydrate consumption
  • Reducing carb content leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure
  • Based off some recent studies, a low carb diet is therapeutic for several brain disorders

What are the known side effects of a Low Carb Diet?

As much as there is a health benefit to following a low carb diet, there are a few proven side effects to this diet. However, these side effects can be controlled by understanding the physical reactions of your body and why they happen.

After several weeks of following the diet plans, most of these side effects will subside as your body will become “Keto adapted”. The body would be able to burn fat instead of glucose.

  • Since your body will start burning the extra glycogen in your liver and muscles, you will feel the need to urinate more frequently
  • With frequent urination, your body will lose a lot of essential minerals. These are as salt, potassium, and magnesium. These would lead to  lightheaded, dizziness, muscle cramps and headaches
  • If your body is used to a high carb diet, dropping the amount of carb intake will result in a drop in the amount of insulin produced by the body. This might result in a low blood sugar level
  • In the case of limiting the fat intake along with a low carb diet, it can result in diarrhoea.  Hence, make sure to supplement for the loss of carbs with enough fat intake
  • There may be a possibility that the serotonin and insulin levels have dropped low which will result in sleep disturbances while on a Keto diet
  • People who normally have a low blood pressure might experience heart palpations or a racing heart when starting a Keto diet.  They might also experience this as they have been on a Keto diet for a long time
  • Fat content food if taken in excess of the body’s limitations, may lead to severe complications.
  • Instant energy cannot be derived  from low carb items

A low carb diet has tremendous benefits along with the side effects that may be temporary or may be long standing. In order to follow a healthy diet plan one must consult a physician/dietitian.  Get an appropriate body check-up completed before you embark on this journey. Following an advised and healthy plan will make sure you have minimised any risks related to the diet.  You will make sure you are able to gain the maximum from this diet.