The low carb diet has been touted as a quick and easy to lose weight—but there has been much debate about are low carb diets healthy? Here we will put the science behind the diet in simple terms and then get into answering, are low carb diets healthy?
Are low carb diets healthy? The science:
So what happens when we are on the low or no carb diet and why does it work? Your body stores fat for energy and forms glycogen. Glycogen is attached to several molecules of water. The body can break those down and use them for energy. During a low carb diet, for example the inductions phase of the Atkins diet—you cut away the carb intake. Your body will then use the energy stored in the muscles. This is the time that rapid weight loss begins but it is mostly water. This is a state called ketosis which means the body is now burning fat and not sugar for energy.
So are low carb diets healthy?
Yes and no would be the answer to this question. There are ways to do this and ways not to do this. The first thing you have to do to make this healthy is to never –ever cut out carbs altogether—people who have gone on crash no carbohydrate diets regret it. This causes what is called “low carb flu” and can actually zap your energy and cause drastic blood sugar fluxes and mood swings. This, for some is the beginning of blood glucose issues and you don’t want to play with that. There are people who can’t tolerate blood glucose fluxes—you could eventually develop diabetes mellitus if you constantly drive your blood glucose level up and down.
In simple terms, it is not a natural thing to do. It can be counter-productive. This is because your body needs carbs for energy and to live. The best thing to do is do low gi, healthy carbs like sweet potato instead of the starchier white potato and brown rice instead of white bleached rice.
So are low carb diets safe? Yes when you use common sense and balance. It is a small challenge but there are lists of exchange foods that are good carbs and won’t smack you down when you need the energy the most—to work out and to function properly.