Understanding the risks and benefits of a low-carb diet


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A low-carb diet limits the intake of carbohydrates. It consists of grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, milk and foods which are high in protein and fat. The main purpose of a low-carb diet is to aid weight loss, reduce the risk of diseases and keep you healthier. In case you suffer from any pre-existing health condition, you must speak to the doctor and follow his advice regarding your diet.

Here are 8 proven health benefits of low-carb diets:

1. Reduces your appetite

Hunger can affect your weight management goal to a great extent. It is one of the main reasons why many people eventually give up. If you opt for a low-carb diet, you will automatically see a reduction in your appetite and calorie intake.

2. Increased weight loss

Cutting down on carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. People on a low-carb diet naturally lose more weight and at a faster rate than those on low-fat diets. A low-carb diet also helps get rid of excess water from the body, lowers insulin levels and leads to rapid weight loss in the first week or two.

3. A large proportion of fat loss happens from your abdominal cavity

Not all fat in your body is the same and where fat is stored determines its affect on your health associated risks. Low-carb diets are effective at reducing the abdominal fat responsible for causing serious metabolic problems. This leads to reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

4. Triglycerides drop drastically

Triglycerides are fat molecules that are found in your bloodstream. It is a known fact that elevated triglycerides take place due to carb consumption and puts you at the risk of heart diseases.

5. Increased levels of ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol

The higher the level of good cholesterol, the lower is your risk of having heart diseases. A low-carb diet will increase “good” HDL levels and ensure good health.

6. Reduced blood sugar levels

Low-carb diets can be particularly helpful for people with diabetes and insulin resistance. When your carb intake is less, it lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels drastically. It can even reverse type 2 diabetes.

7. May lower blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to many diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Low-carb diets reduce your risk of these diseases and help you have a healthier life.

8. Effective against metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome can result in diabetes and heart disease. It shows symptoms, which include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and more. A low-carb diet is incredibly effective in treating this.

Not only these above mentioned benefits, low-carb diet is also therapeutic for several brain disorders. In many cases, this particular diet can cure children of epilepsy or reduce the number of seizures. The benefits of this diet are also being studied for brain conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease.

What are the risks involved?

A sudden reduction in the amount of carbs consumed can cause temporary side effects, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

Severe carb restriction is also not advised as it hampers the ability of your body to break down fat for energy. Though the possible health risks of this diet in the long-term is not clear, it may result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies and gastrointestinal disturbances. If you decide to follow a low-carb diet, you must be careful about the fats and proteins you eat.

Things to remember when you are on a low-carb diet

  • You must know which foods are low-carb, the carb counts and serving sizes. You may include lean meat, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables in your everyday diet.
  • Making a meal plan will help you keep track of your carb consumption and allow you to avoid unhealthy foods.
  • Meal preps are also a great way of preparing your healthy meals in advance. It is convenient as well as saves time.
  • You may carry low-carb snacks like nuts and unsweetened yoghurt with you in order to avoid eating unhealthy and going out of your diet plan.
  • Exercise is essential and no matter what diet you follow, this is important for your overall health.

A low-carb diet will help you make the most out of your workouts and keep you energetic for long. Well, if you look at all the benefits, it is a great decision to make. One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of low-carb diets is weight loss and if that is your goal, you must switch to it right away.