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Weight Loss With Low-Carb Diet – How Effective is it?

Weight gain and obesity have become a common problem worldwide. A sedentary lifestyle, busy schedule and readily available unhealthy/packaged processed foods have become significant contributors to obesity. Furthermore, most people only focus on exercise and neglect the significance of a healthy diet in an attempt to reduce weight. However, many different types of diet present effectively help in weight loss if appropriately adopted for a short time. 

Low-carb diets help lose weight. They also help combat other health issues like diabetes. The low-carb diet plan has become popular because of its productive and fast results or noticeable changes. 

Weight Loss With Low Carb Diet: Overview

When you follow a low-carb diet, the body uses the stored fat to get energy because of a lack of carbohydrates. As a result, you burn more fats. Another principle for weight loss is to stay on a calorie deficit. When you follow a low-carb diet, you consume fewer calories as well. Therefore, people often adopt this diet for weight loss. Weight loss includes a calorie deficit diet with restriction of high carb foods like sweets, chips, bread etc. People on a low-carb diet start losing weight by the end of 2 weeks. However, these diets are effective for a short period, and you should not follow them for a long time. The keto diet is an example of a low-carb diet.

Following a low-carbohydrate diet increases ketones in our body, which breaks down fat to use as an energy source. Therefore, it significantly lowers weight but following it for an extended time will be dangerous for the body. It leads to various health problems such as cramps, bone erosion (side effect of ketosis), fatigue, disturbed menstrual cycle, constipation, anxiety, etc. 

A low-carb diet restricts the consumption of high-carb foods like sweets, pasta, and bread. In addition, it restricts high-carb fruits and vegetables. On a low-carb diet, the total carbohydrate consumption is limited to 50 to 150 grams daily. Because every gram of carbohydrate provides four calories, a daily carbohydrate intake of 200 to 500 calories is reasonable. The remaining daily calories, thus, are derived from protein and fat sources. This diet is rich in protein, fat, and nutrient-dense veggies. It also demands avoiding carbohydrates found in grains and potatoes. Dairy foods that are specifically low fat can be excluded in the low-carb diet.

Foods to Consume

Non-Veg: Egg, lean chicken, tuna fish, sardines, salmon, herring, etc. Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, carrots, etc.Fruits: Apples, oranges, watermelon, star fruit, lemon, green apple, pears, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etcFats and oils: Coconut oil, butter, olive oil, fish oil, etc

Foods to Avoid

Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream, etc., added sugar.Refined grains: Wheat, rice, barley and rye, bread, cereal, and pasta.Trans fats: Hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated oilsDairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, etcHighly processed foodsStarchy vegetables: Beets, corn, white potatoes, green peas, etc. Grains and legumes that contain carbohydrates.

The HealthifyMe Note

Low-carb diets are a type of fad diet; these diets result in temporary or short-term weight loss. It does assist in rapidly losing weight but also rapidly increases weight once you discontinue it. Moreover, such fad diets restrict dairy, legumes, grains, and fibre-rich foods, which deprive the body of other essential micronutrients and minerals, outweighing the advantages of a low-carb diet. In addition, a low-carb diet may cause metabolic issues, weakness, headaches, bad breath, and other health concerns. 

Few Popular Types of Low-Carb Diets

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is rich in fat and low in carbs. A keto diet’s purpose is to limit carbs low enough, resulting in your body entering a metabolic condition known as ketosis. As a result, the body’s insulin levels drop, producing many fatty acids from its fat reserves. Most of these fatty acids get carried to the liver, which converts them to ketones. Ketones refer to water-soluble compounds that provide your brain with energy. Consequently, the brain relies heavily on ketones rather than carbohydrates. 

Some variations of this diet also limit protein intake, as excess protein can diminish the number of ketones produced. As per studies, the ketogenic diet helps lose body fat and is therefore popular among people, especially bodybuilders. In a ketogenic diet, carbs are usually restricted to less than 50 grams daily and occasionally as few as 20–30 grams. 

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is well-known for its low carbohydrate content. This diet is divided into stages to help you lose weight and primarily emphasises protein and fats while limiting carbohydrate intake. The Atkins diet assists in weight loss by changing current eating habits. Furthermore, it claims to be a healthy way of eating for the rest of one’s life. As per studies, it is a  considerably healthy way to lose weight, increase energy, or improve health conditions, including high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome, though more research is needed to back this.

Low-Carb Diet

A low-carb or carb-restricted diet is what it’s generally named. In comparison to a conventional Western diet, this meal plan is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein. Meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats get prioritised. Individuals should avoid high-carb foods, such as grains, dairy products high in carbs, potatoes, sugary beverages, and high-sugar junk meals.

The HealthifyMe Note

People with insulin resistance and diabetes have an increased risk of weight gain. A low-carb diet reduces weight and lowers blood glucose levels for a short time. However, in the long term, the disadvantages of a low-carb diet exceed the advantages. Adopting healthy eating habits and appropriate lifestyle behaviours is critical for justifying the weight-loss journey.

Conclusion

An effective weight management program is the keystone of healthy living. Adopting healthy eating and appropriate lifestyle behaviour is crucial for a sustainable weight-loss journey. In addition, we need to understand the underlying essentials of eating right, the nutrients necessities, physical activity, correct lifestyle modifications, and a holistic advent to weight loss. Shortcut weight loss methods can never match a healthy and sustainable alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How much weight can you lose on a low-carb diet in a week?

A. A low-carb diet requires a strict regime and constant monitoring. It involves eating only about 50 to 150 grams of carbs a day. Provided a person adheres to a low-carb diet, one can easily lose about 10 pounds of body weight in 5 weeks, which is about 2 pounds per week.  

Q. How much weight can you lose in a month on low carb?

A. Weight reduction requires time. In many circumstances, a weekly weight loss of 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) is a reasonable target. Weight loss occurs more quickly for some people than for others. It is impossible to predict because each individual is unique. However, most people lose 10 pounds or over in the first month of adopting a low-carb diet. 

Q. Can you lose weight just by eating low carbs?

A. Low carbohydrate diets with an adequate amount of protein and fats are pretty efficient for weight loss. Restricting carbohydrates reduces appetite and leads to weight reduction without having to watch calories. The amount of carbohydrates a person needs to lose weight varies based on age, gender, body shape, and degree of exercise.

Q. What happens when you cut carbs for 2 weeks?

A. A low-carb diet, such as keto or the first stage of the Atkins diet, puts the body under nutritional ketosis. By breaking down fat, the liver produces ketones, a substance when insufficient sugar is available in the body to function. This process takes around two weeks after the commencement of any low-carb diet. 

Q. Will cutting carbs reduce belly fat?

A. Low carb diets can result in rapid water weight loss, giving people speedy results. Within 1–2 days, most people notice a change on the weight scale. One cannot target a particular part of the body for fat loss. However, a low-carb diet helps shed visceral fat surrounding the belly and organs. Hence, cutting down carbs may help cut down belly fat. 

Q. How long does it take to lose 40 pounds on keto?

A. In a keto diet, weight loss depends on various factors. Moreover, most weight lost in the first few weeks is a person’s water weight. However, suppose one follows a consistent keto diet accompanied by regular exercise and quality sleep. In that case, one can expect to lose about 1-2 pounds a week, which translates to about 4-5 months to drop 40 pounds.

Q. Why am I not losing weight if I am in ketosis?

A. Ketosis does not necessarily result in weight loss. You must be in a calorie deficit for your metabolism to switch from burning food fat to burning stored body fat. One of the most common causes for people failing to lose weight while on the ketogenic diet is consuming too many carbohydrates. Carbohydrate consumption must get severely lowered to achieve ketosis, a metabolic condition wherein the body burns fat and not glucose to release energy.

Q. Why am I not losing weight when I barely eat?

A. The metabolism of a person decides the burning of calories. If a person has a higher metabolism, their body burns calories faster. The body is highly adaptive. If barely any food is consumed by a person, then the body functions in a ‘survival mode’ by reducing its metabolic rate. It means the body burns fewer calories than usual, and weight does not decrease. The best way to reduce weight is to work out regularly, and consume nutritious food, while still being in a calorie deficit.

Q. Is under 100 carbs a day low carb?

A. No fixed number of calories must be consumed to be considered ‘low carb’. The number of carbs considered ‘low carb’ also depends on the objective of such a diet. For example, if the aim is to lose weight, then consuming about 100-150 grams of carbs per day would be considered a low-carb diet relative to an average diet. However, if one wants to reach a state of ‘ketosis’, that number might have to be reduced to about 50grams to be considered low carb.

Q. How long should you stay on a low-carb diet?

A. A low-carb diet is very restrictive. Most people have long struggled with adhering to such a diet. A carb deficiency for an extended period leads to headaches, fatigue, cramps, etc. It is because the brain and tissues require a constant supply of glucose for proper brain function and tissue repair. As a result, a low-carb diet should only be followed for a short period or until you obtain the desired results.

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