Low carb diets are common in the weight loss spectrum. Many studies have shown them to result in more weight lost as compared to the standard low-fat diet plan. Explaining why low-fat and the low fat craze has destroyed our health as a country is a complex topic for another day. I am actually teaching a class on this very topic at my church on Wednesday nights. So yes low-carb is the way to go.
However, diets in general usually come with issues. There are usually good parts to every diet out there. But they all also have extreme components that can be difficult to keep up for life and often are not the healthiest choices. I say ditch diets. The word itself invokes a thought of death. YUCK. I prefer to make lifestyle changes that are not quite so extreme for my clients and they see real success.
Starting a sugar-free and low carb lifestyle has so many health benefits, including the fact that it is highly effective at eliminating visceral fat, such as that in the belly, a most dangerous type of body fat. The reason is that as we stop putting excess sugar and starches into the body, the body begins to burn what we already have stored. We will cover this in more detail below.
What Exactly Is A Low Carb Lifestyle?
A low carb lifestyle is a way of eating where carbohydrates- and especially sugar and refined sugars are drastically or significantly, cut from the diet. When one’s diet contains fewer carbohydrates, the body no longer gets its energy from the glucose they would produce and instead begins to burn stored fat for energy.
Starchy and sugary carbohydrates are substituted with a LOT more vegetables that are not starchy as well as healthy fats and a moderate lean protein intake. Carbohydrates in this lifestyle come from natural sources from nature that are also nutrient dense such as seeds, nuts, and beans in addition to non-starchy veggies and berries. Sugar, pastries, pasta, bread, cereal, rice, or any other starches are no longer or very rarely consumed.
While cutting out most of the processed sugar and refined carbs is excellent for health, let’s take a look at the benefits for weight loss.
How Does It Aid Weight Loss?
- Triggers Ketosis: NOT THE SAME AS CLAIMS BY COMPANIES SELLING PACKAGED EXOGENOUS KETONES- Eating a low carb lifestyle triggers a process known as ketosis, which is where the body begins to burn fat for energy instead of dietary carbs, which is a very efficient way to burn fat stores and lose weight. Side note– please do not be fooled by companies trying to sell you exogenous ketones. This is the biggest rip-off going at the moment and it makes my skin crawl as a nutritionist. These supplements actually do not do anything beneficial for the body. When you get your body into ketosis it will make ketones on its own. These are called endogenous ketones. What you get in these prepackaged products is a compound that will suppress hunger temporarily and in some cases, give you energy and caffeine boosts, because of the added ingredients like caffeine (synthetic) that they contain for energy. If your goal is weight loss and fat burning you are only hurting the long-term process. They can also cause blood sugar spikes which are NOT a good thing. The only benefit of these products is help with the low energy and fatigue that come with carb detox for the first week or so, and there are much cheaper and easier ways to do this. Once the body is in a natural state of ketosis (which happens with a low carb eating style) it begins to burn stored fat. Therefore, these ketones you bought and spent a lot of money for are quite literally going down the toilet, or urinal. If you want to be in a constant state of ketosis stay under 25-30 net grams of carbs per day. I hate to bust your bubble, but that magic pill or potion or surgery you are seeking to lose weight and keep it off DOES NOT EXIST. Any product that tells you it can get you to a healthy weight and keep you there without changes to your eating habits is a scam. WE MUST learn to eat real food from nature and treat our bodies as the temples they were created to be. THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH EXOGENOUS KETONES- Once you stop taking them, the damage is already done and now your body will have an even harder time burning fat and carbohydrates. A low carb eating style is the only way to keep that weight off permanently along with having a balanced gut, and moving your body as much as possible. SKIP THE DIETS AND DO NOT fall for the latest diet fad of exogenous ketones please! OK back to the topic:
- Eliminates water weight: People who have changed to a low carb lifestyle typically lose quite a bit of weight in the first two weeks, likely, this occurs when water that is tied to glycogen comes off the body and is actually a quite encouraging event that supports the continuation of a healthy lifestyle. Many of my clients who start using the probiotic and vitamin drink and magnesium from Plexus see the same thing. The body stores waste. Getting rid of it is a great start to losing weight. BUT do not let this fool you into thinking you are going to keep losing at this pace. To do so would be unhealthy and unrealistic.
- Eliminates insulin trigger foods: Starches and sugary carbs are insulin triggers that cause blood sugar spikes that lead to hunger, overeating and ultimately weight gain. While living a low-carb lifestyle, these insulin triggers are eliminated so the body can burn fat instead of storing it. One of the biggest things that causes blood sugar spikes, and then dangerous crashes in my bariatric friends is any kind of starchy carb.
- This lifestyle is higher in protein: Protein helps keep you full and satisfied so you naturally eat less and it also helps to increase lean muscle mass that promotes fat burning. I always try and start my day with a good protein source and advise my clients to do the same. This helps to keep you feeling full and also helps to regulate blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
- This lifestyle regulates the appetite and naturally reduces calorie intake: A low carb lifestyle naturally regulates the appetite because all of those insulin triggering foods that wreak havoc in the blood stream and cause hunger and out of control cravings are mostly eliminated. Most people find that by week 2-3, the appetite naturally decreases quite a bit. This is another reason weight loss happens. For my green brain research friends- check this out- I found this info in a medical journal online-
“Additionally, Researches from St. Louis and Japan (Banks WA1, Coon AB, Robinson SM, Moinuddin A, Shultz JM, Nakaoke R, Morley JE, et all) found that the hunger regulating hormone leptin is positively affected by the low carb diet’s ability to reduce triglyceride levels in the body, which allows that hormone to work more effectively in regulating the appetite. When people embark on a low carb lifestyle, their appetite significantly drops naturally, and they naturally feel satisfied with less food, resulting in weight loss as they naturally eat less calories and without suffering and starvation. “
Is A Low-Carb Lifestyle Safe?
This is a frequently asked question, which is common amongst people wanting to embark on a low carb journey.
It may have side effects for some during detox, while others may experience nothing. Usually any side effects are short lived. The same way a drug addict experiences withdrawals from heroin and cocaine, a sugar/carb addicted person will experience withdrawals during the first week or so of detox. Common withdrawal symptoms include moodiness (take your Vital Biome), headaches (add caffeine), and fatigue (take a good multi-vitamin like X-Factor Plus). In general, statics and research show a low-carb lifestyle to be highly effective for weight loss, and to also reduce risks for cardiovascular disease far better than low fat eating plans.
In conclusion, a low carb lifestyle aids weight loss by triggering ketosis, a metabolic state where the body uses stored fat as its source of energy. But it is important to EAT YOUR PLANTS! Do not subscribe to ANY particular DIET, and instead try and eat all real food from nature, created by God and as little sugar and starches and processed packaged foods as possible.
This will result in optimal nutritional health and will also aid in gut health and weight loss!