A low carb diet can be extremely beneficial for both losing weight and improving your overall health, but low carb diet benefits go further than that.
What’s A Low Carb Diet?
We’re not talking about cutting out a food group. In the long term, it’s never a good health strategy to attempt to completely cut out fat, carbohydrates, or protein. In a low carb diet, you restrict just one food group, and worry less about counting calories or the amount you eat. Some people count grams of carbohydrate, but to make the lifestyle sustainable, it’s easier to get clear on what to eat (and what not to).
A low carb lifestyle cuts bad carbs such as bread and baked goods, packaged food, most carbs from grains, and all junk food carbs. The carbs you eat come from quality nutrition sources such as fruits and vegetables.
As long as you eat some good carbs, and eat the other food groups in moderation, your weight should adjust to normal over time (unless you have other underlying health issues which are causing weight gain).
You might have some cravings initially on a low carb diet, since you don’t yet have the habit of eating this way, and some of the carbs you’ve been consuming have addictive qualities. There are some tricks you can use to overcome cravings, but you can trust they will dissipate pretty rapidly. Within a few days you should be over most of them.
Carbs Make You Hungry
Carbohydrates, especially sugars and processed carbs, are processed very quickly by your body. As a result, when you eat a lot of carbs, you end up feeling hungry more often.
Low Carb Diets Make You Feel Fuller
One of the low carb diet benefits is that by consuming meals that are rich in fat, protein and vegetables, you will feel sated more quickly and experience less hunger and blood sugar swings than you would on a more typical North American high-carb diet. You’ll stay fuller longer, so you’ll take in fewer calories.
Your body will have plenty of protein to build muscle mass, so your metabolism will typically operate faster too, burning more calories even when at rest.
Fats contribute directly to a sensation of fullness, so keeping healthy fats in every meal is important. This will reduce your urge to snack between meals.
Increasing your intake of non-starchy vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your nutritional health. They’re not only full of vitamins and antioxidants that fight disease, they also give you large amounts of fiber, which helps digestion and again, gives you a sense of satiety so that you don’t get hungry as often.
Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics Benefit Hugely From A Low Carb Diet
When you reduce carbohydrate intake, particularly the bad carbs that are converted into glucose almost instantly by your body, it needs less insulin to deal with the storage of energy and both blood sugar levels and insulin requirements may drop. It’s important to team with your doctor if you are diabetic and considering a low carb diet, as your medications may need to be adjusted.
“No one has ever explained to me how you can ask someone to lower their blood sugar level and yet recommend a diet based on sugar.”
– Dr Charles Clark, Diabetes expert
Low Carb Diet Benefits
Typically, when weight is lost on a low carb diet, there’s often a significant reduction in belly fat. That’s the worst fat in your body, the fat most likely to contribute to health problems, and certainly the fat you wish away when looking in the mirror. It’s fat from carbs that tends to accumulate in the belly, so low carb eating helps reduce belly fat.
But losing belly fat isn’t even the biggest of the low carb diet benefits. Let’s recap the effects of Low carb eating:
- Increases intake of nutrients
- Improves muscle building (and hence metabolism)
- Reduces hunger
- Improves digestion
- Increases weight loss
- Decreases your chance of becoming diabetic (or makes diabetes more manageable)
- Reduces dangerous and unsightly belly fat
Changing to a low carb lifestyle is definitely a lifestyle change. To be successful, you’ll need to learn to appreciate fresh, whole food. You’ll find ways to dodge the challenges of eating out, and you’ll learn to carry healthy snacks with you. You’ll discover that feeling great about how your body looks and feels is better than snacking on breads, potato chips and candy.
How To Eat Low Carb
Low carb dieting isn’t really hard to understand. Avoid carbs and starchy vegetables, eat more protein and fat. Make sure you get some good fat with every meal. Avoid processed foods and eat the fresh, whole, natural stuff.
Get creative about recipes for special occasions. Gluten-free black bean brownies are delicious. Look to Paleo recipes for ideas too. Low carb is easier than Vegan eating, since you don’t have to replace the nutrients from a whole food group. There are no nutrients in the processed, junk carbs that you’re cutting out that you actually need or benefit from. You’re just choosing healthier options, and you’re eating the most nutritious carbs available in combination with protein and good fats.
Low carb diet benefits will start to show up within a couple of weeks if you’re consistent with healthy eating. Within a month, you’ll be impressed with the changes in your body and wellbeing, and continuing will be an easy choice.