There has been a debate brewing for years regarding low-carb, no-carb, and high-carbohydrate diets. There are few that root for an excessive amount of carbohydrates. However, those who are attempting to build mass and muscle are often found arguing for the proper use of carbohydrates in diets. The concern is that losing large percentages of good-for-you carbohydrates can lead to negative effects on the body. Moreover, the positive effects of low-carb dieting are usually only temporary at best. Instead of simply stating one side or the other, let us look at some basic facts about carbohydrates and then talk about which diet-type may be best.
Fundamentals: First Thing is First
Before we got into why low-carb diet is good or bad for someone, let us first make sure we understand the basics. The reason being that a body must be properly prepped before attempting a low-carb diet. One must be eating fewer calories than they take in and properly balancing the consumption of nutrients. Eating five or six meals per day at appropriate times and drinking plenty of water are also important activities. Choosing low fat (as well as proper fats) and lean protein meals should also be exercised. And of course, steering clear of refined or unnatural foods should be avoided. Only when all of these fundamentals are met should someone begin trying to manipulate their carbohydrate intake at large percentages.
Knowing What Carbs You’re Consuming
All carbohydrate intake should be monitored and done-so at the proper ratios; however, the low-carb diet fad gave a bad name to all carbohydrates. This is problematic because there are plenty of “good” carbohydrates that should not be lumped in with the “bad” carbohydrates. For instance, whole grain wheat is a much better carb than table sugar. Whole-grain wheat is a more complex carbohydrate that is not stored as far as easily as table sugar. There are even simple carbohydrates that are better than others are. An orange is chalked full of simple carbohydrates. This does not mean that an orange is a bad for you as a piece of cake.
Low Carb Diet
The low-carb diets assume that everyone has the same level of sensitivity to carbohydrates. Many also assume a general insulin resistance that is not true across the board. Most people will lose weight when they become more aware of what they are eating, and become more active. This truth should think that simply because one consumes fewer carbohydrates that are the reason he or she is losing weight. Certainly, a reduction in table sugar or high fructose corn syrup is a positive choice. Removing all carbohydrates types is more likely to cause negative overall effects on the body.
When is Low Carb Appropriate?
A low-carb diet does have its appropriate moments. That is to say, for some the low-carb diet truly is the best option. There are even instances during everyone’s dieting stages where a low-carb period is the proper dieting choice. If someone is carb-sensitive and endomorphic, it is often a good idea to lower the amount of carbohydrates. That is because an endomorph is more susceptible to carbohydrates. When carbohydrate sensitivity is added, the person is likely to retain most of carbohydrates as fat. Those who are looking to break a plateau in their dieting regimen can utilize a low-carb diet to help overcome the hurdle. Finally, if one is serious about bodybuilding or wishes to flash a cut figure, then low-carb diets are a great way to look lean for a temporary period.
Benefits of Low-Carb
Low carb diets have four major benefits. Reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein consumption means your body burns more of the calories you put in. Protein has a 30% thermic reaction, meaning 30% of the calories taken in are burned up in the absorption process. Carbohydrates have a much lower thermic rate and thus more is possibly stored in the body if not burned off through high-intensity workouts. This reduction in carbs and increase in protein will also help regulate insulin release. The fats in protein help stay the insulin release and this helps keeps the body’s metabolism rolling along. Lower carbohydrates also mean more fat is used for fuel because the glycogen is diminished. Finally, water retention tends to decrease as carbohydrates decrease.
Disadvantages of Low Carbs
There are unfortunately more downsides to the low-carb diet than up-sides. Primarily, low-carb diets can simply be unhealthy. Carbohydrates are like power-fuel for high-intensity workouts. They are also generally useful for energy for the body’s many needs. When one depletes them, they are also depleting fuel. Another downside is that because the low-carb diet removes a fuel-source, energy crashes can occur. Removing the preferred energy source of the body is a reasonable cause of energy loss.
Another downside is that the low-carb diet almost inevitably results in weight and fat re-gain. The body tends to desire some form of carbohydrates.
When the carbohydrates are returned (even in small amounts), the gain is tremendous. Carbohydrates can also provide essential nutrients to the body. By removing too much or too many carbohydrates, you are depleting the body of important needs. Weight loss on a low-carb diet is also not always as good as it sounds. Because your body loses ten pounds does not mean it is in the area or way you want it to. For instance, you may lose four pounds of water weight, three pounds of muscle, and three pounds of fat. While this is a loss of ten pounds, your body is not being sculpted in the way you may have imagined.
Low-carb diets can also affect your mood. If you are depriving your body of an energy source it craves, it may cause you to become irritable and annoyed easily. This is not always true for everyone, but because you are depleting your body, it should not be a surprise it can mess with your mood. And finally, there is the fact that muscle loss is common with low carb diets. Muscles need exercise to grow, and low-carb diets remove the ability to burn proper calories during high-intensity workouts.