Low carb diets have lots of appeal but are also very controversial. The promise of being able to lose weight rapidly and boost your health while still enjoying many of the foods you already eat sounds almost too good to be true. However, some people believe that low carb diets are dangerous and can have negative effects on your health. Today I’m going to be looking at both the pros and cons of low carb diets and answering the key question – “Are low carb diets healthy?”
The Benefits Of Low Carb Diets
The main benefit of low carbohydrate diets is that they can help you lose weight even if you don’t actively try to restrict your calorie consumption. The reason for this is that carbohydrates are very easy for your body to digest and use up very few calories during the digestive process. Protein on the other hand burns off a large amount of calories during digestion with research suggesting that up to 25% of the protein calories you eat are used during digestion. Most leading low carb diets recommend high protein consumption and as a result, people naturally burn more calories and lose more weight without counting calories.
Another huge benefit of low carb diets is that they have a positive effect on blood glucose levels and help keep them stable. This is particularly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes and studies have shown that in some cases, switching to a low carb diet allows diabetics to manage their condition naturally.
The Potential Risks Of Low Carb Diets
While low carb diets can be beneficial, some low carb diets recommend consuming dangerously low levels of carbohydrates. Doing this has a number of negative health effects.
First, eating very low levels of carbohydrates will reduce your energy levels. Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy and while it can extract energy from fat and protein if it needs to, it can’t do this with the same efficiency. This ultimately results in you constantly feeling tired and sluggish.
Second, not eating carbohydrates will cause you to become deficient in fiber. Fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate that is found in fruits and vegetables. It supports good bowel health, improves blood glucose regulation and protects against a number of health disorders. Failing to get enough fiber means you miss out on these benefits and has a negative impact on your digestive system.
Finally, consuming very few carbohydrates can lead to a deficiency in various vitamins and minerals. Most high quality carbohydrates are packed full of vitamins and minerals and these important nutrients support countless functions in the body and allow it to operate efficiently. Being deficient in vitamins or minerals prevents your body from operating efficiently and can have a number of negative effects on your health.
Are Low Carb Diets Healthy?
Low carb diets can be healthy and many people follow them successfully without any negative effects. However, to ensure that you don’t suffer from any of the potential negative consequences of carbohydrate deficiency, make sure you at least 20% of the calories you consume come from carbohydrates. Doing this will allow you to enjoy the benefits of low carb diets while also maintaining, your energy levels, filling up on fiber and getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.