Do Low Carbohydrate Diets Work?
Over the last 15 years, Americans are consuming less carbohydrates than ever before. Low and no carbohydrate diets have become the biggest fad for those trying to lose weight. The basic principle behind these weight loss diets is that carbohydrates lead to fat and weight gain. As more and more Americans turn to these weight loss diets, why is it that the
The initial weight loss observed with carbohydrate restriction is associated with a lower amount of calories being eaten as well as a larger loss of water. Carbohydrates hold up to 4 times more water weight than does protein. The object of any diet should be to reduce fat in the body not water. Any initial weight loss related to water will be gained back immediately. Long term weight loss is impossible as eventually most low carbohydrate dieters will eventually start eating bread and pastas once again. As low carbohydrate diets have emerged, so have thousands of food products marketed to those on these weight loss diets. Carbohydrate free ice cream is a perfect example of these foods. Manufacturers add sugar alcohols to off set the carbohydrates in the food. The term “net carbs” is derived by subtracting the carbohydrates in the food minus the sugar alcohol. These so called weight loss foods manipulate data in order to give off the image as being healthy.
Carbohydrates are essential in the body as they are the preferred source of energy and fuel. If exercises is a component of your weight loss plan, adequate carbohydrates are needed for energy and recovery. Although protein can be used as energy source, it is very inefficient as this nutrient is designed to build muscle not provide energy. Most low carbohydrate dieters experience mood issues as well a lack of energy derived from the lack of fuel rich carbohydrates. Continual usage of protein for energy will minimize lean muscle gain which is key for maintaining an elevated metabolism. Depriving the body of carbohydrates will also cause increased levels of fat storage since the body is realizing there is something wrong.
In summary, in order to achieve weight and fat loss, a diet must be balanced with the proper amount of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fat. Healthy carbohydrates should account for 50% of calories. Elimination of carbohydrates will not support long term weight loss and can even contribute to higher levels of fat storage.