The low down on low carb diets..



When you cut your carb intake to a very low level.. you may start to experience..

-Nausea

-Constipation

-Fatigue (especially if physically active)

-Low blood pressure

-Poor concentration

-Stale, foul taste in the mouth (bad breath)


Low carbohydrate diets typically overemphasise the consumption of animal protein and animal products and shun breads, pastas, fruits and even some vegetables (hopefully you see red flags from this already).


While low-carb diets have gained a lot of attention for weight loss, there is no substantial evidence to support it’s efficacy long-term and more importantly, it’s safety.



Although initial weight loss can be achieved on a low carb diet, long-term maintenance is usually non-existent.

The simple method behind weight loss is due to the fact that for every gram of glycogen stored (the stored form of carbs), 3g of water is bound to it - therefore, not eating carbohydrates depletes these stores and results in weight loss (not fat loss).


—> The catch here, is that when you return to eating your normal diet - the weight also returns.


Further to this, the restrictive nature of a low carb diet increase an individuals risk of nutritional deficiencies. Typically, low carb diets are low in fibre, thiamin, folate, vitamins A, E and B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.


On top of this, they’re usually higher in saturated fat and cholesterol as the recommended fat intake is much higher to make up for the lack of carbohydrates.



Now a quick snippet of low carb diets and physical performance:


Some short-term effects include..

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Thirst

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue


Long term effects can include:

  • Decreased immune function

  • Compromised recovery

  • Compromised maintenance of muscle mass




IN SUMMARY…

PROS of a low carb diet:

  • Initial rapid weight loss (water weight)

CONS of a low carb diet:

  • Not sustainable long-term

  • Weight is regained once typical eating pattern resumes

  • Risk of various nutrient deficiencies

  • Several adverse side effects

  • Compromised physical performance

  • Increased levels of fatigue

  • Doesn’t encourage healthy eating habits


Navigating through conflicting nutrition information can be exhausting. With so much information out there it can be hard to know what to truly believe. Furthermore, just because something works for one person, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for the next. Working together, we can implement actionable steps tailored to your individual needs and requirements to help you reach your goals.


Check out my nutrition coaching page to learn more.



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