Q: I’ve been thinking of following a low-carb diet because a few of my friends have said they lost a ton of weight following this plan. Should I follow a low carb diet? And are low carb diets bad at all for you?
A: I’m glad you asked this question! This is an extremely popular question and like you, I often hear from others how they successfully followed a low carb diet. Hopefully I can help end some confusion with this whole low carb debate.
Are low Carb Diets Effective?
First, I want to clarify that I’m speaking about your typical long-term low carb diet plan here. Below I will touch on a type of diet that includes a low carb element called Carb Cycling, which I have personally used with great success.
A low-carb diet may work for a few reasons:
- You eat less – It’s hard to take in the same amount of calories you were before when you can’t touch any carbs, thus you lose weight.
- The intake of extra protein in your diet decreases appetite.
- Puts your body in a state of ketosis, meaning it burns its own fat for fuel.
- Loss of water weight.
With that being said, you can lose the same weight and have a better chance of keeping it off if you eat a healthy, balanced diet (which includes carbs). The most important weight loss rule is this: burn more calories in a day than you take in. That’s the ONLY way to lose weight.
In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Louisiana State University concluded that it doesn’t matter what diet you follow, whether it’s low-fat, low-carb, high-fat or not, it all comes down to calories.
Are low carb diets bad for you?
If you’re still interested in trying a low carb diet for an extended period of time, beware of some of the negatives.
Experts are concerned that a high fat and protein diet may create a host of problems, including:
- They are difficult to stick with
- You won’t be consuming key nutrients
- Low-carb diets have been contributed to loss of energy
- Bad breath
- May cause heart disease
Instead of following a low carb diet for an extended period of time, you may want to try Carb Cycling. It can provide the same fat loss benefits of an extended low carb diet, without the negatives. I personally do this regularly to keep body fat levels low without going extended periods of time without delicious carbs! This works by better allowing your body to burn its fat as fuel, as opposed to burning carbs and muscle tissue.
Basically, Carb Cycling is going a few days on a low carb diet followed by a day of adding carbs back in and repeating. To get started, follow a low carb diet for roughly 10 days to get your body used to burning fat for fuel, then you can start cycling carbs. For best results, plan your regular carb days on days you workout.
Carb Cycling could be an entire article in itself, but I just wanted to give you a quick rundown here.
In short, you don’t need to extremely lower or cut out an entire macronutrient to lose weight, whether that be carbs, protein or fat. In fact, it may not be healthy in the long term. Since it all comes down to calories why not eat healthy and nutritious foods you like in moderation. And if desired, try cycling your carbs to help burn body fat and retain muscle mass.
If you don’t know where to start then just download our free low calorie diet plan. It will provide you with everything you need to know to effectively lose weight and improve your health for good!