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Low-Carb Diet For Weight Loss – How Does It Work?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on December 01 2020



t was the plan of many to lose weight in 2020, well, how many of you could keep up on your goals? Now don’t start looking for reasons…We already know what you’ve got to say…did the lockdown quietly put a lock to your diet strategies and ruin your weight loss plans? Hmm...What do we say, found a big reason to postpone your plans!! In the world of convenience, where people prefer instant foods or fast foods, the incidence of obesity has been skyrocketing.

Leaving all this aside, if you are now seriously making commitments towards weight loss for the upcoming year, two thumbs up!!

We’re here to discuss with you all about low-carb diet strategy, which was once the popular diet method for weight loss and is currently making sensation over the internet and generating a wide degree of public interest.


What Does It Mean By Low-Carb Diet?


Before we go ahead to define it, we’d want you all to kindly read the title rightly…what did you read, it says low-carb diet and not no-carb diet…perfect! Let’s go…

A low-carb diet has been used as the popular diet method for at least 150 years and the modern studies confirm it to be more effective for weight loss than other diets.

A low-carb diet does not mean you’ll cut down on carbs completely, but it means you’ll eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fats and proteins which will keep you satiated.


What Kind Of Carbs Are To Be Avoided In Low-Carb Diet?


A low-carb diet restricts carbohydrates, primarily starchy vegetables like potatoes, sugary foods/drinks, pasta, white bread, sweets, puddings, cakes, biscuits, pastries, fruit juices, honey, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, canned soups, jams, white rice, soda, candy, all which lack good fibre content, digest quickly and cause a quick spike in blood sugar.



What Kind Of Carbs Are Healthful?    


A low-carb diet allows you to eat complex carbs, which are full of fibre to keep you satiated, boost metabolism, have a low glycemic index. A few examples of good carbs include veggies growing above ground, green salads, brown rice, whole grains, whole-grain bread, nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruits, peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A typical low-carb diet restricts energy from carbs so that the percentage of energy from protein and fat is raised.

Isn’t it low-calorie diet which leads to weight loss? How does low-carb diet work, what’s the mechanism? You’ll get answers to this…read on…

There are 3 kinds of macronutrients found in food – carbohydrates (provide 4 Kcal/gm), fat (provides 9 Kcal/gm) and protein (provides 4Kcal/gm)

Studies define low-carb as a total carbohydrate load or as a percentage of daily macronutrient intake.

This is how it is defined:

Very low-carbohydrate (<10% carbohydrates) or 20-50gm/day

Low-carbohydrate (<26% carbohydrates) or less than <130gm/day

Moderate-carbohydrate (26%-44%)

High-carbohydrate (45% or greater)

Low-carb diet approach stems from the idea that lowering insulin (a critical hormone that produces an anabolic, fat-storing state) induces weight loss.


Carb & Insulin – What’s The Link?    

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, it is the chief hormone in our body that regulates blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates, more than any other food, stimulate the release of insulin, the body’s main fat-storing hormone.

Now, to lose weight, your number one goal should be to lose fat, for this to happen, the key is to reduce insulin levels, and to reduce insulin levels, lowering carb is the key. You already got how the mechanism is…

The rationale of restricting carbs is that in response to lower glucose availability, changes in insulin and glucagon concentrations will direct the body away from fat storage and towards fat oxidation. This makes you feel more satiated, naturally reduces food intake and promotes weight loss.


Moving forward, you’ll get answers to most of your queries related to low-carb diet… 


1. Why Do Some People Try No-Carb Diet? Is It Right To Try It?


As the image says, the answer is no!

  • People try it merely, because of the fact that portion control is difficult for them.

  • They think it’s much easier to eliminate a food group than to learn how to eat it in a healthier way.

Carbs shouldn’t be thought as bad, after all, your body requires all the necessary macros. The thing is carbs are just over consumed relative to a person’s activity level.

No-carb diet may cause you several side effects like constipation due to lack of fibres in diet, a feeling of fatigue, headache and lack of interest in work. More than anything, the no-carb diet may cause you to feel deprived, feeling deprived clearly conveys that you’ll not keep on diet plans.

If you are a carb overeater, I’d suggest you to minimize the carb intake, this will likely cut at least 20% of the food you consume, so will take you towards weight loss. When you cut carbs, you’ll be giving up on foods you might be overindulging, which saves you tons of calories.

Tip: If you find it tough to maintain low-carb diet goals, you can try no carb after midday, as a way of self-restricting dietary carbohydrates.  


2. What’s The Difference Between Low-Carb Diet & Keto-Diet? Are They Different?


Both Keto-diet and Low-carb diet although use the same principle of limiting carbs, Keto-diet takes a step further. As explained to you earlier, on Keto-diet, you cut carb intake very low, so low that your body can’t produce any glucose at all. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state, called ketosis, where the body starts burning stored fat, which process creates molecules known as ketones, which the body can use as an alternate source of energy.   


3. Low-Calorie Diet Vs Low-Carb Diet?


While the low-calorie diet focuses on how much you’re eating, the low-carb diet focuses on eating right not low.

1. The low-calorie diet restricts calorie consumption.

2. This could be unstainable as we may not be able to stick to daily calorie quota.

3. Also make you deficient of nourishment.

4. The big problem with focusing on calories is that it ignores hunger.

5. It disregards the body's regulation of its fat stores.

6. This diet pattern doesn't consider the fact that we do not eat calories, we eat food, and food is so much more than just calories. Some food (usually low-carb) makes you feel satisfied. Other high-carb diets make you feel hungrier.

A typical low-calorie diet may reduce calories, but if it is still high in carbohydrates, it may cause continuous cycles of sugar highs and lows, making you more fatigued and hungry, without any weight loss.

Alternatively, a low-carb diet focuses on limiting carb intake to help the body burn fat instead of sugar for fuel. This contributes to higher, consistent energy levels throughout the day, allowing you to reach weight loss and weight management goals.

One must understand here that not all calories are equal. For example, 2000 calories of mostly carbs do not equate to 2000 calories of mostly protein and fat.    


4. Low Carb Vs High Carb Diet


1. A low-carb diet conditions your diet intake.

2. A high-carb diet tends to eat low-nutrition refined carbs, such as white bread, and snacks.

3. A high-carb diet gets your body used to burning carbohydrates for energy instead of burning your excess body fat.

4. A low-carb diet makes your body enter a metabolic state of ketosis, which means it burns your fat stores to produce energy.

5. A high-carb diet leads to greater variations in blood sugar.

6. A low-carb diet keeps your blood-sugar levels stabilized.

7. A high-carb diet causes a cycle of craving, makes you feel as though you need to top up of energy levels, which can lead to overeating.

8. A low-carb diet causes cravings to disappear, leaves you feeling fuller for longer.


Low-Carb Diet – An Approach To Quick & Efficient Weight Loss

One advantage that has been attributed to low-carbohydrate diets over conventional diets is the potential higher satiety value of protein and the fat that helps to bring about a decrease in appetite.

It’s very obvious that your body needs the energy to function well and the energy comes from the food we eat, more specifically, it comes from glucose, which is produced when carbs are broken down during digestion.

Now, 2 things happen, glucose enters the body as blood sugar, which triggers the releases of insulin, a hormone that prompts tissues to absorb sugars and produce fat.

I’ll tell you how low-carb diet is fairly straightforward here…

If carbs trigger the release of insulin, it means the more carbs you eat (especially the refined carbs), the more insulin is there in your system and the more fat you put on.


Hence, in theory, fewer carbs -> less insulin -> less fat production -> boosted metabolism -> weight loss.


The principle of the low-carb diet is to utilize the already stored fat for energy and to make you eat less, leading to a quicker and more efficient weight loss…   


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*Kindly Note: The information contained in this article doesn’t aim to promote any particular diet pattern. A diet plan which may suit one person may not be suitable for the other. It is suggested to seek advice from the registered dietician or medical advisor before embarking on any diet plans.


Also read: Honey Vs Sugar - Which Sweetener Is a Better Option?

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