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The Truth About Low Carb Diets

Not all carbohydrates are equal. The truth is you can’t lose weight without a diet – a plan. So before you start a low carb diet, you need to know the difference between good and bad carbs.

Carbohydrates, also referred to as carbs are one of the food groups that the body needs to survive. Carbs come in two types – sugars and starches. Sugars are simple carbs (fast carbs) usually sweet tasting and are easily digested. Whereas starches are complex carbs (slow carbs) found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables take longer to digest.

Glycemic Index ratings calculates the rate of digestion of a particular food. Carbs that digest quickly (fast carbs) have a high GI rating. While carbs that digest slowly (slow carbs) have a lower rating. Ideally, you should aim to eat foods with a low glycemic index rating. Like green vegetables, whole grain foods and oats.

The body transforms all these carbs into glucose to use as fuel for energy. The pancreas releases insulin when glucose passes from the intestine into the bloodstream. Glucose then enters the bloodstream to provide energy.

Some of the fast carbs to avoid are potatoes (including fries), pasta, rice and white bread. These fast carbs spike blood sugar levels as it absorbs sugars from the foods into the blood stream fast. Which stimulates a release of insulin that causes the body to store sugar as fat. It also reduces the activity of glucagon (a hormone that signals the body to burn stored fuel when blood-sugar is low).

When glucose level drops so low, it leaves the body starved for energy. The brain and intestine then send out hunger signals. This new cravings makes you want to consume more carbs.

After a meal with a high in glycemic index, blood-sugar levels rise higher and rapidly. This stimulates a release of insulin causing the storage of sugars in the body as fat. The brain and intestine then send out hunger signals. This new cravings makes you want to consume more carbs. That leads to more fat, rise in blood insulin level, more hunger, and more weight gain and the viscous cycle goes on. A low carb diet puts an end to this.

The basic science behind the low carb diet is to limit the consumption of food that contain lots of carbohydrates. Especially refined or processed carbs such as potatoes, baked goods, bread, pasta and other convenient foods. This is healthier for the body, because it stores less sugar as fat.

Reduced carbs bring down insulin levels and increase glucagon levels for weight loss. It improves triglycerides, decreases LDL (bad cholesterol), and increases HDL (good cholesterol). On the other hand, a lower GI rating causes a gradual rise and fall in blood sugar levels. This allows muscle, fat and other cells to absorb the excess glucose from the blood. This returns insulin levels to normal.

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Final Thoughts

Low carb diet does not have to be boring. Try different recipes and make this diet as enjoyable and diverse as possible.

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