Low Carb Diet

Written by
Date: 2012-06-09 22:20:00 00:00

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional on human nutrition, nor a medic or anything related. What I'm writing here, is what I've learned reading, and experimenting on my own body. You should go visit your doctor before attempting any diet

Low Carb diets

Definition

A low-carb diet is a dietary program where you reduce or completely eliminate carbohydrate consumption from your daily foods. Low-carb diets aim to help you reduce body-fat.

Types of low carb diets

There are different types or approaches to low-carb diets, some of them like Atkins are very strict about the amount of carbohydrates permitted, specially in the induction phase, where only a maximum of 20 net grams of carbs are allowed.

Others are a little bit more permissive and focus more on the type of carbohydrate than on the amount of it. Based on the time it takes the body to absorb the sugars in a given food, they are categorized as being high glycemic index or low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of a given food is:

A measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food, on blood sugar levels.

The higher the glycemic index, the more sugar in the blood steam that food will cause.

How low-carb diets work

A low carb diet is supposed to work by making your body stop working on sugars, and start working on fat. That means changing the fuel that feeds your body.

Normally our bodies works on sugars (carbohydrates), they uses protein to build muscles, and other parts of your body (think of them as bricks of your body). Fat is used for a lot of metabolic processes and as fuel when the levels of sugars have been depleted, or when the body "realizes" that the activity is going to last too much (usually more than an hour), that before depleting sugar stores, it start using fat as fuel.

Low-carb diets try to force our bodies to use fat and not carbs as fuel the whole day, to achieve that you need to consume low to none carbs in your daily diet. This also keep insulin levels low.

Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas, which is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen inside these tissues. Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by inhibiting the release of glucagon. With the exception of the metabolic disorder diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, insulin is provided within the body in a constant proportion to remove excess glucose from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. When blood glucose levels fall below a certain level, the body begins to use stored sugar as an energy source through glycogenolysis.

So, keeping insulin levels low, will help the body use its fat stores as fuel.

Calories

In order to lose weight, you need to consume more calories than you eat. You will not lose weight even if you are only eating fat and protein if you eat more calories than you burn in a daily basis.

The good news about "counting calories" while on a low carb diet, is that it is easier than when on a normal western-diet. It is easier, because keeping the levels of blood sugar constant (low insulin levels, remember?) makes you not feel hungry all time. Also you tend to eat less, one boiled egg has 77 calories, and a cup of corn flakes 101 calories. Also, a boiled egg will keep you less hungry for a longer time.

Exercise

If you really want to achieve your goals fast, you need to do a lot of exercise.

Weight lifting

While you are losing weight, the body will try to keep as much fat tissue as possible, and because the muscles needs more energy that fat, the body will lose muscle before fat. There is way you can force your body to keep muscle and lose fat. You need to "let it know" that you need muscles, lifting weight is the best way to do that, if you train your muscles, your body will "realize" you need them and will try to keep them.

Cardio

You need cardio too, with cardio, you will burn more calories per day than just resting accelerating the whole process.

What do eat

Being in a low carb diet is not an easy task, you will get bored of eggs and meat very fast, but you have to stick to your plan.

Try to avoid egg yolks, and animal fat to keep your cholesterol levels low. You can eat avocado, and olive oil to consume "good fat". Try to eat only lean meat, and egg whites.

Fiber

You need to consume fiber, or you will have digestion problems and constipation. A good source of fiber without consuming carbohydrates is wheat bran. You can consume it with water every night.

Doctor

If you are going to try this or any other regimen, you need to visit your doctor, and keep an eye on your cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides levels.

Personal Experience

On 2010, and for three months I have been on a plan consisting on:

  • Low carb diet (Atkins induction)
  • Cardio (Spinning three times a week)
  • Weight lifting (Three times a week - Full body routine -)

The result was 6 kilograms lost on those three months, and a much ripped body.