Do Low Carb Diets Work?

'Low carb', the two words I see most within nutrition and fitness. Many people demonise carbs without fully understand their role and how to use them. A low carb diet has to be one of the most popular, but does it work?

Firstly, what is a low carb diet? it may seem obvious, but some people think a low carb diet simply means "don't eat any carbs!", that's not true. Others tend to think they should drop their carb intake to a bare minimum, that's not true either. A low carb diet actually means lowering your carbs enough to make an impact. Carbohydrates are energy, so by eating a lot of carbs and not expending enough energy, means your body will store them as fat (stored energy). If you're an extremely active individual, you can get away with eating far more carbs than someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. It's all about balance.

By doing 'low carb', you will want to drop your carb intake so your body is mainly feeding on protein and healthy fats, with a few carbs in there to keep you going throughout the day. One of the quickest ways to drop body fat is to drop your carbs right down, but is that sustainable? no. As you will reduce body fat on a very low carb diet, people then think - "see! I told you carbs make you fat!". However, if you take away carbs (or the vast majority of them) you're taking away a third of your diet (protein, fats, carbs being the 3). So by taking away a third, of course you're going to lose weight, as you're generally eating a lot fewer calories. Is it healthy? no, can you do that long term? no, so should you do it? no.

It takes a little experimenting as everybody is different and reacts differently to various carbohydrate levels. Some people can get really irritable, lethargic and moody when eating fewer carbs, whereas others can function a lot better. I personally have a couple of lower carb days a week, and I do get a little more tired and feel a little lazy on those days. Carbs are your primary source of energy, so by reducing that or getting rid of it altogether, your body will have it's 'ready energy source' removed, which isn't exactly good...

Lee Gregory Fitness

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