Is Low-Carb Really the Way to Go?
There are a number of myths that have made rounds as far as weight loss and nutrition are concerned. It's hard for the average person to decipher the loads of conflicting information, not to mention how to apply it.
It is therefore important to learn the true the facts that can be backed up with scientific inference.
In order to grasp the confusion sorrounding low-carb diets, you need to understand how the body metabolises food and expends energy.
The basis for low carb diets is that carbohydrates (mainly found in potatoes, bread, pasta and rice) cause a spike in blood sugar levels during and after their consumption, leading to elevated levels of insulin in blood. The effect of this is that you will feel hungrier faster and thus gain weight from eating a lot.
Its possible to lose weight, fast, but retain a lot of fat. This is possible because the body holds 2.4 grams of water for each gram of carbohydrate consumed. Conversely, the body will hold less water when the intake of carbs is reduced, thus a low carb diet can cause rapid weight loss, albeit an artificial one.
However, some studies have shown that weight loss is possible on a long term low carb diet, but the effect it has on health lacks adequate research.
There’s definitely a string of problems with low carb diets. Not only does it aid in the rapid dehydration of the body, it also leads to the depletion of glycogen in the muscles, which is the storage form of carbohydrates in muscles. This leads to sluggishness when you try to get active. This can lead to loss of muscle tone and muscle atropy, a slowed basal metabolic rate (due to loss of muscle).
Carbohydrates provide the energy that fuels the brain to function at 100 percent. When you lower carb intake, it affects the functioning of the brain especially where you need higher levels of concentration.
The severity of the effect of a low carb diet on the brain varies from person to person as some people will still have reasonable concentration levels even on a low carb diet, while others will not cope just after a week with little or no carbs.
Another seemingly overlooked problem with low carb diets is the premise on which they are based, to begin with. These diets over state the negative effect of high glycemic foods on weight loss. The net glycemic effect of food depends on the quantity of that food consumed in a single meal.
Since you are likely to eat smaller portions of different foods in one meal, the net average glycemic effect of the meal is reduced, even if it included high glycemic foods. Thus, having the low carb diet squarely based on the glycemic index of rating foods may mislead in some ways.
Additionally, people who are regularly active tend to be less affected by high glycemic foods as most of the carbs consumed will be used to replenish the glycogen used up in the muscles and liver during physical activity.
So now that you’ve got the facts, you will really need to think twice before cutting those carbs.