What is a low carbohydrate diet? Will it work? Are there any health implications? Following recent media hype low carbohydrate diets have evoked a lot of criticism and public attention. To find out what they are all about read below:
Low carbohydrate diets - How are they supposed to work?
Low carbohydrate diets focus on the reduction of carbohydrate which leads to the reduction in the body's insulin production, resulting in fat (and protein) stores being used as the body's main energy source.
With a low carbohydrate diet the objective is to force the body to burn fat as it's main energy source. By doing this the person enters in to a state of ketosis (produces ketones which are excreted in urine). This is characterised by acetone smelling breath and sometimes nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite.
Low carbohydrate diets consist of restricting virtually all carbohydrates and increasing your protein and fat intake. This means not eating (any or much) pasta, bread, rice and alcohol, whilst eating unlimited amounts of meat, cheese and butter.
Low carbohydrate diets do induce fast weight loss though most of this is loss of water and muscle tissue. Critics of the diet argue that the diets are cannibalistic and losing muscle tissue is sabotaging the body and is detrimental in long term weight loss as the less muscle tissue you have the less calories you will burn each day.
Low carbohydrate diets allow limited fruit and vegetables and therefore essential vitamins and nutrients that you get from a balanced diet are not attained except through supplements. Some of the diets allow more carbohydrates and are split in to several phases with a manageable less austere diet program as the final stage.