Low carb diet – fad or fabulous?

Like many diets, the low carb diet is controversial. It seems there will never be a consensus on this one. Before you make up your mind, make sure that you know all the facts. The low carb diet seems to attract lots of misinformation. Let’s separate fact from fiction…

The real truth about the low carb diet

1. This is not a fad diet.

The low carb diet first became popular in 1863. And no, that’s not a typo. Over the years there have been many scientific studies to assess this approach to nutrition. More than 20 significant studies support the low carb diet. With scientific backing and a long track record of popularity, this is no fad.

2. A low carb diet is sustainable

One of the major arguments against the low carb diet pertains to its sustainability. In all fairness, all diets involve some type of restriction. And all diets require perseverance and compliance. A low carb diet is, for most people, easier to sustain than a low fat diet or a calorie restricted diet.

3. A low carb diet reduces body fat

Many people argue against a low carb diet because they claim that the only weight you lose is water weight. Yes, you do lose excess water. (Which, by the way, is not a bad thing.) However, you will also lose body fat and gain muscle mass (You will gain muscle with the assistance of strength & weight training)

4. Low carb diets help prevent heart disease

Although a low carb diet does include cholesterol and fat, these don’t actually increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, this diet will improve many aspects of your heart health.

5. There is no need to count calories or measure portions

One of the fantastic advantages of this diet is that it naturally reduces your appetite. You’ll automatically feel satisfied after eating less.

6. ‘Low carb’ is not the same as ‘no carb’

Following a low carb diet means that you can still eat 100 to 150 grams of carbs per day. This means that you can eat fresh fruit and small portions of healthy starches. You are also able to eat lots of veggies as well as berries, nuts, and seeds.

7. Ketosis is healthy.

There is a lot of misinformation about this. Ketosis is a healthy metabolic state that is promoted by this diet. During ketosis, your liver produces ketones that provide your brain with energy. This is confused with ketoacidosis – a dangerous and even fatal condition. However, ketoacidosis is primarily associated with uncontrolled Type I Diabetes, not a low carb diet.

8. The brain does not need carbs for fuel.

Large parts of the brain are perfectly capable of functioning on ketones instead of carbs. What about the parts of the brain that need carbs? Even if you don’t eat carbs, your liver will produce sufficient glucose (carbs) for those parts of the brain that need carbs rather than ketones.

9. Low carb diets improve endurance and physical performance

There is a common belief that a high carb diet is essential for physical performance. This is simply not true. After reducing carbs, you will experience a temporary decline in performance. You need to give your body a few weeks to adapt. After that, various studies report improved endurance, physical performance, and an increase in muscle mass and strength.

Hopefully this shows you that a low carb diet is healthy. If you are overweight, have a metabolic syndrome, or suffer from Type II Diabetes, then this diet is definitely worth considering. Of course, like any diet, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ diet.

What are your concerns about the low carb diet?