The Low Carb Diet is one of the most popular of the moment, and many people have been able to lose weight by following it. However, this does not mean that you can simply cut out all carbohydrates from your diet and adopt this diet on your own.
By subjecting the body to an extreme deprivation of sugars, there is a risk of a decrease in the basal metabolism, because the body will understand that it needs to "save" its reserves, including fat. Thus, instead of burning fat tissue to produce energy, it will burn the amino acids present in the muscles, which makes it more difficult to lose weight and leads to a loss of lean body mass.
However, before taking the organism to this state, a low-carb diet can cause other damages if it is done in a wrong way. Learn about the main mistakes made by the followers of this type of food:
1. Stop eating carbohydrates completely
Going on a low-carb diet means that you should reduce the consumption of carbohydrates, not cut them out completely - after all, they are one of the three main macronutrients for our body, along with proteins and lipids (fats).
So if you simply stop supplying your body with sugar, it will go into a state of ketosis, which is the burning of fat to produce energy, giving rise to molecules called ketone bodies.
Although this is the weight loss principle of low-carb diets, ketosis also causes symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, metallic taste in the mouth, bad breath, and weakness. Thus, in a prolonged state of ketosis, these unpleasant effects may cause you to quit the diet, and induce the body to burn lean body mass for energy.
2. Not differentiating between good and bad carbohydrates
Although all carbohydrates are sugars, they are not all the same, being divided into "good" and "bad". Bad carbohydrates are quickly absorbed by the body, leading to a spike in insulin release - hence we say that they have a high glycemic index - and these are the ones that usually make it onto the "forbidden food" lists.
Good carbohydrates, on the other hand, are usually present in fiber-rich foods, so they take longer to digest and absorb. Thus, they do not trigger the insulin spike (or do so to a lesser degree) and should be kept in the diet, even with limited consumption, because they are the main sources of vitamins and minerals (especially in the case of non-starchy vegetables and legumes).
Legumes, tubers, whole grains, and most fruits have relatively low glycemic index; however, because they have a very large amount of carbohydrates, several variations of low-carb diets end up restricting or even totally prohibiting the consumption of these foods, which is not always really healthy.
3. Consuming too many bad fats
One of the most frequent mistakes made by those who adopt a low-carb diet is to believe that any low-carb food can be consumed at will, which can lead to an excessive intake of saturated and trans fats, which increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and favor cardiovascular diseases.
Thus, sausages, processed meats, and fatty cuts should be avoided because they are rich in saturated fats, while processed products should be kept out of the diet because they contain trans fat.
Instead, eat foods rich in good fats, such as nuts, chestnuts, seeds, and olive oil, and give preference to lean meats.
4. Not having professional guidance
As you can see, the low-carb diet does not consist in just cutting carbohydrates consumption. The ideal amount of this nutrient and the way it is distributed throughout the day vary from person to person, so each individual has different needs.
In addition, excess consumption of fats and proteins to compensate for the reduced intake of carbohydrates can also be harmful to health, which makes the practice of following a ready-made menu very risky.
Therefore, even if you know what a low-carb diet is and the main mistakes that should be avoided, any type of regime should only be done under the guidance of a nutritionist or nutrologist, ensuring that all your body's needs are being met and that you will not develop more serious problems in the future.