That’s a great question! A Google search asking, “Is eating low carb dangerous” results in articles that support both sides of the equation.
So let’s take a look at a few of what are thought to be downsides to a low-carb diet and see if it really pans out:
You are tired and feel awful. Often times when a person starts a low-carb diet, they experience side effects such as tiredness, lethargy, migraines or headaches, dizziness, and even tachycardia. The usual culprit is the loss of sodium within your body when your body no longer needs the extra fluids to store glucose. It’s an easy fix by adding extra salt daily to your diet.
Your brain can’t function. That is certainly true when one is relying on carbohydrates as their primary fuel source. In that case, the brain relies on carbs for fuel 100% of the time. But when carbs are restricted, your brain readily adapts to using ketones as its primary fuel source. This is a survival mechanism, allowing you to survive even if in a starvation situation.
You lose lean muscle mass, slowing metabolism. In reality, low-carb diets are known to be muscle-sparing. Once your body converts from a carb-based metabolism to a fat-based metabolism, up to 90% of your body’s energy needs will come from the breakdown of fat. This is especially beneficial for exercisers, as your body can store 20,000-100,000 calories in the form of fat versus only about 2000 calories in the form of glucose.
You increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. It is often thought that eating more foods like red meat, bacon, and eggs with higher levels of saturated fat and cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease. Actually, on a low-carb diet your body burns the saturated fat. It doesn’t accumulate in your body. And saturated fats are protected against oxidative damage – one of the primary causes of heart disease.
You miss out on the fiber and nutrition of grains. When looking at nutrient density of whole grains compared to vegetables, vegetables are almost twice as nutrient dense as grains. Besides grains being high in calories and low in nutrients, they actually contain anti-nutrients, which interfere with nutrient absorption. It’s the nutrients in food that send the message to your brain that you are satisfied. This is why eating grains leaves you hungry sooner than eating whole real foods.
At Medithin Weight Loss Clinics, we’ll teach you all the ins and outs of how to balance your foods between fats, carbs, and proteins to optimize your health and weight loss. We’ll show you the best sources of fats, carbs, and proteins and how much to eat of each. You’ll improve your health, have more energy, and lose weight.
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