Everyone has a friend or family member that has tried a low or no carb diet. That person may have even lost a good amount of weight. What they will eventually realize though is that a low or no carb diet is impossible to maintain because it leaves you feeling weak, hungry, and lethargic. The hardest part for practitioners comes after having put themselves through all that agony, and they begin to eat some carbs again just to have the weight come right back!
You can lose weight by cutting carbohydrates, but there are several things that happen to your body when you do. Without carbs you put your body in a very dangerous state of “survival mode”, where you starve your muscles, nervous system, and dramatically slow down your metabolic rate (amount of calories you burn).
The Effects on Your Body
When you stop consuming carbs your body goes into what is called ketosis. Ketosis is a low-power state that your body goes into to conserve energy. When there is a shortage of carbohydrates in your diet, your body must tap into its fuel reserves (stored fat) for energy. You’re probably thinking, “But isn’t that a good thing?” It’s actually a very bad and dangerous state to be in.
When your body is in ketosis, it must switch from efficiently breaking down carbohydrates for glucose, to breaking down stored fat for glucose. Glucose is the most basic form of carbohydrates that our body uses for energy. This process of breaking down stored fat for energy is extremely inefficient and slow, leaving your body in constant starvation. For people who exercise and live an active lifestyle, it is very common for them to become hypoglycemic while in ketosis, which can cause symptoms such as chronic lightheadedness, weakness, feeling of lethargy, and headaches. Chronic headaches occur because the brain, and many neurological functions of the body, can only properly function on glucose. When your body is in ketosis it does not efficiently fuel the brain, so in essence you’re literally starving your brain!
While in ketosis your body goes into “survival mode,” meaning your metabolism slows down tremendously, conserving as much as possible. Since your body is now breaking down fats for fuel and not carbohydrates, it will try to store everything you eat as fat… and it will succeed. By eliminating carbohydrates, all you accomplish is changing your body’s way of attaining glucose for energy. Furthermore, most weight loss that does occur while in ketosis is from muscle and water, not fat!
When your body is in this mode it conserves as much energy as possible. Muscle requires energy, but fat does not. So naturally your body will begin to breakdown muscle mass and store as much fat as possible to conserve energy. So you can indeed lose weight by dropping carbs, however you will also increase your body fat percentage, becoming physically and mentally less fit. In reality, the best way to improve overall body composition and become fit, is to focus more on lowering your body fat percentage, and less on your scale’s number.
Recommended Carbohydrate Intake
In order to keep your body out of ketosis, the USDA recommends adults eat at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day depending on the amount of muscle mass you have, and your activity level. This number is actually quite low, and most active individuals require many more carbohydrates. The USDA recommends that 45%-65% of your total daily calories come from carbohydrates. For a healthy adult female on a 2,000 Kcal diet, this would be 225g – 325g of carbs per day. For a healthy adult male on a 2,500Kcal diet, this would be 281g – 406g of carbs per day.
There are many ways to manipulate your diet in order to lose weight, however, you can only trick your body and tolerate extreme diets for so long. The key to healthy living is moderation and staying active. Adjust your lifestyle to make smart, healthy, permanent changes to keep excess weight off. It’s important to be well educated and prepared when making meal or snack choices.
Choosing quality complex carbs will help fuel your brain and body. Eliminating simple carbs from your diet will help your overall health. It’s best to eat complex carbs that are rated ≤ 55 on the glycemic index for your main meals throughout the day.
Have a question or comment regarding this article? You can post them below on the Flexcin blog, or email them to me directly: healthadvice@Flexcin.com. Good luck with your future health!
Flexcin International provides effective, premium quality, all-natural joint health supplements. For more information visit our product catalog today.
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