Low carb diets have been under siege over the past decade, where some swear by the results and others warn of the potential health risks and strictness of the diet. The diet itself focuses on cutting out carbohydrates, the body’s quick energy source. Carbs can be quickly broken down into sugar and used as energy within the body. When the sugars are absent, the body turns to stored fat cells for another source of energy.
When the body does not have a quick energy source such as carbs, it pulls from fat cells. The fat cells go through a process called Ketosis. Fat can be used by a majority of the body as a source of energy directly, which makes it the easiest option for energy. However, the brain and red blood cells need the fat to go through a conversion process before it can be used. The process of converting the fat does have a few side effects, which are not harmful and typically wear off within a few days. Fatigue and nausea are typically associated with the breakdown of fat, as the body has to work in order to create energy. An alcohol/acetone smell also arises in the mouth causing bad breath, which is a byproduct of the converting fat cells.
There are many benefits when looking at a low carb diet option. The diet typically has results within the first few days. That is an exciting option for those who are looking for results almost instantly. Another is the promise to be a pretty open diet. There are carbs that need to be cut out, but meats and dairy products are almost in an unlimited need. For those who could eat chicken and cheese every day, this is a good diet option.
The diet is highly customizable, allowing the user to determine their own carb intake. Compared to other diets that have exact meals, or pre-packaged meals to lose weight, there are options available. If one night the dieter chooses fish over chicken, it is acceptable as long as the net carb ranges are considered.
While this diet shows potential to be a strong diet, there is a lot of concern as well. Firstly, the weight loss during the first few weeks is exciting, but is directly attributed to water weight. The pounds may have dropped on the scale, but the body may not have lost any fat content at all.
During the initial stages of the diet, it can be very restricting. Typically the diet drops to almost no carbs at first, allowing the body to burn off fat cells quickly. After the initial phase, a small amount of carbs is reintroduced to a healthy level.
The diet can also limit the vitamins and minerals needed each day to function properly. Without the extra vegetables and fruits, the body can be lacking on many different essential ingredients. It is recommended that during a diet, each individual should consider a daily multi-vitamin to ensure proper nutrition is delivered.