Weight Loss Answers 4 - Do Low Carb Diets Work?

Let me start with the end in mind and tell you that weight loss is all about calories, not carbohydrates, fat, or protein. The basic underlying science is that food and drink contain calories, energy, which our bodies require to function. If we put more calories in than we use up it will be converted to fat and stored. With that in mind I can let you know that carbohydrates are not fattening nor are fats, what is fattening is eating to many calories.

Weight for weight, carbohydrates contain half the energy of fats but to function properly our bodies require both types of food because each contain other essentials like fibre, oils, trace elements etc. So am I saying that low carb diets don’t work? No I’m not, low carb diets do seem to assist weight loss, but it is probably more to do with controlling calorie intake than the fact that you are reducing carb intake. If it works what is the problem? There are several main problems I can see:-

1. Carbohydrates are usually bulky foods which fill you up. If you leave them out of your diet you will feel hungry and try to fill up on vegetables, fruit and protein which pound for pound are very expensive. Think about what carbohydrates are; bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, all sugars, flour etc. Such a restricted diet is very difficult to maintain in the long term.

2. Leaving carbohydrates out of your diet may work as long as you can hold out on such a restricted regime. The second problem I can see is what happens when you give up or reach your desired weight. You have spent your time on a difficult weight loss program and taught yourself nothing about your underlying eating habits.

3. Carbohydrates are an immediate source of energy which if excessively reduced will result in physical tiredness and irritability.

In conclusion, low cab diets can help you lose weight while you stay on them but they are difficult to follow and you learn nothing about changing eating habits. A much more enjoyable and long term effective approach is to reduce you calorie intake to just below your normal maintenance level. Eat healthy balanced meals and teach yourself about calorie control. Become aware of your eating habits and food choices and change what is not working. If you follow this advice you will gradually lose weight, enjoy the process and learn to keep it off for life. Stop focusing on your weight, don’t go on a diet, rather start today and change your lifestyle step by step.

The secret to most things in life is balance, stay away from the extremes in any area of life and you will find contentment and happiness.


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