The definition of a low carb diet is different for everyone. Many people, for example, eat more carbs than their body needs, and reducing their carb intake can help them get back to healthy carb intake. However, others prefer to cut carbs even further to better control their blood sugar or lose weight.
Although carbohydrate restriction is not necessary to lose weight, sometimes people prefer to do it because it makes them happier. The ideal diet for you would be one that you can follow for a long time or that improves your health. It is essential to consult a qualified nutritionist before adopting a low carbohydrate diet. Your body will take time to adjust to a new diet.
Reducing your intake of carbs, especially unhealthy simple carbs from refined grains and sugar, can have beneficial effects. However, you may experience low carb side effects depending on how many carbs you cut out. These can be uncomfortable but usually go away as your body adjusts after the first week or two.
An introduction to the low carb diet
A low-carb diet is one in which 20-30% of your overall daily energy intake comes from carbohydrates. It comes in a few varieties. Some people go for 100-150 grams of carbs per day, while others approach a more drastic reduction of between 50 and 100 grams.
Following a low carbohydrate diet means reducing the consumption of foods containing carbohydrates, not eliminating them. It’s important to note that you need to increase the amount of protein and fat while decreasing the carbohydrate intake.
Side effects of a low carb diet
Here are the most common adverse side effects of low-carb diets.
Constipation is a common complaint among people on low-carb diets, especially very low-carb diets like keto. While any change in your usual eating habits can lead to changes in your bowel movements, constipation is common among people on a low-carb diet.
One of the causes of constipation is the lack of fiber from low carbohydrate diets, thus avoiding high fiber foods like beans and grains, which are also relatively high in carbohydrates and therefore generally avoided on diets. low carb.
While constipation can often go away as the body adjusts, staying hydrated, taking a fiber supplement, and eating more low-carb, high-fiber foods can help. Consult a health care provider if constipation persists.
Because carbs are the body’s main fuel source, being tired all the time is a common symptom of low carb diets. Furthermore to study suggests that limiting carbs to less than what our bodies need for healthy energy can cause fatigue, primarily as the body adjusts to the diet.
Low-calorie diets combined with low-carb foods can usually cause fatigue, so be sure to eat enough calories to maintain your lifestyle.
To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. However, too high a calorie deficit will reduce your daily energy expenditure and slow down your metabolism.
If you reduce carbs, you also reduce sugar. Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches can occur in people used to eating more sugar.
Additionally, various studies suggest that when you start a low-carb diet, the severity of your headaches increases.
Muscle cramps can occur if you don’t get essential minerals from your diet, such as magnesium and potassium. Potassium, salt, and magnesium can regulate muscle contraction and several other important activities related to nerve and muscle function.
Whole grains are a good source of these minerals, and eliminating them from your diet can lead to deficiencies and adverse effects. Because carbs interact with water and glycogen storage, cutting carbs forces your body to carry less water. Therefore, you are at risk of losing these minerals due to a significant loss of body water.
Low carbohydrate diets are frequently associated with bad breath (halitosis). A bad taste in the mouth sometimes accompanies bad breath.
In the absence of preferred glycogen, your body resorts to the ketone for fuel in low carb diets. Ketones are eliminated through urination and exhalation. Therefore, ketone exhalation could be the source of bad breath.
Low athletic performance
Low-carb diets don’t provide much energy in the form of stored glycogen, which is the body’s preferred energy source for activity. As a result, your ability to perform during exercise, sports, and training activities will decrease.
A to study shows that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days of a ketogenic diet than those who spent four days on a high-carb diet.
Note from The Fitness Freak
The adverse effects you may experience on a low carb diet are determined by your physiology, current eating habits, carb count, and overall calorie reduction you make.
Side effects after stopping a low carb diet
You may experience side effects as your body adjusts to ending your low-carb diet. The following are the most common:
To gain weight
Because most low-carb diets are so restrictive, health experts say it’s not an appropriate plan to follow long-term. Instead, it is best done for 30-90 days. But the problem is that most people will regain much of their lost weight as soon as they switch back to carbs.
You may notice weight gain, usually due to water weight, because carbs increase the amount of water in your body. So, as the amount of water in your body increases, your weight also increases. So it’s not about fat gain or unhealthy weight gain.
Weight regain is a problem with any fad diet, but it seems more common with low carb diets. These back and forth weight swings can contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food, leading to eating disorders.
Irritability and fatigue
The rise and fall in blood sugar can leave you feeling exhausted and angry, especially if you add simple carbs and sugars. Most people report that the feeling of irritation is worse for the first three days of stopping a low-carb diet, but then improves and subsides after the first week.
You may feel hungry if you’re used to the early benefits of a high-fat diet to compensate for the lack of carbs. Additionally, choosing simple carbs or sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar, leaving you hungry soon after you stop eating.
The increase in fiber and carbohydrates can induce bloating during the adjustment phase. Elevated body water can also show up as bloating. However, it should calm down and you should stay hydrated as you acclimatize.
Foods to eat while on a low carb diet
Not all fruits contain high levels of carbohydrates. Plus, because of their nutritional value, you can eat most of them in your low-carb diet. They also contain natural carbohydrates like glucose and fructose, which are not as harmful as refined sugar.
Berries, watermelon, kiwi fruit, apples, peaches, cherries and citrus fruits are low in carbohydrates. They are rich in minerals, including potassium, manganese and magnesium, as well as antioxidants. In addition, they are rich in fiber which helps prevent many diseases.
On a low-carb keto diet (<20 grams of net carbs per day), it's best to choose berries over other fruits. Even a moderately low-carb diet (20-50 grams per day) includes no more than one to two servings of fruit per day. You can eat two or three fruits a day on a liberal low-carb diet (50-100 grams per day).
Carbohydrates are lower in vegetables that grow above ground than in root vegetables. Vegetables are also rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Accordingly, they are beneficial in the treatment of various diseases, including hypertension. Tomatoes, peppers, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower and other vegetables are some of the best to eat.
Poultry, meat and seafood
Poultry and lean meats are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in carbohydrates. These are the good fats that help your body fight harmful cholesterol. You can eat tuna, shrimp, salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish on your low-carb diet.
Nuts are a good source of magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Plus, no-salt-added nuts are low in sodium and high in healthy fats. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are abundant in it. Low carb nuts include almonds, cashews, peanuts and walnuts.
Note from The Fitness Freak
Reducing carbohydrate intake does not mean reducing the number of healthy nutrients your body needs to function normally. On the contrary, incorporating the right foods and planning a well-balanced diet while on a low-carb diet can also have several health benefits.
People with diabetes and those taking high blood pressure or blood sugar-lowering medications should consult a doctor before starting a low-carb diet. Also, when attempting a low carb diet, medications may need to be changed and should be monitored.
People typically start a low-carb diet for short-term weight management and blood sugar control. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term consequences of adopting this diet.
Long term to research on the long-term effects of low-carb diets indicates that they can be dangerous, potentially increasing your risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should probably avoid low-carb diets. Suppose you plan to reduce your carbohydrate intake while trying to conceive, expecting, or breastfeeding. In this case, it is generally not recommended to follow a low carbohydrate diet because the energy requirements for these physiological needs are higher.
Like two sides of a coin, a low carb diet also has its benefits and side effects. The ability to follow a diet also depends on race and ethnicity. For example, people living in countries in the Asian subcontinent find it a little more difficult to follow a low-carb diet than someone living in the West, whose staple diet depends on protein.
Some people swear by the low carb diet for weight loss. However, there is a possibility of weight regain. A moderate reduction in carbs is unlikely to cause any noticeable side effects. A more drastic decrease in carbohydrate intake could lead to more pronounced effects, such as headaches, fatigue and changes in bowel habits. It is best to consult a qualified nutritionist to find out the best diet for you based on your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can a low carb diet harm you?
A. No, it can’t hurt you. However, you might face some side effects while on a low carb diet like fatigue, constipation, initial water weight gain, and irritability. Collectively, these symptoms are referred to as the “keto flu.” Although low-carb diets don’t cause serious harm, there are a few steps you can take to potentially lessen their side effects. One such measure is to stay hydrated while gradually cutting back on carbs.
Q. How long does it take for your body to adapt to a low carb diet?
A. Your body will take 3-4 days to adjust to a low carb diet. You may face fever, fatigue or flu-like symptoms for the 3-4 days, but after that your body will adjust to it and you can follow the diet. A positive approach is of the utmost importance and will help you reap the benefits of the diet.
Q. Can you survive without carbs?
A. Some organs can adapt to life without carbohydrates, but others cannot. Therefore, following a low-carb diet basically means that you should decrease, but not eliminate, the consumption of carbohydrate-containing foods.
Q. Can a low carb diet cause anxiety?
A. A low carb diet can cause fatigue and exhaustion, but cannot cause anxiety. Anxiety results from emotions and is usually never linked to low carb foods. Anxiety usually stems from stress and personal and professional problems.
Q. Can’t carbs make you dizzy?
A. Initially, when you start following a low carb diet, you might feel lightheaded. Dehydration is the main cause of dizziness when cutting carbohydrates. However, after 3-4 days of dieting, the dizziness gradually subsides as the body begins to adapt to the diet.
Q. What does carb withdrawal look like?
A. A sudden decrease in carbohydrates can lead to fluid loss. Fluid loss also leads to electrolyte losses, resulting in muscle spasms and muscle weakness. It’s also common to experience the effects of dehydration, including fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
Q. How do you feel when you stop eating carbs?
A. Suddenly removing carbohydrates from your diet can make you prone to fatigue, constipation, irritability, etc. Some other side effects of stopping carbs are increased hunger, bloating, weight gain, etc.
Q. Can a low carb diet make you shake?
A. Yes, you may feel dizzy. Suddenly cutting carbs from your diet can make you feel irritable, dizzy, and uneasy. Additionally, you might face some side effects while following a low-carb diet, such as fatigue and constipation. Although you may lose weight at first, most of it will be water weight. However, once you stop following the low carb diet and increase your carb intake, you can quickly start gaining weight. This is because cutting carbs also reduces glycogen storage in your muscles, and glycogen helps your body retain water. Thus, a sharp decrease in carbohydrates can lead to fluid loss, leading to dehydration. As a result, you will experience the effects of fatigue, headaches and dizziness.
Q. What do carbs do to your brain?
A. Carbohydrates are food for the brain because the brain only uses glucose. Protein breaks down into glycogen, which the brain can use for fuel, but not as well as glucose. As a result, removing carbohydrates from one’s diet can limit the brain’s energy source and impair brain function if other nutrients do not meet energy needs.
Q. Will I lose weight if I stop eating carbs?
A. You will lose weight if you suddenly stop eating carbohydrates. However, initially it is mainly the weight of water. Another reason low carb leads to weight loss is that protein and fat are more filling than carbs. This increase in satiety reduces overall hunger and decreases your overall food intake throughout the day.