Low carb diets have grown in popularity over the past few years. There are some people doing great with these diets and others seem to really be struggling. The big question is why? Why do some people do so well, while others really struggle with this diet? And really, there are two main answers: one, there is no one diet that is best for everyone. Two, those who are struggling with a low carb diet are following the diet based on information from an unreliable source.
Is a low carb diet best for you?
If you are following a typical western diet and find yourself struggling with weight gain, type two diabetes, gestational diabetes, and/or pre-diabetes, then a lower-carb diet would be the right diet for you. A low carb diet will help to reduce the hormone-driven weight gain as a bi-product from taking in too much sugar, starch, and more complex carbs that are untimely broken down into glucose. This causes the release of insulin to help with absorbing the glucose in the bloodstream to utilize for energy. This is only accessible during a 60-90 minute window. The rest of the glucose that is not needed for energy, is then stored, with the help of insulin, in adipose tissue as glycogen. Glycogen is not an easily accessible form of energy, so this process continues.
A low carb diet helps to break this pattern. This diet provides the body with a different form of energy, causing it to search for all forms of glucose in the body that can be used, glycogen. Thats right, this diet will force your body to use the stored energy, and with time, convert to using fat as another form of energy. As the bi-product there will be weight loss, improved blood sugars, and, with time, normal blood sugars. This demographic does best with a low carb diet, but most who follow a western diet would benefit from reducing their carbs to a more modest amount, without following a more restrictive low carb protocol.
Are you following a low carb diet plan correctly?
Low carb diets are on talk shows, in the tabloids, in the news, discussed at doctor offices, and even making an impact in grocery stores. But how do you know the source you found provided you with good information? For starters, are you taking exogenous ketones? Have you looked up or been sent to sites to buy exogenous ketones to help with dieting? If this is a yes, then take a step back and read Gary Taubes book, ‘Why We Get Fat? And What To Do About It’.
This book will walk you through the “whys” of low carb diets. There is no need to take exogenous ketones. The goal is not to boost up your ketone levels, the goal is to get the junk out of your diet. Specifically, the processed foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates. Your body will be starved of glucose and begin to use stores of glycogen in addition to starting to produce ketones.
Here are some areas I have seen people struggle or do the diet all wrong:
Too much focus on protein
Too much focus on trying to eat fat
Too little focus on vegetables
Limiting the variety of vegetables in the diet
Feeling the need to stay in ketosis to lose weight
Using exogenous ketones to jump start ketosis and/or stay in ketosis despite eating junk
Poor diet consistency
Including "cheat" day
Having an expectation of weekly weight loss to judge success
Only following the diet for a few weeks. You need to give it at least 3-6 months to see how you feel