You might think Atkins marked the beginning of the low-carb diet craze… “I found Atkins. I lost 30 pounds, and I did it without starving myself.” …but carb-cutting goes way back to 1862! An obese undertaker named William Banting, who was tired of bad hearing, looked for help from an ENT named Dr. Harvey. Harvey told Banting his problem wasn’t in the ears, but rather, in the fat pressing on his inner ear. He put Banting on a diet of meat, vegetables, wine and fish only — no starch or sugar, except for the wine. “How’s it going?” “It sucks!” Banting lost weight, and his hearing problem disappeared. Since then, many low-carb diets were tested and studied. In most cases, dieters lost weight. But are these diets safe? And what happens to your body when you deprive it of carbs? Put down those fries, and let’s get to it! Drop it like it’s hot Critics of the low-carb diet say most of the pounds lost is water weight.
But, as former endurance athlete and Olympian Mark Sisson points out, that might not be such a bad thing. He says, “Retained water can amount to 10, 20 or more pounds depending on how large the person is.” Since diets high in sodium and insulin-promoters, like refined carbs, force the body to store water inside and in-between cells, when you cut out carbs, your body gets rid of it, resulting in weight loss. Fitness and nutrition coach Abel James explains that severely limiting or cutting out carbs completely puts the body into a state of ketosis. In ketosis, small fragments of carbon called ketones are released into the blood because the body is burning fat, instead of carbohydrates. And yes! Low-carb plans also help the body burn fat! Doctor and best-selling author, Lori Shemek says, “Healthy fat turns on genes involved in fat-burning, while turning off genes that promote fat storage.” Okay, so when we think of diets, we tend to think of: “Lay off me, I’m starving” But some experts say that a low-carb diet actually has the opposite effect.
Neurologist David Perlmutter says the tie between wheat and cravings is like addiction, likening the chemicals in wheat and gluten to morphine. “This is your brain.” “This is drugs.” This is your brain on drugs, any questions?” If you’re eating proteins, cruciferous vegetables, berries, and fats, you’re likely to eliminate cravings and feel less hungry. “You’re welcome.” “You’re welcome.” “You’re welcome” “You’re welcome” Getting all science-y Researchers don’t always agree on the impact of a low-carb diet on your health. PLOS One’s 2014 study concluded that increasing the intake of refined carbs heightens the body’s production of palmitoleic acid, which is a biomarker for a host of health issues like high cholesterol and diabetes. However, Emma De Fabiani, Editor at the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at the University of Milan in Italy, argues that our understanding of palmitoleic acid is incomplete, and that more study is needed. “Meeeeep!” Other studies, however, have examined the health impact of a low-carb diet. One found that, in a 24-week ketogenic diet, the subjects experienced lower total cholesterol with a significant decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL levels.
Those findings might mean that a low-carb diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. “If I ever did that, I think I’d have a heart attack-tack-tack-tack” Hitting snooze When you first cut carbs, you may find you have a lot less energy. Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen, which is your brain’s energy source.
When your body runs out of glycogen, and the ketones break free, it takes you some time to adjust. In the meantime, you’ll be draggy, with flu-like symptoms. Bummer. Dietitian Marie Spano also points out that even when you’ve adapted to running on ketones instead of glycogen, you still might not have the endurance you did when you ate carbs. She says, “Fat is a slow source of fuel. The body cannot access it quickly enough to sustain high-intensity exercise.” Totally fine if you’re sitting at a computer, not so great if you’re an endurance athlete. “Come on! That’s not running.. Let’s goooooooo!” Need a breath mint? Halitosis much? A lot of people who follow a low-carb diet report bad breath. Those ketones that are now fueling your body? Yeah, they’re also released through your breath.
Dr. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology, says that during the first stage of the low-carb diet, as you lose water weight, you can develop dry mouth. That makes for stinky breath, too. “Hee dee hee dee hee dee hee dee hee” “Ohhhhh!” Even if the dry mouth goes away, the halitosis caused by the low-carb diet won’t. Dr. Andrew Weil, celebrity doctor and alternative medicine guru, says the only way to ditch the bad breath is to drink a lot of water…or to chew parsley. “This is a lot of information to process, Beast Boy. But aren’t vegetables still just gross, tasteless, rabbit food?” Back it up Real talk: low-carb diets can, in fact, cause constipation. You’re not eating grains that contain fiber, so it’s easy to get a little, um, stopped up. Fiber not only aids in digestion, it also helps stabilize glucose levels. But if you’re committed to living that low-carb life, Dr. Deborah Gordon’s got some tips for pepping up a sluggish system.
She suggests that adequate hydration, exercise, and supplements can help get you back on track. She also advises eating fermented greens, leafy greens, and plenty of garlic and onions to add sulfur to gut bacteria. Already filling up on fiber? Dr. Georgia Ede says low-carb-friendly cruciferous vegetables, nuts, and full-fat dairy are all constipating foods. Packing on the pounds Low-carb diets help shed weight, but as soon as you start eating carbs, and your body starts producing glucose again — everything goes right back to the way it was. The bottom line is, studies show that while low-carb diets yield results, effectiveness can wane — and by the time a year is up, most people go back to the way they were.
In other studies, sometimes people on low-carb diets don’t lose any more weight than people on other types of diets. That bread basket’s starting to look pretty good, isn’t it? “I love bread” You do you There are some obvious benefits to low-carb diets, but there are risk factors associated with it as well. Before starting any sort of diet, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what you’re considering, since they’ll have a better idea about how best to choose one that fits you.
Whatever your healthy eating plan, enjoy your food! Your unstoppable body will thank you. Thanks for watching! Click the List icon to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Plus, check out this other cool stuff we know you’ll love too!.
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