Are low-carb diets effective?  Here's what you need to know - Forbes Health

Are low-carb diets effective? Here’s what you need to know – Forbes Health

In addition to providing energy, carbohydrates also help regulate blood sugar, insulin metabolism, and support cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism. When there is an abundance of carbohydrates in the diet, these bodily functions can be eliminated.

Dietary carbohydrates can be divided into the following categories:

  • simple carbohydratessuch as soda and candy, that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar
  • complex carbohydratesFruits, vegetables and whole grains, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, have a gradual effect on blood sugar due to their fiber and nutrients.
  • the basicThe indigestible portion of complex carbohydrates that supports gut health

Dietary guidelines recommend individuals fill 45-65% of their diet with carbohydrates, optimizing fiber intake and limiting simple carbohydrates.

Low-carb diets typically provide about 20 to 130 grams of carbohydrates per day and anywhere from less than 10% to 44% of calories from carbohydrates. Some of the more popular low-carb diets include:

Ketogenic diet (keto)

A keto diet typically includes 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. “[This] The diet gained attention in the early 1900s when doctors discovered the beneficial effects of limiting carbohydrates on epilepsy symptoms in children, so these diets were used to treat epilepsy,” says Alma Simmons, a registered dietitian and embryologist, dietitian and diabetes educator at Ohio Hospital. “However, as people began to realize that low-carb diets could also help with weight loss, their popularity increased dramatically,” she adds.

The goal of the keto diet is to stimulate ketosis. Normally the body prefers carbohydrates as the main source of fuel, but when enough carbohydrates are not available, the body is forced to burn stored fat for energy. Ketosis is the name for this fat burning process.

It is important to note that a keto diet designed for an individual with epilepsy is very different from a diet designed for someone without the condition. In particular, individuals with epilepsy are routinely advised to follow a more restricted, high-fat diet in order for the body to enter ketosis quickly.

Atkins diet

Founded in 1972 together with Dr. Robert Atkins’ book The Diet Revolution by Dr. AtkinsThis diet is based on the idea that eating low amounts of carbohydrates – as opposed to a traditional low-calorie diet – is best for weight loss. Today, there are different variations of the Atkins diet, ranging from 20 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. The Atkins diet is usually less restrictive when it comes to fruits and vegetables, which could make it a good choice to increase your vitamin and mineral intake.

paleolithic diet

Supporters of the paleo diet claim that the foods eaten by Paleolithic hunter-gatherer groups are best for human health. The diet contains about 25% carbohydrates and excludes all grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.

Different people may respond to low-carb diets differently; Just because a low-carb diet works well for one person (i.e. lose weight faster), doesn’t mean it will work the same way for another — a distinction often made due to genetics. Additionally, individuals who are overweight and obese may find that it takes longer to reach ketosis than individuals who do not live with these conditions.

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