In the recent years, there has been a loud noise created by low carbohydrate diets. Its popularity caused all carbohydrates to gain a bad reputation. Processed, as well as complex carbohydrates were dumped in the same category and judged fattening. This was based on the assumption that all people are carbohydrate sensitive. Truth is, people can get lean through weights and cardio, eating less than they burn and choosing healthy foods in appropriate amounts. Low carbohydrate diets, however, have advantages and disadvantages that are worth looking into. Here are ways to determine how you can benefit from it or leave it out of your fitness programs.
Low carbohydrates combined with high protein foods increase metabolic rate significantly. Since protein is highly thermic, it would require lots of calories to digest. If carbohydrates are reduced, protein ratio goes up, thereby increasing the over all thermic effect of your meals. Fat loss will also be achieved because of the decreased insulin released from the reduced carbohydrates. This will cause a depletion in your glycogen stores which will cause your body to use up fat as fuel. This decreases energy and may compromise training, however. This technique facilitates fat loss because the carbohydrates will have to feed the muscles first in the form of glycogen, leaving no more for fat storage. Low carbohydrate diets also have the advantage of being anti water retention. This is one reason why bodybuilding competitors favor low carbohydrates especially when nearing a competition.
There are more disadvantages than advantages in low carbohydrate diets. For one, low carbohydrate diets are difficult to maintain. Restrictions almost always give way to cravings and bingeing. Once you go back to your normal carbohydrate consumption, you will surely gain the weight back. Eating only protein and fats with a very low amount of carbohydrates is not a balanced diet. It lacks vital nutrients and therefore compromises health. Also, removing the macronutrient that used to make up more than half of your meal has to have some repercussions. If you substitute fat for carbohydrates, not only will you gain weight, you’ll also a few health problems to deal with.
Very low carbohydrate diets cause your energy levels to dip. This is the reason why performance athletes usually prefer a high carbohydrate diet. Bodybuilders nearing a competition prefer low carbohydrate diets because they are more concerned with aesthetics. Weight loss on low carbohydrate diets mostly come from water and muscles which is not a good thing. Also, because the brain and central nervous system solely live on glucose, not getting enough of it can leave you prickly.
A low carbohydrate diet has its pros and cons. Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not all bad. Choosing the good ones energize you to face bigger fitness challenges. It all depends on how you manipulate carbohydrate consumption to suit your needs.
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