Health

Is Low-Carb Right for Me?

Is Low-Carb Right for Me?

There is a lot of misinformation about low-carb diets. Some people claim that is the best and most optimal diet, while other people say that is not sustainable long term. One thing is true, and is that the low-carb diet, just like every other diet, is not for everybody, and this is what we are going to be talking about in this article.

Questions we will be answering:

    • What is a low-carb diet?
    • Who is the low-carb diet for?
    • Is low-carb good for me?
    • Who shouldn't be following a low-carb diet?

What is a Low Carb Diet?

A low-carb diet is a dietary approach that reduces the intake of carbohydrates, typically focusing on reducing or eliminating foods high in sugars and starches. There are several types of Low-Carb Diets, such as the typical low-carb diet, the Ketogenic diet, the Low-Carb High-Fat diet (LCHF), the Paleo Diet, or the Atkins diet, among others. 

Despite being different, the main goal is to control insulin levels by reducing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.

Main health benefits of low-carb:

    • Weight loss and weight management
    • Improved blood sugar levels
    • Help prevent or even reverse certain medical conditions like diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome

In a typical low-carb diet, the focus is on nutrient-dense foods rich in protein and healthy fats, along with non-starchy vegetables. Foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and sugary snacks are limited or avoided altogether. 

Examples of foods commonly included in a low-carb diet are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, seeds, healthy oils, and leafy greens.

Who is Low Carb for?

Let's be clear from the start. Low-carb isn't for everyone. While many people find success with low-carb diets, individual responses to dietary changes can vary, and we are determined to help you find out if it's the right approach for you and your health goals.

It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Is Low Carb good for me?

A low-carb diet can be suitable for you. It all depends on your health goals, preferences, and medical conditions.

The low-carb diet is best for anyone looking to stabilise blood glucose levels. Here are some groups of people who may benefit from a low-carb diet:

1. "I Want to Lose Weight"

Low-carb diets are often effective for weight loss, as they can help reduce appetite and calorie intake while promoting fat loss. Many individuals find that they naturally eat fewer calories on a low-carb diet due to the satiating effects of protein and healthy fats.

2. "I want to Prevent Chronic Conditions"

The low-carb diets help reduce inflammation which in turn lowers the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, and metabolic syndrome, among others. 

While old dietary guidelines emphasised low-fat diets for heart health, emerging research suggests that low-carb diets may be much more beneficial for reducing risk factors associated with heart disease, such as elevated levels of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and markers of inflammation.

 

free guide to cholesterol

  

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Low-carb diets may help improve markers of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and abdominal obesity.

3. "I want to Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-diabetes"

Low-carb diets have been shown to stabilise blood sugar control and improve insulin sensitivity, making them a potential option for managing type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. By reducing carbohydrate intake, these individuals can better regulate their blood glucose levels and potentially avoid the need for diabetes medications all-together.

4. "I Want to Ease My PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) Symptoms"

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age and is often associated with insulin resistance and weight gain. Several studies suggest that low-carb diets are one of the best approaches to help improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal balance in women with PCOS, leading to better management of symptoms.

    • Less bloating
    • Less sugar crashes
    • Less mood swings
    • Increased focus
    • Increased energy

5. "I Suffer from a Neurological Condition"

Beyond epilepsy, there is ongoing research into the potential benefits of low-carb diets for other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and traumatic brain injury. Studies suggest that these diets may have neuroprotective effects and improve cognitive function.

Also, some studies show that eating a low carbohydrate diet appears to be helpful for improving several mental health conditions, such as depression or general anxiety disorder.

6. "I Suffer from Epilepsy"

The ketogenic diet, a very low-carb, high-fat diet, has been used for decades to help manage epilepsy, particularly in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. The ketogenic diet can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in some individuals by inducing a state of ketosis in the body.

The reason this helps you is because it changes the way in which the brain gets energy to function. Another approach that has also been proven to help is the Atkins diet.

Is Low Carb bad for me?

Ultimately, it's necessary to always remember that whichever approach you choose it should be one that is balanced, sustainable, and tailored to an individual's unique needs, preferences, and health goals.

Now, with the other-side of the low-carb diet, it may not be suitable for everyone if:

1. "I have Kidney Issues"

Some individuals, such as those with certain metabolic disorders such as kidney issues, may not tolerate a low-carb diet well. People with kidney problems may need to limit protein intake, which is typically higher in low-carb diets.

2. "I'm a High Performing Athlete"

Endurance athletes, professional athletes, and individuals who engage in high-intensity workouts may require carbohydrates for optimal performance and recovery. For these individuals, a low-carb diet may not provide enough energy to support their activity levels.

3. "I've had an Eating Disorder"

Restrictive diets like low-carb diets can sometimes lead to unhealthy relationships with food, including feelings of guilt or anxiety around eating certain foods. For individuals with a history of disordered eating or those prone to developing eating disorders, a low-carb diet may not be appropriate.  

 

Conclusion

Each individual has their very own journey. If you think you would like to try a low-carb lifestyle, we have resources for you to give you a head start. Feel free to download our free ebook about Going Keto, in collaboration with registered low-carb dietitian Noor Struik, or even reach out to her at The Nourishing State.

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