low carbohydrate diet

Does a Low Carbohydrate Diet “Really” Work?

A low carbohydrate diet comes in many forms. You may have heard of the Paleo diet or perhaps a Ketogenic diet. These strategies involve drastically cutting your carbohydrate intake whilst elevating the amount of fat that you eat.

I will be answering two of your burning questions. Does a low carbohydrate diet work? Also, if this strategy does work, is it more effective than a diet which includes carbohydrates?

Does a Low Carbohydrate Diet Work?

Carbohydrates have a high palatability. Simply speaking, carbohydrates are tasty and are very easy to consume. Picture yourself eating a steak or a plate full of steamed vegetables. By comparison, a slice of bread is easier to chew and easier to swallow. If you’re anything like me, you may find it easier to over consume on starchy foods.

When it comes to weight loss, over consumption is the enemy. You will be unable to lose weight unless you achieve a calorie deficit. This involves eating less calories than you consume on a consistent basis. My blog post on “Over Coming Poor Muscle Tone” will provide you with an accurate calculation as to how many calories you must be eating to lose weight.

When you opt for a low carbohydrate diet, your protein intake should increase. Protein suppresses your appetite. Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin  but it also boosts three hunger suppressing hormones. They are GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin.

To cut a long story short, this strategy is effective because it pushes you into a deeper calorie deficit without the need for counting calories.

low carbohydrate diet

Should I Avoid Bread, Pasta and Cereal?

Although a low carbohydrate strategy results in weight loss, it’s not a mandatory approach.

A study of 268 obese patients were split into two diet groups; Diet HP which was a high protein, low carbohydrate and low calorie diet or Diet S which simply included a standard level of protein with low calories. This study was ran over 9 months and saw no difference between between the two groups in the following metrics:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Fat Mass
  • Weight
  • Waist Circumference
  • Systolic Blood Pressure

(Primo D et al, 2019)

As well as missing our on toast and pancakes, many dieters struggle to stick to a low carbohydrate plan. In fact, your ability to stay with any diet is going to be poor if that plan decreases your energy levels.

The Final Word

A low carbohydrate strategy can simplify weight loss. I have met many dieters who have enjoyed this approach as it doesn’t involve calorie counting. But please note, just because the calories are not being counted, that doesn’t mean that calories don’t count. The only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit.

Sadly, I have met too many dieter who have lost weight just to see it pile back on after they stop their low carbohydrate plan. If you wish to try a low carbohydrate diet, go for it. Just be sure to re-calculate your daily calorie needs when you stop.