Weight Loss Shake With Chocolate Flakes

Let’s talk about low carb diets for a minute. Over the last few years, more and more ‘experts’ claim that carbohydrates are to blame for obesity and belly fat. But is there any truth to this? Are carbs truly that terrible? Is a low carb diet actually healthy?

 

What is a Low Carb Diet?

A low carb diet is an eating pattern that features near to no carbs. This means you should eat as little bread, rice and pasta as possible.

In truth, this will mean that less than 30% of your required daily energy will be coming from carbs. As a result you should be burning a lot of fat. Therefore, low carb diets are often promoted as the be-all and end-all when it comes to fat loss programs.

Advocates of low carb diets claim that this has to do with less peaking of blood sugar levels and a more stable insulin level. Without these peaks, you should be burning more fat and saving less.

In theory, this all sounds fantastic, right? But does it really work that great?

 

 

Why Does Low Carb Seem to Work So Well?

A low carb diet often shows great result in the first few weeks. You’re dropping in weight like there is no tomorrow and you think you’ve finally found the ultimate method to losing weight.

Unfortunately, nothing comes easy in life. A lot of people that follow a low carb diet tend to fall back to their original weight within months or even weeks.

But how?!

A low carb diet decreases the amount of glycogen in your body. This causes the amount of water retention to drop as well. Therefore, most weight loss that is caused by a low carb diet comes from water loss, which can easily be quite a bit.

And then there is the matter of burning fat: the process that basically isn’t happening with low carb diets. There you go. So, once you’ve lost enough ‘weight’, you can go back to your old routine and gain your weight, which you’ve actually never lost.

 

Why is Low Carb a Thing?

I think by now it has become clear that low carb diets are not ideal for losing fat, to say the least. The low carb hype has been around or quite some while. This has to do with several studies dating from 2006 to 2008 that stated that low carb diets were more successful when it comes to losing weight, than regular western meal plans.

Years later though, it was proven that these ‘studies’ weren’t reliable at all. Even head researcher Krieger returned to his own conclusions. Eliminating carbs is not the main cause for weight loss during low carb diets.

 

Low Carb Diets are Difficult to Sustain

One of the most important reasons that people can’t maintain a low carb diet, is because almost everything contains carbs. Let’s say you’re going to a birthday party. Good luck on your low carb diet!

 

So, is Low Carb Dieting Healthy?

First of all, low carb dieting is not as successful as some claim by a long shot. Secondly, it’s not nearly as healthy as you would think.

A low carb diet often doesn’t contain enough vitamins, minerals and fiber, because of a lack in fruits, vegetables and grain products. In addition, low carb diets mostly contain animal products, which may increase the chance of health risks.

If you are really certain that a low carb diet is what you want to do, make sure to consult your dietitian.

 

What DOES Work?

Ah, now we’re getting to the part that most of you are interested in. If a low carb diet doesn’t work all that well, then what does actually work?

Recent studies have shown time and again that a low carb diet is based on creating a caloric deficit, i.e. eating less than your body needs. It has also been shown that an increased protein intake may result in slightly more weight loss.

This has to do with the fact that protein gives a feeling of satisfaction and fullness. In addition, ingesting more proteins will ensure that you won’t burn off that much muscle during your weight loss process.

So, are proteins the answer?

Well, no. A successful weight loss attempt depends on the right knowledge, coaching and support with changing habits. Often times, being overweight is a consequence of repeating unhealthy habits on a regular basis.

If you are serious about changing your diet, you must realize that it will take time and effort. Months, sometimes even years. You can’t just cut a group of macronutrients from your diets and hope for the best.

Click here if you want to learn more about losing weight.

 

And What About Limiting Carbs?

Now that we know that low carb diets are very radical and difficult to maintain, I think it is a good time to talk a bit about limiting carbs. This often proves to be a solution.

With a carb limiting diet, you won’t eat 30% carbohydrates like you would with a low carb diet. Rather, you would cut down your regular carb intake by 5-10%.

This isn’t a major alteration to your everyday life and it is quite easy to maintain. In real life, a carb limiting diet would have you not drink soft drinks, for example.

If you don’t compensate your loss in carbs with other nutrients, this can be a very effective way to drop your body fat percentage, as well as your weight.

If you just want fast results, you should know that they probably won’t last all that long.

 

In Conclusion

Losing weight is definitely possible with the use of a low carb diet, because it is easy to reach a caloric deficit. This will cause glycogen levels to drop and therefore water retention. The weight you’re losing therefore isn’t fat, but water.

To effectively drop in weight, you must burn fat. So, in short: low carb diets do not solve any problem.

Another thing that a lot of people aren’t paying attention to, is called the yoyo-effect. This basically means that you’re losing weight fast, to then gain it again because your meal plan isn’t working like it should. Eventually losing weight will become harder and harder.

A low carb diet is effective in a way that allows you to put on those tight jeans within two weeks. So if that’s your goal: by all means, go for it. To anyone that actually wants to lose fat: I don’t recommend a low carb diet.

Please, leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a low carb diet?

Usually, your carb intake should make up between 50-55% of your daily intake. With low carb diets, this percentage drops to below 30%. Without peaks in your blood sugar, your insulin levels will remain more stable and therefore you should be burning more fat.

Are low carb diets effective?

On the short term: very. You will lose weight in the forms of glycogen stores and the water that it retains. When it comes to burning fat consistently in the long run, a low carb diet can be difficult to sustain.

Are low carb diets healthy?

Low carb diets often don’t contain enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. This is because of a lack in fruits, vegetables and grain products. Low carb diets mostly contain animal products and therefore might increase health risks.

What is an effective alternative to low carb diets?

Limiting your carb intake by 5-10% has proven to be more effective than a radical ‘low carb’ approach, because of the simple fact that it’s easy to maintain. Yes, you might lose weight at a slower rate, but it will be consistent in the long run.

28 thoughts on “Are Low Carb Diets Really Effective?

  1. I know quite a few people who are firm or were firm believers in low carb diets, but after losing a lot of weight initially, the just put it all back on again, which leads me to believe that this type of diet is difficult to sustain long term. I prefer a less radical approach, eating healthier and losing slowly works better for me as the weight stays off.

    I have never successfully managed to stick to a diet of any kind and find that just giving up a few bad things and replacing them gradually is working best for me.

    1. Hi Michel, 

      I agree with you. Yes, low carb diets can have surprising results in a short amount of time. The downside is that you will eventually put on your ‘lost’ mass, which can be very demotivating for a lot of people. 

      Like you said, gradually changing your habits often proves to be the most effective. 

      Have a great day! 

  2. I was looking at your other article on losing weight naturally and saw this one and had always wondered if a low carb diet was worth it.  I think you have proven to me that it would be for a very short time but them you would be getting stuck once you hit a certain point in the weightloss goal.  If you were to combine the natural weight loss and low carb would you think you could balance both programs and find better results as the low carb doesn’t give you the proper amount of nutrients?  I am looking for the best way to lose weight without sacrificing eating some foods.  I think it would work for some but only for a very short time like you had said about the tight pants and two weeks.  I feel that I would lose focus after that and fail like I have so many other times trying to lose weight.  Thank you for giving us all the info on low carb diets and pointing it out to me that I probably won’t be trying this.  

    Douglas

    1. Hi Douglas, 

      You asked whether it’d be a good idea to combine a ‘regular’ slow-paced weight loss program with a low carb diet. Personally, I would not recommend it. I’d just pick one plan and then stick to it. Furthermore, having two diets at the same time might be conflicting with each other. Slow paced ‘diets’ allow you to eat whatever you like, albeit in a lower quantity. 

      I know that results are great to see and therefore we want them fast, but losing weight truly comes down to a mindset.

      Have a great day!

  3. Hi, Kevin,

    I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. I’ve tried a myriad of diets with mixed results, so the carbs subject is not new to me.

    Carbs are often “demonized”. The truth is they’re not fully understood. They’re an important part of our diet. What we need to do is learn what type of carbs to eat and what quantities. Moderation is key.

    The problem with many diets is they’re not sustainable in the long run. Many people want to see immediate results. They lose a few pounds and then they return to their old habits. The consequence is they put on more weight as compared to their initial weight.

    Diets have to be balanced, including foods from all groups and more importantly, they have to be sustainable. We have to be careful with all those fad diets out there.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I will be checking your blog for more tips.

    1. Hi Enrique, 

      You hit the nail on the head: most diets are temporary. Therefore, I firmly believe you shouldn’t just pick any diet. It’s a mindset. Once you set your mind to it, you can achieve long term success. 

      Carbs are indeed demonized, often unfairly. Simply cutting them out of your diet won’t solve anything. 

      Have a great day! 

  4. Hello, I really want to appreciate your effort in putting together this website and writing this article. This is really insightful. I never knew that lot carbohydrate diet actually only reduces the water in our body but not the fat. My aunt has been trying to reduce her weight for over 3 montgs now. Every time she tries diet she only succeed for about a week or 2 and then it is b bad to the beginning. This should be helpful for he 

    1. Hi Benny, 

      Thanks for the kind words. You might want to share this with your aunt if she’s really trying to reduce her weight! 

      Have a great day! 

  5. Hi, Kevin.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas on low carb diets which were like “ wow, I never thought that way “. As a general feeling, I myself tried a low carb diet many times but never got susses. I thought I am not doing it religiously, but today I learned the reason. Thanks. As you suggested I would try other ways to reduce my weight.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    1. Hi Gaurav, 

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts! I’m glad you found out what was wrong with your weight losing method. I hope you still manage to achieve whichever goal it is that you have! Should you need help with anything, just ask!

      Have a great day! 

  6. Hey Kevin, Thanks for writing on Low Carb Diets.

    You are right from low carb diets we see better result in few week but don’t remain the same. After some time we start gaining weight again. It happens with my uncle. He lost 10 kg in 4 weeks. After 4 month his weight increased by 10 kg while continue taking the low carb diet. Now I understand why it happens with my uncle.

    Thank you

    Parveen

    1. Hi Parveen, 

      Thanks for dropping by! Looks like your uncle experienced the downsides of low carb diets first hand! You might want to encourage him to change his mindset. Slow and easy wins the race! 

      Cheers! 

  7. Hey thank you so much for this post!  My wife and me have both been trying to diet so that we can lose weight and be healthy.  I’m actually shocked that low carb diets are not good with that.  It seems like that is such a big thing in today’s time, but I’m glad you dispelled that myth for us because we have been cutting back on carbs A LOT!

    1. Hi Jessie, 

      I’m glad you found this article! Cutting back on carbs a bit shouldn’t be that much of a problem. However, cutting then out of your diet completely may possibly not have desirable effects.

      Cheers! 

  8. Hi, I am glad I read this. Very good article. I personally struggle with gaining weight more then losing it, I have a high metabolism and I am an ectomorph.

    In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to be eating the right foods consistently. Don’t forget that you have to work and fulfill your responsibilities. I think the brain actually uses a high percentage of the energy we intake every day. (But I cannot say for sure)

    You can always use afformations created by Noah St John. – “Why am I losing weight faster then I ever thought I could?”, Why do I love eating right and exercising?”  

    1. Hi Jake,

      Thanks for dropping by. You are absolutely right; the brain uses a tremendous amount of energy, especially if you consider that your ‘physical body’ might seem to do most of the work. 

      Cheers! 

  9. I was already waiting for the best opportunity to share my thought on this while I was reading through.
    Carbs overtime have been a very demeaning factor for people as it adds more harm than good to human.
    Eating low carbs for me is highly commendable as one will be able to avoid excessive fat and save less of it.
    It is true that low carb dieting helps to reduce the rate of water retention rather than your proposed weight loss.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts! Low carb dieting does indeed reduce water retention. This difference in weight is most of what you will notice on the scales.

      Have a great day!

  10. I was already waiting for the best opportunity to share my thought on this while I was reading through.
    Carbs overtime have been a very demeaning factor for people as it adds more harm than good to human.
    Eating low carbs for me is highly commendable as one will be able to avoid excessive fat and save less of it.
    It is true that low carb dieting helps to reduce the rate of water retention rather than your proposed weight loss.

    1. Hi Carol, 

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts! Low carb dieting does indeed reduce water retention. This difference in weight is most of what you will notice on the scales. 

      Have a great day! 

  11. Well, Kevin, I truly enjoyed all your information regarding every aspect of dieting and working out. I am 54 and I know I need to get more strength, especially upper body because I feel like I don’t have much right now. I know it’s never too late to start doing “something” Back in 2009-2011 I did Weight Watchers that taught me how to eat better and with better quantities – Now, I have drifted away from what I should be doing. I wouldn’t mind “following” you to get motivated again with exercise included this time. 

    Good article .. Looking forward to following your advice.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Jessie, 

      Thank you for your kind words. It is indeed never too late to start acting. The most important thing is that you feel healthy and that you actually are healthy. If you are looking to get into exercising, I would recommend reading up on how to make your own workout plan. If you need any help with it, let me know! 

      Exercise Workout Plans – All You Need to Know!

      Have a great day! 

  12. Food fads are pretty common and I definitely remember the low card diet days. Honestly I hadn’t known that this diet had been debunked so coming across this information is very helpful. Also good to know is that a low card diet often doesn’t contain enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. Going forward I will now take the yoyo-effect into consideration. You have clarified carbs for me and I can now proceed confidently with a low-carb diet. Thanks for the outstanding information!

    1. Hi there, 

      Thanks for dropping by! Like you said, food fads are pretty common. Most people don’t tend to look further, though. I’m glad you got some useful information from this article! 

      Cheers! 

  13. Hi Kevin,

    Interesting article on low carb diets. My diet is around the 10% carb mark, I specialise in helping people to optimise their testosterone production & for most people around the 10% mark seems to work best.

    It keeps you in ketosis for a reasonable amount of time; but you still need carbs to aid with things like sleep/ and 10% helps deliver this.

    I think the reason low carb diets are having so much success is most people are eating way too much sugar/ carbs and in reality a carb restrictive diet is more effective than a low carb one.

    1. Hi Nate,

      Ingesting 10% carbs is quite low, but as long as you make sure you get all the necessary nutrients, you’ll be fine. While it is true that your body will experience ketosis, such a state is not all that great per se. 

      Since ketons are acid in nature, your body will try to buffer it within your blood. In normal and healthy circumstances, that is absolutely fine, but if this buffer capacity is too weak, it may lead to ketoacidosis.

      Nonetheless, lowering carbs a bit won’t hurt that much, especially if you’re looking to lose weight and/or fat.

      Cheers! 

  14. Hi Kevin. I’m really excited to come across this article that shares great info on low carb diet. I am really amazed because I have been led to believe that low carb diet helps to loose weight. Never really knew that all that is being lost is water and that this weight loss can easily be regained. I agree 100% with you that the real weight loss is fat burning which can be achieved by proper diet planning and body exercises.

    Nice exposure.

    All the best!

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for dropping by! I’m glad you learned something. I used to think that lowering carb intake by a large amount was good for you. Well, I guess we never stop learning!

      Have a great day! 

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