We often get questions about low-carb, ketogenic diets and how to start one. Dieters are generally wary of the idea, owing to all the conflicting information being bandied around. They ask us things like, “Is it too late for me to start?” or “If I start today, will I lose weight?” But there are plenty of benefits worth exploring as well. Everything you need to know about how to start a low-carb diet is in this article, so read on for more.
What Are the Benefits of Low-Carb Diets?
Low-carb diets are extremely effective for losing fat, especially around the midsection. The body burns stored fat on a low-carb diet because it lacks the glucose (sugar) needed to burn. By not eating carbs, your body is forced into what’s known as ketosis: burning body fat for fuel rather than food.
It’s not about calories. You can eat a lot of food on a low-carb diet, as long as it’s the right kind of food. Low-carb diets work because they let you eat until you’re satisfied, and since protein and fat take longer to digest than carbs and sugar, this means your stomach will be full for longer and you won’t be constantly hungry.
Low-carb diets also make more efficient use of macro nutrients. This means you won’t be eating up to three times as much food as on a high-carb diet, which helps you lose weight and stay lean.
What Are Popular Low-Carb Diets
The ketogenic diet is a very strict low-carb diet that induces ketosis. The goal of the diet is to force the body into a state where it uses fat as fuel, and the body starts breaking down fat stores for energy instead of carbs. This ensures weight loss, since carbohydrates are converted in the body into glucose, which equals calories.
Because the diet requires that most foods be removed from your diet, you’re likely to see some pretty significant weight loss results in just a couple of weeks. Plus, the ketogenic diet is fantastic for your health — it helps lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, prevents diabetes, boosts mental clarity, and can even help you lose those last five pounds before your wedding anniversary.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the more popular diets out there. It doesn’t limit calories at all and has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, especially as an effective diet for weight loss. This is due to the fact that it encourages eating lots of whole foods and avoiding processed foods. It also encourages eating primarily plant-based foods and taking on a moderate amount of exercise, which can both help with weight loss.
The Atkins diet was one of the first low-carb diets and is still one of the most popular. The Atkins diet focuses on a specific ratio of macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbs. Followers of this diet are encouraged to fill their plates with fatty proteins and veggies, while eating very few carbs — specially simple carbs like sugar or starch.
South Beach Diet
Some experts say that the South Beach diet is the most effective diet for weight loss. It’s also one of the first low-carb diets, which might explain why it’s so popular. The South Beach diet is low in carbs and fats, but high in protein. Because it lowers fat intake, people usually lose more weight than on other diets.
The Paleo diet is similar to the Atkins diet, but it focuses more on eating only foods that are thought to be healthy and natural in their most basic form. It emphasizes eating lots of whole foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and lean proteins with no processed food or refined sugars allowed. As a result of this approach to food, you’ll get lots of vitamins and minerals from the healthy sources you’re consuming.
All About Macros
Macro nutrients are the amounts of carbs, fat, and protein in your diet. All three of these macronutrients are important for optimizing body composition. Carbohydrates make up the largest part of any diet, so you should be eating a high amount of it relative to your other macronutrients. However, you also need enough fat and protein to maintain muscle mass and help your body function properly.
Carbohydrates are the most important macros for weight loss. Because your brain is a major consumer of glucose (sugar), lowering your carb intake will help you lose more fat. However, carbs aren’t solely responsible for fat loss — it’s still important to keep track of your protein intake as well.
How much you should consume of each macronutrient depends on the amount you’re aiming for overall.
How to Start a Low-Carb Diet?
There are several ways to start a low-carb diet, depending on how strict you want it to be. You can begin by eating less than 50g of carbs per day (about two slices of bread or one fruit). This is a good step to take if you’re just getting started and want to cut your carbs down slowly. From there, you can reduce your consumption of carbs another 50g per week until you get to a point where you’re eating about 20g of net carbs or less, which is considered ketosis. You can also skip this step entirely and start at 20g of net carbs or less from the beginning.
In addition to eating less carbs, there are other ways to get into ketosis. You can eat a ketogenic diet by cutting out all sources of carbohydrates, which means no pasta, bread, rice, or other starchy foods (like fruit or juice).
You may also want to consider adding protein and fat into your diet, which will help aid in weight loss and make you feel much better. Just make sure that you don’t eat any more than 20g of carbs per day total.
You can also choose to follow a modified ketogenic diet. This will involve eating higher carbs and fat, but in moderate amounts.
There is also a carb cycling diet, which involves alternating high carb days with low carb days. The goal of this is to keep your body in a constant state of ketosis, which is good for achieving weight loss or preventing the use of carbs for energy purposes (which can happen when you eat very little).
How Will You Feel on a Low-Carb Diet?
The biggest question you might have is whether you’ll feel good on a low-carb diet. If you’re following this diet to lose weight, it will be difficult to feel full once your carbs are gone. You may not even feel energy after a meal anymore, so it can be hard to start the day. Other people report that they feel better able to move around, have more mental clarity and clarity, and have more endurance. This may be why some people find weight loss is easier on a low-carb diet.
On the other hand, there are a lot of negative side effects associated with a low-carb or keto diet. The most prominent one is the keto flu, which affects many people who switch to this type of diet. This occurs when the body transitions from burning mostly carbs for fuel to burning mostly fat for fuel. This can result in fatigue, muscle pain, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and a headache among other things.
As you can see there are a variety of ways to get started on a low-carb diet. The Atkins diet, in particular, is well known for being a great low-carb diet that’s easy to follow. You can also start with a modified ketogenic diet and simply keep track of your carbs while increasing your fat and protein intake. Although there are some side-effects for some such as the keto flu, this diet has been proven to be effective for weight loss. Once you get going, you’ll likely find that cutting out carbs makes it easier to lose weight than ever before.