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Low Carb Diet: How It Affects Your Body

1. What is a low carb diet? What it means to cut carbs out of your diet?

Carbohydrate, protein and fat are macronutrients which form a balanced diet. As per the dietary guidelines from National Institute of Nutrition our diet should comprise of 50-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% fat and 15-20% protein. Only in certain cases such as medical conditions like cancer or tuberculosis or body building or weight management wherein carbohydrate is reduced by 5-10% and protein content is increased by 5-10%.

However these days, low carb diet or let’s say high fat or high protein are the latest due to diet trends and lot of people have been reducing carbohydrates excessively and having only about 5 % instead of 55% of carbohydrate and either increasing protein and fat percentages to 60-80% . This can however lead to many detrimental effects such as affecting the kidney, liver, causing nausea, headaches, fatigues etc. As carbohydrate is our main source of energy. Being health conscious, one can definitely avoid carbohydrates such as pizza, donuts, burgers, maida etc. But do not cut down on whole grains, fruits and vegetables as they are the main source of energy and will prevent deficiencies.

2. What are the positive and negative implications of low-carb diet?

When people go on diets which changes the proportion of macronutrients such as high protein diets or high fat diets, they start cutting down on carbs or completely avoid carbohydrates, when you do this, you might drop few pounds but you’re body gets into a deficiency mode which in return causes hairfall, pigmentation, inflammation of gut, mood swings, fatty liver, constipation, high uric acid and the list is endless.  After a while one starts craving for unhealthy carbohydrates such as pastries, ice cream, chocolate, donuts, burgers etc. Thus it’s important not to fall prey to such diets and include healthy carbohydrates such as rice, roti, bread on a regular basis. Though In certain medical cases low carb diets are given and they produce positive results but under complete supervision and for small period of time. 

3. Is it a sustainable model or something that should be adopted for a short term basis for internal detoxification?

Cutting carbs from the diet is obviously not sustainable. As from the beginning we have always been eating carbohydrates such as rice, roti, bajra, jowar, potato, fruits breads etc. and suddenly avoiding these foods and shifting to high fat or high protein will only affect our body and cause harm to kidney, liver etc. Also it is not sustainable as carbohydrates are our main source of energy and cutting down carbohydrates drastically will only damage our health.

4. Who can go for a low carb diet and who definitely should not go for it? (Health conditions that need low-carb diets and conditions for whom these diets will be detrimental?

Certain health conditions like insulin sensitivity, PCOS, autistic or epileptic patients may need less of carbohydrates but under complete supervision and regular blood checks have to be conducted to see how the patient is responding to the change in macros and whether kidney or liver is not getting loaded.

 For someone who is plateaued at certain weight, they can cut down carbohydrates by just 5-10%, eliminate unhealthy carbohydrates such as donuts, pizza, maida etc and focus on good carbohydrates such as roti, rice, bread etc. Also if a person is into sports or weight training, carbohydrate is again reduced by 5% -10%.

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