If you're looking to drop a few pounds, you may be considering a low carbohydrate diet. These diets work by reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat each day, which means cutting down on bakery staples like bread, as well as pasta and sweets.
Researchers say that low carbohydrate diets can help you drop pounds — initially even more pounds than more traditional diet plans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the question is, are these diets safe?
While experts say more long-term research is needed, these diets have demonstrated health benefits, such as reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease by lowering triglycerides and boosting your good cholesterol. They may also make a dent in risk factors for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and even some types of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. As is the case with any diet — losing weight alone can help improve your health.
But some cautions are also warranted, particularly if you're diabetic, pregnant or have other chronic health conditions or risk factors, according to the Mayo Clinic. For this reason, it's always important to have a chat with the doctor before you start any new eating plan.
How low carbohydrate diets work
Typically when you're on a low carbohydrate diet you'll cut your daily intake of carbs from an average of 225 to 325 grams a day to between 50 and 150, according to the Mayo Clinic. Different diets recommend different amounts of carbs, and some diets will have you start out at a very low level of carbohydrates and then let you eat more as time goes on.
The idea behind the low carb diet is to cut off your body's access to an easy-to-use sugar supply, which it uses for energy. Once the flow of sugar is gone your body is forced to start using up its own fat stores to keep you moving, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Which foods you choose to cut out on a low carb diet may potentially affect how healthful the diet is for your body. After all, not all carbohydrates come in the form of toaster cakes and heaping bowls of ice cream.
Vegetables have carbohydrates, as do whole grains and fruits, according to http://familydoctor.org. If you decide to subsist on steaks and ribs, and cut out too many of these nutritional gems, you might wind up missing out on key nutrients.
Low carbohydrate diets may have other side effects as well. Some people may feel tired or sluggish when they eat a reduced amount of carbohydrates. You might also get constipated if you aren't getting enough fiber. Other side effects include headaches, stomach upset and bad breath. These side effects may occur if your body goes into ketosis, which is the state when it begins to live off its own fat stores because there's not enough sugar coming in.
Provided you're aware of the potential risk factors, a low carb diet can help you lose weight and make improvements to your health.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado