Have you tried a low carb diet, lost weight and then regained the weight back? Or are you currently on a low carb diet and losing weight?
I hear it time and time again, clients and people telling me that they have lost lots of weight by going on low carb diets. Most people who I talk to say they regained the weight back after stopping the diet because it wasn't sustainable.
I'm here to tell you why low carb diets put your health at risk and why they are not sustainable long term.
Low carb diets are not ideal for health
Carbohydrates, in particular complex carbohydrates, are extremely important to include as part of a balanced diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Carbohydrates are the body's main and preferred energy source (especially the brain). They are required for the body to function at its best. Whole-grains, vegetables, fruits and beans are examples of complex carbohydrates that provide fibre, energy and essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Complex carbohydrates are also extremely important for gut health (check out my previous blogs for more info on gut health). The mix of all five food groups including fruits, vegetables and whole grains is extremely important for every cell in our body to function properly.
Possible long-term negative effects of low carb diets may include:
Weight loss and regain resulting in a YOYO dieting effect.
Bowel problems – restricted intake of antioxidants and fibre from fruits, vegetables and whole-grains can increase a person’s risk of constipation.
High cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and cancer (from a higher fat and protein intake).
Kidney problems due to a higher protein intake causing the kidneys to have to work harder.
Osteoporosis due to loss of calcium from the bones.
Low carb diets are not a long term fix- Short term gain, Long term pain
Cutting out carbohydrates to lose weight is not a long term solution. You first lose water weight, not fat. It's fast but not long term as it's not sustainable and I often see people regain all the weight they lose. The reason you lose weight initially is because you lower your overall calorie intake. Overtime, low calorie diets are not sustainable and you end out overeating or bingeing because you're so hungry. Restricting whole food groups such as food groups containing carbohydrates leads you to want to binge on those foods as you know you cannot have them. In the long term, the weight loss differences between low carb and high carb diets appear to be minimal.
It's difficult socially and also isn't very fun
Because everyone loves carbs, they are too good to resist, and life is boring without them. Low carb diets are not fun and certainly not sustainable. Overtime, you see others eating carbs, you attend parties where carbs are present, you see families eating carbs and you simply cant resist. You give in to temptation and that begins the cycle of on and off dieting again.
So whats the solution? You can include them when you feel like, while eating intuitively and learning to listen to your body (which is what I help my clients with).
You can include the complex carbohydrates in a balanced way to ensure your body and bowels function properly and you’re not missing out on any essential vitamins and minerals.
You'll have energy and therefore wont struggle with sugar cravings and reach for high fat high sugar convenience treats.
You can choose complex carbohydrates throughout your day at meals and snacks and include simple carbohydrates (chocolate, lollies, chips, cakes and biscuits) in moderation as your body desires them.
There is a way to have the best of everything, to enjoy food, to achieve your goals and find balance.
If you're looking for help, i'm your Gal!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how we can work together to get you off the YOYO dieting cycle :-)
Happy Tuesday :-)
APD, AN, MPH