Cutting carbs and low-carb diets are all the rage when it comes to weight loss these days – but it may not be having the effect most assume it does.
Low-carb diets, or ketogenic diets, not only leaves you feeling drained and foggy, but they may not even help with weight loss, experts say.
According to registered dietitian Rachel Clare, low-carb diets don’t provide the energy needed by your body which – surprise – comes from carbohydrates. Because dieters lack this essential nutrient, the body begins to break down fat, instead (and therein lies the ‘weight loss’ potential).
And while that sounds good, it’s not the whole story. As your body breaks down fat, it releases ketone bodies – or molecules made from the liver via fatty acids. High concentrations of these bodies lead to dehydration, and can change the chemical balance in your blood. Plus, low-carb diets are difficult to sustain, meaning your weight can fluctuate constantly – which too isn’t so good for your health.
Related: The Ketogenic Diet: What Is It?
“In some small medical cases, the ketogenic diet is actually used for benefit, such as for people who suffer from epilepsy,” Clare explains. “But for the general public, the ketogenic diet is quite dangerous.”
What should you do instead? To lose weight, try swapping your favourite carbs for whole grain versions instead. Think brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat oatmeal. If you’re not 100% sure what to look for, keep an eye out for brands that include the word ‘whole’ in front of the first ingredient, and have at minimum three grams of fibre per serving. A small swap like this is sustainable, and can pay big dividends in the long run.
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