I have clients come to me and tell me they have been on a low carb diet. In fact, a low carb diet is so common that it is almost as though if you touch a carb you are surely doomed to a life of obesity.
I believe carbs have gotten a bad rap! You may be wondering low carb vs carb cycling which one is better for me.
So why are carbs “bad” and low carb diets all the rage?
In most cases, people who participate in low carb diets see significant weight loss at first. Because they are cutting down on carbs, they see water weight come off relatively quickly. Long term low-carb diets help people burn fat efficiently as there is little glucose in their systems to use for energy. In addition, many who cut carbs are actually eating in a calorie deficit, which also leads to weight loss.
When people show off their initial results, it’s usually pretty impressive. This has led to quite a bit of buzz and creates even more interest in these types of diets. Everyone and their mother has jumped on the low carb bandwagon, making it the cool thing to do.
However, what we don’t always see is the hormonal damage, low energy levels, and eventual weight gain that can occur as a result of a long term low carb diet.
According to the Mayo Clinic, despite the various positive effects of a low carb diet, there are some significant drawbacks:
In addition, some diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that in the long term they can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies, bone loss, and gastrointestinal disturbances and may increase risks for various chronic diseases.
Severely restricting carbohydrates to less than 20 grams a day can result in a process called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you don’t have enough sugar (glucose) for energy, so your body breaks down stored fat, causing ketones to build up in your body. Side effects from ketosis can include nausea, headache, mental and physical fatigue, and bad breath.1
Is eating low-carb sustainable for women?
The main reason a low carb lifestyle isn’t ideal is that it’s hard to sustain. It can leave people feeling depleted, lethargic, and deprived. Your hormones, mental clarity, and stress levels suffer from cutting carbs out of your diet. Our bodies were made to consume all three macronutrients to function optimally, despite what the believers in low carb fad diets
This is why carb cycling is the one strategy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle! Carb cycling is the intentional variation of carbohydrate intake each week. Most carb cycling plans consist of low carb days and high carb days. Carb cycling gives you all the benefits of a low carb diet, without the drawbacks. As you cycle your carbs each week, you are taking advantage of carb depletion for maximum fat burning, while also reaping the benefits of carb-loading for maximum energy and muscle building.