Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets have been popular for decades — especially for weight loss.

There are several types of low-carb diets, but all involve limiting carb intake to 20–150 grams per day.

The primary aim of the diet is to force your body to use more fats for fuel instead of using carbs as a main source of energy.

How it works: Low-carb diets emphasize unlimited amounts of protein and fat while severely limiting your carb intake.

When carb intake is very low, fatty acids are moved into your blood and transported to your liver, where some of them are turned into ketones.

Your body can then use fatty acids and ketones in the absence of carbs as its primary energy source.

Weight loss: Numerous studies indicate that low-carb diets are extremely helpful for weight loss, especially in overweight and obese individuals

They seem to be very effective at reducing dangerous belly fat, which can become lodged around your organs.

People on very low-carb diets commonly reach a state called ketosis. Many studies note that ketogenic diets lead to more than twice the weight loss than a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet.

Other benefits: Low-carb diets tend to reduce your appetite and make you feel less hungry, leading to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

Furthermore, low-carb diets may benefit many major disease risk factors, such as blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and blood pressure.

The downside: Low-carb diets do not suit everyone. Some feel great on them while others feel miserable.

Some people may experience an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol.

In extremely rare cases, very low-carb diets can cause a serious condition called nondiabetic ketoacidosis. This condition seems to be more common in lactating women and can be fatal if left untreated.

However, low-carb diets are safe for the majority of people.