Over the past few years, there has been lots of talk regarding low-carb diets and how they can make people lead a healthy lifestyle. The diet, to sum it up, limits the number of carbohydrates one consumes. This deprives the body of glucose and it causes fat oxidation for body metabolism, which in turn, leads to weight loss. So let’s dive deeper into the benefits of a low-carb diet on your weight loss journey.
Well, we talked about this in our low-carb diet when we discussed low-carb diets and whether they work. The current post, however, discusses more benefits of low-carb diets on your overall health.
Benefits of Low-Carb Diet
For instance, a ketogenic low-carb diet facilitates rapid weight loss by putting the body into a state that burns fat rapidly by eliminating all glucose sources.
But as effective as a low-carb diet is in weight loss, it is important to supplement it with exercise and to ensure that you maintain a healthy weight for optimal body functions. Here are more health benefits of a low carb diet:
a) Improved Cognitive Function
In a low-carb diet, sugar and carbohydrates are significantly limited, but protein consumption remains consistent. More often, sugars and carbs have an immense interaction in your body, but the high consumption of these two nutrients often leads to an increase in unhealthy fats – and this is a problem.
Our brains need healthy fats for optimal functioning. These fats help your brain control your moods and regulate your body’s hormones.
A diet marred by unhealthy fats achieves the opposite leaving you experiencing exhaustion, irritation and constantly feeling grumpy.
Sugar addiction is associated with unpleasant effects, particularly on the brain, and its role in elevating insatiable cravings, anxiety, and fatigue.
On the other hand, healthy fats work like antioxidants and antecedents to some significant brain-supporting molecules and neurons that control things like mood, energy, memory, and learning.
A human’s brain needs a constant supply of healthy fats to function properly. Studies show that high sugar diets with a deficiency of fatty acids have strong negative metabolic consequences on cognitive function.
The consequences were associated with the intake of too much glucose, which impacted the insulin action that controls brain-signaling mediators. The findings show a reduced cognitive score and insulin resistance.
Experts believe that high insulin levels in your body cause decreased blood flow to the brain, which amounts to brain plasticity. This is because insulin improves blood flow while enhancing glucose transportation to the muscles and body organs, including the brain.
High sugar and carbohydrate intakes stop the vasodilator’s function as a result of insulin resistance. It hampers brain and tissue performance by causing decreased perfusion.
b) Helps You Minimize Sugar and Starch Intake
One of the commonest culprits of weight gain is sugar and starch. Reducing the consumption of these components helps you minimize the risks of obesity.
You may eat other foods, not too much processed or junk foods until you are satisfied and still achieve your goal of weight loss.
By avoiding sugar and starch intake, your body is better placed at stabilizing your blood sugar and insulin levels. This effect increases the fat-burning process.
Similarly, the resultant effect makes you feel more satiated, which reduces the amount of food you eat leading to more weight loss.
The stabilization of blood sugar and the control of the fat-storing hormone insulin levels help in addressing other health concerns such as heart disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes apart from obesity and overweight problems.
A diet high in healthy dietary carbs such as whole grains is good for the sick and has been linked to the improvement of other related medical conditions including postprandial glycemia and insulin production.
c) Low-Carb Diets Gives You a Metabolic Advantage
Following a low-carb diet is a great way of increasing the expenditure of calories. That is, fat oxidation takes more calories, which means you expend more calories. This metabolic advantage results in weight loss.
Previous studies done to investigate this hypothesis prove true. Findings reveal that an exceptionally low-carb diet increases energy expenditure in comparison to a low-fat diet during the weight maintenance period.
The energy increase was about 250 calories, which can be likened to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity workout each day.
The metabolic advantage may also be caused by other means, as other experts argue. For instance, on a ketogenic diet, that is when the carbohydrate intake is kept low, much of the proteins ingested is first converted into glucose in a process referred to as gluconeogenesis.
But this process is inefficient and a lot of calories remain unexploited. Then again, this is transient as ketone bodies should begin supplanting some of the glucose as brain fuel within a short period.
d) Helps Fight Cancer
A low-carb diet, which cuts down on the number of carbs and sugars one consumes, may be a natural cancer treatment, especially since there is a relationship between the proliferation of cancer cells and refined carbs and sugars.
The two nutrients contribute to free and drastic damage while they feed the cancerous cells. But a low-carb diet facilitates improved immunity and lowers oxidative stress.
The intake of carbohydrates influences the biology of prostate cancer. Through findings on animal tests that were fed a no-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (NCKD), the test subjects experienced significantly smaller tumors and survived longer than their counterparts fed on a Western diet.
The Western diet-fed subjects received an equivalent amount to a standard human diet and they had higher serum insulin, which was linked to significantly increased blood sugar and tumor tissue growth.
When the energy supply to the cells is cut off, the healthy cells survive by using fat for energy. Cancer cells, on the other hand, will only continue thriving as long as they have access to glucose. They cannot shift and use fat for energy.
e) Reduced ADHD Symptoms
A low-carb diet isn’t only limited to improving one’s cognitive function, it also reduces the symptoms of ADHD.
One study showed that a shift in a person’s diet, including reduced consumption of sugary and processed foods, has a positive impact on the reduction of ADHD symptoms in children with the condition.
Although other studies claim that only the reduction in sugar consumption may not suffice in reducing the symptoms of ADHD, a restriction of the majority of carbs may have an effect.
Nevertheless, some scientists argue that ADHD symptoms are like those of addictive drugs. If a child, for instance, is used to sugary foods and unhealthy carbs, the withdrawal from this diet may make the problem go away, something which seems to be a common thing among teachers and parents.
Then some argue that large amounts of processed dietary carbohydrates will likely induce massive swings in blood sugar. After a few hours when one’s had a meal and when the blood sugar falls, the body is likely to release hormones like adrenaline to eschew the low sugar.
As a result, the symptoms associated with ADHD are accentuated. A low-carb diet will restore normalcy in the blood sugars and thus eliminate the problem.
f) Low-Carb Diets Improves Digestion
Some of the harmful bacteria found in one’s digestive system are often fed by sugary foods. This means that such foods lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the development of candida virus, and potentially leaky gut syndrome.
A low-carb diet, therefore, is a means to improve digestive function by getting rid of sugary foods. Eating from food sources rich in fiber such as most low-carb vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality proteins all function like fat-burning meals that help you maintain a healthy digestive system by reducing or limiting bacterial growth.
In 2008, the Journal of the American Gastroenterological Association published a study revealing how patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on a very low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD) showed symptom improvements.
In the study, patients with moderate to serious IBS were given a 14-day typical diet, then a month of VLCD consisting of 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. They reported an improvement in overall health, subsiding abdominal pain, and better stool habits.
g) Low-Carb Diets Reduces Acne
The explanation behind this linkage is a result of the effect these diets have on Insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF). The interpretation means that if one needs to get rid of and or improve acne is to follow a low-carb diet that is low on dairy products.
h) Physical Endurance
A low-carb diet gives one the metabolic advantage that expends enough energy suitable for tough exercises or workouts. The glycogen stored in the body lasts for only a day and once it is all utilized, feelings of fatigue arise.
It is common for most people who consume lots of carbs to use it to fuel their bodies. This is a source of glucose, which isn’t as effective in fueling your body during exercise. This is because the fat stores are not easily accessible and your brain cannot be fully powered.
A ketogenic diet, for instance, solves this problem. It allows your body to burn fats instead, for metabolism. This will keep you going for many hours without exhaustion, hence the physical endurance.
i) Low-Carb Diets Increases Performance
Apart from the physical endurance, the transition to a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet has lingering benefits in terms of performance. For example, you might find athletes trying the high-fat diet, and LCHF diet to ace competitions, and as it would seem, they are achieving their goals.
When your body has enough endurance, the blood flow is directed to the muscles to fuel your workout activities rather than to the gastrointestinal organs if the energy was depleted. This also lowers the risk of developing abdominal issues during your exercise or sporting activity.
Consequently, the reduction of body fats from their oxidation in an exercise leaves one at an advantageous point.
The benefits of low-carb diets are immense, and few things are as well as established in the world of nutrition as they are. Not only do they help you lose weight, but they also improve your physical endurance, and brain activity, increase your performance, leave you mostly satiated, and lower the risks of certain types of diseases.
If you want to know more about how to stay healthy, one of the low-carb diets is worth your consideration. But you should consult with your doctor or physician before you embark on this journey.