What is a "low carb" diet?
most diets when it comes to fitness and nutrition as a whole, there
are many schools of thought and definitions of what a low-carb diet
actually is. This is mainly due to the principles of the diet being
hijacked by my many big names – such as Atkins, South Beach,
Sugar Busters and the Dukan Diet – so much so that it is easy
associate a low-carb diet as being a system and being its own entity;
when really it’s just a basic set of principles.
of the diet products that have the idea of low-carbohydrate intake at
their core have a different definition of what low-carb actually is;
sometimes it’s based on setting a target percentage of the
nutritional intake and sometimes it’s defined as only
set weight of carbohydrates per day.
we’re looking at commercial diets or whether we’re
more scientific research into the ideas of blood sugar control such
for diseases such as diabetes, the definition of what consists of a
low-carb diet is rather varied. However, the general idea is a diet
that has a main goal of limiting the consumption that are high in
carbohydrates or that are known to increase the blood sugar levels
the U.S Dietary Guidelines and their peers often suggest that the
daily consumption of carbohydrates should be around 50-60% of your
daily intake. The other factors of your diet will be constituents
such as protein, fats and fiber. Theoretically then, if
average, then anything that is less than this would be considered to
if you’re looking to lose weight, then it’s often
said that your
carbohydrate intake should be significantly lower than 50-60% of your
daily nutritional intake. Many often find that when they stick to
50-60% limits they have no or very little success at weight loss.
While this is also due to other factors such as lifestyle and
exercise, it makes sense that, when you’re trying to burn off
energy that you are storing, then those limits are more for
maintaining your current weight, then helping you lose it.
the various diets out there on the market, and even the advice given
for those that have diseases such as diabetes, there have been
various recommendations that suggest your dietary intake of
carbohydrates if should be as low as 5-45%.
all depends on what you aim to achieve for a low-carbohydrate diet
you may not necessarily be looking to lose weight, and you may be
following a low-carb diet in order to control blood sugar levels for
diabetes, pre-diabetes and many other ailments.
amount of carbohydrates that you intake per day is largely going to
be dependent on your overall goals.
all of the medically-recommended and commercial diet plans out there,
there are three basic ways of determining and measuring what a
low-carb diet actually is.
General Reduction in Carbohydrates
meal plants don’t really aim to specify how much carbohydrate
you should be eating in a day and the general idea is to simply
reduce your intake. You may have come to learn that carbohydrates are
high in energy and, if you’re not burning off and using up
energy, then it’s going to get stored as fat. It makes sense
if you’re intake of carbohydrates is more than you are able
utilize, you need to cut down.
many people this general idea of reducing carbohydrates can be enough
and, if you’re not looking for a tangible percentage or
aim for, then it can help you to think more about the foods that you
are eating in a day.
diets simply state that you should just heavily cut back on
Foods” and they suggest that you should eliminate a lot of
white rice, potatoes, wheat and sugar from your diet.
types of diets don’t go into much detail about what measuring
heavily monitoring what you should be eating, by they do suggest that
all that is required is a broad reduction on these types of
Foods” as they’re high in carbohydrates.
suggestion isn’t at all a tangible idea of what constitutes a
low-carb diet but many people find the general idea of really
deducing their carbohydrate intake is enough for them to get results.
The main problem with this suggestion is that people have differing
ideas of what “reducing” their carbohydrate intake
What one person may call a sharp reduction in their intake of
carbohydrates maybe a relatively mild reduction for someone else.
Your Personal Suitable Amount of Carbohydrate Intake
obvious that everyone is going to have a different level of tolerance
for carbohydrates – depending on our previous intake of
carbohydrate, what we’re used to keeping our blood sugar
and how active we are in using up that energy from carbohydrates.
Therefore, many diet plans and nutritionists advise that you should
find the best amount of carbohydrate that is suitable for us
we respond to carbohydrates can be affected by a whole host of
attributes – from sex, age, weight, muscle mass, previous
existing diseases and ailments. Therefore, the reasons why
determining what would be a “low-carb” diet should
for each individual are relatively obvious.
has their own “normal range” of blood sugar level
and, when that
blood sugar level drops we begin to feel hungry in order to increase
it. If everyone has a different range of what is a suitable level of
blood sugar then the sustainability for a low-carb diet is going to
be different for everyone. A level target level of carbohydrate
intake to aim for that helps one person lose weight may not have any
effect on another.
is a large contributing factor to our individual carbohydrate
tolerance levels. As we age, our ability to tolerate carbohydrates
decreases even if the blood sugar level is a level that would be
considered normal. The relationship between the blood sugar level and
the hunger pang is reduced and so it becomes easier to store fat and
the chances of diabetes are increased. Therefore, any diet plan that
suggests that carbohydrate levels should be determined taking the
individual into consideration should make an allowance for age as a
large determining factor of the outcome.
this sense, a “low-carb” diet is one that is
out to be one that causes your intake of carbohydrates to be
moderately less than you were personally previously used to so that
your weight decreases. However, if weight loss is not your main aim,
then you can increase your intake gradually until your weight remains
about finding what level is “low-carb” for you
personally - not
just in general. An example of this type of idea, commercially, is in
the later stages of the Atkins diet where you find your
maintenance” that will be between 1
½ ounces and 3 ½ ounces for most people.
It’s not just based on
the idea of staying low; it’s based on the idea of finding
right for you.
people talk about low carbohydrate diets the word
is often not too far away. When we want to work out what a low-carb
diet is, the other way that we can do that is to look at it in terms
is the process where the body starts to use fat for energy instead of
glucose. Glucose is carbohydrate broken down into small molecules.
This is sometimes also called “keto-adaptation”.
The system is
innate within the body in order to allow the body to keep going for
longer, even in periods where there is little carbohydrate available.
your body into ketogenesis where fat begins to be used for fuel is
often a good definition of following a low-carb diet. While some
consider this to be extreme, it is the basis for many diets out there
on the market and is even sometimes advised by nutritionists.
into ketogenesis is often the hallmark of a low-carb diet and so it
can often be the measure of whether a low-carb diet has been followed
or not. For most people, a state of ketogenesis can be reached on
less than 2 ounces of carbohydrates within a day.
you will see, there is not one way to determine what a low-carb diet
actually is. Yes, you can read about the ways in which you should aim
to reduce your carbohydrate intake to a certain amount and so it can
be classed as a low-carb diet – however, it may not actually
enough for you personally to lose weight or reduce your blood sugar
a low-carb diet, while it is technically classed as 50-60%
of your daily intake as carbohydrates by the U.S Dietary Guidelines,
this doesn’t give you any indication of the amount that you
aim for in order to achieve the results you want personally. For
example, it’s possible to have 50% of your daily intake as
carbohydrates and yet you can be eating way too much to have any
weight loss results.
in a general sense, a low-carb diet is all about reducing the amount
of carbohydrates that you have in your diet – yet the actual
specific ways in which you choose to do that is going to be up to you
as an individual. There are many different factors and ways of
measuring what could be a low-carb diet and you can have a
diet” or a “low-carb diet that gets the results you