Diet with no carbs: The Best Way to Lose Weight?
Traditionally, slimming diets consist of consuming fewer calories and reducing fat intake.
Nowadays, however, we swear by the diet without carbohydrates or the low carbohydrate diet. The enemy is no longer lipids, but carbohydrates.
But is not a diet without carbs or a low carb diet as good for the health and effective as we are told? After all, we all grew up with the idea that fat is the fat that is responsible for cardiovascular disease.
Logically, a diet without carbohydrates or low in carbohydrates gives pride to lipids…
I plunged into the scientific databases to find the answers to these questions. My goal here is to share them with you.
Here is what you will discover in this article:
- Why are low carb diets so effective
- Why not continue a diet without carbs
- Why choosing the type of carbohydrate is important
- The truth about lipids
Content of the article
- Low carb diet
- Diet without carbohydrates
- Why low carbohydrate diets are so effective
- Why we need carbohydrates
- Why choosing the type of carbohydrate is important
- The truth about lipids
- Lose your unwanted pounds and your abdominal fat quickly using slimming recipes simple to achieve
Low carb diet
Are you wondering if a low carb diet is the best way to lose weight? If you do not mind, I’ll start by answering this question before going on the carbohydrate diet.
In short, the answer to this question is yes!
If you want to lose weight safely, you need to stay at least as healthy as you are now. And even better if your health improves!
We can only talk about a good slimming diet if, in addition to allowing weight loss (fast), it preserves your health or better, improves your fitness.
Tip: Find out how to lose weight fast by taking care of your health by reading my article on the low carbohydrate diet. You’ll also find a list of products, a week-long menu, and recipes to help you get started.
Drastic diet (an extremely low-calorie diet) is a bad way to lose weight; weight loss is fast but health takes a hit.
In addition, this type of diet leads to the famous yoyo effect. This is not the case for (good) diets low in carbohydrates.
Let’s move on to the question of the carbohydrate diet.
Diet without carbohydrates
If you’re wondering if a diet without carbs is the best way to lose weight, the answer is no!
What is the problem of a diet without carbohydrates? Diet without carbs and weight loss are they incompatible?
Diet without carbohydrates and weight loss
Dieting without carbs will make you lose weight fast, but you will feel bad and not stay long. You will not reach your target weight on a carbohydrate-free diet.
Plus, your body needs carbohydrates and nutrients found in carbohydrate sources to stay healthy. A carbohydrate-free diet means a complete absence of fruits and vegetables, which is simply dangerous for your health. Conclusion: Never go on a diet without carbohydrates.
Why low carbohydrate diets are so effective
The biggest problem with traditional diets such as low-calorie low-fat diets is hunger.
Indeed, if you continue to eat the same type of food as usual and you only decrease the quantities, you can expect to have fangs. Your body will try to maintain its weight by stimulating your appetite.
This is the reason why low-calorie diets are impossible to maintain over time. No matter how much we want, at some point, we necessarily give in to hunger.
And here it is : another attempt to reach your target weight missed.
Diets low in carbohydrates have the characteristic of limiting the intake of carbohydrates regardless of calorie intake!
Many studies on low carb diets were conducted in such a way that participants could eat as much as they wanted, provided they met a carbohydrate limit.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I dive into the scientific databases to find out if following a low carb diet is the best way to lose weight. Let’s move on to concrete data!
Study # 1: Severe Obese on a Low Carb Diet
The participants in this study were severe obese ( BMI > 43). This group was divided into two groups: a group on a low-fat diet and a group on a low-carbohydrate diet. The caloric intake of the low-fat group was reduced, but not that of the low-carbohydrate group.
After 6 months, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost 3 times more weight (5.8 kg on average) than the group on a low-fat diet (1.9 kg on average) .
The insulin sensitivity of the low carbohydrate group improved, while that of the low-fat diet slightly worsened. Insulin levels in the low-carbohydrate group had decreased by 27%. In the group on a low-fat diet, they increased slightly.
Study # 2: Obese on a Low Carb Diet
In this study, participants were divided into two groups: a group on a low carbohydrate diet and a group on a low-fat diet. In addition, the calorie intake of the low-fat diet group was restricted.
Participants on a low-carbohydrate diet lost 7.3% of their body weight in 12 months and participants on a low-fat diet lost 4.5 %.
Interestingly, there was greater improvement in blood levels of triglycerides and good HDL cholesterol in participants on a low carbohydrate diet. And this while they consumed much more lipids than the group on a diet low in fat.
Study # 3: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on healthy women
Healthy obese women were divided into two groups: a group on a low-carbohydrate diet and a group on a low-fat diet. The caloric intake of the low-fat group was reduced, but not that of the low-carbohydrate group.
After 6 months, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost twice as much weight. These participants had lost 8.5 kilograms on average, while those in the low-fat group had lost 3.9 kilograms on average.
There was a slight improvement in the levels of good HDL cholesterol in both groups, as well as an improvement in blood triglyceride levels in the low carbohydrate group.
Study # 4: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet in adolescents
Overweight adolescents were divided into two groups: a group on a low-fat diet and a group on a low-carbohydrate diet.
After 12 weeks, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost twice as much weight. These teenagers had lost 9.9 kilograms on average, while those in the low-fat group had lost 4.1 kilograms on average.
The conclusion of the researchers is that a low carbohydrate diet is effective to lose weight over a short period, without disrupting the lipid balance.
Study 5: Comparison of the ketogenic diet and low-fat diet
A ketogenic diet consists of consuming so few carbohydrates (<20 g per day) that the body enters ketosis. Your body starts burning ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are produced by the liver as a result of fat burning.
A ketogenic diet can be considered as an extreme form of low carbohydrate diet, in which the caloric intake consists mainly of lipids.
In this study, participants were divided into two groups: a ketogenic diet group and a low-fat diet group. After 24 weeks, participants on a ketogenic diet lost an average of 9.4 kilograms, while participants on a low-fat diet lost 4.8 kilograms.
In addition to losing weight, participants on a ketogenic diet found the diet easier to maintain than participants on a low-fat diet.
In addition, there was an improvement in blood levels in participants on a ketogenic diet.
Their triglyceride levels had decreased and the levels of good HDL cholesterol had increased. Tell yourself that a ketogenic diet is about 70% fat, which means that the results of this study (and many others) contradict the recommendations of the National Health Nutrition Program, for example.
Study n ° 6: Low-calorie ketogenic diet
In previous studies, we’ve seen that you can lose a lot of weight with a low carb diet and a ketogenic diet.
Most of these studies do not restrict the calorie intake of the group on a low carbohydrate diet, but instead, impose a caloric restriction on the group on a low-fat diet.
The researchers in this study were curious to know what happens if, in addition to reducing carbohydrate intake, caloric intake is also reduced. You guessed it, the participants lost a lot of weight in no time.
In this study, male participants in the ketogenic group were required to consume 1,855 kcal/day, and participants in the low-fat group had 1,562 kcal / day.
Participants in the ketogenic group lost as much as 8.1 kilograms in 50 days, and participants on a low-fat diet, 4.3 kilograms. The icing on the cake, participants in the ketogenic diet group lost 3 times more abdominal fat than participants on a diet low in fat.
Women participating in this study only followed these regimens for 30 days, so they did not lose as much weight as the male participants. Women on a ketogenic diet lost 3.0 kilograms, compared to 1.1 kilograms for participants on a low-fat diet.
Study # 7: Which diet is the least hungry?
This study examined which group felt less hungry.
In this study, conducted on pre-menopausal women, participants were divided into two groups: a group on a low-carbohydrate diet and a group on a low-fat diet.
It is the group on a low carbohydrate diet who reported suffering the least hunger.In addition, participants in this group lost more weight.
Study # 8: Low Carb Diet, Mediterranean Diet, and Low Fat Diet
This study, in addition to the low carbohydrate diet and low-fat diet, also included the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet consists in adopting the traditional diet of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean rim.
This diet is characterized by the consumption of unprocessed foods, many vegetables, fruits, and fish, but little red meat and dairy products. And, of course, generous use of olive oil and fresh herbs, in salads, for example.
In this study, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost the most weight. The participants in this group lost 5.5 kilos.
Participants in the Mediterranean diet also performed well with an average loss of 4.6 kilograms.
The group on a low-fat diet comes last with a weight loss of 3.3 kilos. This figure corresponds to the participants who went to the end of the study.
In participants on a low carbohydrate diet, there was a marked improvement in lipid status. The best glycemic control was found in participants in a Mediterranean diet.
A number of study participants were diabetic. The Mediterranean diet allowed better control of their glucose and insulin levels than the low-fat diet.
Study # 9: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on metabolic syndrome
People with Metabolic Syndrome have an imbalance between dietary intake and physical activity. This imbalance is due to a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
The metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disruption that causes all kinds of disorders associated with each other. For example, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are common. It is also about overweight or obesity.
Chronic diseases of the metabolic syndrome include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome corresponds to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Recovering a healthy weight can reverse metabolic syndrome.
Researchers have conducted a study to determine whether it is more appropriate for people with metabolic syndrome to follow a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet.
40 participants with a high risk of cardiovascular disease were divided into 2 groups. One had a low carbohydrate diet and the other a low-fat diet for 12 weeks.
Over the 12 weeks, the low-carbohydrate group lost 10.1 kilograms on average, while the low-fat group lost 5.2 kilograms.
The caloric intake of the two groups was identical. Despite having consumed the same number of calories, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost almost twice as much weight. But that’s not all: there has also been a greater improvement in important blood markers.
Good HDL cholesterol levels increased in the low-carbohydrate group while decreased in the low-fat group. The decrease in LDL cholesterol was higher in the low-carb diet group (which is a good thing) than in the low-fat group.
In addition, triglyceride levels dropped in the low-carbohydrate group and decreased significantly in the low-fat group.
Summary of studies above:
In the majority of studies above, no caloric restriction was imposed on the low-carbohydrate diet, as opposed to the low-fat group. Nevertheless, in most studies, the group on a low carbohydrate diet lost 2 to 3 times more weight.
This is because the decrease in carbohydrate intake leads to lower insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that ensures cells absorb glucose from the blood, but also sends the body the signal to store fat.
It also appears that groups on a low carbohydrate diet lost significantly more visceral fat (abdominal fat) than groups on a low-fat diet. Visceral fat is dangerous in that it plays a role in the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
In all of the detailed studies here, the low carbohydrate diet outweighs the low-fat diet.
Maybe I’m guilty of selection bias? Not even! An extensive meta-analysis of studies from the 1966-2014 period, available on PubMed, also shows the superiority of the low carbohydrate diet over the low-fat diet.
It can be concluded that a low carbohydrate diet causes rapid weight loss.
Why we need carbohydrates
Following a low carb diet involves continuing to eat carbohydrates. It’s just about eating less.
Dieting without carbohydrate or extremely low carbohydrate presents the following dangers:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Possibility of psychological problems
- Muscle pain due to diminished muscular recovery capacity
- Food deficient in fruits
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hypothyroidism due to low insulin production
How much carbohydrate?
The amount of carbohydrates you need to eat depends on your daily energy requirements and goals (how much weight you want to lose and how long).
Normally, 45% of the calories in our diet come from carbohydrates. The average French consumes 259 g of carbohydrates per day and the average French woman, 207 g.
Diets low in carbohydrates can be classified into 3 levels:
- Low carb diet; indicated to lose weight at a reasonable pace or to keep one’s weight off while improving one’s health – 100 – 150 g carbohydrates/day
- Low carbohydrate diet; Indicated for fast weight loss – 50 – 100 g carbohydrates/day
- An extremely low carbohydrate diet; your body goes into ketosis (burning fat), which leads to rapid weight loss. This diet, which is close to a diet without carbohydrates, should not be followed for a long time because fruits and legumes are prohibited – 20 – 50 g of carbohydrates/day
Do you want to know more about how many carbohydrates you can eat? In this case, read my feature article on the low carbohydrate diet.
And the carbohydrate diet, in all this?
Well, a carbohydrate-free diet does not exist in practice. There is no carbohydrate-free diet at all on the market and no studies have been conducted to examine such a dangerous diet.
Why choosing the type of carbohydrate is important
Low carb diets are based on lower insulin levels. High insulin levels give the signal to store fat. To lose weight, one must put the body in a mode in which it can easily burn fat.
Eating bad carbohydrates can cause peaks in blood sugar and cause significant secretion of insulin. And that even if you follow a low carbohydrate diet.
Some carbohydrates have a much faster effect than others on blood sugar. The best known are sugars and refined carbohydrates (processed). For refined carbohydrates, for example, flour and flour-based foods, such as pasta, pizza, and cakes.
The production of flour consists of removing the grains from their husks (the fibers) and crushing them finely. Because of this process, it is easy for the body to break down into simple carbohydrates (glucose), which causes a rapid rise in blood sugar.
To get the most out of the low carbohydrate diet, it will be necessary to choose sources of carbohydrates with slow digestion. Thus, you will not have blood sugar spikes and you will produce less insulin.
Here are some good sources of carbohydrates:
- Wholegrain cereals such as oatmeal or wholegrain rice
- Sweet potatoes
Many foods contain sugars and / or refined carbohydrates. It is best to avoid these altogether if you want to lose weight and / or stay healthy. Here are some foods rich in sugar and / or refined carbohydrates:
- Bread (except wholemeal bread)
- Fried potatoes or fries
- Pasta and noodles
- Biscuits, cakes, and pies
- Crackers, toasts, rusks, gingerbread
- White rice
- Chips, salty mixture, coated peanuts
- Soft drinks, fruit juice
- Most breakfast cereals
The truth about lipids
If you go on a low carbohydrate diet, you will need to eat more fat and protein.
Increasing your fat intake will make your low carb diet easier to handle. Since fat provides a much greater feeling of satiety, you do not have to worry about being hungry.
However, many people are a little worried about eating more fat. We have grown up with the idea that fat makes you fat and is responsible for cardiovascular disease.
Studies comparing low-carbohydrate diets to low-fat diets mentioned in this article reveal that diets low in carbohydrates are more effective than diets low in carbohydrates.
In these studies, there were larger improvements in important blood health markers in low-carbohydrate diets than in low-fat diets. At times, deterioration has occasionally been observed in groups on a low-fat diet.
Now, that does not mean we have to throw ourselves on any type of fat. Some types of fatty acids are good for health, while others increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, olive oil and nuts.
On the other hand, all researchers agree that trans fatty acids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Trans fatty acids are found mainly in cooking fats (if the packaging carries an indication of the type “hydrogenated fats”), deli meats, fries, and pastries.
Some types of fatty acids are perfectly compatible with a healthy and safe carbohydrate diet, and some do not.
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