Who hasn`t heard of carbohydrates? Virtually everyone has. Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. When you think of a food source of energy, carbohydrates effortlessly come to mind; they are the richest source of energy. The digestive system converts carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). The body then uses this sugar to provide energy to the cells, tissues, and organs. It stores extra sugar in the liver and muscles until it is needed.
Depending on their chemical structure, carbohydrates can be simple or complex. What`s the difference? Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as vegetables, fruits, milk, and milk products. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are sources of fiber such as legumes, whole grain bread, cereals, and starchy vegetables.
Low carbohydrate diets are popular for their weight loss benefit which they enable one to achieve in a relatively short amount of time. Despite the benefits of these diets, there are risks attached to them. What are these potential risks? Let`s discuss them.
Risks of Consuming Low Carbohydrate Diets
Decreased Physical Performance
People who are trying to increase strength and improve performance may not find low-carb diets favorable.
Low-carb diets that promote the production of ketone bodies for use as fuel are relatively better because these alternate energy sources do a good job in fulfilling energy requirements. They are not as efficient as carbohydrates for the production of ATP, and will not yield the insulin response that promotes uptake of nutrients into muscle cells.
Hence, it is not strange to that there would be a decrease in performance after restricting carbohydrates, as the body tries to adapt to a more fat-based metabolism. Over time, this reduction in performance may be lessened a bit as a result of the ketone bodies, however, excellent performance should not be expected on a low-carb diet.
Dietary changes are made when settling for a low-carb lifestyle. Restrictions on the consumption of fruits and starches is not alien to this lifestyle.
Vitamins are essential to the body, and starchy vegetables and legumes contain fiber and other phytonutrients. The restriction on the consumption of such beneficial foods may bring about certain deficiencies.
Carbohydrate molecules are bound to water molecules in storage (as glycogen in muscles or the liver). But as for low-carb diets, glycogen stores are usually depleted in a few days after carbohydrate restriction commences. This loss of water leads to dehydration eventually.
This elimination is significant and can trigger major episodes of dehydration if you’re not careful.
Drastic restriction on the consumption of calories triggers the body’s starvation reflex, hence brings about a major decrease to metabolic rate.
Impaired Mental Performance
Carbohydrate intake restriction takes its toll on mental performance in a number of ways — frequent loss of concentration and an inability of the brain to delegate executive function are some of its consequences.
Are there Benefits?
Yes, there are, definitely. Let`s discuss them.
Favorable Appetite Loss
Ask people who have dieted, they`ll tell you that hunger is a difficult thing to deal with. Low-carb diets bring about a reduction in appetite, making dieting less of a trouble.
Talk about a simple and effective way of losing weight, low-carb diets are splendid for this. People on low-carb diets actually lose weight faster than people on low-fat diets. This is because low-carb diets cause much water loss, leading to excess sodium-shedding by the kidneys. Unavoidably, weight loss follows this process.
Because sugar is associated with not-so-good bacteria, it is linked with poor digestion in the health of some persons. Eating diets too high in sugar and carbs leads to the development of candida virus and some other health challenges. Vegetables, quality proteins, and healthy fats nourish the digestive tract and reduce bacterial growth.
Increased Levels of HDL Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is popularly known as “good” cholesterol. The higher one`s level of HDL, the lower their risk of heart disease.
Some Low-Carb Snacks
Blackberry Coconut Fat Bombs
Do you desire to increase your intake of healthy fats? Then try these low-carb fat bombs. It`s a simple combination of coconut butter, coconut oil, berries, and lemon juice
With an easy mix of avocado with salt, cheese, and seasonings, you get a delicious low-carb meal.
Black Pepper Beef Jerky
Spiced with Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, this beef jerky is a delicious low-carb snack you really should try.
What about Low-Carb Foods?
Meat such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and generally, meat products of grass-fed animals are low-carb foods.
Wild-caught fish such as trout, haddock, salmon, and many others have low carbohydrate levels.
Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and carrots are some vegetables that have low carbohydrate.
Do you want to eat low-carb fruits? Then you should eat more apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, and blueberries.
Dairy products such as butter, cheese, and yogurt which have high-fat levels pass for low-carb diets
Fats and Oils
Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, lard, and fish oil are in this category.
Omega-3-enriched or pastured eggs are splendid low-carb meals.
Nuts and Seeds
You may just snack on walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds if you`re particular about reducing your carbohydrate intake.
- Carbohydrate has got 4 calories per gram.
- Processed foods are high in simple carbohydrates, the type that leads to weight gain if eaten frequently.
- Complex carbohydrates have higher amounts of fiber than simple carbohydrates. They also contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals. Beans, whole grains, and some vegetables have complex carbohydrates.
- Simple carbohydrates tend to spike blood sugar, while complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which slows the digestion of sugars and does not spike blood sugar.
- Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates. They are made up of long carbohydrate molecules.
- Monosaccharides are the easiest form of carbohydrates for the body to digest.
- Glucose and fructose are common monosaccharides which dissolve in water and taste sweet.
- Oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrate made up of three to six monosaccharides.
- Many plants store their energy in starches, which humans then consume in the form of vegetables such as potatoes, and then use the energy as food is digested.
- Fungi and arthropods have a structural carbohydrate molecule called chitin.
- About two to three percent of a human’s body mass is made up of carbohydrates in order for the cells to perform as required.
- Animals store their energy in glycogen, which is stored in their muscles and liver, then used when required by the body for energy.
- Cellulose is a type of carbohydrate found in plants, but it is not digestible when the plant is consumed.
- Some people can survive on few carbohydrates because the body can convert protein into carbohydrates to be used for energy.
- When people eat too many carbohydrates, often in the form of simple carbohydrates, they can gain weight because the body stores the extra carbohydrates as fat.
You definitely know much more about carbohydrates now, than you ever did, and you understand the idea of low-carb intake better. A sound knowledge of foods and nutrients is essential for a healthy body system. Eat right, live right. Your health is super important.