Diets must be tailored to your specific circumstances, body type, health conditions, activity and goals. But if you starve yourself of carbs while you are active, you’ll experience fatigue, irritation, depression, muscle and bone loss, suboptimal performance, insomnia, lower sex drive and a slower metabolic rate.
Nutritionists typically recommend that 50% to 65% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates, 20% to 30% from fats and the rest from protein. A no carb diet is therefore not unhealthy, but produces some unusual metabolic changes in your body which now adapts to a low carb intake by finding alternate sources of energy such as converting fat and protein to glucose which is stored as glycogen. Originally recommended for people with morbid obesity or epilepsy, a no carb diet is now gaining popularity among other dieters after a lot of research was done on balanced carb diets. Two benefits of a no carb diet highlighted by nutrition specialist Dr.Steve Phinney are that fat loss is replaced with lean muscle, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms are activated leading to less soreness after training.
A no carb diet requires you to eat natural (unprocessed) foods that are low in carbohydrate content. Schwartz, a nutrition expert, says that it’s tough to ensure that 70% or more of your calories come from fat.
The longer you stay on a zero carb diet, the more stress will be placed on your kidneys and liver. All these are reasons why a no carb diet is intended only for short term weight loss, and not meant to be a long term plan (like a Dukan diet or a HCG diet). However, many dieters don’t understand that carbohydrates are necessary for the body, especially if you are physically active or in training. If you run, ski, train with weights, go cycling or engage in any other high energy activity, a no carb diet won’t provide enough calories. If your car is always locked up in the garage, it won’t matter if you fill the tank with gas or not. Loading up on carbs while you’re sedentary only floods the blood with extra glucose which is stored as fat, leading to diabetes, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and other problems. A no carb diet, on the other hand, provides 70% of energy requirements from fat, 30% from protein, and almost none from carbs.
Bodybuilders adopt a no carb diet before contests to retain muscle mass while shedding water and fat by forcing their body to burn fat for energy. Your brain switches over to using this alternate source of fuel when your carb intake drops to less than 50 grams daily.
Eating that much fatty food is hard, even if you add plenty of coconut and olive oil, avocado and more to your recipes. If weight loss isn’t your main goal, you can eat more carbohydrate like sweet potato, rice, oats, quinoa and legumes and drink coffee, tea or soda without sweeteners. After a while, a meal of mushrooms, spinach and asparagus begins to look unappealing, even if you’re shedding extra pounds of fat. You can eat meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, reduced-fat cheese, yoghurt, sour cream and healthy oil. Because this isn’t how your body normally works, you should talk with your physician before going on a no carb diet.
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