[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
The term “Low Carb” is made up of two English words. Low means in the French language, “little”; carb is an apocope of carbohydrate which means carbohydrate. During a Low Carb diet, the subject consumes a low amount of carbohydrates. This is a slimming method low in carbohydrates or with a limited proportion of carbohydrates (sugars) in the diet.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
Definition of the diet: Principles of the Low Carb diet?
The Low Carb diet is dominated by a reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates in order to lose weight while maintaining the consumption of proteins and lipids. Commonly used for several decades and particularly popular in the United States, this slimming diet has advantages, but also disadvantages.
Energy is provided to our body through three large molecules or macronutrients: lipids (fat), proteins and carbohydrates. These essential nutrients in food are transformed into nutrients during digestion. Specifically, during digestion, carbohydrates are transformed into sugar. And when you consume more carbohydrates than necessary, the body transforms them into fat and stores them in the form of adipose tissue which can promote weight gain.
So, a significant amount of carbohydrates can cause an increase in body mass. To do this, to lose weight, it is important to reduce carbohydrate intake as recommended by the Low Carb diet. As part of a slimming program, the principle of the Low Carb diet is based on a diet low in carbohydrates or a fairly considerable reduction in the intake of sugars in the diet and with proteins and lipids as bases of food.
Carbohydrate intake is reduced in order to lose weight. It is then a question of following a low-carbohydrate diet to reduce calorific intake and lose body fat. To do this, the consumption of certain foods is limited in order to reduce sugar intake and achieve an intake of 20 to 150 g of carbohydrates per day. Since the Low Carb diet is not a carbohydrate-free diet, a minimum of 20 to 50 g of carbohydrates is recommended as part of an extremely low-carbohydrate diet.
Thus, the proportion of carbohydrates authorized depends on the different variants of the Low Carb diet. Strict variants allow less than 20 g of carbohydrates per day, moderate variants 20 to 50 g of carbohydrates per day. Variants low in normal carbohydrates are less restrictive and allow 100 to 150 g of carbohydrate per day.
How does the Low Carb diet work?
A Low Carb or low-carbohydrate diet will consist of controlling the amount of carbohydrates consumed daily in the diet. The consumption of foods with high nutritional value, proteins and lipids, is favored at the expense of carbohydrates. Indeed, carbohydrates are present in certain foods in the form of starch or various sugars (simple sugars, complex sugars). They are available in sweet foods, starchy foods, pastas.
Thus, as part of the Low Carb diet, carbohydrate intake is reduced by consuming low-carbohydrate meals and satiating proteins, without forgetting lipids or natural fats. The subject can eat his fill by consuming a large quantity of fatty foods with natural proteins, but he will have to reduce the quantity of sugars and starches. He can then eat when he is hungry until he is full without counting the number of calories he swallows.
There are therefore foods that can be consumed without restriction, in particular those containing proteins (meat, fish, eggs), lipids or natural fats (butter, olive oil). Other low-carb foods are also favored. Those are the :
- dried fruits, seafood;
- vegetables low in carbohydrates, in particular spinach, lettuce, mushrooms;
- low-carb drinks: water, coffee, tea, infusions.
Certain foods should not be eaten with low-carb foods. These are essentially foods rich in carbohydrates, in this case, pasta, rice, potatoes, beer, soda, juices, candies, sweet products, cereals, legumes, etc. .
A typical day on the Low Carb diet
- Cup of coffee with sweeteners
- Slice of wholemeal bread
- Vegetable omlette
- Lettuce salad
- Thin slices of fish or meat
The advantages of the Low Carb diet
A reduction in body fat and elimination of fat
A low-carbohydrate diet promotes a reduction in insulin production and a slowdown in fat storage. It will then contribute to the burning and elimination of fat. A decrease in fat reserves will be visible with the reduction in body mass.
It is a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
The Low Carb diet allows you to eat a balanced diet and lose weight. It allows three daily meals with varied foods while promoting calorific intake, protein intake, lipid intake and a low quantity of carbohydrates. No food groups are prohibited. Also, fruits, vegetables and other sources of vitamins and minerals are included in the diet.
An easy-to-follow diet
With the Low Carb diet, there is no extreme deprivation, no limitation in terms of the quantity of foods rich in protein and fat, no calorie counting. Also, authorized foods are available on the market. Furthermore, this diet does not require the use of weight loss products such as appetite suppressant and the powerful fat burners. Just eat everything, reducing your carbohydrate intake.
Foods rich in protein and fat satiate for a long period of time, prevent food cravings. They will induce an effect of satiety while reducing appetite. In doing so, food consumption is reduced resulting in rapid weight loss over the course of a few days.
Disadvantages of the Low Carb diet
The harmful effects of increased protein and fat consumption
The Low Carb diet does not impose any limitations on the consumption of proteins and lipids. We must therefore fear the harmful effects of increased consumption of foods rich in proteins and fats in certain subjects when implementing this diet. Indeed, excess protein can be harmful to health with an increased risk linked to kidney stones, just as excess lipids can block the arteries or promote the appearance of cardiovascular pathologies.
Low Carb diet may be linked to episodes of fatigue
A diet low in carbohydrates can cause loss of energy or fatigue in some people, especially at the beginning of the diet when carbohydrate intake is significantly reduced. This fatigue is increased in athletes. It can be associated with dizziness, muscle pain resulting from a low amount of carbohydrates in the body.
The Low Carb diet is a tip or option for losing weight. But, returning to a normal diet exposes the subject to weight gain which can sometimes be more significant than the weight loss achieved.
Side effects of a Low Carb diet
A Low Carb diet is not without side effects. It can cause headaches, constipation, diarrhea, bad breath or disruption of the menstrual cycle in women.
Effectiveness of the Low Carb Diet
Carbohydrates provide energy to the body. Compared to proteins and lipids, carbohydrate molecules provide energy to the body more quickly. When a diet low in carbohydrates prevails, with a limitation of sugar consumption, the glucose content in the blood tends to stabilize. It also causes a calorie deficit and a drop in insulin levels which store fat.
As a result, the diet induces weight loss through various mechanisms. These include a reduction in insulin production, resulting in a reduction in fat storage. With the reduction in carbohydrate consumption, the body will then draw its energy from proteins and lipids (fats), promoting fat burning or loss of fat mass. Furthermore, the consumption of proteins and lipids increases satiety. This lasting feeling of satiety leads to a reduction in food consumption and reduced calorie intake, promoting weight loss. The Low Carb diet can help you lose weight with an estimated weight loss of 2 to 5 kilograms per week.
Duration of the Low Carb diet
The duration of the Low Carb diet is not determined in advance. It varies depending on weight loss goals. It can therefore last until the subject achieves the desired weight loss. When the number of kilograms to lose is large, the duration may be more or less long.
Special Menus & Recipes for the Low Carb Diet
|Low Carb diet menu: Day 1
|Spinach, egg and mushrooms cooked in a pan with a little oil
Low-carb rice with vegetables and chicken
|Tomato, vegetables, beef and pasta
|Low Carb diet menu: Day 2
|Eggs, bacon and low-carb bread
|chicken cooked with a little olive oil and a green salad
|Pork chop and vegetables
|Low Carb diet menu: Day 3
|Fruits and oatmeal
|Slice of meat and green beans
|Low Carb diet menu: Day 4
|Toasted bread, scrambled egg on bread
|Grilled fish, fennel and avocado
Opinions of health professionals on the Low Carb diet
Characterized by a satiating effect and fat burning, the implementation of a Low Carb diet allows you to lose weight (in the form of fat and water) when it is followed scrupulously. But, for health professionals, this effectiveness is temporary or short-lived. Indeed, upon returning to a normal diet, the body stores fat again, then the subject quickly regains the lost kilograms and, sometimes, even beyond. Several health specialists mention this yo-yo effect associated with this diet while emphasizing its disadvantages and undesirable effects.
Indeed, this restriction of carbohydrates can introduce an imbalance with risks linked to nutritional deficiencies or even an accumulation of fats which can promote cardiovascular disorders. So for health experts, the Low Carb diet is not ideal for healthy and lasting weight loss. It can even be dangerous for certain athletes who need carbohydrates to carry out regular or intense sporting activities. This is a slimming method that should not be recommended to everyone or should be undertaken under medical supervision or after the favorable opinion of a doctor or dietician.
The effectiveness in terms of rapid weight loss is evident in the various consumer reviews. For some, it is an easy diet to implement and compatible with a social life. It allows you to enjoy yourself, because it allows the consumption of a wide variety of foods with the possibility of following the diet even while eating in a restaurant. Foods such as meats and fish can be eaten as desired. It is, therefore, possible to eat as much as you want. Also, Internet users have highlighted the absence of food cravings or hunger between meals and the fact that this diet leads them to consume less than usual.
Other consumers, for their part, highlight the suffering they endured when implementing the diet. For them, it is not always easy to follow this slimming method which can quickly cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and heartburn.