What Is a Low-Carb Diet and How Does It Work?

One of the most important priorities you should consider is to maintain a healthy weight. The best way to lose weight is by including low-carb foods in your diet. Low-carb foods ensure that you take the right amount of carbohydrates to prevent excessive weight gain. Here’s everything you should know about these foods.

What is a Low-Carb Diet?

A low-carb diet emphasizes foods rich in fat and protein. It limits carbohydrates such as those found in starchy vegetables, fruits and grains. You can stick to a number of low-carb diets when you want to lose weight. However, each diet has different restrictions depending on the amounts and types of carbohydrates one can eat.

Most people prefer having a low-carb diet specifically for losing weight. Besides weight loss, low-carb diets can promote the body’s metabolism and immunity. They can reduce the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Why Follow a Low-Carb Diet?

Your reasons for following a low-carb diet may depend on several factors. You may enjoy taking the food amounts and types featured in the diet or want to change your eating habits. The diet can also work for you if you want to avoid certain carbohydrates that make you overweight. If you have health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, consider checking with your doctor before following the diet.

Diet Specifications

A low-carb diet, as the name suggests, aims at restricting the amount and type of carbohydrates introduced to the body. Common sources of carbohydrates include beverages and foods. The cabs can either be complex or simple. You can also classify them as complex natural (beans or whole grains), complex refined (white flour), simple natural (fructose in fruits and lactose in milk) or simple refined (table sugar).

Carbohydrates naturally occur in grains, seeds, and nuts. You can also find them in milk, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (peas, lentils, and beans). White flour and sugar contain refined carbohydrates. Other processed foods with refined carbohydrates include drinks, sugar-sweetened sodas, candy, cake, cookies, pasta, and white bread.

How Do Carbs Help the Body?

The body relies on carbohydrates as the primary source of fuel. During digestion, the body usually breaks down starches (complex carbohydrates) into simple sugars. After digestion is complete, the simple sugars get into the bloodstream as glucose (blood sugar). It takes the body quite some time to digest complex carbohydrates. The carbs help make the body bulk and facilitate other bodily processes.

Your body may release insulin to counter the increased blood sugar levels. The produced insulin makes it easier for glucose to reach the cells of your body. Part of the glucose helps you engage in physical activities such as jogging or doing chores.

The cells, muscles, and liver usually store the remaining glucose for later use. The body can also convert the extra glucose to fat. A low-carb diet decreases the carbohydrates introduced in the body hence lowering the insulin levels. In this case, the body will derive energy from burning stored fat, which causes weight loss.

Foods that Comprise a Low-Carb Diet

A typical low-carb diet comprises of non-starchy vegetables and proteins such as eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. The diet limits or excludes most starchy vegetables, pasta, sweets, bread, fruits, some nuts and seeds, legumes and grains. Your low-carb diet plan can allow small portions of certain whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

You can follow a low-carb diet by consuming 20 to 60 grams of carbohydrates a day. Such a diet can provide you with 80 to 240 calories. Most low-carb diet limit the amount and type of carbohydrates people take during the initial phase and then increase the amount of the carbs gradually.

Potential Risks

When you drastically and suddenly limit the intake your intake of carbohydrates, it’s possible to experience a number of health effects. They include diarrhea, constipation, skin rash, and fatigue. You may also experience muscle cramps, weakness, bad breath, and headache. Following some low-carb diets may expose you to gastrointestinal disturbances, bone loss, vitamin deficiencies, and mineral deficiencies.


When you choose a low-carbohydrate diet, take note of the proteins and fats. Consider taking meals with healthy proteins and unsaturated fats. Limit the number of processed pastries and crackers, high-fat dairy products and meat you take.