The Low Carb Diet to lose weight – The principle of the diet – This diet is on the more or less strict restriction of carbohydrates, both sugars (lactose, fructose, saccharose, etc.) and starch sources (such as pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.).
The range is extensive depending on the protocol type; it can be between 30 g of carbohydrates per day (for the strictest diet) and 150 g for the least drastic.
But to reach these limited quantities. It’s necessary to eliminate or considerably reduce certain common foods and replace them with low-carbohydrate foods, i.e. foods rich in lipids or proteins such as meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, oils, low-carbohydrate fruits, etc.
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Insulin and Weight Gain
Many people tend to believe that the increase in insulin secretion following the consumption of a meal containing carbohydrates causes weight gain, promotes storage, and as a bonus, decreases the body’s ability to burn stored fat.
Insulin indeed increases meal, but it then decreases (except for pathology), use of fat by the body increases again. The day is a series of high and low secretion phases.
Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the whole day and not to fixate only on a precise moment of the day.
Weight gain is possible with a diet rich in carbohydrates, not because of insulin (except for pathology), but rather because of the caloric surplus during the day.
In the end, we always come back to the basics in nutrition, i.e. the energy balance: calories consumed and calories expended.
Even if your insulin stays low all day (e.g., low carbohydrate diet), you will gain weight if you are in caloric excess.
Of course, there are many other issues to consider: protein intake, food quality, satiety index, environment, sleep, stress, etc.).
Does Low Carb Make you Lose More Weight?
The answer may disappoint many people, but between a low carb diet and a low-fat diet, both methods give like results in terms of weight loss.
Many studies have on the subject, and the difference in fat loss is often similar, i.e. there is no significant difference.
On the other hand, low carb can be beneficial if it allows you to stick to your diet program and not get frustrated, preventing you from reaching your goal, especially from maintaining it afterwards.
If you want to track a low carb diet, we advise you to keep at least 100 to 120 g of carbohydrates per day for the functioning of your thyroid and brain in particular. You should know that the brain alone consumes 120 g of glucose per day! The low carb diet is not for everyone; it can be challenging to follow long-term.
Pros and Frauds of the Low Carb Diet
The diet works (unless you have specific pathologies such as thyroid problems); the weight loss is actual if the person is in a caloric deficit.
Rapid weight loss. Can increase motivation and. Therefore, adherence to the program.
People who start this diet often increase their daily protein intake, which most people overlook.
Reduced carbohydrates coupled with a low-calorie diet can lead to severe fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy and irritability.
Can lead to bad relationships with food, such as eating disorders
Risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies over the long term if the diet does not contain enough nutrient-rich food (accentuated if the caloric deficit is significant).
It may not be compatible with intense physical activity.
Are all Carbohydrates the Same?
It is important to remember that everyone is different and that we may all react differently to the consumption of certain foods, especially certain types of carbohydrates.
1. Carbohydrates Reminder
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. On the one hand, there are simple carbohydrates, long called fast sugars. In chemistry, they are monosaccharides composed of a single molecule (glucose, fructose, galactose). Or disaccharides are composed of two molecules (lactose, saccharose).
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, long called slow sugars. In chemistry, they are polysaccharides. These molecules are in fact, glucose polymers, i.e. a chain of glucose molecules attached to each other with different bonds. They can be digestible, like starch, or non-digestible cellulose, representing dietary fibre.
The simple carbohydrates are represented essentially by :
- Saccharose or refined white sugar;
- Lactose present in milk and certain dairy products;
- Fructose is contained in fruits.
Complex carbohydrates are composed of several simple carbohydrate molecules transformed into glucose during digestion. Fibre, contained in fruits, vegetables or whole grains, which are part of carbohydrates, has no impact on blood sugar. They start in bread, pasta, rice, cereals, certain fresh vegetables and dried vegetables.
2. Simple and Complex Carbohydrates. Obsolete Terms?
It is crucial not to take the shortcut:
- simple sugar = fast sugar
- complex sugar = slow sugar
It might seem logical, but it is not. Each food is different and has its own “matrix” structure. It can therefore react differently in the body.
Let’s take the example of baked potatoes or white bread. These are foods that belong to the complex carbohydrate family. Once consumed, they raise blood sugar levels much faster than lentils or chickpeas, which also belong to the complex carbohydrate family, yet do not raise blood sugar levels as much.
It is due to the very different structures of these other starches, which react differently to our digestive enzymes.
Does this mean we should ban them from our diet? No, it’s all a question of moderation. To summarize, the terms “simple” and “complex” do not represent a physiological reality. While not perfect, the glycemic index remains a somewhat relevant indicator but not the only measure to consider in the diet (satiety, nutrient density, degree of processing, etc.).
Carbohydrate Tolerance: all Equal?
Humans have adapted physiologically to their environment, climate, diet, etc.
So Salivary amylase is an enzyme secreted in the mouth in saliva, which initiates the pre-digestion of starch. It has resulted in numerous genetic adaptations, such as, for example, in populations that consume a lot of starch-rich foods, a greater development of the salivary amylase gene. Studies have shown that the rise in blood sugar could be lower in people who had the adaptations, that is to say, that they had a better “response” to glucose and that the signal sent by the body to digest starch reacted more adequately.
On the contrary, studies have also shown that populations with a less pronounced salivary amylase gene (perhaps due to a lower starch diet of their ancestors) had a higher risk of obesity than other populations.
Obesity is multifactorial in origin and may therefore have a genetic component.
In short, it is advisable to stay awake, aware of what you consume, to test the response to each type of dish, food and the positive or negative effects they can cause on your body (energy gain, temperature, bloating, fatigue, flatulence, or other). Take charge of your diet and your health.
The best Strategy to Lose Weight
A slow weight loss will probably be more “manageable” for everyone and may therefore avoid bad relationships with food (risk of eating disorders).
Faster weight loss is often a factor in better adherence of the person who has a weight loss goal. But it is clear that a slow pace of weight loss can be demotivating for many people! Many people encounter this problem, leading to the abandonment of a diet and the weight goal.
A good strategy is to find a compromise between the two, i.e. :
- To start losing weight at a relatively fast rate the first few days/weeks (without starving yourself and not eating anything)
- To couple this with a diet that provides enough protein (1.6-1.8g of protein per kg per day) and enough satiety
- Then reduce the speed of weight loss to a more moderate pace.
Knowing what you eat daily is essential for your health. The most vibrant thing is to select the protocol that will suit you best! Don’t forget that it is necessary to understand the impact of your diet on your body.
Doing a physical activity that you enjoy is also a significant asset to facilitate adherence to your protocol and, therefore, your goal.
If reducing carbohydrates works for you and allows you to reduce your caloric intake, then you can continue! Keep in mind that there is no significant difference in fat loss between reducing fat and reducing carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are not evil; on the contrary, the molecule that constitutes the majority of carbohydrates (glucose) is essential for the body. The brain consumes an average of 120 g of glucose per day. It would therefore be good to keep at least 100g of carbohydrates per day! Even with a very low or no carbohydrate diet, the body will always try to make glucose with other molecules it may have available.