Low carbohydrate diets can help a person lose weight and can help keep a person healthy.
Cholesterol and carbohydrates
The role carbs play in eating a healthy diet is one of the most common debates among dietitians. Most dieticians think that carbs are not required for adequate nutrition and increase your risk of neurological disorders, cancer and diabetes.
Some claim that in order to have good health we need to eat carbohydrates and that carbs should be part of everybody’s diet, making up most of the calories we consume.
Scientific research provides some substantial evidence that low carb is significantly better than low fat in lowering heart disease markers and risk factors, including lipid profile.
How many carbs do we have to take?
Each adult should take in at least 175 grams of carbohydrates per day, particularly pregnant women, according to the Institute of Medicine. It accounts for about 29 percent of the calories taken in by a diet that contains about 2400 calories. It is recommended that proteins be limited to less than 15 percent of the calories consumed during pregnancy and that about 30 percent of the calories consumed should come in the form of carbohydrates.
Another medical condition requiring a moderate consumption of carbohydrates is adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands are overworked, so that the levels of cortisol are too low. Cortisol levels increase whenever a person adopts a low carb diet. Cortisol levels rise every time a person takes a low carb diet.
Carbs are recommended for athletes who train for up to six days a week because in intense workouts, carbs are the optimal source of cellular fuel and weight lifting for adequate performance.
Athlete who restricts carbs generally develops poor training habits and needs to have a diet that contains at least some carbohydrates for cell fuel during exercise. Athletes are expected to take about 20% of their calories as carbohydrates. However, it depends on the health objectives of the individual, the weight of the individual and their training schedule. Those who exercise heavily will need 40 to 50 percent of their carbohydrate calories. They also need fat, which is quickly metabolized by the body during workouts. In short, low-carbon diets are not for everyone.
Nonetheless, all bodybuilders and other athletes can and do follow modified low-carb diets, namely the Cyclical Ketogenic diet and Targeted Ketogenic diet, where the consumption of carb fluctuates during round practice.
Low carb diet can actually serve 2 main purposes for obese and those with overweight problems, lose weight and keep it off.
In addition, those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes will also benefit from a low carbohydrate plan to stabilize blood sugar levels and a significant weight loss that may result in the reversal of type 2 diabetes.
Why low carb diets are working
Low carb diets, like in the Ketogenic diet, limit carb intake to as little as 20 grams per day. This restriction causes a metabolic process known as ketosis, where the body starts to burn body fat and dietary fat for fuel instead of dietary carbohydrates, which turns the body into glucose.
In contrast to all the fat hype, low carbohydrate diets are rich in fat and mainly focus on high intakes of healthy fats, which in turn promote the body’s natural fat burning process.
But what’s wrong with cholesterol?
What is the study showing?
The Mayo Clinic notes that ketogenic diets have desirable effects on diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome, and that eating low carbohydrate diets is more effective in lowering low HDL cholesterol than moderate carbohydrate diets.
While some studies have shown that saturated fat intake increases blood cholesterol levels, these studies are almost always short-lived, as little as a few weeks. However, several long-term studies have shown that there is no link between saturated fat and high blood cholesterol levels.
In addition, studies of low-carbohydrate high-saturated fat diets show no effect on blood cholesterol and, in fact, lower cardiac disease markers.
One study (Barclay AW, Petocz P, McMillan-Price J, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and chronic disease risk – a meta-analysis of observational studies) concluded that lower triglycerides and higher good HDL cholesterol profiles are associated with the use of the glycemic index (GI scale that measures the ability of food to influence blood glucose levels) to consume lower GI foods.
The first ever Bayesian study of the impact of nutritional therapy on weight loss (Sackner-Bernstein, Kanter, Kaul), released in October 2015, analyzed evidence from 17 randomized controlled trials involving 1,797 people who were obese and overweight. The study found a higher weight loss and a decreased cardiovascular disease risk factor in subjects who eat low carb and low fat. Dr. Sackner-Bernstein, the leader of the study, commented that the results showed a low carb diet to have a 99 percent likelihood of resulting in greater weight loss and a far higher likelihood of being superior to fat restriction.
One meta-analysis (Santos, et al; Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of effects of low-carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors) of 17 low-carbon dietary studies of 1,140 obese participants concluded that low-carbon cholesterol intake did not increase or decrease.
Low carb was associated with:
• Significant weight loss and lowered body mass index
• Significant improvements in several cardiac risk factors:
lower levels of triglycerides, better blood pressure
• Increased fasting glucose
• Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for heart disease
• Reduced levels of belly fat and waist • Improved levels of healthy HDL cholesterol
Another research (Siri-Tarino, et al; saturated fatty acids and the risk of coronary heart disease) indicated that carbohydrates substitute saturated fat, In particular, refined carbs and sugars, which have become commonplace over the past several decades, are associated with either no improvement or increased risk of cardiovascular disease and higher risk of dyslipidemia.
Researchers of the study concluded that taking into account current epidemic levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes with insulin resistance, lowering carbohydrate intake and sugar along with weight control should be a top priority in the dietary objectives of the public.
Some key findings
Therefore, no low carb diet supports trans fats (also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil) which are the worst fats leading to an increased risk of heart disease.
Generally, trans fats are present in fried foods, candy, baked goods, packaged snacks and food products, cookies, crackers and shortening vegetables, none of which is included on any respectable low carb program.
The Final Thought
You should talk to your doctor before you change your diet, particularly if you’re having heart disease or high cholesterol.