Some people are turned off by low-carb diets. Some are even scared of trying low carb. Why? Because of common low carb diet myths.
There are dozens of studies that offer clinical proof that low-carb diets are beneficial for health. This is, of course, true if a low-carb diet is followed correctly. So let’s dive into some common low carb diet myths….
Low-Carb Means Basically ‘No Carbs’
Going low-carb doesn’t mean virtually completely going carb-free. If you’re used to eating lots of carbs, it doesn’t mean you have to quit cold-turkey. In fact, you may be able to enjoy some of your favorite carbs on a low-carb diet. Low-carb diets typically limit total carbohydrate intake per day to under 100-120 grams. Strict low-carb diets limit carb intake grams to 50.
If you love oatmeal in the morning, you can still have it, and eat it, too, on a low-carb diet. A half-cup of steel-cut oats has approximately 25 grams of carbs. If you had oatmeal for breakfast and then a big salad for lunch, you’d still fall well within the upper limits of a low-carb diet protocol.
A Low Carb Diet Is Unhealthy
Another one of the common low carb diet myths is that it’s an unhealthy way to eat. But, this is far from the truth.
Most carbohydrates that the average person in a western society eats are junk, empty carbs. These empty carbs have some vitamins and minerals, but are more of a health risk than a positive return on your health. These carbs include highly-processed breads, bagels, enriched pastas, pastries, etc….
These carbohydrates make you more resistant to insulin. This means your pancreas will have to work harder to produce more insulin to escort all those unused sugar molecules into your cells–and ultimately your liver–for energy storage.
Giving up these empty-flour-and-sugar carbs is a critical step in improving your health. Proper low-carb diets allow for some fruits and a high amount of vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables are carbs. Fruits are usually limited on low-carb diets because they tend to raise blood sugar more than most low-starch vegetables.
Just because you’re on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you’re not able to eat green leafy vegetables like spinach. In fact, one full cup of raw spinach contains only 1 gram of carbohydrates. Throw in some other healthy veggies in your salad, and even a handful of blueberries and you’re still well within the low-carb diet threshold.
Weight Loss is Only Temporary
First of all, not everybody who goes on a low-carb diet does so to lose weight. Though many people do ‘go low-carb’ to reduce bodyfat, there are many other healthy outcomes from going low-carb. People with type 2 diabetes may improve their condition on a low-carb diet. Children with seizure disorders such as epilepsy may experience less seizures on a low-carb diet. A high-fat, low-carb diet may slow the advance of memory-loss disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
As for weight loss, low-carb diets are effective in losing weight. And not just any weight, bodyfat. That’s an important distinction. By limiting your carb intake, you’ll burn off the stored glucose (blood sugar; called ‘glycogen’ in its stored form). Your fat cells will then shrink. So you won’t only lose water weight, which typically occurs with many fad, starvation diets.
Your Brain Functions Only On Glucose
Yes, your brain loves sugar. But that doesn’t mean you need a Slurpee to study for an exam or run a race (besides, your brain doesn’t like the brain-freeze). In fact, your body is able to burn both fats and proteins and use them for brain energy. This occurs through the processes of ketosis and gluconeogenesis. The former is when energy from stored fat is used; the latter, from protein.
And though it’s true if you’re used to eating lots of carbs, you might experience somewhat of a ‘low-carb flu’ at first. That’s because your body is so used to burning carbs for energy. But getting over the hump doesn’t take long and you may be amazed how clear-headed and energetic you feel after greatly eliminating your carb intake.
Common Low Carb Diet Myths: Conclusion
Low carb diets are not really diets. They are more of a lifestyle. In fact, it’s an ancient lifestyle. Traditional societies subsisted on low-carb diets for generation after generation, while enjoying mostly good health, free of chronic disease. Even societies that cultivated wheat likely didn’t consume the 310 grams of carbs that is the established current recommended daily value.
So many people believe the common low carb diet myths. It’s no wonder rates of obesity and diabetes and other metabolic disorders have skyrocketed.