We all have heard about – and probably tried – different kinds of diets in our lives. And one food regimen that has been a rage with women trying to loose those extra kilos is the low-carb diet. It advocates limiting carbohydrates, such as those found in starchy vegetables and grains.
Now, we know what you are thinking. If carbohydrates are the major source of energy, how will your body get its fuel if you cut the carbs?
And does a low-carb diet actually work?
Research shows that a low-carb diet might be useful in the short-term to loose weight, lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar control but some studies suggest that in the long term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause.
A large-scale study now published in The Lancet Public Health Journal examines the effect of high-moderate and low-carbohydrate intake on mortality risk. It shows that in the short term, a low-carbohydrate diet does result in a rapid weight loss of 1-3kgs within the first few days due to depletion of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) and its associated water stores. Weight loss on a low carbohydrate diet is also generally associated with eating less energy-dense processed foods and higher protein intakes that can help with appetite control and maintenance of muscle mass.
According to Delhi-based nutritionist Harshita Dilawri of Know Your Nutrients, the side-effects of very low carbohydrate diet usually include headaches, nausea, fatigue, poor concentration and constipation because the body uses fat as the primary fuel due to insufficient carbs. She says that a low-carb diet also limits the intake of wholegrain, fruits and starchy veggies - all good sources of fibre, essential vitamins and minerals, which further increase the risk of deficiency in key nutrients.
So, all in all, it is better that we have a balanced diet including all the food groups. Ladies, be realistic.