Why does the low carb diet work?

Low-carb diets are generally effective because they tend to keep you feeling full long for relatively few calories – at least that’s the claim. But a 2009 study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Heath found any diet that reduces enough calories will lead to weight loss.


Carbohydrates break down into a sugar compound called glucose. Carbs that break down too quickly inundate the bloodstream with glucose. This inundation produces an elevated insulin response to regulate your elevated blood glucose levels.


High insulin levels can also spark sensations of hunger and prompt your body to disproportionately favor burning glucose for energy over fats.


The impact of high insulin levels makes diets rich in rapidly digesting carbs more likely to lead to overeating. And it’s overeating, consuming more calories than you burn, which leads to weight gain.


Depending upon the diet plan you choose to follow, the low-carb diet solution basically boils down to replacing the rapidly digesting carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet with either protein-rich foods or slowly digesting carbs. Carbs with a glycemic index value of 55 or less are considered slowly digesting carbs.


By bulking up your diet with foods that take longer to digest you increase the satiety level of your meals. The longer your hunger is satisfied the less you’re inclined to eat. This makes weight loss easier because you have fewer calories you need to burn in order to lose weight.


Carbohydrates are a vital nutrient. It’s recommended that 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake come from carbohydrates; however, some low-carb diet models recommend a daily carb intake which falls below these FDA recommendations. It’s important to listen to your body. Symptoms of irritability, lethargy, or difficulty concentrating could indicate a carbohydrate deficiency.


Harvard School of Public Health: Diets That Reduce Calories Lead to Weight Loss

Rice University: The Emperor’s New Diet

Colorado State University: Physiologic Effects of Insulin

More Information:

Glycemic Index

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