Zero Carb Diet: Why Carbohydrates are Necessary?
Medically reviewed by Ashwathy V. Pillai, Postgraduate Degree in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition
Have you ever gone on a zero-carb-all protein diet for weight loss? How was it? It must have been a torture for sure but the weight loss might have made you happy.
But wait, all that effort lasted only for a few months right? You are back to where you were or be rest assured, you will gain it all back.
Any true nutritionist will tell you that skipping any food group is not the right way that leads to weight loss.
Did you know, our body depends on carbohydrates for energy? Or that, complex carbohydrates are very important? And the best part, you can still lose weight by eating carbohydrates!
Before planning on going on a zero-carb diet, consult a Truweight nutritionist for FREE to see if it fits you.
What is considered to be a zero-carb diet?
A zero-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates which are only high in protein, fat, and vegetables. The number of carbs, in a zero-carb diet, is restricted between 50 to 150 grams per day, depending on the diet.
But before you get happy and jump on the zero-carb diet for weight loss bandwagon, you must know that carbohydrates are necessary as it provides energy to the body.
It is the basic macronutrient found in all plant foods.There are 2 types of carbohydrates- simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbs or the bad carbs are found in soda, sugar, white rice, corn syrup, etc.
While the list of carbohydrates that are complex in nature and are very beneficial for our health are found in vegetables, fruits, whole grain bread, oatmeal, legumes, brown rice and wheat pasta.
Do zero carb diets work for weight loss?
When carbohydrate consumption is below 100 grams, the body usually responds by burning muscle tissue for the glycogen (glucose). When the glycogen starts to run out, the body burns its own fat for fuel.
The body does it only when it is starving. A lot of people believe that cutting carbs in favor of higher protein is a simple way to become lean fast.
By some people, carbs are also not regarded as an essential part of the diet and are given a lesser importance.
Restricting any type of food group from your diet can lead to various health problems.
A zero-carb diet asks for curbing one particular food group. It only consists of a high protein which may result in nutritional deficiencies causing ill health.
Why is a high protein diet bad for you?
A high-protein diet may damage kidney function in people suffering from kidney problems because your body may have trouble flushing out all the waste products of protein metabolism.
Some of the high-protein diets include foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
What are the dangers of a high protein low carbohydrate diet?
Zero-carb diet has been known to be ineffective and unhealthy. It is because after you go back to normal eating habits the weight returns back.
Here, is a list of some of the risks that might arise when you are on a high protein low carb diet:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney problems
- Osteoporosis and kidney stones
Reducing your intake of this major nutrient can cause negative side effects. The more you decrease carbs in your diet, the greater the side effects.
14 Negative side effects of zero-carb diet
The list below includes the most common side effects of zero-carb diet.
- Frequent Urination
- Fatigue and Dizziness
- Low Blood Sugar
- Sugar Cravings
- Shakiness or Weakness
- Muscle Cramps
- Sleep disturbances
- Kidney Stones
- Hair loss
- Lowered T3 Thyroid Hormone Levels
- Heart Palpitations
Even if you are on a weight loss diet, you should not fully omit carbs from your diet. The reason is:
- Carbs in the form of glucose are the only source of energy that the brain and central nervous system can utilize.
- In the absence of carbs, fat cannot be broken down completely. If you want to lose weight carbs are required to help in breaking down the fat completely.
- You need carbohydrates to exercise as carbs are absorbed by the muscles which in turn will keep you active throughout.
Carbohydrates are not bad provided you select the right ones in your weight loss diet.You can watch the video for more information about zero-carb diet.