The Benefits of Low-Carb Diets: Is it Good for Your Health?

It's perfectly healthy to follow a low-carb diet, as long as it includes a variety of nutritious, whole, and unprocessed foods. Low-carb diets can be beneficial for heart health, as they can increase good cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels. These diets that emphasize healthy sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you lose excess weight can improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, at least temporarily.

Few things are as well-established in nutritional science as the immense health benefits of low-carb and ketogenic diets. A low-carb diet can help you lose weight because it activates fat burning processes, known as dietary ketosis. These ketones are also thought to have an appetite-suppressing effect. In addition, there is still no RCT that evaluates the health benefits of two low-carb diets of different stringency.

You probably don't need to eat as much on a low-carb diet, as you're likely to feel full longer. Get instant access to healthy low-carb and ketogenic meal plans, quick and easy recipes, medical expert weight-loss tips, and more. Studies have shown that low-carb diets are at least as effective, if not more, than other diets. However, when your diet is low in carbohydrates, experts say you may need certain key vitamins and minerals even more, especially folic acid.

A low-carb diet pattern generally includes less than 26 percent of the daily calories from carbohydrates of less than 130 grams (g) per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. A trial showed that 20-gram and 50-gram carbohydrate diets equally helped healthy volunteers maintain ketosis. Beyond the mostly transient side effects that can occur on a low-carb diet (see above), there are many controversies, misunderstandings, and some pure myths that simply don't stand up to further scrutiny. Short-term studies suggest faster weight loss with low-carb diets compared to low-fat diets, but long-term data show similar results.

Low-carb diets can help lower or even normalize blood sugar and, therefore, reverse type 2 diabetes. An extensive study concludes that a low carbohydrate intake increases the risk of premature mortality, as well as mortality from several chronic diseases. A ketogenic diet is a common name for a very strict low-carb diet, which contains very few carbohydrates, usually below 20 grams of net carbs per day.