The Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet

A low-carb diet can be an effective way to lose weight and improve overall health. It can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, increase good cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and even cause you to burn more calories than other diets. Recent guidelines from the American Diabetes Association have included low-carb eating as an option for treating this common condition. On a strict low-carb diet, the liver produces ketones from fat metabolism, which become an effective fuel for the brain.

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. Studies show that some people successfully lose weight on a low-carb diet, just as they do on a low-fat or Mediterranean-style diet. Almost without exception, low-carb diets lead to greater short-term weight loss than low-fat diets. 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.

To make it easier to follow a moderate or strict low-carb diet, focus on eating healthy sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Another good option is to simply have a cup of coffee, as many people are less hungry on a low-carb diet and may not need breakfast. Studies have shown that low-carb diets are at least as effective, if not more, than other diets. But RCTs for strict low-carb diets tend to show better results, compared to RCTs for more moderate or liberal low-carb diets. Following these foods will make it relatively easy to follow a moderate low-carb diet (less than 50 grams of net carbs per day) or even a strict low-carb diet, with less than 20 grams of net carbs per day.