carbs
October 5, 2021

CARBS-Affects on Your Body When You Reduce them

Carbs in lower amount or “low-carb diets” have been recommended as effective ways to lose weight.1 The Atkins diet is also becoming more popular. As with all health matters, there are pros and con to any drastic change in your diet. It is important to remember that a licensed nutritionist or doctor can help you make safe changes to your food intake.

Numerous studies have shown that low-carb diets are more effective at weight loss than low-fat ones. However, this is not the only concern when it comes to nutrition and health. There is so much conflicting information about carbs that we decided to investigate what happens to your body if you stop eating them.

We asked experts to tell us what happens to your body when carbs are cut. Here are the facts from doctors, nutritionists and dieticians.

MEET THE EXPERT

  • Kimberly Gomer MS, RD and LDN Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center.
  • Juliana Shalek MS, RD and CDN founder of The Nutrition Suite.
  • Kristin Kirkpatrick is a Cleveland Clinic dietitian.
  • Maya Feller is a registered dietician nutritionist, MS, RD and CDN at Maya Feller Nutrition.

What Happens to Your Body After Cutting Carbs

There are some things you should consider before making any major changes. Kimberly Gomer MS, RD LDN says that people crave carbs every time they cut down on their intake. It’s not surprising that consuming fewer carbs can have a negative impact on your body’s ability to function. We’ll show you what to expect when you switch to a low-carb diet.

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You May Experience the “Low-Carb” Flu

Juliana Shalek MS, RD CDN, founder of The Nutrition Suite, claims that a low-carb diet can promote weight loss quickly because it reduces blood sugar and insulin levels. This, in turn, may lead to fatigue, weakness and headaches. Also known as the “low carb flu,” this condition can last for a few days to weeks. “4

Gomer also describes this phenomenon, stating that you might experience “brain fog” and “low energy.” The preferred energy source for our brains is glucose and carbohydrates, so it’s important to adjust your intake. “If we drive a sports car with premium gasoline, why would we give our brain inferior fuel?” Gomer agrees.

Your Body Will Eventually Go Into Ketosis due to low Carbs

Your body will eventually enter ketosis if you eliminate all carbs. This is where small amounts of carbon, called ketones, are released into your bloodstream because your body burns fat instead of carbs. Although the “5 Keto Diet” may sound appealing, fat is slower than glucose to provide fuel, making it more difficult to exercise or do other physical activities.

Gomer concurs, saying that we need carbs for exercise. Therefore, it is important to consider your activity level when considering this approach.

Low-fiber diets can have negative effects on cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.

You’ll Lose Water Weight First

A keto diet will cause you to lose water weight first. This can be misleading. Then, the non-water weight will follow. According to a 2013 British Journal of Nutrition meta-analysis, low-carb ketogenic diets were more effective than traditional low-fat diets in reducing obesity rates.6 However, it doesn’t make sense to eliminate them altogether if you consider the long-term health risks.

What About Going Low-Carb?

Kelly LeVeque, celebrity nutritionist, told Chalkboard that it is important to look at the “carbohydrate density” of our food rather than cutting out carbohydrate altogether. Simply put, carb density is the percentage of food that contains carbohydrate and less fiber. LeVeque explained that most high-net carb foods will end in sugar in your body. Whole foods found in nature have a carb content of less than 30%. Even carb-heavy vegetables have a lower carb count. Processed foods are the worst and should be avoided.

Gomer says that an individual approach is the key to success. “Most people are sensitive towards processed carbs. She adds that Type 2 Diabetics, and insulin-resistant people, may prefer to eat fewer carbs. It’s important that you consult a professional when limiting your carb intake because of the possible negative consequences.

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Why You Should Look For High-Fiber Foods Instead

There are many delicious, high-fiber, and low-carb foods that you can enjoy. This will make you feel good. Fiber is not digested or absorbed so it takes up space in the intestines, which gives you a feeling full and makes it easier to avoid snacking and overeating.

Kimberly Gomer is Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center. “High fiber is gold,” she says. Furthermore, eating lots of vegetables, which are the best carbs available, is key to your health. Vegetables, in addition to making you feel full, will provide nutrition that supports strong immunity, anti-cancer and cardiovascular support.

Maya Feller Nutrition’s registered dietician nutritionist, MS, RD and CDN says that women should consume 25g of fiber daily. However, women over 50 should aim to consume 21g.8 The expert said that most Americans don’t meet their daily fiber requirements. Low-fiber diets can have negative effects on your cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. “9

The Final Takeaway of Carbs

Do your research, and choose healthy carbs that have not been refined. Healthy fiber-rich foods are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins. They will help you feel fuller and offer a variety of health benefits. It’s a personal decision. Kimberly Gomer advises anyone who wants to change their diet to work with a dietitian. This will help them to determine the right amount of carbs and the best way to consume them.