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Low Carb Diet – The Pros and Cons Men Need to Know!

A lean-toned body is the dream of every man. We struggled for centuries to find a perfect diet plan to help us achieve our dream body fast and easily, but in vain. Low carb diet is the result of such struggles.

But what is a low-carb diet, you might ask?

what is a low carb diet

We’ve been avoiding fat-based foods for so long. 

Studies now suggest that instead of fearing natural fats minimize your intake of sugar and starches and start consuming adequate protein and natural fat [1] [2].

A low-carb diet limits the consumption of carbohydrates; instead, you focus on protein-rich foods and fat. Carbohydrates are types of macronutrients that our body utilizes as fuel to function. There are two basic subcategories of carbohydrates; simple and complex carbs. Fiber, sugars, and starches are some examples of high-carb foods.

Many types of low-carb diets exist, depending on restrictions on the types and amounts of carbohydrates you can eat.

Here are a few:

  • Typical Low Carb Diet: 50-150 grams of carbs per day
  • Keto Diet: very low carb (<50 grams of carbs per day) and high protein
  • Zero-Carb Diet: reducing carbs to zero, especially animal-based carbs.
  • Paleo Low Carb Diet: focuses on food from the Palaeolithic era
  • Mediterranean Low-Carb Diet: focuses on Mediterranean food
  • Atkins Low Carb Diet: reducing all high-carb foods
  • Eco-Atkins low carb diet: vegan-based foods

The Science behind Low Carb Diet:

Under normal circumstances, carbs are the main energy source for our bodily functions. Foods high in carbs are usually high in sugar as well. Thus high-carb meals spike our blood sugar levels. These high sugar levels provide adequate or sometimes more than sufficient energy for our body’s functions. As the body has its needs covered, it does not need our stored extra fat for working. This way makes it hard for us to lose weight and fat.

Once we cut down our carbs, over time, blood sugar level tends to stabilize, and the levels of insulin drop; this puts our body into ketosis. This means the body is using its stored fat for energy. This whole process ultimately leads to weight loss [3]

In short, they say adopt a low-carb diet and see your dream body coming into existence. But let’s see what the benefits and costs are.

Benefits of low carb diets:

Weight Loss.

One key benefit of a low-carb diet is weight loss without hunger [4]. It’s been in practice for decades, with thousands of studies backing it up.

Low carb diet is more than just counting your calories. The main focus of this diet plan is the regulation of the body’s main fat-storing hormone-insulin. Lower insulin triggers fat burning even with everyday activities. 

Another factor that aids in weight loss is reduced hunger. This is the result of high protein intake in this diet plan. 

Healthy Heart.

Low carb diet is believed to be heart-friendly. The major role is in the regulation of cholesterol levels.

Higher HDL levels relative to LDL cholesterol are known to lower the risk of heart disease. A low-carb diet, which includes a good portion of healthy fat, helps dramatically increase HDL levels.

Some research results back this up, but we have a long way to go to learn more about its benefits to heart health [5].

Prevents and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

Hundreds of people are adopting low-carb diets to prevent or reverse their type 2 diabetes [6]. Our body uses sugar (glucose) as fuel for its functions, and insulin helps with the process. In Type 2 diabetes, our body can’t use insulin properly. In the long term, this results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream, and the sugar in the blood comes from the carbohydrates we eat. It is not surprising that eating fewer carbohydrates works well for reversing type 2 diabetes.

Along with that key focus of a low-carb diet is regulating the level of insulin. This, in the long run, also help control blood sugar level. 

Improved Libido.

A healthy diet has a major role in men’s sexual performance, as a poor diet can lead to drops in testosterone. And libido is directly related to testosterone levels in men. A low-carb diet, improved metabolism, and general well-being help with sexual health [7]. With less body fat, testosterone levels increase, leading to enhanced libido and confidence. Many men also reported the beneficial effects of the low-carb diet on erectile dysfunction.

Energy Regulation And Fewer Cravings

What else can be a bigger hurdle to losing weight than mood swings and unwanted cravings? All this is just because of high-carb, sugary food.

High-carb meals mean more blood sugar that can take energy on a roller coaster ride. This up and down in the energy chart causes mood swings. When we switch to a low-carb diet, fat and protein are our main energy sources instead of carbs. Plus, the insulin regulation of this diet gives you a steady supply of energy all day long. This boost of energy ultimately helps with a better workout [8].

Sugar is addictive; the more you eat, the more your body craves it. A low-carb diet is also a low-sugar diet as its major portions are protein and natural fat. Once the body realizes it’s not getting any more sugar, it will adjust, and your cravings will go away. Over time you will feel lesser mood swings and get better skin.

Benefits of low carb diets

Disadvantages of low carb diets:

Low carb diet is not just all glory; there are some unfortunate dooms as well.

Headaches.

Headaches are pretty common with low-carb diets [9]. Blood sugar is the main fuel source, not just for your body but for the brain as well. As you shift toward low carb, your blood sugar levels drop. This transition stresses your brain, leading to brain fog and headaches.

Electrolyte imbalance associated with the low-carb diet can also be a potential cause of headaches.

Fatigue.

After decades of running on high-carb food, the initial switch to a low-carb diet can cause weakness and fatigue [10]

This happens because carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for our body, and suddenly slashing carb intake drastically drops energy levels. Plus, carbs are easier to utilize as an energy source than protein or fat. 

Dehydration.

Dehydration due to frequent urination associated with a low-carb diet is quite common [11]. During your low-carb diet, as the body depletes its stored carbs (glycogen), it releases water when used. Furthermore, a drop in insulin levels signals kidneys to release sodium, causing an electrolyte imbalance of potassium and sodium.

Constipation And Bloating.

Diet changes can cause alterations in your bowel habits. Low carb diet is usually associated with belly bloat and constipation [12]. This is due to the fact that fiber is most concentrated in carbohydrate-rich foods. And low-carb diet means reducing the amount of daily fiber intake.

The second reason for constipation is the sodium imbalance in your body as you cut out processed foods. This leads to altered fluid balance that can further contribute to constipation.

Insomnia.

Another big issue during the initial phase of a low-carb diet is poor sleep. A good number of people report insomnia or waking up at night when they first reduce their carbs drastically [13].

The main reason for that is the lower level of insulin. The food in a low-carb diet is high in sleep-inducing tryptophan, but the problem arises as insulin is required to convert this chemical into serotonin. Low insulin means low serotonin, making it harder for you to sleep or stay asleep.

Conclusion.

Low carb diet is a great take for those men who want lean and toned body lightning fast. This diet structure is proven by science to help you get rid of fat fast, especially the one on your belly.

But everything comes with a cost. With so many benefits low-carb diet brings some side effects as well. Fortunately, most of these side effects are temporary and can disappear as your body gets used to a low-carb diet. There are some ways as well to help ease these symptoms. For example, drink plenty of fluid throughout the day to rehydrate and take an electrolyte supplement for the electrolyte imbalance [14]. This also helps alleviate constipation and headaches.

Overall, a low-carb diet can be a good choice for you; just take it easy. Start slow and eventually reduce your carb intake over time. This way, you can get the most out of it without suffering side effects associated with a low-carb diet.

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