Low-carbohydrate, or low-carb, diets are still very high, especially among those looking to lose weight fast. The promise is simple: By significantly cutting your carbohydrate intake, the body is led to metabolize the accumulated fat as an energy reserve. But, in practice, it is necessary to assess to what extent this restriction is healthy or necessary. Do low carb diets have health risks? We try to answer this question below, read on!
What to keep in mind before doing low-carb diets?
The first thing is to understand that carbohydrates are a macronutrient that represent the first source of energy for our body. Once ingested, these compounds “break down” into smaller sugar molecules, which easily enter the bloodstream. Therefore, they are a good source for our body for the rapid generation of energy.
However, it is true that this energy is spent as fast as it is produced. In consecuense, if we are very active, we can get hungry quickly after eating a meal rich in carbohydrates. Already fats and proteins tend to provide a longer lasting satiety after consumption.
Hydrates also stimulate protein synthesis in the body. Therefore, people who eat a diet aimed at hypertrophy, in order to increase their muscle mass, may not benefit from low-carbohydrate diets.
Is it necessary to restrict the consumption of carbohydrates to lose weight?
This is a complex question, but if we have a broad perspective, the best thing to do would be to say NO! Putting carbohydrates as the great “villains” of modern food is a limited understanding.
Nobody gets fat by eating carbohydrates, and yes by doing it in excess, without respecting the nutritional requirements of your body. And the health problems frequently associated with its consumption are mainly due to the poor choice of sources of this macronutrient.
For decades, the intake of refined flours and sugars, as well as ultra-processed products, has been increasing. When the most beneficial thing would be to give preference to complex carbohydrates, which are present in natural foods.
So, do low carb diets have a health risk?
The answer will depend mainly on how these low carbohydrate diets are put into practice. Excessive or prolonged restriction of this macronutrient is not considered healthy, the less necessary to manage body weight.
A study presented during the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, points out that low-carb diets can raise the risk of premature death. An increase in the predisposition to coronary and cerebrovascular diseases, some types of cancer and fulminant heart attacks has also been observed.
In this sense, low carbohydrate diets can be used promptly and in the short term as a strategy to promote weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and control blood glucose. But in the long term they can have significant health risks, as the researchers suggest.