What are some advantages and disadvantages of a low carb nutrition approach?
There are many advantages to low carb nutrition, which is why I tend to use this dietary method with about 75 percent of my clients. But, low carb nutrition is not for everybody. There are some genotypes that do very poorly on a low carb diet.
If you are interested in a low carb diet to lose fat, be aware of what the best-selling author and dietitian Jonny Bowden would say, “You need to approach your fat loss system like you would approach relationships: with daily attention, nurturing, support, crisis management, intervention, focus, attention, consciousness, and mindfulness. It requires good negotiation skills. All the things we don't tend to have when it comes to food”!
The Advantages of Low Carb Eating
It promotes muscle gains while reducing fat stores
I am not a believer in the bulk-up/get lean approach of hypertrophy training. For 75 percent of the population, I strongly believe that if you want to gain lean body mass while losing fat, the low carb approach is most effective, especially if you are takings supplements that enhance insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity tends to improve on low carb diets, making the fat loss that you achieve more sustainable.
It is very valuable in treating dyslipidemia or high cholesterol
Low carb diets are particularly effective at reducing high cholesterol and elevated triglycerides. The effect of a low carb diet on raising the good form of cholesterol is not as drastic. but overall, low carb eating will improve the HDL:LDL ratio in a manner that significantly reduces cardiovascular health risk.
It reduces inflammation
Many patients will report reduced joint pain while following a low carb diet. High insulin levels that come from high carb eating are linked with inflammation markers, and more inflammation in the body leads to joint pain. In addition, another cardiovascular health risk marker called C-reactive protein will go down very rapidly when a low carb diet is followed.
It improves blood sugar and insulin levels
Blood sugar management is probably one of the biggest benefits of low carb diets. Almost 68 percent of Americans are pre-diabetic. Insulin, which is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas in response to eating carbs, increases aging and inflammation when it is consistently elevated. Managing insulin is one of the best ways to promote a healthy long life. An added benefit of improving blood sugar is reduced mood swings and less likelihood of binging on food because you won’t feel hungry or crave high sugar foods.
It lowers blood pressure
Low carb diets reduce inflammation, which lowers blood pressure.
It increases energy
Greater energy levels is a very common report of low carb dieters. In studies that test the effect of mood and low carb diets, psychological test results always indicate greater well being from low carb eating, likely due to better management of blood sugar. As nutrition expert Robert Crayhon says, “if you want more energy, take care of your mitochondria.” Lower insulin levels help manage the energy producing capacities of mitochondria.
Disadvantages of Low Carb Eating
It tends to be bland
Low carb eating is thought to be bland, but this is not a reality. There are plenty of resources such as cook books like Living the Low Carb Life by Jonny Bowden that provide you with a wealth of recipes (www.jonnybowden.com).
Food prep time is greater
The meat content is typically greater with low carb eating making more time necessary to prepare food. Cooking a steak takes more time than making a sandwich. But again, there are solutions. If you use salad instead of the pita, you can do low carb wraps in a flash.
Constipation is often an issue
That can be off-set by taking in a mixture of ground flax seed hulls and ground fenugreek seeds first thing in the morning. Besides providing the body with many forms of fibers, it helps detoxify the body daily and improves insulin sensitivity.
Possible nutrients deficiencies
Anytime you eat a specific diet and abstain from certain foods, you can become deficient in certain nutrients. I recommend that everyone take a high-quality, broad nutrient multi-vitamin supplement.
This goes along with a varied plan of antioxidant supplementation that changes every week. To make it simple, I change the color of the antioxidants I take. For example, the first product may have 5 to 6 flavonoids like limonene (so the base color is yellow), and the next week, I switch to purple so that I use a formula that has grape seed extract, bilberry, and others.