A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates — such as grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes dietary protein and fat. Many types of low-carb diets exist, each with varying restrictions on the types and amounts of carbohydrates you can eat. A low-carb diet is generally used to lose weight. Some low-carb diets say that they have health benefits beyond weight loss, such as reducing risk factors associated with heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
But contrary to these beliefs, there are two things you need to know: diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the Atkins diet, tend not to have lasting effects and, more importantly, you need carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates contain glucose, one of the essential nutrients your body needs to function. Carbs can be found in foods like bread, pasta, fruit, and starchy vegetables. Bread and pasta are big offenders if youre on a low-carb diet.
Foods that contain carbohydrates are also often high in fiber, which helps with intestinal health. Being on a low-carb diet can reduce your concentrationnot something you want if your job requires your full attention or if you commute to and from work. Despite what you may have heard, carbohydrates actually help you to burn fat more effectively than protein, while also working with protein to repair muscles and stimulate growth.
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Low carb diets are often easy to maintain as the lack of carbohydrate normally helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are stable you don’t crave those sweet, sugary foods. When cutting out the amount of carbs in our diet we also tend to opt for lean protein options and fibrous vegetables. This gives us a few benefits. The increase in veggies means an increase in vitamin and mineral intake as well as fibre. The increase in lean protein will leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal as the protein helps you to stay fuller for longer.
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