Is a low-carb diet good for you? 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Cut Carbs

Is a low-carb diet good for you? 6 Reasons  You Shouldn’t Cut Carbs

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Are you afraid of carbs because you believe you will gain weight?

Or you are afraid to add some carbs since you have been on a low-carb diet for a while?

Do you want to learn more about the benefits of eating carbs and feel no guilt around carbs?

I totally get you. Until very recently, I was on a long-term low-carb diet, but I learned we can actually benefit from carbs while I was taking a health coaching course from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Disclaimer * Consult with a health professional before making any diet changes.

My experience with a low-carb diet

I suffered from a binge eating disorder caused by a strict calorie counting and fitness regime when I was between 19-22 years old.

When I was suffering from a binge eating disorder, I craved sugary bread and lots of fried stuff. I recovered from the disorder three years ago, but I believed carbs were my NEMESIS, and I had been restricted my carb intake until very recently.

I occasionally read the side effects of cutting carbs, but I decided to ignore them for a long while. What changed my mind? I recently started studying to be a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I learned avoiding carbs in the long term CAN HARM MY HEALTH.

I think many people believe carbs are EVIL and something to avoid, so I decided to write about if carbs are actually our enemy or not!

Why does a low-carb diet work?

If you’ve seen tons of advice “GO LOW-CARB”, or if you have benefited from a low-carb diet, you must be wondering why a low-carb diet works.

According to healthline, there are 6 main reasons why you can lose weight from a low-carb diet.

  • You lose fat around the belly – the fat around your belly can increase your appetite
  • Your insulin level drops – Your blood pressure is lowered
  • Your body loses some water from lowered glycogen level
  • Increased protein intake leads to decreased appetite
  • You eat less processed food
  • Lowered calorie intake

What!? Low-carb diet sounds amazing! I should just carry on with it!

However, a lot of studies show a low-carb diet has a great effect in a short term but NOT in the long term. What’s worse, you can harm your health by cutting carbs in the long run.

6 reasons why we should not cut carbs

1. Sudden death

A recent study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress analyzed data from 24,825 participants in the U.S. National Health and Examination Survey collected from 1999 to 2010.

They found differences between participants who ate the most amount of carbs and the least amount of carbs.

Participants who ate the lowest carb intake had more risks including;

  • 32 % higher risk of dying overall
  • 50% higher risk of heart disease or stroke

Ugg…This sounds pretty scary. You must be wondering WHY this happens. A researcher group from Harvard University and the University of Minnesota explains those risks come from increased protein and fat intake especially if you choose an animal-based food source.

Diets high in animal protein, especially red and processed meat, and saturated fat have been consistently linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and reduced life span.

HA! It makes sense.

It’s not low carb intake that causes an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. We rely more on other food sources, which increases the risk I mentioned above.

2. Kidney damage

According to healthline, if you cut carbs and increase animal foods instead, your blood and urine become more acidic, which increases the excretion of calcium in your urine. As a result, you have a higher chance to grow kidney stones.

So far, you may be wondering:

It seems like I may have higher risks of heart disease, strokes, and kidney damage only if I increase animal foods!

You’re right.

Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality, the study I showed you in the previous section compared animal-based low carb eaters and plant-based low carb eaters. Researchers found out animal-based low-carb eaters had higher risks of early death compared to plant-based low carb diet.

Maybe you’re thinking “Ha! Maybe I can be on plant-base low-carb diet!”. Let’s see!

3. You may feel more anxious

According to Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis, reduced varieties of microbiomes in your gut can impact your brain function.

Basically, your brain (central nervous system) and your microbiome in your gut can communicate with each other.

A lot of scientists are interested in the relationship between the microbiome in the gut and the brain in recent years, and researchers found that if the complexity of microbiomes in your gut changes, there are high risks of developing mental illness including anxiety and depression.

To me, this makes sense. I think when we feel more stressed, lonely, and depressed, a lot of us tend to rely on food.

So we will start eating different types of food, often high in fat and carbohydrates. When we change the type of food we eat, the diversity of our gut microbiome changes, and that can affect our brain.

Let’s see how the change of the microbiome in your gut can affect your health.

4. Increased risks of inflammation and colon cancer

Scientists group led by Richard Agans of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Wright State University in Dayton found that if you switch from a balanced diet to a high-fat, no-carb diet, the complexity of your gut microbiomes changes which results in metabolizing fatty acids.

When the fatty acids are metabolized, your body will produce less short-chain fatty acids and antioxidants, and those chemical compounds lead to increased inflammation and colon cancer risk.

The dynamics of your microbiomes in your guts change depending on the food you eat, and when you don’t eat a variety of foods, you have less diversity of microbiomes in your guts, and it can affect your weight loss.

So let’s learn more about how cutting carbs can affect your gut microbiome, ultimately slowing down weight loss.

5. May slow down weight loss

When you think about carbs, you may think of SUGAR.

However, carbs can divide into three types: sugar, fiber, and starches. This means when you are on a low-carb diet, your fiber intake decreases, and it has a huge impact on the gut microbiome.

A research group from Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London examined how gut microbiomes and high-fiber intake can impact on long-term weight-loss.

They selected 1632 healthy females and studied the relationship between weight gain and fiber intake.

As a result, they found gut microbes diversity negatively impacts long-term weight gain, especially if your fiber intake is low in the diet. They also found specific types of microbiomes have a big influence on weight gain, but this researcher group concluded that the complexity of gut microbes is the key to long-term weight loss.

If you are interested in how gut microbiomes can impact on weight loss, maybe you can read these posts I wrote!


➡️ Does Counting Calories Work? How To Stop Counting Calories Obsessively

6. You may develop a liver problem

Have you ever thought a low-carb diet can cause a liver problem?

Neither have I! Hugo Rosen, a liver disease specialist at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, explains the impact on the liver that a low-carb diet can give.

If you follow a low-carb diet especially high in fat like a Keto diet, you have an increased risk of NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).

This means your liver is carrying extra fat and this could cause cirrhosis and liver cancer, and those symptoms are similar to drinking too much liquor.

It is estimated a quarter of the global population has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and 35% of Americans have this condition, Dr. Hugo explains.

He also says patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is twice as likely to die from coronary event or stroke.

Dr. Hugo says if you have NAFLD and drink, you have a much higher risk of developing or worsening fibrosis. So this means you should be careful with alcohol consumption, even a moderate amount if you have NAFLD.

I walked you through pretty scary facts, but I’m NOT HERE TO SCARE YOU.

I spend some time digging in reliable scientific sources because I want you to be aware of those risks if you are considering starting or are following a low-carb diet.

I wish I hadn’t ignored the side effects of a low-carb diet, if I hadn’t I would have increased my carb intake earlier.

I will publish a post about what are good carbs and what are bad carbs, and how many carbs you need to eat in a day!

So if you are interested in learning more about eating carbs and losing weight, please come back to my blog next week, or you can join my newsletter! I’ll keep posting about healthy and safe weight loss!

Do let me know if there is anything else you want to know concerning safe and healthy weight loss in the comment section!

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    Sijanuja sukirthan
    Sijanuja sukirthan
    1 year ago

    Great post