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Nutrition

Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

Myths and Facts Behind Low Carb Meals

Myths and Facts Behind Low Carb Meals


Every few years or so, another fad diet finds its way into the world. For instance, one fad diet that everyone loved was the cabbage soup diet.  Following this plan, you simply had to eat two cabbage soup meals a day and then one healthy meal for your third meal. This diet actually did help many people to lose a massive amount of weight – for awhile. Then, once they got sick of the cabbage soup, which everyone did sooner or later, the weight came right back. That’s why it can be difficult to know if a fad diet that comes along is truly a fad or if it’s something that you can rely on to help you lose weight. Take low carb meals, for instance: are low carb meals a great option for someone who is looking to lose weight, or are they simply another cabbage soup diet?

Low Carb

Carbohydrates give your body fuel. When foods that have carbohydrates are broken down in your body, they become sugar. This sugar actually gives your body the energy that it needs in order to perform on a daily basis. When your body starts to break down carbohydrates, the pancreas starts to release insulin. The insulin actually then prompts the cells that are in your body to store the sugar so that it can be used later, as energy.

Scientists who have studied low carb meals and why they sometimes work say that when you eat low carb meals, you have fewer food cravings. They say that a blood sugar that is steady, and low, helps reduce the amount of cravings that you have, thereby making it easier to avoid eating the wrong foods, or larger portions of foods. So the myth that low carb meals are something that can help you to lose weight is actually true; it’s not a myth – you can start to lose weight if you eat meals that are lower in carbohydrates.

Serious Side Effects

There can, however, be low carb meals that are too low in carbohydrates. There are some diets which require that you actually avoid eating any carbohydrates at all for a specific amount of time. These diets liken not eating carbohydrates for a time to fasting, getting the carbs out of your system. This is actually a very bad idea. The body needs carbohydrates in order to work correctly, and if you do not have any carbohydrates, or enough carbohydrates, you may start experiencing some bad side effects, such as having a headache, feeling nauseated, and possibly even passing out. Low carb meals that are too low in carbohydrates can also make your bones fragile, as they deplete the mineral stores that are in the bones.

If you want to lose weight, low carb meals may be a solution, but not no-carb meals. If you have meals that are lower in carbohydrates than the meals that you’re currently eating, then you may lose weight fairly easily, but if you avoid carbohydrates entirely, your diet is likely going to be doomed to failure and your health may suffer as a result as well.

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