Counting Carbohydrates: The Pros and Cons

Low carbohydrate diets usually emphasize the consumption of meats and fats and call for the minimization of dietary carbohydrates. Low carb diets lead to quick weight loss and many be beneficial for many, but they have their pros and cons.

How Low Carb Diets Work

Low carb diets cut carbohydrates from the diet and call for increased consumption of meats and fats. Low carb diets remove your body’s normal source of fuel, carbohydrates, thereby forcing your body to burn stored fat as fuel. These diets can be effective for a number of people, and some are better suited to low carb diets. However, low carb diets have their drawbacks and can even be dangerous in the long term.

Pros of Low Carb Diets

The many pros of low carb diets have made them a popular strategy for those trying to lose weight. Low carb diets lead to dramatic weight loss over a short period of time. They’re good for people who need to lose a lot of weight quickly. 

Low carb diets are easy to start. Low carb diets allow you eat as much as you want (as long as it’s low in carbs), so you won’t struggle with feelings of hunger like you would on a calorie counting diet. Eating a low carb diet can also help you get your fat and sugar cravings under control eventually.

Cons of Counting Carbs

One of the most well known cons of the low carb diet is that it makes you have cravings for all the carbohydrate-rich foods you had to give up when you started. Pasta, bread, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies and many snacks are off limits when you’re counting carbs. For the first three to five days of a low carb diet, you may experience the symptoms of sugar withdrawal; especially if you ate a lot of sugar before beginning the diet. The symptoms of sugar withdrawal include cravings, dizziness, headaches and fatigue.

Another con of carb counting is that you can’t eat everything you want. You’re restricted to only eating low carb foods. You may be allowed to eat as much as you want and you may never feel as hungry as you would on a calorie counting diet, but you’ll still struggle with cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods, like bread.

Low carb diets can be high in fat, since they typically contain a lot of red meat and place no restrictions on the fat content of foods. If you’re thinking of trying a low carb diet, be careful not to overindulge in fatty foods just because they’re on the list of foods that you’re able to consume. Counting carbs can be a useful way to lose weight, but if you switch to a high-fat diet, you’ll only cause more weight gain and health problems in the future.

Low carb diets can be expensive, since they require you to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. Processed foods that are high in fat and sugar are cheaper, but not when you factor in the cost of the medical care you may need to cope with the ill effects that those foods can potentially bring upon you if you overindulge.

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