Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

Benefit Cafe courtesy Sammy Albon - Creative CommonsUnlike many other diet types that one can find out there, advertising magical, quick results only to later fail to prove their efficiency, the low carb diet already has a long history of usage. Due to its popularity, scientists have been able to study its effects long enough in order to deem it both healthy and capable.

Featured image courtesy Sammy Albon – Creative Commons

While clearly helping with losing weight, reducing one’s carbohydrate intake can lead to lower levels of triglycerides, a lower blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels.

Triglycerides And What They Do

Just like an engine can work on different types of fuel, so can our bodies. The human organism uses sugar the quickest, and if sugar is the body’s gasoline, triglycerides are its diesel fuel. While the absorption of sugar is fast and leads to short energy bursts, triglycerides are not used as quickly and as efficiently on the short term. They are basically particles of fat present in our blood and they are able to keep the body running for longer, although doing it at a much lower level of intensity.

The triglycerides that the body doesn’t use don’t vanish into thin air, all the excess is transformed into reserves. This is the process through with the organism stores fat, leading not only to an unhealthy aspect on the long run but also to certain health risks, most of them of a cardiovascular nature. In the history of humankind, fat reserves had obvious purposes. Some humans lived in cold areas with little in ways of heating and even Roman gladiators kept a certain fat percentage in order to avoid severe injuries caused by cuts. However, those were all much more active individuals than we are today. And if they needed a certain amount of fat then, we certainly don’t need it as much now.

By simply reducing carbs, the blood sugar levels will lower and the body will be forced to make use of those triglycerides instead of storing them away for some cold winter.

And Speaking Of Blood Sugar

Blood sugar levels are rather sensitive. They can increase and drop in correlation with one’s diet. If the latter is rich in carbs, the levels will grow and that only leads to more exposure to health risks (resisting insulin, obesity, diabetes). By turning a low carb diet into a routine, the human body finds a comfortable and healthy level of functioning, burning fat at slow, but steady rates.

Blood Pressure And How To Lower It

With high blood sugar levels, comes high blood pressure. If the first is related to diseases such as diabetes, the second can lead to the cardiovascular variety. Keeping blood pressure at low levels should be a long term goal and it is achievable by replacing sugar content with protein that is healthy.

Homeostasis is a word that defines a state of well being. of physical and mental comfort. While there are certainly a large number of factors out there that prevent it for an individual, a diet that’s low in carbohydrates facilitates it. The scientific explanation shows that reaching a balance in the blood sugar and keeping it at a low, healthy level, eliminated the peaks and pitfalls associated with high sugar consumption.

While the beginning may be difficult, as all beginnings are, sticking with a low carb diet best suited for your body type, activity and needs will show results. The key is to allow the organism to settle into a new routine, and although painful at first, the rest of the journey will be much more pleasant. After a while the cravings will disappear, the mood will get better and what was once a leap of faith will become a way of life.

Low Carb Diet Basics

Blueberry Carrot Cake Parfait by juli

The Dangers Of Eating Too Many Carbohydrates

Cheap high-carbohydrate foods are often the staple diet for many people.  They’re a great way of filling up and getting plenty of energy. It’s because carbs are cheap, easy, and plentiful that many people rely heavily on them. Yes, carbohydrates are a great energy source – but a diet high in carbohydrate is giving people much more energy than they need in their everyday lives.  The potential pitfalls of a high carbohydrate diet are often said to be behind many of today’s different types of health concerns.

The Modern Carbohydrate Epidemic

Here are just some of the dangers that come with having too many carbs in your daily diet:

Excess Carbs Lead to Weight Gain

For some, excess weight may seem like an understandable thing to discuss when talking about carbs but many people are unaware of the obesity risk that carbs pose.  For years, we have heard about the benefits of low fat diets but only until recently has the benefits of low carbohydrate diets been advocated.

An overweight body is not a natural state for humans and it puts a lot of pressure and strain on many of the bodily functions; many of which are likely harmful.

In other words, carbohydrates are energy and when you’re consuming more than you’re using, you increase your stores of fat and gain weight. Being overweight adds many complications to the natural functioning of your body – many of which often go unknown because the effects are usually unseen.

One of the effects of excess weight is the increased risk of heart attack.  The relationship connecting elevated weight and an increased heart attack risk has to do with the way that the human body reacts to greater fat levels.
Normally, the body maintains a fairly constant amount of carbohydrates, water, fat, and protein. When you consume excess carbs which leads to an increase in the amount of fat in the body, it disrupts that balance by causing an increase in sodium, cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood.

This has been shown to increase the levels of Low Density Lipoprotein – also known as “bad cholesterol” – in the blood and has been shown to increase the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Excessive unwanted weight has also been shown to cause hypertension. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition where the blood forcing against the walls of the arteries is high enough to cause problems.  High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder in order to get oxygen through your body and that can lead to an increase in the risk of heart attack.

While the relationship between weight and health may sound frightening, small improvement can make a big difference.  Simply reducing your body weight by 10% has been shown to have a massive reduction in your risk of heart disease.  For an 180 pound person, that is only 18 pounds; not easy but certainly achievable.  Many have been known to lose 7 pounds in 7 days when starting a low carb diet, some even lose up to 30 pounds in 30 days.  Even at a more commonly recommended 2 pounds of weight loss a week, 18 pounds can be lost in only 9 weeks.  That is a short period of time to make up for years of unhealthy habits.

Excessive carbohydrate consumption combined with a lack of an exercise is one of the leading causes of obesity.

Carbs Cause a Loss of Appetite Control

Excessive carbohydrate consumption can have a large impact on how well you control your appetite.

So how is this dangerous?

Our ancestors were not exposed to so many carbohydrates as we are today. In the times before mass farming, the natural human diet was largely based on meats and wild grown gathered fruits and vegetables.  This was a much more natural and instinctual approach to food and diet.

Today, diets high in carbohydrates are disrupting the natural mechanisms of our body to control our diet.

Since diet is one of the leading contributors to our health, this distorting of our bodies instinctual response to food and its signals of what nutrients we need right now is causing us to lose our ability to discern what we need.  Most animals instinctively know kind of food they need and gravitate toward eating it.  Our ability to determine what is important is being eroded since we equate hunger with cheap, easy, and readily available carbohydrates.

Cheap and abundant foods that contain simple sugars such as cakes and candies, have been shown to cause large rises in blood glucose levels.   This rise in glucose tricks our bodies into thinking they’re full and have consumed the needed nutrients whether we’ve eaten any nutrients at all or not.  This gradual and ongoing nutrient deficiency is having repercussions on our health including causing a much higher risk of many types of diseases.

The effect that carbohydrates have on our appetite can also cause us to eat more, up to 500 calories a day more as suggested by some studies.  This is because a sharp rise in glucose caused by consuming carbs and the following return to normal as the sugar leaves our system causes us to feel hungry faster.  This steady increase in calories has led to an epidemic of obesity.

Eating Too Many Carbs Increases the Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the main dangers that can result from excessive carbohydrate consumption. That’s because fluctuating and unbalanced blood sugar levels as well as weight gain are two of the main causes of diabetes, and excessive carbohydrates are responsible for both the fluctuations and the weight gain.

8.3% of the US population is thought to either have diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes which is intolerance to glucose that can result in diabetes if not corrected.

Insulin resistance is a common result of Type 2 diabetes.  As you body develops insulin resistance, at first your pancreas begins to compensate by creating more insulin, eventually the body can not create enough insulin to keep up.

Type 2 diabetes and excess body weight have a direct correlation.  This is because of the interaction between fat cells and insulin.  In one way or another, every cell in your body needs insulin to allow them to receive glucose.  Fat cells however, are more resistant to insulin which leaves excess glucose in the bloodstream.  This excess glucose causes damage as it travels throughout your body particularly to your kidneys, arteries and other blood vessels, body extremities such as hands and feet, the brain, and your eyes.

This causes a downward spiral as your body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin and begins to accumulate more fat, more and more of your cells start to become fully resistant to insulin

Eating Too Many Carbs Causes High Blood Pressure

As discussed above, too many carbohydrates increases the amount of glucose in your blood.  This glucose pulls water out of your cells and into your bloodstream.  The additional water increases your blood volume.  This increase in blood volume causes you blood pressure to rise.  Now your heart has to work harder to pump your blood throughout your body.

If you take the term apart, carbohydrate means carbon and hydrogen.  When we hear the term hydration, we think of water but it technically refers to hydrogen.  Hydration refers to the ways carbohydrates affect water capacity in your body.

High blood pressure is damaging to your brain, heart, and affects other systems as well.  Excess carbohydrates can increase your blood pressure whether you are overweight or not.  This is why many seemingly healthy people have undiagnosed hypertension.

Eating Too Many Carbs Causes Nutrient Deficiencies

Short term nutrient deficiencies are not dangerous but long term, as in the case of diets consistently high in carbohydrates, can be the basis of many different illnesses and diseases.

Carbs require vitamin B for the body to use them.  Unfortunately in today’s over-processed machine produced factory food system, B vitamin complexes are often stripped from our food.  Refined grains are low in vitamin B yet need vitamin B to be used by the body so they end up pulling it from wherever it can be found, leaving the body depleted.

Vitamin B deficiency can lead to manic depressive episodes, heart disease, allergies, fatigue, muscle cramps, hardening of the arteries, and heart disease.

Reducing Carbs Can Improve Your Health

We have just gone over a brief overview of the way excess carbs can destroy your health – weight gain, loss of appetite control, diabetes, high blood pressure, and nutrient deficiencies can all be tied to excessive carbohydrate consumption.  Hopefully this has been enough to convince you to make a change, even a small change, can have significant benefits.  Going low carb is not always easy, especially when high carbohydrate foods are so readily available but you can make a change if you decide that you are going to.  Everyday more and more people are turning to low carb diets to improve their.

Low Carb Diet Basics

Keep in mind that low carb does NOT mean no-carb.  Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy body.  Keep reading.  Keep learning.  Use the free resources available on and you can improve your health.

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