A low-carb diet is bad for your health
All dietitians agree that cutting out sugar and refined flour is a good idea.
But there is still no consensus about low-carb nutrition amongst heathcare professionals.
Multiple scientific studies show that low-carb dieting is not only not dangerous, but actually good for your health – in many ways beyond weight loss.
Sometimes, dietitians who don’t specialise in low-carb nutrition (and so don’t necessarily know much about it) have a knee-jerk negative reaction. But there is plenty of scientific evidence in favour of low-carb diets.
Have a look at this round-up of latest studies to refute common low-carb diet misconceptions amongst nutritionists.
One word of caution. As is the case with nutrition in general – whether trying to lose weight or not – be sensible, and follow a plan that’s been developed and tested by experts.
If you just suddenly stop eating all carbs, and try to live on steak, cheese and bacon, then clearly that’s not good for you. Contrary to the negative stereotype, this is not at all what low carb dieting is all about.
Browse our section on Low carb diets plans to choose one to suit your lifestyle, and then get the book and read it, so that you know exactly how to devise and manage your diet plan.
Being in ketosis is dangerous
Being in ketosis simply means that fat is processed for energy instead of carbohydrates. The breakdown of dietary fat results in ketone bodies being present in your blood and urine.
Millions of people have experienced this state without any adverse health effects. Ketogenic diets are prescribed by mainstream medical professionals for managing symptoms of some diseases such as epilepsy.
Ketosis is sometimes confused with ketoacidosis, which is indeed a dangerous state but it only affects people with type 1 diabetes. Read more about ketosis on Ketopia.
Low carb is not a natural way to eat
What’s really unnatural is the standard Western diet that’s high in refined sugar and flour.
High-carb foods so abundant today are a result of technological advancement. They have only been available for the last century or two. There is nothing natural about white sugar – it is a result of a complicated refining process.
Going further back, humans as a species had been hunters and fishers long before they started to cultivate grains and other plant-based foods. Plants or roots available to those primitive societies, would have contained fewer carbs than their modern day counterparts. Centuries of cultivation and selecting breeding resulted in much higher carb contents. Compare supermarket fruit or berries with their wild equivalents to see the point.
Finally, our lifestyles are very different to those of our ancestors, even if we go back just one century. Most of us lead sedentary lives, and do little physical work. In developed countries, food is abundant and no one ever starves (sadly, this is not the case in some other areas of the world).
Technology develops much too fast for a human body to evolve accordingly. Perhaps one day humans will move past their basic instinct to consume and store food whenever they can. But in our lifetime, we will have to stick with diet and exercise to mitigate the consequences of food abundance.
Low carb dieters don’t get any fruit or veg, and so may lack in vitamins
The myth about no fruit or veg is probably the most persistent one. But it is simply not true. Low carb diets allow plenty of vitamin-rich vegetables.
Fruit is only restricted during the early phases of some plans. The way we think about fruit is actually sometimes misguided.
We think of fruit automatically as healthy, but in reality, some fruit are extremely high in sugar.
Eating several oranges or a pack of grapes in one go gives you the same amount of sugar as a chocolate bar. Of course, fruit is better than chocolate, as it also contains fibre and vitamins.
But sugar is sugar. You should eat less of it if you want to lose weight.
Fruit juices remove fibre from the fruit, and in fact are hardly better than sugary fizzy drinks.
If you are worried about getting enough vitamins in the early, more restrictive stages of your diet, consider taking a multivitamin supplement.
Not getting enough carbs will make me tired
You might experience a short period of tiredness while your body adjusts – also known as “low-carb flu”.
However, this period usually only lasts for a short time. There are steps you can take to make yourself feel better during this period.
Once your body switches to burning fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, you are likely to find yourself feeling more energetic than before. Moreover, you will feel so on a consistent and continuous basis – in contrast to roller-coaster up and down energy levels typical of a high-carb diet.
Check out this guide to coping with the low-carb flu.
I will never eat anything sweet again
Sugar is not the only source of sweetness. There are plenty of low-carb and no-carb sugar substitutes to use instead.
Spend a little bit of time researching new products and cooking methods. You can easily have desserts and baked goodies on low-carb, provided you use low-carb ingredients.
Check out our Low-Carb Recipes section – it includes lots of desserts recipes.
Low-carb diets are boring and monotonous
This one is so completely unfair, it makes me laugh. It’s very easy to enjoy food on a low-carb diet. It’s very indulgent compared to low-fat or calorie-restricted diets.
You can have meat, cheese, fish, poultry, fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds, and yes, even desserts and bread (as long as it’s low-carb – see above).
Because low-carb lifestyle is still niche, there are fewer ready-made products available on the market. But this is a good thing!
If you don’t cook at the moment, this is the perfect opportunity to start. It’s easier to create delicious and interesting meals if you cook them yourself from scratch. It doesn’t have to take a long time or be complicated.