Low carb diets are very effective and are a great alternative to using restrictive calorie diets. So why do they work? Here is a very simplified explanation of low carb diets.
Carbs, short for carbohydrates, are macronutrients that make up part of the food you eat. Our bodies use carbs as a source of energy. When you eat carbs your body absorbs it into your blood stream and increases your blood sugar (glucose). Because high blood sugar is toxic and dangerous, your body releases the hormone insulin. Insulin helps store this sugar into your muscles and fat stores, thus lowering your blood sugar. Insulin also prevents your body from using it’s fat stores as a source of energy. This is a problem with weight loss because if you constantly have high levels of blood sugar, your body needs to control it by releasing insulin. When there isn’t enough demand for the energy (sugar) you are eating, it needs to stored as fat.
With a low carb diet we lower the amount of carbs you eat so that your body will need to metabolize your fat stores and use them for energy. Using these fat stores results in weight loss. Also, by eating less carbs, your body releases less insulin and as a result less glucose (blood sugar) is stored as fat.
There is a problem though, your body is very efficient and really good at adapting. Being on a long term low carb diet can start to lose it’s effectiveness. Because you are eating less carbs, you are essentially robbing your body of energy. This can cause fatigue and make it difficult to exercise or even function normally.
Enter carb cycling. Carb cycling is simply cycling between a normal carb days and a low carb days. This allows your body to store a healthy amount of sugar (energy) on your normal carb days. On your low carb days, you body is uses it’s fat stores for energy. This cycling of carbs helps deter some of the unwanted side effects of low carb diets.
Low carb diets produce great weight loss results. It takes a little discipline, but the reward is great!