It seems that every other day there is a new fad diet that everyone swears by. Body wraps, skinny teas, this diet pill, that diet pill etc. Most of us can look at these fads and realize that they are just that, trends. But one diet that seems to be sticking around is the low carb diet. I'm sure you've had friends swear by them or you may have tried a low carb diet yourself and seen results. But while a low carb diet may not be as ridiculous as stuffing yourself into a body wrap to lose weight, it's also not the best method of dieting. Carbs are NOT the enemy! In fact, they're pretty great and here are some reasons why..
Carbs Provide Energy
If you have friends that have tried low-carbing it or if you've done it yourself, you are probably familiar with the low-energy effects that come with not consuming enough carbs. This is because carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. They are easily converted into glucose, and thus the first nutrient your body breaks down to use for energy. When you are on a low carb diet, energy stores are depleted, causing your body to look to fats for energy. This is a much slower process and some cells, such as brain cells, cannot run on fatty acids directly. As a result you will likely feel sluggish, have difficulty focusing, and your performance may suffer.
With a sufficient amount of carbs in your system you can think more clearly, work harder, and likely just be a more pleasant person to be around. Carbs are not the enemy, but you may be without them ;)
Most Healthy Foods Contain Carbs
Take a second and try to come up with a list of some of the healthiest foods you can. I bet that list contained whole grains, fruits and vegetables, didn't it? And do you know what all of these foods have in common? Not only are they healthy, but they're full of carbs!
All of these "high carb" foods provide immense nutritional benefits. Fiber, vitamins and minerals just to name a few. Sure, a low carb diet may help you lose weight initially, but are you really healthier without carbs? Is a side of bacon at breakfast healthier than a side of fruit? Losing weight is one thing, but cutting out carbs from your diet is essentially cutting out some very vital nutrients.
It All Comes Down to Balance
If weight loss is your goal, I hope that health is still a priority! If it is, a low carb diet is NOT the answer. Not only do carbs provide energy and vital nutrients, it is not conceivable that you will stick to a low carb diet for the rest of your life. Weight loss comes from a caloric deficit, and can easily be achieved without eliminating an entire food group.
Instead, I suggest opting for a diet that is balanced. It should be full of ALL essential nutrients, fats, carbs, and protein included. You should strive to consume foods high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Get active, take time to relax, and be flexible. Eliminating any one of these food groups is not sustainable and certainly not healthy for your body or for your mind! You will likely feel terrible and gain the weight back when its all over. A restrictive diet is not one that you will want to turn into a lifestyle and if you want the weight loss to really stick, you are going to have to find a diet that can become just that.