When most people think about low-carb diets, the primary benefit that comes to mind is weight loss. While it is definitely true that a low-carb diet can help you lose weight, there are actually many other benefits that come with this way of eating and living.
In this blog post, we will discuss eight practical benefits to a low-carb diet and lifestyle. Some of these healthy benefits may be obvious to you, but others may surprise you!
Let’s get started!
Low-Carb Diet Benefits
Sure, you might lose weight, but did you know there are even more low-carb diet benefits? Keep reading and discover a few that you might not know about.
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1. Your energy levels will be more stable.
One of the best low-carb diet benefits is that you will have more energy. When you cut out carbs, your body must find another fuel source. This is usually fat, which is a much more efficient source of energy than carbs. This is why many people report feeling more energetic when they go low carb.
Your body will go through an adjustment period for a time, depending on how many carbs you restrict (with a keto diet being the strictest). You may experience sluggishness in the beginning, but this is temporary. As your blood sugar starts to regulate, your energy will start to establish a predictable baseline. With your blood sugar fluctuating less, your energy levels will balance out and feel less like a roller coaster. Say goodbye to all those slumps throughout the day!
2. Your complexion may improve.
If you suffer from acne or other skin issues, cutting out carbs may help to clear up your skin.
This is because high-carb, high-sugar diets can cause inflammation and lead to breakouts. Cutting out carbs (simple carbohydrates in particular) has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. When you have lower inflammation, your skin will look more clear, less red and will feel much healthier overall.
Another contributing factor to a better complexion in a low-carb diet is the increase in healthy (unsaturated) fats. Healthy fats, such as Omega-3’s, are great for skin and hair. Just make sure that you’re loading up on healthy fats from nuts, fish, avocados, etc.—not all fat is created equal!
3. You may sleep better at night.
Carbs can cause spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to restless nights. When you cut out carbs (especially simple carbs like candy, cookies and white bread), your blood sugar will become more stable. This means that you are less likely to experience those spikes and dips that can keep you up at night.
In addition, eating a lot of carbs can lead to weight gain. This extra weight can cause additional pressure on your joints and make it difficult to get comfortable at night. By losing weight on a low-carb diet, you may find it easier to fall asleep—and stay asleep!
4. Your jeans will fit better.
When you go low carb, you will likely lose weight. And what’s one of the first places people notice weight loss? Their waistlines!
A low-carb diet can help to slim down your midsection by reducing water retention and bloating. When your body doesn’t have easy access to carbs for energy, it starts to break down stored glycogen (a carb that is stored in your muscles and liver). Glycogen holds onto water, so when it is used for energy, you will also release the water that was being held onto.
This can lead to a loss of a few pounds in the beginning—just from water weight!—but it also means that your jeans will start to feel a little bit looser. And who doesn’t love that?
5. You’ll feel fuller, longer.
When you eat a lot of carbs, your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply. This roller coaster ride can leave you feeling hungry soon after eating a meal.
On the other hand, protein and fat take longer to digest, which means that you will feel fuller for longer after eating. This is because protein and fat release energy more slowly than carbs.
If you are trying to lose weight, this is a great benefit! Feeling fuller for longer means that you will be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals.
6. You won’t crave as many sweets.
When you consume sugary, high-carb foods, your body releases “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and other endorphins in the brain. This is what makes these foods so addictive. As you eat more of these foods, the more likely it becomes that you will continue to crave them, thus creating a cycle of craving and overeating.
But on a low-carb diet, things change. When you cut out high-carb foods, your body then uses something other than carbs (which break down into sugar) for energy. Your blood sugar levels will start to stabilize, and you’ll become less likely to crave sugary foods. As your dependency on sugar and sweets decreases, you will feel better overall!
7. You’ll have better workout sessions.
When you eat a lot of carbs, your body will burn those carbs for energy during your workouts. But when you restrict carbs, your body has to find another source of energy—usually fat.
This means you will be able to work out for longer periods without becoming as tired. In addition, research has shown that low-carb diets can help to increase the amount of fat you burn during exercise. So not only will your workouts be more effective, you’ll also be burning more fat!
The other contributing factor is your protein intake. In order to maximize your workout session, you need lots of protein for muscle growth and regeneration. In a low-carb diet, carbs are restricted while protein is encouraged. Without all those carbs, you have more room for protein.
8. You will feel less bloated.
Some people believe that by nature, a low-carb or keto diet will inevitably lead to bloating. While it’s true that bloating can happen, it’s not likely to happen when you approach a low-carb diet in a balanced way.
A diet high in carbohydrates leads to bloating because of water retention. Your body breaks down excess carbs as glycogen, which your body can use when it’s running low on energy. The thing is, glycogen loves water—every gram of glycogen comes with two to three grams of water. So, the more carbs your body takes in and doesn’t use, the more bloated you feel! On a low-carb diet, as you’re taking in fewer carbs, your body switches its primary fuel source.
At the end of the day, there are so many real, practical benefits to starting or continuing a low-carb lifestyle. Hopefully, we’ve provided a few low-carb diet benefits you may not have considered before. When done in a proper and balanced way, a low-carb diet drastically improves your overall health!
So what’s the best way to get started?
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