For decades, low-carb diets were quite controversial. The media and many health professionals have demonized these diets for years.
Many people thought that that the high-fat content in many of these diets would cause heart disease and increase cholesterol levels.
Times have changed. Many studies have been conducted over the past 15 years or so on low-carb diets.
Most of them have shown these diets to come out well ahead of other types of diets they have been compared to.
Low-carb diets not only help to promote weight loss, but they can improve your health and reduce your risk for many diseases.
The Ketogenic, Paleo, and Atkins diets are probably some of the more well-known low-carb options that are out there.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the health benefits that have been reported from adopting a low-carb lifestyle.
5 Low-Carb Diet Health Benefits
1. Curb Your Appetite
One of the worst side effects that come from dieting is hunger.
It is one of the major reasons why so many dieters feel miserable and end up giving up on their diets before achieving their weight loss goals.
One of the biggest advantages to following a low-carb diet (see other advantages here) is that it results in your appetite being reduced.
Studies have consistently shown that when individuals cut down on carbs and consume more fat and protein, they end up eating fewer calories overall.
2. Helps with Weight Loss
One of the most effective and easiest ways to lose weight its to cut down on carbs. Numerous studies have shown that individuals following a low-carb diet tend to lose more weight, and faster, compared to individuals on other types of diets, including those who are specifically restricting the number of calories they consume.
One of the major reasons for that is low-carb diets have a tendency to eliminate excess water from your body. Since that lowers your insulin levels, it results in your kidneys starting to eliminate excess sodium, which leads to rapid weight loss during the first couple of weeks of following your diet.
One thing that low-carb dieters need to keep in mind, is that in order for this kind of diet to be successful it needs to be seen as a major lifestyle change rather than just a short-term diet to follow. The only way to lose weight and then keep it off for good is to stick with your eating plan.
Somme individuals are also able to start eating some healthier carbs once they have achieved their desired weight.
3. Lose More Stomach Fat
Not all of the body’s fat is the same. Where fat is stored determines how your risk of disease and overall health is affected.
Our bodies have visceral fat within the abdominal cavity and subcutaneous fat underneath the skin.
Visceral fat has a tendency to lodge around our organs. When you have excess fat in this area in can drive insulin resistance, inflammation and is also thought to be one of the leading drivers of metabolic dysfunction that is very common these days in Western countries.
Low-carb diets are highly effective at reducing the amount of harmful abdominal fat that can adversely affect your health.
So not only can you lose more weight on a low-carb diet but you also can lose a higher percentage of fat from your abdominal cavity, which is the most harmful type of fat that can endanger your health.
Over time, that can result in a significantly reduce the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
4. Can Lower Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat molecule. Fasting triglycerides, which is the amount of them that are in our blood following an overnight fast, are well known to be a high-risk factor for heart disease.
The main driver of increased triglycerides is actually carbohydrate consumption and simple sugar fructose in particular.
When people cut down on the number of carbs they consume, they have a tendency to see signification reductions in their blood triglycerides. By contrast, on many low-fat diets, triglycerides often go way up.
Overall, low-carb diets are quite effective at reducing blood triglycerides, and therefore reduces the risk of heart disease as well.
5. Levels of HDL (“Good” Cholesterol) Increased
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is frequently referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL (“good” cholesterol) and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) actually refer to lipoproteins which are what carry cholesterol in the blood.
LDL carries cholesterol to the rest of your body from the liver, whereas HDL carries cholesterol out of the other parts of your body and into the liver, where it may be either excreted or reused.
It is well-known that higher HDL levels reduce your risk for heart disease.
Eating the right kinds of fat is one of the most effective ways of to increase your HDL levels, and there is plenty of fat consumed on most low-carb diets.
That is why it is no surprise that HDL levels often dramatically increase on a low-carb diet, but on other diets such as low-fat diets tend to only see moderate increases and in some cases might even go down.
The Triglycerides to HDL ratio tends to be a strong predictor of a person’s risk for heart disease. By reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL levels, a low-carb diet tends to lead to this ratio seeing major improvements.
Overall, low-carb diets have a tendency to be high in fat and that often leads to a significant increase in HDL, or what is often called “good” cholesterol.
Following a low-carb diet can significantly improve your health. Cutting down on carbs and eating more fat and protein results in curbing your appetite and helps you lose more weight. On a low-carb diet, you also tend to lose more visceral fat in the abdominal area which is the most harmful to your health.
This type of diet also reduces triglycerides and increases HDL or “good” cholesterol, and both of these results help to reduce your risk for major diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So as you can see, following a low-carb diet can significantly improve your health.