Low carbohydrate diets such as the ketogenic diet and Atkins are becoming increasingly popular. They are extremely effective at helping people to lose weight. So, should you try a carbohydrate free diet plan? Are carbohydrates bad for you? As you start to read some studies, you realize that there are a ton of advantages to reducing your carbohydrate intake. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, you may even want to eliminate all carbohydrates until you heal and then gradually add them back into your diet.
Advantages of Low-Carbohydrate Diets
Eliminating carbohydrates has the biggest impact on regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels. Carbohydrates increase your blood sugar more rapidly than anything else. High blood sugar levels play an important role in all chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
Lowering your carbohydrate intake is one of the best steps that you can take. Blood sugars will stabilize and insulin levels will reduce.
Going low or zero carbohydrate will balance blood sugar levels. Without carbohydrates in your diet, your blood sugar and insulin doesn’t spike throughout the day. This keeps your energy levels fairly even.
There was a comprehensive study, which analyzed food cravings and appetite. Participants on a low-carb diet were directly compared to participants on a typical low-fat diet. The results demonstrated that low carbohydrate group had much lower cravings and were a lot less bothered by hunger. I have noticed this in my own experimentation with low carbohydrate diets. I find that I’m not constantly craving food when I’m restricting carbohydrates.
A diet that is high in healthy fats will keep you satiated longer.
Reduce risk of heart disease
Low-carb diets have a beneficial impact on a whole host of heart disease risk factors. Specifically, they reduce triglycerides (a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease) and increase the concentrations of HDL (known as the “good” cholesterol).
Additionally, they lead to reduced blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation in the body; all of these things can be damaging to the heart. As well as this, another big advantage is weight loss, since heavier weights and obesity increase cardiovascular risk.
Eliminating carbohydrates seems to have a very stabilizing effect on your weight. If you are underweight, eating a meat based low carbohydrate diet will help you to gain some weight. Many people who are overweight are able to lose weight and get to an ideal weight rapidly on it.
Disadvantages of a Carbohydrate Free Diet
The biggest disadvantage to the carbohydrate free, all meat diet is that there is simply no variety. You eliminate grains, so all of your baked goods are out. You eliminate vegetables and there goes any creative substitutions that you may have for your fun to eat baked goods.
The biggest disadvantage of going zero carbohydrate is that it can be boring and we’ve become a society that is obsessed with food. There are internet sites that are completely dedicated to food and what to eat next. However, when you are focused in on healing and eating a carbohydrate free diet, your options become limited to meats and animal products.
What to Eat on a Zero Carbohydrate Diet
A zero carbohydrate diet is going to be only fat and protein. For a zero carbohydrate diet, you will be consuming mostly meats. For many people, it can be difficult to wrap your head around the idea of eating only animal products. We have heard from so many people that a plant-based diet is ideal and vegetables have many healing nutrients. For many years, I believed this theory.
When you start to examine the studies that tell you plants are healthy for you, it becomes clear that the research and evidence is incomplete. While it may be vital for you to have vitamin C or vitamin D, these are available in meat. Not only are they available in meat, they are bio available. Your body is better able to utilize the nutrients contained in meat. It doesn’t require the breakdown of fiber by the bacteria that is in your gut to use the nutrients in meat.
Vegetables are full of fiber. Many people tout fiber as being something that is healthy and good for digestion, but you may want to question that. As a few of my friends’ started to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, one of the biggest culprits to their pain was fiber rich vegetables. That stunned me. I was one of the people who believed that fiber was good for you.
As a society, we have changed our agricultural practices. Pesticides are commonly used in agriculture now. Glyphosate is one of the pesticides that is popularly used now. The biggest problem with using glyphosate on our crops is that it is water soluble. Not only does it get onto the plants, but it also gets onto the crops and into the water supply.
Glyphosate impacts the bacteria in the gut. It blocks their shikamate pathway. In order to break down vegetables in your body, you need a healthy gut flora. However, with an increasing use of the glyphosate on our crops, an increasing amount of damage is being done to our gut microbiome. This impacts your ability to break down the fiber in vegetables. More and more people are being diagnosed with IBS.
Meat is nutritionally complete food. All the nutrients that are needed to support life are there. Meats are not broken down by the bacteria in your gut, but by the hydrochloric acid in your stomach.
A zero carbohydrate meal plan
- Breakfast – bacon and eggs
- Lunch – chicken salad or tuna salad (try to use a healthy mayonnaise)
- Dinner – Hamburger, steak, fish
Most people struggle to stick with such a restrictive diet. However, it can be very healing if you can tackle a zero carbohydrate diet for a few days at a time. Give your gut a break from breaking down fiber and feeling irritated from the phytates and antinutrients that are in vegetables. I have discovered that I can handle zero carbohydrate for a few days at a time and then go back to the ketogenic diet with a little more variety. A ketogenic diet is much easier to follow when you eat out with friends.