Low-Carb Dieting: 5 Side Effects You Need to Be Prepared For

When it comes to carbohydrates, you often hear negative things about them, such as increasing hunger, making it difficult to lose weight, and making you tired. But it’s not all true, ladies. Carbohydrates serve as your body’s primary source of energy and help provide various vitamins and minerals. However, if you avoid carbohydrates or follow a low-carb diet for weight loss, you could have some long-term health problems.

HealthShots reached out to Hari Lakshmi, Consultant, Dietitian and Nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai to understand why carbohydrates are essential for your body and what can happen if you avoid them completely.

Why do we need carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of the three important macronutrients that our bodies need to function properly. They provide the body with glucose, which is then converted into energy to sustain bodily functions and physical activity.

Still, many diet plans advocate reducing or even eliminating carbohydrates in order to lose weight or improve health. While cutting back on carbs may have certain benefits, the expert warns that avoiding carbs entirely can be harmful to our bodies.

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Carbohydrates are an important group of nutrients. Don’t underestimate them. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, a low-carb diet can have a number of negative effects, such as: B. an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Carbohydrate restriction is also linked to reduced longevity, but a diet high in healthy carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, and legumes, is good for your health.

Side effects of a low carb diet

Lakshmi says that each nutrient has its own responsibility and therefore all are important. Like any other nutrient, a lack of carbohydrates in your diet can affect your body in the following ways:

1. Fatigue

Lack of energy is one of the most important consequences of not eating carbohydrates. The body needs carbohydrates as its main source of energy; Otherwise, it has to resort to other sources such as fat and protein. While this process, known as ketosis, can help people lose weight, it also causes fatigue and drowsiness in the body. This can make it difficult to focus and complete daily tasks like exercise, compounding the lack of energy.

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Overcome lack of energy by adding carbohydrates to your diet. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Increased hunger

Avoiding carbohydrates can also lead to increased hunger and cravings. Carbohydrates are important for regulating blood sugar levels, and without them, blood sugar levels can plummet, leading to hunger and cravings for other glucose sources like sugar. This can lead to overeating and weight gain, which can negate any potential benefits of a low-carb diet.

Also read: If you’re planning to cut carbs to lose weight, stop RN. Here’s the right way to do it

3. Constipation

Another side effect of avoiding carbohydrates is constipation. Carbohydrates provide fiber that helps regulate digestion and keep it running smoothly. Without enough fiber, constipation, bloating, and other digestive problems can occur.

4. Brain Fog

If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, your brain doesn’t get the necessary amount of glucose to sustain mood and mental well-being. As a result, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and feeling light-headed can occur as your body struggles to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Watch this video to deal with Brain Fog:


5. Nutritional Deficiency

Not eating carbohydrates can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Carbohydrates are found in many foods that also contain other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. If you avoid these foods, you can miss out on these nutrients, which can lead to a variety of health problems.

Know the difference between healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates

The problem with carbs is twofold: first, what type of carbs to eat, and second, how much to eat each day. Also, understand that a low-carb diet is unhealthy, as is eating too many carbs.

Before adding carbohydrates to your diet, you should be aware that there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs are sugars, while complex carbs are starches and fiber. So it’s crystal clear that you need complex carbohydrates in your regular diet, not simple carbohydrates that can lead to problems like weight gain.

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You need to choose the right carbohydrates for a healthy diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To meet your daily healthy carbohydrate needs, eat beans like black beans or kidney beans, fresh or seasonal fruit, berries, yogurt, seeds, almonds, and quinoa.

Bring away

Low-carb diets can be helpful, but cutting out carbohydrates can have negative effects on our health. In order for our bodies to continue to function optimally, it is crucial that we still eat an adequate diet. Therefore, it is advisable to speak to a healthcare provider before beginning any drastic dietary changes, including reducing carbohydrate intake.