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How do Low Carbohydrate Diets Work?

Aug 17, 2007
By now the term "low carb" has become synonymous with loosing weight and improving fitness. This diet seems to work well, and many people feel they have derived great benefit from it. The system seems simple enough, eat fewer carbohydrates (carbs) and you will loose weight. One must ask what the mechanics are behind all these success stories.

By reducing carbohydrates, you are cutting more calories than you would by reducing any other nutrient. While it may seem redundant, reducing "empty" or low nutrient value calories is an important part of changing your diet for the better. Reducing carbs, therefore, will help you curb your appetite, and allow you to eat foods that flush out of your system instead of being stored as fat tissue.

At the beginning of your diet, reducing refined sugars and starches will force your body to turn to the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen can be easily broken down into glucose - the energy or fuel your cells need in order to function. It takes a sizeable amount of water to store glycogen. This accounts for the sudden weight loss that many people experience when they start dieting. It is also why people reach a stagnation point after approximately two weeks. Once the glycogen is used up, and the water flushed, the next job is to reduce the fat tissue.

As long as your carbohydrate intake is lower than 50 or 60 grams daily, your body will seek to break down fat tissue in order to create more glucose. This, however, can be a struggle, as the body naturally wants to keep its stored up reserves. Thus, the metabolism will slow down in order to reduce the amount of fat tissue being lost.

Ketones, however, are also released when you get into the fat reducing stage of your diet. Ketones are normally flushed through your kidneys, and can act as an appetite suppressant. Increased ketones can lead to increased urination. During the fat burning phase of your carb diet, it is important to drink plenty of water, as you may become easily dehydrated.

While low carb diets appear to be effective and as reliable as diets go, not everyone can stay on the regimen for the necessary amount of time. Ultimately, the duration is a personal choice. As always, before starting any kind of a diet, it is recommended that you see a doctor.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Nutrition and Health .
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