8 Health Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

Time for reading: ~9 minutes Last Updated: August 08, 2022
8 Health Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

Low carb diet has many health benefits, reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, regulates hormones.

Probably half of the people in the world who follow a diet eat low carbs. In recent years, such diets have become extremely popular and really show very good results.

There are different variations of low-carbohydrate diets, some of which emphasize fat, others of protein, but in general, their essence is common - reduces the intake of carbohydrates - cereals, starchy vegetables, alcohol, sugars.

Reducing the intake of carbohydrate foods causes a rapid depletion of glucose stores. When the amount of glucose is lowered enough, the body begins to use fat for energy.

But a low carb diet not only has the benefits of weight loss, it also provides positive effects on the body.

1. Fast weight loss

We can't help but put the most desired effect in the first place. Most people start a diet for this purpose - to get rid of extra pounds.

For years we have been accustomed to accepting that the most important thing is to monitor calories. But this diet gives us another point of view - to choose the food we eat. The most important thing we need to do is to overcome ourselves, to accept that the food we need to eat has long been considered harmful because it is greasy.

Many people who have not lost weight by following different diets, it is with a low-carb diet achieve their goals.

A study conducted in 2014 found that low-carb diets were more effective and reduced cardiovascular risk factor than low-fat diets.

Are you wondering why a low carb diet is so successful? A particularly high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is extremely effective. The reason for this is that when we eat foods with sugar and carbohydrates, the hormone insulin is released in the body in response to high blood sugar. Its purpose is to signal the cells to store as much available energy as possible. Initially, this energy is stored in the body in the form of glycogen derived from the glucose found in carbohydrates, as glycogen is our "primary" energy.

By eliminating carbohydrates from the diet and maintaining low glycogen levels in the body, we can prevent the release of insulin and the storage of fat. Less insulin circulating in our bloodstream means that the body is forced to use all the energy stores that are stored in adipose tissue.


2. Improves cognitive function

Fats and carbohydrates are usually "replaced" in diets - ie. Protein levels usually remain stable, while when a person consumes more carbohydrates, he reduces the intake of healthy fats. This is a problem because many human functions need fat, including brain (despite legends that the brain only needs carbohydrates).

While initially consuming jam makes us feel full of energy, soon after you will probably feel a sharp loss of strength, fatigue, irritation.

Sugar is addictive and increases anxiety and fatigue.

Fats, on the other hand, act as antioxidants and precursors to some important brain-supporting molecules and neurotransmitters that are essential for learning, memory, mood and energy.

The brain is largely made up of fatty acids and needs a constant supply of fat from the diet to function properly.

A recent 2012 report, published in The Journal of Physiology, demonstrated the link between the metabolic effects of a high-sugar diet combined with omega-3 fatty acid deficiency on cognitive health. These effects are due to the large amount of glucose and insulin activity that control brain mediators. Experts conclude that high sugar and low health fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are associated with poorer cognitive function and insulin resistance.

Studies show that a ketogenic diet is especially therapeutic when it comes to cognitive health. Scientists believe that it is possible for people with the highest levels of insulin resistance to have reduced blood flow to the brain, and hence lower neuroplasticity (or brain plasticity).

Insulin is a "vasodilator" and increases blood flow, promoting the delivery of glucose to muscles and organs, including the brain. This vasodilatory function is stopped when insulin resistance develops and, over time, high sugar and carbohydrate intake leads to a decrease in brain perfusion (dew) and activity.

Some studies have shown an improvement in the condition of people with Alzheimer's and dementia when changing their diet. According to a study, the ketogenic diet has beneficial effects in many neurological disorders, not only epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, but also headaches, Parkinson's disease, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, autism.

3. Reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease

A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology found that a low-carbohydrate diet reduced certain metabolic and cardiac risk factors more than low-fat diets (remember that a low-carb diet is one of the most important). -fast results for weight loss, which is one of the main causes of heart and metabolic problems).

The study looked at the effects of a low-carb diet (when carbohydrates make up less than 45%) compared to a low-fat diet (with less than 30% fat) on metabolic risk factors. The analyzes included 23 studies from multiple countries with 2788 participants.

The results show that both diets have a beneficial effect on metabolic factors. But compared to low-fat people, low-carb diets have shown a significant increase in "good" cholesterol and lower triglycerides.

However, the differences in weight and waist measurements did not differ significantly between the two groups.

However, the advantage is that following a low-carbohydrate diet will improve metabolic and heart health, while not having to follow extremely restrictive diets that make you feel hungry all the time.


4. Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Studies show that despite the growing percentage of people with type 1 and 2 diabetes and research in this direction, scientists have not yet been able to reduce the number of patients or the severity of complications. And despite the many drugs for diabetes, there is a cheap and simple strategy that has been proven to work: Reduce the amount of sugar and starch in your diet.

A high-carbohydrate diet increases postprandial plasma glucose (ie blood sugar levels measured 2 hours after a meal) and insulin secretion, thus increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and dyslipidemia (risk from a heart attack).

Many studies have shown that a low-carb diet is a natural treatment for diabetes and an effective means of preventing patients with type 2 diabetes. There has also been a reduction in complications of diabetes such as obesity and heart disease.

A growing body of data shows that despite a diet high in "healthy carbohydrates" such as whole grains, which are still recommended for patients, low-carbohydrate diets give better results, significantly improve diabetes, control blood pressure , postprandial glycemia and insulin secretion.

A study conducted in 2005 and published in The Upsala Journal of Medical Science compared two groups of patients with type 2 diabetes in order to track glycemic control and body weight.

16 people with obesity and type 2 diabetes were put on a low-carbohydrate diet (1800 calories for men and 1600 for women), which consisted of 20% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 50% fat.

The other group is on a high carb diet with the same calories per day, but with 60% carbs, 15% protein and 25% fat. The positive effects on glucose are seen quickly in the first group. After 6 months, they lose weight, and the result is maintained after the next year.

5. Helps fight some cancers

It is a well-known fact that a diet high in carbohydrates and refined sugar contributes to cell damage and is thought to help spread cancer cells. On the other hand, the low content of carbohydrates in the diet drastically reduces the intake of sugar and processed foods, which naturally leads to improved immunity and oxidative stress.

Studies show that carbohydrate intake affects prostate cancer, and the study was performed on mice that were fed low-carb foods compared to the other group.

Cancer cells feed mainly on glucose, and while healthy cells are able to adapt to working with fat, cancer cells cannot.

6. Increases the feeling of satiety

One of the biggest advantages of the diet is that eating useful fats and proteins instead of sugars and carbohydrates increases the feeling of satiety and "excludes" the hungry hormone ghrelin.

Carbohydrates frustrate insulin, which leads to a desire for more food afterwards, as blood sugar drops sharply and the hunger hormone (ghrelin) rises. Fats and proteins, on the other hand, are known to properly regulate satiety hormones and easily maintain the transition between main meals, without the need for a supportive breakfast during this time.

According to a report published in The Journal of International Studies of Obesity, leptin and grillin are two hormones that have a huge impact on energy balance. Leptin is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance, it is the hormone that creates the feeling of satiety, ie. suppresses food intake.

Ghrelin, on the other hand, is a fast-acting hormone that plays a role in the onset of eating. He really shows us how hungry we are.

The growing number of obese people is the reason why more and more research is being conducted to determine how different hormones and neurotransmitters affect energy balance. So far, obese patients have been found to be leptin-resistant, a condition in which, during a meal, the brain does not send signals that you have eaten, the body gains weight, but the brain is hungry.

To escape this feeling of constant hunger, insulin spikes, you need to gain control over the two main hormones of hunger. The easiest way to do this is to keep your blood sugar low (its peaks and troughs immediately signal the body and it feels hungry), to include healthy fats and proteins in your diet. Pay special attention to breakfast, it determines the diet for the whole day.


7. Better digestion

Less sugar means better digestive function for most people because sugar feeds the bad bacteria that live in the gut. The result of a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can lead to candida overgrowth, the development of irritable bowel syndrome and worsening of the symptoms of permeable bowel syndrome. Many vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats, on the other hand, act as fat-burning foods that also help digestive function and reduce the growth of bacteria.

A 2008 study published in the American Gastroenterological Association found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome improved their condition on a low-carbohydrate diet.

When participants in the experiment received a two-week standard diet and then a low-carbohydrate diet for four weeks (with less than 20% carbohydrate per day), many reported improvement in abdominal pain, regulation of bowel movements, and overall lifestyle improvement.

8. Better regulation of hormones

Diet has a positive effect not only on insulin and appetite hormones, but also balances neurotransmitter function in some people, thus affecting mood.

Studies in the Discipline of Psychiatry and the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide compare the hormonal and psychological effects of low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets and a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in women with polycystic ovaries for 16 weeks. They found a significant reduction in depression and improved self-esteem in those on a low-carb diet.

All participants attend a weekly support group at the beginning of the study. Those on a low-carb diet improve hormonal balance in a natural way and significantly reduce depressive symptoms, which, combined with an increased sense of well-being, gives a greater chance of following a long-term treatment for obesity.


As you can see, there are more than one health benefit from following a low-carb diet - weight loss, hormone regulation, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Whatever low carb diet you choose, it is good to follow it for at least 1 month to feel the positive results on your body.

More on the topic:
  • One week keto diet for weight loss
  • Everything you need to know about the ketone diet
  • Keto diet: appropriate and unsuitable foods - part 1
  • 9 reasons not to lose weight with a keto diet

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