Carbohydrates contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms in different combinations. It supplies the body with the energy it needs to function. They are found almost exclusively in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and beans. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, sometimes called simple sugars include fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (milk sugar). Fruits are one of the richest sources of simple sugar. Complex carbohydrates are also made of sugar, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer and more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches and good sources are whole grains, peas and beans.
Simple or complex carbohydrates are metabolized in glucose, which is a quick-acting source of energy and the primary fuel for the brain and the muscles when exercised. Long chain glucose called glycogen gets stored in the muscle as the energy fuel. However, your body can store only 1200 to 1600 worth calories as glycogen. The rest gets stored in the muscle cells as triglycerides and your body accesses it during long periods of moderate activity, like a brisk long walk or a game of golf.
HOW A LOW-CARB DIET RESULTS IN WEIGHT LOSS
Fitness enthusiasts have always contemplated between low-fat and low-carb route for weight loss. As has been the norm, health authorities have recommended calorie-restricted low-fat diets for weight loss. The problem with such diets is that they don’t last in the long run and fail to deliver results. On the contrary, a new scientific study conducted by the lead author, Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans supports the benefits of low carbohydrate diets in lowering weight and reversing risk factors for heart disease. A low-carb diet will result in weight loss as protein replaces the carb intake. The health benefits of such a diet improved satiety, more muscle mass resulting in greater fat loss.
1. IMPROVED INSULIN SENSITIVITY
When you reduce the fat content of your diet, carbohydrate intake goes up. Increased amount of carbs triggers the release of insulin hormone that promotes storage of glucose as fat in the body, a diet with fewer carbohydrates is rich in protein to fill in the gap. Research has consistently proven that a diet rich in protein and fewer carbs allows blood glucose to remain on an even keel. It doesn’t cause sudden insulin spikes and curbs cravings.
2. GREATER SATIETY
Your body has to work overtime to digest protein, as it is one of the toughest foods to digest. Naturally, eating a diet rich in protein is going to keep you full for a longer duration. This nixes your desire to nosh on junk foods.
3. MORE MUSCLE MASS
Your muscles are made of proteins, amino acids to be precise and need these nutrients for nourishment. When you combine a regular workout with a protein-rich diet, the outcome is increased muscle mass. Since muscles are biologically active tissues, the body has to spend extra calories for their upkeep. Thus, your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) goes up and you spend more calories versus someone with lower BMR (a happier and enviable situation to be in) making the task of weight loss a breeze.
Overall, a low-carb diet encourages weight loss, as it makes the whole diet plan easier to follow and results in greater success. Rich in proteins, such a diet also restricts the release of insulin hormone, thereby storage of fat.
100-150 grams per day
If you are a healthy individual, lean and active and simply trying to maintain weight, this recommendation is for you. Yes, you can lose weight at this allowance too, provided you count calories and portion size.
50-100 grams per day
This range is perfect for people suffering from metabolic syndrome and helps you maintain and lose weight without much fuss. The recommended foods for you are fruits (two to three per day), vegetables and less of starchy carbohydrates.
50 grams and less per day
This is the range in where the metabolic benefits start to kick in and weight loss occurs fast. You can have 40g of digestible carbohydrates while you are sticking to this allowance. Digestible carbohydrates are carbs minus fiber.
Since it is difficult to stick to this carb allocation, there is a way out. Double your carb consumption. This will push you somewhat in the first group. Now, you need to combine protein rich foods to make up the carb deficiency. This results in weight loss and improved HDL. The point to remember is that lowering carbohydrates is no way a sanction to gorge on fatty foods. Good fats from nuts and fish are okay but butter laden chicken burger doesn’t qualify at all !
Ultimately fat loss is all about calorie restriction. 3500 calorie deficit translates into the loss of one pound. Do the math to figure out the deficit score for you. Whey protein shakes can provide you a healthy dose of proteins in a calorie-controlled format in a low carb diet to lose weight sensibly.