There is no doubt that reducing my carb intake has made a world of difference in how I feel, and low-carb dieting is a very effective weight loss strategy. But, if you’re just getting started on a low-carb diet, there are some things to consider. In this post, I will share five things that are good to know before you go low-carb.
5 Things to Know Before You Start a Low-Carb Diet [Video]
In this video, you will learn…
- How your body will feel during the transition to a low-carb diet.
- The importance of electrolytes.
- What to look for on the ingredient list of packaged foods.
- The effect a low-carb diet has on medications.
- The relationship between starting a low-carb diet and age.
Number 1: Eating Too Little Fat will Leave You Feeling Hungry.
The foods you eat provide your body with calories that it uses for energy. That energy is derived mainly from carbs and fat. When you cut carbs, you rob your body of a primary energy source.
If you also eat low-fat, you cut out both energy sources and your body will turn on hunger and cravings to coax you to eat more food. Remember that the goal of a low-carb diet is to turn your body into a better fat burner, but to get to that point, you need to feed your system fat.
Even if you eat enough fat, there will likely be a period of time right after cutting carbs when you feel low on energy and generally worse rather than better.
This transition period is due to the fact that your body has not yet developed all of the enzymes and processes it needs to rely on fat as its primary fuel. To work through this transition, one of the things your body needs is simply time. Another thing it needs is electrolytes.
Number 2: Replenish Electrolytes when Starting a Low-Carb Diet.
Electrolytes partner with water. When you cut carbs, your body releases a lot of water from glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. That water flushes out of your body and carries electrolytes along with it.
If you don’t replenish those electrolytes, which are things like magnesium, potassium, and salt, you will be prone to muscle cramps, fatigue, and cravings. The easiest way to stay on top of this is to use an electrolyte supplement each day. In my home, we use Endure Electrolyte Supplement.
Number 3: Sugar is Everywhere.
Another thing to realize is that sugar is everywhere. Sugar is a carbohydrate. In fact, it is the most refined form of carbohydrate that you can consume.
When you cut carbs, you will find that your success improves if you become somewhat of an ingredient detective. My rule for sugar is that it should not be one of the top three ingredients.
Get in the habit of reading the ingredient list on packaged foods. Keep in mind that sugar goes by many aliases. Some common alternative names for sugar are corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate, and sucrose. You need to be careful so that you don’t get fooled by creative marketing.
For instance, this package of Golden Delicious Apple Chips contains apples and oil, followed by corn syrup, sugar, and dextrose. That’s three added sugars, so in my book, this is not a good alternative to potato chips.
Number 4: Some Medications are Impacted by Diet.
The next consideration is medication. Medications for blood sugar regulation may need to be adjusted within a day of moving from a high-carb to a low-carb diet.
There are other medications as well, including blood pressure meds that can be affected by changes in your diet. If you are on a medication, don’t start a low-carb diet without letting your doctor know about your intentions.
Number 5: Age Doesn’t Matter.
When it comes to low-carb dieting, age doesn’t matter. Perhaps because I myself am in my fifties, a large portion of my audience is 50 years of age or older. Low-carb diets work for weight loss regardless of age.
As an added bonus, issues like energy and mood improve and joint pain diminishes, so we can learn new tricks or at least a new way of eating as we age.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this was beneficial. I will see you in the next post. Till then, have a great week!
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.