Dr. Richa Mittal
Last week, I discussed how to calculate your "net carbs" for the day. So, how do we know how many to eat? What happens when we eat low carbs? Will you be hungry? Let's discuss.
There are 3 macronutrients in food: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Carbohydrates are the most "ready" form of energy. But what happens if we do not have them around? Our liver has the ability to make energy (glucose) out of energy that has been stored in our liver and out of our stored body fat.
So, when we eat low carb, we put that process into motion. You have heard of "ketogenic" diets- that is referring to the byproduct (ketones) that are produced when our body burns fat for energy.
It takes eating a drastically low amount of carbohydrates to get our bodies into the "ketosis" state. Less than 20 grams/day! If you start keeping track of your carbs, you will see it is really easy to hit that amount! For some people, this kind of eating is not difficult, but it can be really hard for others.
The good news is, you do not have to be so extreme to get the benefits of weight loss, improvement in blood sugar, blood pressure and decrease in inflammation.
A typical Western diet has about 50% calories (or 250 grams) of carbohydrates daily.
A low carb, ketogenic diet targets carbohydrates to be less than 20 grams/day.
A moderate low carb diet has 20-50 grams/day.
A liberal low carb diet has 50-100 grams/day.
Depending on how much you have been eating, small decreases in this amount could help you on the path to losing abdominal fat and improving your health.
For those that have signs of metabolic syndrome (abdominal fat, increased blood sugar, high blood pressure, increased triglyceride cholesterol, low HDL) or signs of fatty liver damage (increased liver enzymes), trying to decrease the carbs as much as possible could greatly benefit you.
Focus on eating REAL, unprocessed foods. And be aware of the serving size if you are going to eat some whole grains with your meal. Once you start reading food labels and really paying attention, you will see how the carbs quickly add up!
So is this way of eating sustainable? Will you be hungry? Surprisingly, once your body becomes used to burning fat for energy, you will not have huge variations in your blood sugar and your hunger decreases. When we eat sugar (AKA carbs), we end up burning through it and then feel hungry again for more. The key is to get enough protein and "good" fats (more on that later) to keep us full and satisfied.
Even if you indulge occasionally (which we all do!), trying to eat in a more mindful, wholesome way can reap huge benefits for your health.
Next week, I will discuss ways you can improve your metabolism!
Until next time, be well!
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.