What Is A No Carb Diet – Pros, Cons, and What Food Can You Eat
A zero-carb diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and no-carb diet plan. The goal of this eating plan is to put your body into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body uses fat as its main source of energy rather than carbohydrates. The body transitions into ketosis when there aren’t enough carbohydrates available to be burned for energy. This causes the liver to produce ketones from fat which can then be used as an alternative energy source to glucose. The zero-carb eating plan eliminates all foods that contain carbohydrates and includes foods such as meat, fish, eggs, butter, and cream.
There is a new trend in food and nutrition, and it’s an old one: eat meat and drink water. Whether you call it zero carbs, all-meat, carnivore, or meat-only, the diet has gained momentum among those looking to shed weight and alleviate chronic health problems like autoimmune disease, diabetes, and depression. The idea behind this eating plan is that humans evolved to be hunter-gatherers who got their sustenance from animal flesh.
Zero carb diets are high in fat but severely restrict carbohydrates and protein, two macronutrients that are necessary for survival. The first few days on a zero-carb diet can induce ketosis, which means that the body is using fat as its primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates. While this can lead to temporary weight loss, most people will gain back the weight they lost once they start eating carbohydrates again.
Benefits of Zero Carb Diet
- Weight Loss
Replacing carbs with protein or fat can help you feel more full and eat fewer overall calories, which will, in turn, promote weight loss in the short term. Studies suggest that following a very low carb or ketogenic diet for more than 12 months can result in more sustained weight loss compared to low-fat diets. in the short term.
Still, you do not need to eliminate carbs to achieve weight loss. Gradually reducing your carb intake and, more importantly, decreasing your overall calorie intake are less restrictive ways to lose weight.
- It May benefit heart health
Decreasing your carb intake may improve heart health. In particular, very low-carb diets have been shown to decrease blood triglyceride levels. Elevated triglyceride levels can increase your risk of heart disease. Other studies suggest that very low-carb diets may also increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which can help protect against heart disease.
- May lead to better blood sugar control
Cutting carbs — particularly refined carbs and sugar — can aid blood sugar control, which may be especially helpful for people with diabetes. Some studies show that low-carb and keto diets are effective in reducing blood sugar levels. Reducing carb intake can prevent spikes in blood sugar and may thus help prevent diabetes complications. Yet, it’s not necessary to completely exclude carbs from your diet. Diabetes can be controlled on higher-carb diets, too.
- Lower blood pressure.
Some studies suggest that reducing your carb intake can help lower blood pressure.
- Reduction of belly fat.
Limited research indicates that very-low-carb diets are better than low-fat diets at decreasing belly fat, a type of fat associated with inflammation and certain diseases.
- Lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
Decreasing carb intake may help prevent some of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndromes, such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and belly fat.
Demerits of zero-carb diets
- They’re too hard to maintain.
Sure, you can avoid carbs for a while, but most people get tired of eating a diet that feels so restrictive. And in the long run, you might not be able to stick with it for health reasons.
- They’re boring.
People get tired of eating the same thing every day. It’s not just hunger (the fact that your body needs more than one kind of food) — it’s also boredom. We need variety in our diet to stimulate our appetite.
- They are expensive.
Cutting out all plant foods increases your risk of nutrient deficiencies, which means you need to eat more meat or take supplements instead — both expensive propositions if you aren’t careful about choosing your foods.
- May cause constipation
Since a no-carb diet restricts fruits, most vegetables, beans, and whole grains, it can be very low in fiber which is important for digestion since it helps maintain bowel regularity. Because of this, a no-carb diet may lead to constipation and digestive discomfort.
- May cause a lack of energy.
What’s more, carbs are your body’s primary source of energy. Therefore, a no-carb diet may lead to low energy and fatigue, especially at the start. The metabolic changes that occur in your body when you cut carbs can also cause poor mental function, nausea, and disrupted sleep in the short term.
- May lack some nutrients
A no-carb diet may not provide enough vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, which are abundant in fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods. Additionally, the increased urination that results from restricting carbs may lead to deficiencies in sodium and potassium over time Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods can help ensure that you get enough of the nutrients you need. Additionally, it’s more sustainable than a no-carb diet in the long term.
Foods that are typically allowed on a no-carb diet include:
- Meat and low-carb animal products: chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, venison, bison, pork, eggs, butter, lard, cheese
- Seafood: salmon, tilapia, cod, shrimp, sardines, herring, crab
- Seasonings: herbs and spices
- Zero-calorie beverages: water, black coffee, and plain tea
- Nuts and seeds (those low in net carbs): almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, cashews
- Non-starchy vegetables (those low in net carbs): broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower, leafy greens, rutabaga, turnips, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms
- High-fat fruits: coconut, avocado
A no-carb diet is highly restrictive and eliminates several food groups, such as:
- Grains: rice, farro, barley, quinoa, wheat, bread, pasta
- Sweets and baked goods: cakes, cookies, candy, sodas, sugary drinks
- Fruits: apples, oranges, bananas, berries, kiwi, pears
- Starchy vegetables: peas, corn, squash, potatoes
- Beans and legumes: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Dairy: milk and yogurt
- Condiments with added sugar: ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings
- Alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, sugary mixed drinks.
In conclusion, the cons of going on a zero diet outweigh the pros, Instead, aim to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods.