Low carbohydrate diets: healthy, but difficult to maintain.



Most health authorities have begun to recognize the health benefits of low-carbohydrate diets.


However, it does not seem that they are about to reach the mainstream in the short term.


Despite proven health benefits, many nutrition professionals are still reluctant to recommend them. They believe that low-carb diets are too difficult to maintain.


I want to deny that myth now, once and for all.


Hamburger Without Bread


Many randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have compared low-carb diets with the standard weight-loss strategy: a low-fat, low-calorie diet.


When you look at these studies, you see that low-carb diets are not more difficult to maintain. It is a false idea.


Most of these studies show that more people in the low carbohydrate groups reach the end.


I looked at 19 RCTs that compared LC and LF diets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).



I included each study that had data on how many people arrived at the end. Then, I calculated the average percentage of those who finished:



  • Average for low carb diets: 79.51%

  • Average of low fat diets: 77.72%


The results are clear. Low carb diets are easier abide by.


The difference is not huge, but it is very clear that low-carb diets are no more difficult to maintain than low-fat diets.


Summary Most studies show that low-carb diets are no more difficult to follow than conventional low-calorie, high-fat diets.


Low carbohydrate diets reduce appetite


There is a main reason why low carb diets are easy to maintain: they avoid the main side effect of the diet: hunger.


That's because restricting carbohydrates leads to a reduction in appetite.


This is partly because low-carbohydrate diets are high in protein, which suppresses appetite more than carbohydrates or fats (20).


Studies also indicate that this may be due to higher levels of peptide YY (PYY) on a low-carbohydrate diet, compared to a low-fat diet. PYY is a hormone that reduces appetite (21).


The exact mechanism does not matter in my opinion, just the fact that low carb diets lead to an automatic reduction of caloric intake.


When low in carbohydrates you can eat good food until you feel full - and still lose weight.


Summary People on low-carbohydrate diets experience less appetite than those on high-carbohydrate diets. This makes a low carbohydrate plan easier to follow.


Low carb diets are easy to follow


Simplicity is another reason why low carb diets are easy to maintain.


While cutting out most sugars and carbohydrates is a drastic change for many people, low carb diets do not have to be complex.


In fact, you can easily start a low carb diet by following a few simple rules:



  • Avoid processed foods.

  • Eat proteins, fats and vegetables with every meal

  • Avoid sweet fruits and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes.


By omitting all processed foods, most carbohydrates are automatically eliminated from your diet.


Nor is it necessary to count calories or keep a food diary. After starting a low-carb routine, people can often eat as much as they want and still lose excess weight.


Summary Low carb diets are simple to follow. Only a few basic rules, such as avoiding all processed foods, will eliminate most carbohydrates from your diet.


It's easy to get off the track


Although I have strongly denied the idea that low carb diets are difficult to maintain, there are still some things to keep in mind.


Most diets worth pursuing take dedication and endurance. Let's face it, sugar is addictive for many people and staying sober can be a challenge, especially in social situations.


The first weeks on a low carb diet are probably the worst.


Once your body has adjusted and you have managed to get into a low carb routine, you will begin to feel good. So staying on the diet should not be painful.


But that does not mean that carbohydrate-rich foods do not tempt you. In fact, it is likely to deviate from the diet from time to time.


That said, the same applies to all diets that require you to change your dietary pattern drastically.


Just keep in mind that if you deviate from the path, it's always worth starting over.


Summary While low carb diets are easy and simple, you still have to resist the temptations and peer pressure.


How to stick to a low carb diet


There is no secret formula on how to stick to a low carb diet.


It depends to a large extent on your own dedication and willpower, but here are some tips that could reduce your risk of failure:



  • Know what foods are low in carbohydrates. Confidence in grocery shopping is essential. Read this article for a detailed list of low carb foods.

  • Never go shopping when you are hungry and always bring a shopping list to follow. The impulse purchase risk will be reduced.

  • Make a meal plan. Be prepared and know what you are going to eat beforehand. For an excellent meal plan and menu, visit this page.

  • Stock up on low carb foods that you enjoy eating.

  • Make sure you always have low-carbohydrate snack options on hand.

  • Do some research on the low carb recipes you would like to try. Variety is important in the long term.

  • Tell your friends and family about your diet and ask for their support. You could even invite them to a low-carb dinner at some point.

  • A low carb diet is not totally free of carbohydrates. Be sure to include many non-starchy plant foods in your diet.


There are many other ways to improve your chances of success. For some general advice, read this article on 14 simple ways to follow a healthy diet.


Summary To successfully start a low carb routine and stick to it, you must develop the right mindset. The right strategies can make it easy and fun.


The bottom line


Low-carbohydrate diets are pretty easy to follow, at least when you've finished the first few weeks.


They suppress the appetite more than the standard low fat diet and you just need to follow some basic rules.


However, you will still have to show resistance and avoid surrendering to carbohydrate cravings and social pressure.


However, once you've gotten into the routine, life will start to get easier and you're likely to feel healthier than ever.


Do not let misconceptions discourage you from trying a healthy diet low in carbohydrates.



Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-carb-diets-healthy-but-hard






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