We’ve all heard the “skinny” on carbohydrates: If you want to be skinny, you can’t eat them.
While this is a bit extreme, the reality is that low-carb diets do work if you do them right. Cutting out unhealthy carbs and replacing them with proteins and healthy fats is the basis of lifestyle changes like the keto diet.
Beyond the immediate weight loss results, slicing carbs from your plate has many other health advantages. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of your carb intake, check out these four reasons you should skip the chips and grab some carrots instead.
1. Your Appetite is Curbed
One of the hardest parts of dieting is fighting the hunger pains. Your body thinks you’re trying to starve it. It keeps reminding you how yummy your favorite foods are while you’re snacking on peanuts and drinking water by the gallon to “fill up.”
When you start a low-carb diet, it only takes a couple of days before those hunger pains begin to disappear. You’re not cutting out food entirely. You’re just replacing carbohydrates with protein and fats. They satisfy your body’s appetite, keeping you feeling fuller longer.
However, if those pains are too tough to bear, you can supplement snacks with medical marijuana. Certain strains encourage weight loss by inhibiting appetite. Others increase the munchies, so be cautious about which type of cannabis you use.
2. You Lower Your Risk of Diabetes and Heart Attacks
Fat in your body is stored in different areas. It becomes dangerous when it builds up in key areas, like around your heart or your stomach.
Most of the time, obesity occurs because of visceral fat that collects in your abdomen. Visceral fat often gets stuck and accumulates around the organs, resulting in inflammation and insulin dysregulation.
The most effective way to eliminate the buildup is a low-carb diet that knocks out the fat from the abdominal cavity. On top of the associated weight loss, you also decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart conditions.
3. Your Cholesterol Levels Adjust in the Right Direction
Just when you think you understand that you’re supposed to avoid cholesterol (bad, bad, bad!), your doctor throws it out to you that you need higher levels of good cholesterol.
How confusing is that?
Instead of trying to figure out how many eggs you can eat before you reach the border of good vs. bad, focus on going low-carb. It’s a diet that balances your triglycerides (bad) and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL (good) levels naturally.
Good and Bad Cholesterol Explained
Triglycerides are one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease. If you’re a mostly sedentary person, you’re not burning the carbs you’re eating, and those fat molecules build up in your body.
In the opposite way, HDL, dubbed the “good” cholesterol is something you get when you eat healthy fats. Higher HDL levels correlate to a lowered risk of heart disease.
Cutting out fats is a normal part of most diets, but not low-carb varieties. You replace carbs with healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, and fatty fish. These good fats boost your HDL levels.
4. Your Blood Sugar Balances Out
Diabetes and insulin resistance are on the rise, with over 37 million people diagnosed in the United States. These often deadly conditions are impacted by your body’s blood sugar and insulin levels.
Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s usually permanent. But with a low-carb lifestyle change, you can reduce your blood sugar levels well enough to cut back on your insulin dosage and glucose-lowering medicines.
Before you make any medicine switches, always talk to your doctor. They should also be aware of your low-carb diet change so they can monitor your blood sugar levels. A drop in blood sugar while you’re taking medicine to lower those levels can cause hypoglycemia.
Finding a diet that you can stick to isn’t always easy. With low-carb lifestyle changes, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods. You’ll swap out carbs for proteins and fats and load up on meat, cheese, nuts, and other delicious meals. Some health benefits will be noticeable quickly, and other below-the-surface changes will show up over time.