People are always searching for the next best weight loss diet and convince themselves that THIS time around, this diet is FINALLY going to work. When it comes down to it, you have to find what works best for you and eat the way that you can sustain long term. It must be a way of eating that you can stick to and fits your lifestyle. Can you lose weight on a Keto (low carb, high fat, moderate to low protein)? SURE! Is it is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to lose weight? Not necessarily. I wanted to share what I have learned about eating a low carbohydrate diet.
1. Eating low carb lowers testosterone and increases cortisol. Studies have shown that eating a higher carbohydrate diet increases testosterone and lowers cortisol levels. When eating lower carb, testosterone goes down and cortisol increases which is not a good recipe for gaining lean muscle and losing fat.
2. Can decrease Thyroid Function. Our body produces an important hormone called T3 which is the most active thyroid hormone and is important for blood glucose stability and for metabolism function. When you eat a lower carbohydrate and calorie diet, your T3 hormone levels drop which in turn lowers your metabolism.
3. Can decrease crucial hormones in Women. When women don’t eat enough calories or carbohydrates — or even when women eat enough calories but not enough carbohydrate — they may develop hypothalamic amenorrhea. This means disrupted hormones and stopped — or irregular — periods because of the HPA’s response to perceived starvation and stress. In hypothalamic amenorrhea, hormone levels plummet. You end up with low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This can cause lower fertility levels, missed periods, hypoglycemia, and more stored body fat in the stomach.
4. Can slow Muscle Growth- A low carb diet can increase muscle breakdown, because severely low carbs lowered insulin levels. You would assume that protein intake would determine muscle breakdown. And you might assume — based on what you’ve heard — that having higher insulin is always “bad”. In fact, insulin is crucial for building muscle. When you get enough carbs to meet your needs, you replenish muscle glycogen and create an anabolic (building-up) hormonal environment. You get strong and buff.
How can you eat carbs and still lose weight:
1. Eat in a calorie deficit- Eat fewer calories than your body currently needs to maintain at your current weight. There are a lot of online calculators to determine how many calories you need.
2. Don’t overly restrict any food group. Enjoy a wide variety of nutrient dense carbs like sweet potatoes, white or brown rice, white potatoes, oatmeal, etc. And still find ways to eat not so nutrient dense treats in moderation.
3. Observe how you look, feel, and perform. Determine what is best for your body based on what you observe. For most active people, carbs are good. Carbs are your friend.