The most epic diet debate is between two key macros: High fat/Low carb vs. High carb/Low fat
This clash of the macros has been going on for decades, and while there is no single diet perfect for everyone, let's look at some of the top reasons to choose a low-carb diet.
1. Weight Loss
Low-carb diets tend to yield greater weight loss than low fat diets. In some cases, the losses are small, and other studies show greater differences between participants on different diets. A common theme in these studies is that participants on the low-carb diet felt fuller for longer, had more energy, and tend to stick to their diet longer.
2. Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility
There is no strict meal plan, no foods are 100% out. This lifestyle is all about YOU. Once you set your carb goals, those carbs can come from anywhere. Although preferably, they'd come from good sources, such as sweet potatoes and fruit, you can use your carb allotment for parties or special events. If you'd rather save some carbs for chocolate covered strawberries, go for it! The best part is, you can tweak your carb goal and change your diet based on how you feel and what your goals are.
3. Better Blood Sugars
In people with impaired insulin response or production, a low carb diet can improve blood sugar control. By limiting the carbs we consume, our body is able to move only the necessary sugar out of the bloodstream and into our tissues for energy and storage. This reduces the amount of sugar circulating in the bloodstream thereby reducing blood sugar levels. In several studies 1,2,3 researchers saw improvement in blood sugar control in diabetic patients on a low-carb diet. Consult your Physician or Registered Dietitian before changing your diet if you are diabetic.
4. Better HDL
HDL or high density lipoprotein is a particle that brings triglycerides (fat) to your liver to be excreted. We call this the "good" cholesterol because it helps to remove fat from your body. Higher levels of HDL are better, and a low carb diet has been shown to significantly increase HDL levels 4,5,6.
5. Better LDL
LDL or low density lipoprotein is similar to HDL, except LDL brings triglycerides to your tissues. LDL gets a bad rap for simply transporting fat, it is usually referred to as the "bad" cholesterol. Low-carb diets may actually lower your LDL. Clinically, a lower LDL level is better and is an indicator of good cardiovascular health.
6. Better Blood Pressure
Along with improving diet quality, a low carb diet may reduce your blood pressure. By axing or greatly reducing your intake of high sodium snacks, your blood pressure will greatly improve. A low-carb diet can reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressures.
7. Low-Carb Diets Are Easier To Follow
Diets often fail for one key reason: they're hard to follow. Many diets that restrict calories will leave you starving and more likely to binge eat. High-carb food items like chips, crackers, and cookies won't keep you full for long. A diet high in good fats and proteins leads to more satiety, meaning you will be fuller longer. Staying full and satisfied means staying away from tempting snacks, and may mean you eat less calories overall.
8. Improved Diet Quality
If you follow a low-carb diet, you will be cutting out the foods we commonly refer to as junk food. While these items may have a small place in your diet, the majority of your food will be vegetables, lean protein, good quality fats, and some fruits. By letting go of those snack foods that have little nutritional value, you make room for foods that pack more of a nutritious punch. Even by swapping chips and salsa for nuts and berries as a snack you are getting more vitamins, minerals, and good quality fats to keep you full and burning ketones.
9. Brain Benefits
The science behind low carb diets has been evolving since the 1920s. Recently, low carb diets have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, which are progressive degenerative neurological diseases. While this may be a groundbreaking long-term benefit of a low-carb diet, in the short-term low-carb dieters often experience clearing of brain fog, fatigue, and an increase in mental clarity. Researchers don't know exactly how a low-carb diet affects our brains, but hypothesize it may provide a neuroprotective effect, meaning it may protect your brain from degenerative diseases over time 8.