Major changes can happen in your body when you cut carbs. Weight loss and good health are both carb related.
If you’ve ever asked someone how to lose weight quickly, the chances are they responded with “cut out carbs.” Swapping out carbohydrates for protein has long been used in a number of diets from Atkins to paleo and keto. Research has shown that low-carb diets not only help with weight loss but in keeping off the pounds too.
However, you need to be replacing carbs with the right foods. New research suggests that replacing carbohydrates with animal fat and protein is actually linked to a shorter life span. Eating a diet high in animal protein, particularly processed and red meat, has been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Here are some of the changes that can happen in your body when you cut carbs:
- Start burning fat
- Stomach gets flatter
- Reduce insulin levels and blood sugar
- Reduce triglycerides
Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates do play an important role in our diet and energy production. There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars that provide quick bursts of energy such as sweets or white bread. Complex carbohydrates are whole grain and fiber-rich foods that keep you feeling fuller for longer such as whole wheat pasta and whole grains.
Carbohydrates that are high in calorie density and refined sugars and low in nutrients and fiber are considered bad carbohydrates. Studies have shown that a low-carb diet can result in weight loss and improved health markers. However, there is a big difference between good and bad carbohydrates and limiting or removing simple carbohydrates such as sweets, cookies, and carbonated drinks is the way forward.
You can swap your carbohydrates with these clever plant-based alternatives:
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Mushroom Burger Buns
- Lettuce Wraps
- Avocado Fries
- Vegetable Spaghetti
- Kale Crisps
As your body’s main source of energy, carbohydrates are used to support your body’s biological processes. However, if you overindulge, you likely have extra carbohydrates hanging around. If not used, your liver processes the extra carbohydrates into fat for long term storage. This is where the type of carbohydrates you’re eating makes a difference.
Fibrous and starchy complex carbohydrates take a lot longer for your body to break down and use. They are naturally lower in calories and generally have a slower impact on weight gain. Simple carbohydrates, however, break down easily in the body. Carbohydrates in foods such as cookies and chips are almost entirely sugar. This causes your blood sugar to spike, increasing your insulin which, in turn, promotes a higher rate of fat storage.
What Happens to Your Body When You Give up Carbs?
Start Burning Fat
One study found that a low-carb diet was better than a low-fat diet at reducing people’s body fat. A low-carb diet can decrease organ body fat, even if the weight loss is minimal. Without carbohydrates, your body acts to remove excess water from your body and lower insulin levels. This can lead to rapid weight loss in the first week or two.
Stomach Gets Flatter
Where fat is stored in your body dictates the effect it has on your overall health and risk of disease development. Visceral fat builds up in your abdominal cavity and is common in overweight men. Too much visceral fat is linked with insulin resistance and inflammation.
One study showed that low-carb diets are effective in reducing this type of harmful fat in the abdominal. This should eventually lead to a lowered risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Reduce Insulin Levels and Blood Sugar
Eating a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet can be especially helpful for people with diabetes. A study has found that cutting carbs can help reduce both insulin levels and blood sugar. Another study saw 95% of people with type 2 diabetes had lowered or even eliminated their blood sugar medication within six months.
Triglycerides are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Low-carbohydrate diets help reduce triglycerides in your body as well as increase the concentrations of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Low-carb diets can also lead to reduced inflammation, insulin, and blood sugar, all of which can affect your heart health.
Consider the Vegan Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet uses fat as your main macro food source, with some protein and hardly any carbohydrates. By eating lots of fats without carbohydrates your insulin drops and fats called, ketones, build up in the bloodstream. This natural mechanism within the body targets fat stores and results in weight loss. This reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
However, when you replace carbs with lots of animal products, you could potentially be shortening your life span. Increased intake of meat, dairy, and eggs are associated with a higher risk of several diseases including heart disease and cancer.
A vegan keto diet can help boost your energy levels if you’re feeling sluggish. You’ll get the weight loss benefits of keto without increasing your risk for disease. A berry chia pudding is an ideal snack or breakfast food that provides lots of healthy fats and protein to get your day started.
Being on a vegan ketogenic diet doesn’t need to be complicated. There are lots of delicious recipes that will provide you with the right fats and nutrients you need for your day.
The main purpose of a keto diet is weight loss so if it’s not for you, there are alternatives. A vegan diet alone is a great way to lower body weight if you choose fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding junk foods. Intermittent fasting, low-carb, and paleo are all options to investigate as well.
You can combine the ketogenic and vegan diet, but as both are restrictive, you probably wouldn’t want to do this long term. Meal planning and watching your vitamins and macros would be key. A short term vegan keto diet of one to two weeks would offer up the benefits and minimize the risks. If you’re thinking of making drastic changes to your diet, always consult a professional.