Are zero-carb diets any good for weight loss?
For many years, government agencies and dieticians were beating the drum for low-fat diets, but they clearly didn’t work. I read an interesting report that summarized 26 different studies that compared low-fat to low-carb diets. There’s no doubt that the low-carb diet is the clear winner in that comparison.
However, there are many conflicting studies when it comes to zero-carb and extremely low-carb diets. This is particularly true when it comes to long-term benefits and effects.
I think we’re sailing into uncharted waters when it comes to zero-carb diets that offer fish, eggs, and meat as the primary proteins. I don’t think those options are good over the longer term.
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I think low-carb diets can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and the lack of fiber is going to result in a change in bowel habits and gut flora. Fatigue and constipation are common side effects of a low-carb diet.
Zero-carb diets may be effective for weight loss over the short-term, but I think people are going to run into problems over time.
For very large people, the zero-carb diet may allow them to lose a significant amount of weight over the first few weeks. For every gram that you carry of fat, the body’s also maintaining a lot of fluid. As a result, as soon as you start burning off some initial fat, your weight will drop quite rapidly. It’s a lot of fluid coming off the body. But then you’ll plateau and will need to take extreme measures to get the weight to keeping dropping.
Instead of looking to a zero-carb diet to solve your weight problem, I think the focus should be on eating habits and the emotional side of food.
Look at your stress levels, your relationships, your occupation, and try and find the reasons you may be overeating. I think that is far more effective than jumping on a diet bandwagon.
We need a permanent fix. We don’t need some short term diet approach at all. Look at weight loss as a 12 month+ project, not a six-week program because you’re going to a wedding.
Any diet approach should be customized to the person. Don’t change your diet to live up to what a book says. Change the diet to meet your needs.