I started studying to be a nutritionist earlier this year, and have been learning so much. One topic that I have been studying recently is the always debatable low carb diet. I thought I would share with you what I have learnt and whether or not I think they are good or bad.
Carbs are converted to glucose in your body. Your brain relies almost solely on glucose to function. Red blood cells also rely entirely on glucose, so they are important!
Your liver can actually produce glucose without carbohydrates (this is known as gluconeogenesis). Therefore your body has the ability to convert other fuels such as fat and protein into glucose, when it does not have enough carbohydrate/glucose (i.e. when you are eating low carb). When you eat low carb, your brain adapts to deriving more energy from fat so typically you will also burn more fat.
When you eat a high carbohydrate meal, your blood sugar (glucose) increases rapidly. As a result, insulin is released into your bloodstream. Insulin tells your cells to move this excess glucose from your blood and store it in your fat cells.
Because glucose has been moved to your fat cells, there is less circulating glucose and therefore less glucose available to your brain. Therefore too many carbohydrates are actually worse for your brain than too little.
In my opinion, a low carbohydrate diet is actually great for weight loss. It also lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases good (HDL) cholesterol. This is considered general knowledge now in the fitness / health industry, but because of the traditional food pyramid and all of the “low fat” products available, most people still think that low fat is the way to go.
So what is low carb? Typically anything less than 25-30% of your daily intake from carbs. This doesn’t mean that you should eat NO carb. You still need some carbs. If you just cut out junk food, sugar and bad carbs from white sources (i.e. white bread, white pasta, sugary cereals, etc) you will be well on your way to a healthier diet!
Love Rachael xx