Low-carb diet facts
Low-carb diet facts

27 Eye-Opening Low-Carb Diet Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published May 4, 2018

Can a low-carb diet help you lose and keep off the weight? At its most basic, a low-carb diet limits the amount of carbs you eat, carbs that are found in bread, pasta, and starchy vegetables and fruits. Instead of eating so many carbs, a person instead eats no carb foods, such as natural proteins, vegetables, and fats. For many people, the purpose of a low-carb diet plan is not only to lose weight, but also to reduce risk factors that are associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Here are important low-carb diet facts you should know to help you achieve your health and nutrition goals.

  • Low-carb diets are especially designed for weight loss, but they can have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.[5]
  • Carbohydrates are the main source of quick energy for the body. By reducing carbs, the body is supposed to produce less insulin, which in turn prompts it to burn fat reserves, leading to weight loss.[5]
  • Many studies indicate that while low-carb diets can produce fast weight-loss results, their long-term effectiveness is not much greater than those of more traditional diets.[5]
  • The first popular low-carb diet was the Atkins diet, started by Dr. Robert C. Atkins. Dr. Atkins discovered the potential of a high-protein diet in his research during the 1960s, and his book Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was published in 1972.[1]
  • The "ketogenic diet," or keto diet, is an extreme form of the low-carb diet. The diet prescribes eating mainly meat, full-fat dairy, eggs, and oils, and its goal is to force the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat since it is starved of carbohydrates.[10]
  • Many people begin the keto diet with a two-day fast to help their body transition to the new types of foods.[10]
  • Unlike the Atkins diet that emphasizes protein consumption, the keto diet is heavy on fats and oils. The idea is to train the body to use fat as fuel, which in turn burns up fat reserves.[10]
  • Beginning the keto diet can be hard on the body, and people often suffer from "keto flu," symptoms of which include fatigue, bad breath, dry mouth, and increased urination.[10]
  • Keto diet restrictions
    Savor it
  • A daily dose of carbs on the keto diet is approximately 20 to 30 grams, or the amount contained in one apple.[2]
  • The long-term risks and benefits of the keto diet are still little understood, but such radical dietary changes pose a number of health risks, such as muscle cramps, digestive irregularity, and rebound weight gain after the diet is stopped.[10]
  • The keto diet is occasionally prescribed for epileptics and, in conjunction with chemotherapy, for certain cancer patients in order to help fight tumors.[11]
  • Advocates of high-protein diets argue that in addition to losing weight, you don't have to go hungry while dieting, since hearty foods like meat and eggs form the bulk of your meals.[2]
  • There are several variations on the standard keto diet, including the cyclical keto diet, the targeted keto diet, and the high-protein keto diet. Each diet type offers specific benefits depending on the dieter's goals.[6]
  • The keto diet originated as a treatment for children with epilepsy, as it has been shown to reduce the frequency of certain seizures.[4][10]
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Atkins diet is not meat-only. All the food groups are present; protein and fat simply play a much larger role than in a traditional diet.[1]
  • Atkins food groups
    There's more to it than "meats" the eye

  • In addition to helping with weight loss, the keto diet leads to the production of ketones in the liver, which provide energy to the brain and increase mental focus.[6]
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 45–65% of a person's daily calorie intake should be from carbohydrates. The keto diet recommends 7%.[3][10]
  • While the keto diet has proven effective for many people, it is a very strict diet and thus difficult for many people to follow. Slipping up and eating too many carbs effectively negates its benefits.[11]
  • An extreme form of the keto diet is the drip-tube approach. A tube is inserted through the nose down the esophagus, through which 800 liquid calories per day are fed to the dieter.[11]
  • Some critics of extreme diets like keto claim that it can lead to muscle mass loss and debilitating fatigue.[11]
  • keto diet bacon
    Dieting with bacon? Crazy or just counter-intuitive?
  • A man named Dan Quibell ate nothing but bacon for an entire month, both as an experiment and to raise awareness about the keto diet. He claims to have lost 19.6 pounds during that month and, at the same time, improved his blood pressure and maintained a healthy cholesterol level.[7]
  • According to the keto diet, 80% of your diet should come from fat and around 20% from protein.[2]
  • Some evidence suggests that the keto diet can help fight obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease.[2]
  • Many people who adopt a low-carb diet go through a period of smelling very bad as their body undergoes ketosis.[6][11]
  • A 26-year study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people on low-carb diets had slightly higher mortality rates than average.[9]
  • Several people have died while on the Atkins diet, with evidence indicating that their diet had contributed to heart and other medical problems.[8]
  • Many people on low-carb diets report having consistently low energy and difficulty concentrating.[8]
  • Surprising Low-Carb Diet Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    LowCarb Infographic Thumbnail

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