Special Diet

Reduce carbohydrates and become slim.

More meat and vegetables, no pasta, no bread: A low-carb diet means switching to food without carbohydrates if possible. The results with the low carb diet are remarkable. But there is also criticism of the carbohydrate-poor nutrition.

Among celebrities it is considered for a long time as chic to become slim with Low Carb (low = low and carb = abbreviation of carbohydrates), thus with a carbohydrate-poor nutrition. This “carbohydrates are bad” principle is also followed by other diets, which forbid noodles and the popular evening meal. The best known example of the low carb method is the Atkins diet. Others modify the principle, for example: Dukan diet, Logi method, Montignac diet, South Beach method, Stone Age or Paleo diet and partly the 5:2 diet.

Therefore, carbohydrates are taboo in the low carb diet.

The idea behind the low carb diet is relatively simple: the body converts carbohydrates into sugar, the blood sugar level rises. In order to lower it, the organism produces insulin, which in turn inhibits the burning of fat. In addition, insulin creates a feeling of hunger in the brain, so that the total intake of calories by a carbohydrate-rich diet increases.

“If we reduce the amount of food that contains carbohydrates, the body burns more fat,” explains Michael Ristow, Professor of Energy Metabolism at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. The metabolism changes due to the reduced carbohydrate intake.

Low carb nutrition plan: Protein and fat, avoid alcohol

Less carbohydrates is supposed to balance out more protein and fat. The classic low-carb diet therefore includes a lot of meat in the diet. Who is wise, still strokes the alcohol, because also it supplies many coal hydrates.

A low-carb diet means to do without the typical side dishes such as noodles, rice or bread. This is why all kinds of vegetables and protein-rich foods – meat, fish, yoghurt and eggs – are on the shopping list. Foods that contain many carbohydrates, such as bananas and dried fruit, are just as forbidden during a low carb diet as sweets. “It is therefore important to reduce the amount of flour, sugar and starch in foods,” says Susanne Klaus from DIFE (German Institute of Nutrition Research).

Low-carbohydrate diets are quick results: “The initial success is very great in the first three months,” says Ristow. Protein, which is the main component of the low-carb diet, is an excellent source of satiety. In this way, one to three kilograms can be lost at the beginning of each week.

The high protein portion of a Low carb: It is also responsible for the fact that in contrast to many other for men, Low carb does not attack muscle mass. This shows an investigation of the University of Illinois. A meta analysis of the scientific association Cochrane Collaboration proves beyond that the health use of the Low Carb Di?t. According to this, even the cholesterol level drops during this diet. A prerequisite, however, is that instead of carbohydrates, not only fatty meat, salami and full-fat cheese are put on the plate.

Disadvantages of the low carb diet

The biggest criticism of the low carb diet, however, is its high proportion of protein and fat. A strict low-carb diet, like the original Atkins method with its high protein and fat content, is suspected of damaging the heart, liver and blood vessels. A Swedish study of 40,000 women shows that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can slightly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Ristow and Klaus therefore advise not to overdo eating meat during the low carb diet. Too much red meat is not good because it not only increases the susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases, but also the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. It is advisable to eat a portion of fish or poultry in between and lots of vegetables.

In addition, there are other criticisms of the low carb diet:

In addition, according to Ristow and Klaus, studies have shown that the test subjects regained their old weight one or two years after a low-carb diet: So the yo-yo effect also affects low carb followers.
The lack of carbohydrates makes you dissatisfied. This is what Australian scientists have found out. The low carb diet therefore causes a craving for croissants, crispy rolls or a large plate of pasta.
Last but not least, the low carb diet is also a question of cost. Buying vegetables, fish and meat is comparatively more expensive than putting a pound of noodles in your shopping cart. In general, you have to read many recipe books and be creative, because the typical food “meat with noodles, rice, dumplings or potatoes with any sauce” is omitted.

Study results for the Low carb are contradictory

The low carb diet therefore has advantages, but also disadvantages. There are a number of studies that provide contradictory results. Because too much fat and protein can be harmful to health, some variants of the low carb diet, such as the modern Atkins diet, rely more on vegetables, fruit and some protein, but less on fat. In addition, they allow a certain amount of carbohydrates, according to the principle “Low Carb” does not mean “No Carb”.

Low carb diet is bad for the brain

A US study shows that people who follow a low-carb diet perform worse in memory tests than people who also count their calories but do not do without carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are broken down in the body to the glucose component, which then reaches the brain via the bloodstream. There, simple sugars, the most important source of energy, are immediately burned – glucose cannot be stored in the brain. According to Holly A. Taylor and her colleagues at Tufts University in Massachusetts, the elimination of carbohydrates should have an effect on the performance of grey cells.

The scientists tested this hypothesis on 19 women between the ages of 22 and 55 in a three-week study: Nine women were to go on a low-carb diet; the rest were to be given a reduced-calorie diet with a balanced relationship between carbohydrates, fat and protein.


Fewer carbohydrates, less performance

The brain performance of all participants was tested five times by the scientists: Once before the start of the study, twice during the first diet week and twice in weeks two and three – at this time the women of the low carb group had started eating carbohydrates again. The performance tests examined various factors such as attention and short-term and long-term memory.

As a result, the low-carb diet participants in the memory tests performed worse than the women in the calorie-reduced but balanced diet. In addition, the absence of carbohydrates slowed down the women’s reaction time. Only in one point did they do better than their colleagues – in exercises aimed at vigilance. “The study shows that the food one eats has a direct effect on one’s mental performance,” concludes Taylor.