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Low Carb Diets

Low Carb Diets were immensely popular during the late 90ís and early 2000ís. Stories of individuals losing up to and over 100 pounds flooded the health and fitness world, and just about every supplement out there was geared toward the low carb dieter. Since then, low carb diet plans have lost a little steam, but they are anything but gone from the dietersí arsenal for weight loss. So how does one know if the low carb diet plan is the right way to lose those unwanted pounds? To answer this, we need to look at the benefits and drawbacks of a low carb nutrition plan and make an informed decision from there.

On the positive side, low carb diets can lead to rapid weight loss. Oftentimes, we hear of individuals who made dramatic changes in their body composition in just a few short weeks. With carbohydrates all but gone as the bodyís primary fuel source, it then looks to protein and fat to provide that fuel. When a nutrition plan and supplement regimen are set up properly, body fat becomes that primary fuel source. When carbohydrate levels are dropped below maintenance level, the body shifts into ďstarvation modeĒ and begins recruiting itsí stores of fat to provide energy.

With low carb diets, the body can even use protein as a fuel source, and this is extremely helpful in losing body fat. To use protein as fuel, the amino acids must be converted into glucose. This is a process called gluconeogenesis (glu-co-nee-o-gen-e-sis), and requires fat as a fuel to make this conversion. This is another reason why low carb diets are so rich in protein.

The down side to low carb diets is that the wonderful results they produce can be reversed in a very short time once the dieter goes back to ďnormalĒ eating. Oftentimes we hear horror stories of people losing fantastic amounts of weight only to gain it all back, and sometimes more, due to them once again consuming pizza, chips, beer and other unhealthy food choices.

The reason this bad weight goes back on so quickly is that fat cells do not disappear when weight is lost. They merely shrink. The body can make new fat cells as body fat is gained, but the only way to have them completely removed is through surgery (which is generally not recommended). Itís very unfair, but this is why low carb dieters cannot think that since they lost all that weight, itís time to go back to eating whatever they want again. Those existing fat cells will fill back up very quickly, causing the rapid increase in unwanted fat gain.

Another down side to low carb diets is the effect they can have on moods and energy levels. Carbohydrates are required to make serotonin, a chemical in the brain responsible for feelings of fullness and well-being. With carb levels restricted, peoplesí moods often coincide with their meal time.

With energy levels, those low carb dieters who are very obese will notice their energy levels going up because they are losing unneeded body weight. The physical stresses on their body are being reduced, so energy levels go up. Itís sometimes the opposite for dieters who are not extremely overweight, but are using low carb nutrition plans to rapidly drop unwanted body fat. Bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts often complain of being very low on energy during their pre-contest preparation because theyíre so low on carbohydrates.

Low carb diet plans can work wonders when it comes to losing weight. With their rapid results and general ease of preparation, low carb nutrition plans are a powerful ally for fat loss. However, with their list of drawbacks, it is important to realize that while they provide quick results, they are not a quick fix. As always, once weight is lost, a proper nutrition plan still needs to be followed to keep that weight from coming back. Low carb should not be looked at as a diet, itís a lifestyle.

Tim Mielke is a former competitive bodybuilder and published author, with 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. He has written dozens of articles ranging from the organic lifestyle, to hyped-up supplements to steroids, for various health and fitness sources. His book, The Book of Supplement Secrets: A Beginnerís Guide to Nutritional Supplements, has received excellent reviews. Tim brings his knowledge and expertise to RightFitnessandNutrition.com, and is currently developing his own supplement line and writing two more books, which he hopes to have published in 2014.

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