Will a low carb diet work for you?
What are Carbohydrates?
In order to know whether you should consider going low carb, you need to know what they are exactly. Some people hear the words carbs or macros and really do not know what they are, the just know it has something to do with food. Carbohydrates are actually sugars, which is why they play a significant role in your training energy, stamina and endurance. Molecules containing oxygen, hydrogen and carbon that are synthesized by plants, that are stored in glycogen when we consume them for energy. There are three primary kinds of carbohydrates, Polysaccharides (slow burning starches), Monosaccharides (sugary carbs like fruit and blood sugar) and Oligosaccharides (milk and table sugar). They are classified by the glycemic index. Foods or drinks which contain considerable amounts of sugar, such as that Monster energy drink you had before your work out, have a high glycemic index number. Meaning they will give you a surge of energy, but will be burned off quickly and you will more than likely "crash" shortly there after. Which really isn't a good idea when you have a brutally intense, 90 minute leg workout to put in. For training/energy purposes, you will want to eat foods that have a low glycemic index number (starches). The body will burn these foods significantly slower, providing you with slow released, sustainable energy throughout the day. Carbohydrates also assist the body in defending the protein you have eaten. When you have glycogen stored/present in your muscle fibers, the body will refrain from burning it for energy and use it for muscle growth/building. Now let's see if going low carb is good for you and your body type.
Effects of a Low Carb Diet
Different Body Types Require Different Eating Habits
Your Body Type and Weight
If you fall into one of these categories; Obese, endomorph body type, slow, sluggish metabolism, excessively over weight (over 100 pounds), you gain 10 pounds passing by a Burger King and it's extremely difficult for you to lose weight/body fat even when you exercise on a consistent basis, you are a pretty good candidate to consider going with a Low carb diet/eating habits. When carbohydrates are consumed and not used/burned off as energy, they are turned into and stored as fat. If you already have a weight/fat store problem and your still taking in a large amount of carbs that are not getting burned off in your 5 or 6 meals a day (5 or 6 meals keeps your metabolism active and strong)....well you get the picture. All of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) are essential to normal, proper body function, however it is ideal for people with weight problems to consume lean protein sources and manipulate their intake of carbohydrates with low carb foods to augment their weight loss. Drastically cutting your carbs is not safe nor is it healthy for that matter. It is a process and should always happen gradually. If you suffer from any kind of problems with your kidneys or other underlying health issues, you should consult a health care professional and have the necessary check ups/tests run before you begin trying any low carb diet plan.
Low Carb Jambalaya
Ingredients for Low Carb Jambalaya
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 (large) Onion, Diced
- 2 (half lengthwise) Andouille Sausage, Cut in 1/4 inch half moons
- 6 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped
- 1 can (14 oz) Tomatoes, Crushed
- 3 Green Bell Peppers, Seeded and diced
- 2 Zucchinis, Diced
- 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce, or to taste
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 lb Chicken Breast, Cooked, cooled, chopped
- 1 lb Shrimp, Cooked, peeled and deveined
- Heat olive oil and butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and andouille sausage and cook, stir until the onion starts to brown (about 10 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. (approximately 2 minutes.
- Mix in crushed tomatoes, green bell peppers, zucchinis, cajun seasoning, hot sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered until mixture cools off and is thick. Stir in chicken and shrimp and simmer until heated through (2 minutes).
Low Carb Jambalaya
Low Carb Food Pyramid
Gaining Lean Muscle Mass
If you fall into one of these categories; fitness fanatic, naturally skinny, ectomorph body type, trying to gain weight/muscle mass or your metabolism burns food off before it even gets in your mouth, a low carb diet is definitely not the route you want to take. If your goal is to gain mass/get bigger, then you are going to require a lot of energy and calories (an extra 500 calories a day are needed to gain 1 lb a week) and low carbs and calories usually equals low energy. Low carbs are good when you attempting to get lean, but when trying to get big, there should be a lot of pasta, potatoes and rice on your plate. On the other hand, if you already have the muscle mass and are competing in some type of fitness or body building competition, trying to acquire that super lean look, it would be very beneficial for you to consider going low carb. The lower carb intake will aid in dropping the body fat and bulkiness faster, giving you a harder, leaner more muscular appearance. Like I stated earlier, you cannot drop calories and still expect to be capable of performing marathon workouts. You might like the way it hardens/sharpens your muscles, but lack of energy and fatigue will set in a lot quicker.
Low Carb, High Fiber Foods
Always Plan your Meals ahead of time
Planning your Meals
You will more than likely have more luck successfully manipulating your carbohydrate/macro-nutrient intake if your meals have been already planned. If at all possible, consider preparing your meals in bulk (broiled or steamed) for the entire week. This will allow you to continuously give your body the predetermined, specified amount of all the macro-nutrients your body requires throughout the day for your desired fitness goal/objective. When gaining mass is your goal, you might think that grabbing a quick burger or something from some other fast food joint wont hurt because you want/need the extra carbs/calories, but a calorie is never just a calorie and you really have no idea of knowing what went into the preparation of the fast food and could potentially be consuming fats, toxins and other chemicals that your body doesn't process well and possibly causing harm/damage to your body/health. Low carb diet plans are indicative with getting smaller/leaning out. There are some people that dislikes the "exhaustion effect" that may comes along with it or do not have the discipline to stick to it. I always say, everyone is different, so it may not be for you. If your basically in good health, have no underlying conditions and want to drop some unwanted pounds, it will be advantageous to give it a shot. Lowering your carb intake to drop weight while implementing an exercise regimen to change your body composition as well, will not only assist you in reaching your desired fitness goal faster, it will also help you maintain and keep the weight off once your eating habits return to a normal percentage of each macro-nutrient consumed.
MRM Low Carb Protein
More Links with Weight Loss and Macronutrient Information
- Good Fat vs Bad Fat: The misunderstood macro-nutrient
Most people do not know whether there is any value in fats and just think of it as something that's bad for you. This article explores the pro's and cons of fat.
- How much protein does your body need?
This is a question often asked and you have probably heard 200 different answers. This article explores protein and how much the body actually needs.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on April 24, 2014:
@teaches12345 let me know how that works out for you
@Hows that goal coming along healthmunsta?
Thanks Health Card
Evie Dawson on April 16, 2014:
Thanks for sharing.. Readers will probably experience a lot of benefits of this way of eating :)
healthmunsta on January 22, 2014:
I'm also into cutting down my carbs, but I consistently crave refined foods like white bread. I'm actually not much of a chocolate or ice cream eater and it is solely the huge amount of carbs in my diet (along with inactivity) that led me to pile up pounds faster that I would have ever imagined. I always feel great on a low carb diet, less bloated and more energetic! The journey back to my goal weight is a long and arduous one but I plan to keep my carbs lower for the rest of my life.
Dianna Mendez on October 19, 2013:
Looks like I'm going to have to look for low carbs. Thanks for the education.
Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor on October 13, 2013:
Great info - there is a new product "weight loss supplement IC-5" with good reviews. It effectively helps you Increases Insulin Sensitivity, Supports Healthy Blood Sugar, and Partitions Carbs to Muscle, Not Fat. For people who really have trouble cutting carbs this might be worth trying.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on October 12, 2013:
Thanks for the read LKMoreo1, Cravings are your bodys way of telling you something is missing, contrary to beliefs its discipline/lack of will power. In women cravings usually indicate lack of nutrition (causes hormonal imbalance), low blood sugar, your about to start your monthly cycle, or you have low sertonin levels (energy hormone).
LKMore01 on October 12, 2013:
Thank you for writing this informative HUB, Alpha. Nothing makes me pack on the pounds faster than bagels and bread but that still doesn't stop my cravings. Voted up. Useful and interesting!