Fast Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, calorie counting is crazy, but shifting your attention to the types of foods you eat and focusing on mindful eating can make all the difference. Low-carb diets have a reputation for producing fast weight loss without feeling hungry or needing to count calories. In fact, many people experience weight loss following a low-carb diet even if they’ve tried “everything else” and never got the results they were looking for.
A 2014 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that after comparing the two in overweight adults, low-carb diets were more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diets were, as demonstrated by 148 participants following both types of dietary plans over 12 months.
Better Cognitive Function
Fat and carbohydrates usually have an inverse relationship in someone’s diet. Most people keep protein intake somewhat steady, but normally the more carbs and sugar people eat, the less healthy fats they consume. This is problematic because we need healthy fats for proper brain function, mood control and hormone regulation. While initially a sugary or high-carb meal might make you feel awake and alert, quickly after you’ll come crashing down and might feel tired, grumpy and irritable.
Sugar is addictive and has dramatic effects on the brain, especially when it comes to increasing cravings, anxiety and fatigue. On the other hand, certain kinds of healthy fats, including cholesterol, act like antioxidants and precursors to some important brain-supporting molecules and neurotransmitters that control learning, memory, mood and energy. Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids and requires a steady stream of fats from your diet in order to perform optimally.
Reduced Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease
A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology found that low-carbohydrate diets are more effective at reducing certain metabolic and heart disease risk factors than low-fat diets are and at least equally effective at reducing weight and other factors.
The study investigated the effects of low-carbohydrate diets (≤45 percent of energy from carbohydrates) versus low-fat diets (≤30 percent of energy from fat) on metabolic risk factors by conducting a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Twenty-three trials from multiple countries with a total of 2,788 participants were included in the analyses.
The results showed that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets lowered weight and improved metabolic risk factors. But compared with participants on low-fat diets, people on low-carbohydrate diets experienced a significantly greater increase in “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and a greater decrease in triglycerides.