How To Diet Healthfully: Advice About Carbs and Protein

September 15, 2019

Your diet is composed of 3 main macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbs; along with a handful of vitamins and minerals called micro-nutrients. Not to mention fibers and water. There are many ways that cutting carbs for weight loss can be beneficial to your diet.

When you are overweight, your body creates redundant reserves of fat that can be detrimental to your health. Logic suggests that putting down weight mandates losing fat.

Warding off excessive fat must be at the expense of a macronutrient. Should you consume less fat? Less protein? Or fewer carbs? This question has long tantalized researchers.

If you are curious about the ideal nutrient to shave out your body fat and maintain good health, read on:

The Truth About Carbs and Protein for Weight Loss - YOUTOHEALTHY

Why Cut Carbs?

Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat. It has been tried over decades and has returned satisfactory results. When you cut back on carbs, your appetite and weight decline.

Studies have shown that low-carb diets lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets do. It can sound paradoxical: to lose fat, you have to cut carbs instead of fats. However, low-carb diets target the fat around your internal organs, including the stomach and liver. Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives you encouraging results. Such instant payoffs might show a difference on the scale in around 2 days.

Despite a prevalence of studies, there is nothing more accurate than individual medical advice from a healthcare professional. If you are thinking about trying a low-carb diet, make sure to seek out the opinion of a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist.

Cutting Carbs for Weight Loss: How Does it Work?

In short, our bodies metabolize, or break down, carbohydrates using a complex biological system. Below, we’d like to explain a bit about how that works, and why cutting carbs for weight loss can be helpful.

Glucose—or blood sugar—levels indicate how much sugar is in your bloodstream. Insulin levels indicate the amount of insulin in your bloodstream. Insulin is an essential hormone that transports sugar to be broken down. 

Before you eat, your glucose levels should be normal, so insulin levels are low. After meals, your glucose levels rise. This stimulates insulin levels to rise too.

The kind of sugar you eat dictates the height and duration of the sugar surge in your blood after food. Based on the glycemic index, refined carbs, such as white bread and candy are called high glycemic foods. They enter the blood rapidly and increase insulin levels quickly. When insulin shoots up, it stores extra calories in the form of fat.

On the other hand, low glycemic foods enter the blood gradually and stay longer. They cause a reasonable elevation in insulin levels and not much fat to store. Examples of low glycemic foods include sweet potatoes, corn, oat bran, muesli, beans, and lentils.

If you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. If you can’t do it, eliminating refined carbs such as sugar, candy, and white bread should be sufficient; as long as you keep your protein intake high.

It’s important to note that drastic diets can result in headache, drowsiness, agitation, and short temper. Knowing that beforehand helps you manage the potential drawbacks by making sure that you mitigate your diet with proper nutrition and hydration, and sufficient levels of minerals and vitamins.

Why Consume Proteins?

Caution: if you have a kidney or liver disease, high-protein diets may carry higher risks. Consult a doctor before starting a high-protein diet. 

Eating more protein helps you tame your hunger longer than other macronutrients. In other words, eating 100 calories of protein would leave you more satiated than 100 calories of either carbs or fat. That’s a major reason for prioritizing protein, but there’s more.

Eating protein boosts your metabolic rate. Proteins help you to use stored macronutrients by converting them to energy. Protein consumption results in higher levels of nutrient conversion than fats or carbs. 

Eating protein also spares your muscle mass while losing weight. If your dieting isn’t smart, it could fire back on you. With a high-protein diet, you are more likely to avoid weakness and wasting.

Even with these benefits, calories still count. It’s important to know which proteins to eat. The general rule of thumb is to choose proteins that are high in nutritional value and low in saturated fat and calories. These include lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Final Thoughts

There are two important concepts to work into a healthy, balanced diet: eat fewer carbs (especially refined carbs), and eat more proteins. Eating fewer carbs can reduce the fat that builds up after insulin surges. Eating plenty of protein can reduce your hunger, enhance your metabolism, and maintain a muscular built. In short, the best way to diet and manage your weight is to eat smart.

More about Atif Abdulhamid Katib

Dr. Atif Abdulhamid Katib is a senior physician. He holds a Ph.D. in general surgery from Dublin, Ireland, a Ph.D. in Urological surgery from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a Diploma in clinical research from Hamilton, Canada. He's the editor for the Urology Bank of 1111 MCQs and founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Clinical Updates. Dr. Katib has been working in the business of medical research writing, reviewing, and editing for seven years and used to be an Arabic columnist to local newspapers and health journals.

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