zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Is a No Carb Diet Safe?

by
author image Graham Ulmer
Graham Ulmer began writing professionally in 2006 and has been published in the "Military Medicine" journal. He is a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Ulmer holds a Master of Science in exercise science from the University of Idaho and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Washington State University.
Is a No Carb Diet Safe?
Cutting fruits from your diet can keep you from getting much-needed vitamins and minerals. Photo Credit OcusFocus/iStock/Getty Images

The body needs a balanced diet with adequate intake of the three macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. The body primarily uses carbohydrates for energy, and unused carbohydrates are converted to a chemical called glycogen and stored for later use. Despite some popular trends, low-carb and no-carb diets are dangerous and can result in irreversible health risks.

Low- and No-Carb Diets

Most healthy adults need about 225 g to 325 g of carbohydrates each day. Diets that promote severe restrictions in carbohydrate intake advocate about 50 g to 150 g of this nutrient. Low- and no-carbohydrate diets operate on the premise that if your body has little glycogen to offer for fuel, it will turn to fat stores for energy. These types of diets often promote fallacious principles, such as limiting fruit and vegetable intake.

Risks

Too little carbohydrates in the diet can place your body in a state of ketosis -- or an unhealthy buildup of ketones in the bloodstream. Excessive amounts of these chemicals can increase the level of acidity in your blood and place undue strain on your liver and kidneys. Low- and no-carbohydrate diets that restrict fruits, vegetables and grains can also prevent your body from receiving important vitamins and minerals. Chronic nutrient deficiencies can lead to severe damage of vital organs and in severe cases, death.

You Might Also Like

Weight Loss Facts

Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume through food, regardless of the source. You'll lose about 1 lb. for every 3,500 extra calories you burn, whether those calories come from carbohydrates, fat or protein. Low-and no-carbohydrate diets generally work because they help people pay more attention to their diets and restrict caloric intake. The best diet plans include balanced intake of nutrients, vitamins and minerals; consistent and moderate caloric restriction; and increased exercise.

Calculating Carbohydrate Needs

Carbohydrates should account for about 45 to 65 percent of your total caloric intake. If you generally need about 2,000 calories a day, 900 to 1,300 of these should come from carbohydrates. If you are on a 1,500-calorie diet, you would still need about 675 to 975 calories from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per 1 g, so this translates to about 170 g to 245 g of carbohydrate each day.

Carbohydrate Sources

Not all carbohydrates are created equal, and there are some you should try to avoid when on a diet. Foods that have a high glycemic load, or those that cause sharp spikes in your blood sugar levels, can lead to weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Try to avoid products with a lot of sugar. Whole grain products, fruits, vegetables and foods that are high in fiber are the best sources of carbohydrates.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

References

Demand Media