Often times, low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets (and no, they are not the same thing) are recomended, when rapid fat loss is the goal.I think it’s a terrible advice, in most cases (there are exceptions, I will write another article about those). And while some women feel just fine on a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, MOST do not. It’s important to understand that nothing about nutrition is ever simple.
Macronutrient ratio will dictate whether we are going to lose weight in form of fat (and water weight, in form of muscle glycogen ecc.) or a combination of fat AND lean body mass (and muscle glycogen).
With that said, let’s see why low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets might not be the best choice for you, even when trying to lose fat:
Better body composition. Low carbohydrate ketogenic diets make you lose mostly water weight in form of muscle glycogen, not fat. Muscle glycogen loss will make your muscles flatten our. In simple words, you will look skinny fat. It’s important to understand that when you create a caloric deficit, you are going to eat less carbohydrates anyway. Therefore, some muscle glycogen loss is inevitable. However, you want to be able to lose weight, while maintaining your carbohydrates as high as possible. Without compromising other macronutrient (protein and fat) intake, of course.
Muscle retention. Carbohydrates support your strength and performance in the gym. If you are going to follow a very low carbohydrate diet, for more than one week, you will lose strength. When losing body fat, to avoid or minimaze muscle loss as much as possible, you have to lift heavy. Otherwise your body will have no reason to hold on to that muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it! It’s as simple as that.
Body Recomposition. If you are a novice lifter and your goal is Body Recomposition, A.K.A. you want to build muscle, strength and amazing curves, while losing body fat, and you follow a low carbohydrate diet, you are spinning your wheels, my friend. Sure, enyone, who has never weight trained before, will gain some lean body mass, no matter what kind of diet they follow. But first 3 to 6 months of weight training are extremely important, because, if your nutrition is in check (A.K.A. good macronutrient balance), you will be able to see amazing progress and build a solid muscular foundaton for the upcoming years!
Hormonal balance. Carbohydrates play a huge role in hormonal balance. Without carbohydrates serotonin production will be supressed. Your good mood will roll out the window and you won’t be able to fall asleep. Also, carbohydrates have a direct impacton your thyroid health: active T3 thyroid hormone, thyroid blocking Reverse T3 hormone, metabolic rate and energy production. Low body temperature, hands and feet always cold, low energy, not being able to handle stress are all syptoms of ssupressed thyroid function due to low carbohydrate intake.
Lifestyle. I’ll never get tired repeating, that the best diet is the one you can maintain for a life time. I promise you don’t have infinite will power, no one does. Now, can you imagine not eating ice cream ever in your life? Pizza? A sandwich? Fruit?
If you ABSOLUTELY can lose weight while eating all these foods, so why wouldn’t you?!
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