Low Carb Myths: Busted
With any special diet or healthy lifestyle method, it’s easy for misconceptions and half-truths to get spread around and make it difficult for people to truly evaluate whether the changes would be beneficial for them. It’s no secret that the low carb diet has its fair share of myths, too. Many of these are simply the result of incomplete information, assumptions, or just misunderstandings. We’re here to help clear the air around these common low carb myths and shed some light on the truth, so you can get the whole story on what the low carb lifestyle is really about.
Read a quick overview of the basics of the low carb diet.
“The low carb diet is just a fad diet.”
This one is definitely the most common, and fortunately, it’s also the easiest to prove wrong. The low carb diet is in essence a structured way to monitor and moderate our intake of the types of foods that are closely related to weight gain and a multitude of other health concerns. Even though the term ‘low carb diet’ may be somewhat new to mainstream culture, people have been put on a variety of low carb diets by their doctors and nutritionists for decades, and the results are proven and effective.
Low carb diets are proven in a wide variety of scientific studies to be an effective way to lose weight and improve general health and well-being. Even the most widely-recognized low carb diet plan, created by Dr. Atkins, has its origins trace back as far as the early 1970’s. In addition, there are many instances of low carb meal plans appearing in health and nutrition journals even earlier, with some even appearing in the late 1800’s.
We’re quite certain that any diet with that kind of authority is the furthest thing from a ‘fad’.
“All you are allowed to eat is meat and vegetables.”
There is a reason that it’s called the ‘low carb diet’, and not the ‘no carb diet’. While meat and vegetables are a huge part of the low carb lifestyle, there is nothing stopping you from still having grains, fruits, and other food groups. The low carb diet is built around moderating and adjusting the quantities and types of foods we eat, and understanding how our daily intake stacks up across all the nutrients that our body needs so that we stop taking in too much of the things that are making us unhealthy.
Most low carb diet approaches are just common sense, when you think about it. For example, you might not be able to have a bagel for breakfast, a foot-long sub for lunch, and then a giant bowl of pasta for dinner. That’s three out of three meals delivering a huge pile of carbs. Making sensible substitutions throughout your daily food routines, like having a grilled chicken salad instead of that foot-long sub, or scrambled eggs instead of your bagel, are where you will see the biggest changes.
In a nutshell, the low carb diet works by carefully reducing our carb intake and substituting healthier options, not eliminating all carbs forever.
“It’s a really complicated diet to follow.”
There is a bit of a learning curve at the start of the low carb diet, but it’s not at all complicated or difficult to adopt. As we’ve mentioned, the main components of a low carb diet are counting the carbs we eat, making smart substitutions and changes in our meal plans, and living a generally healthy lifestyle including exercise. In fact, counting carbs is easier today than it’s ever been. We now have many tools available to help make carb counting fast and easy.
Nutrition labels on the food we buy is more detailed now than ever, and make it crystal clear how many carbs are in each serving. We also have health and nutrition apps on our smartphones that can quickly track and sum up our carb counts every day, as well as provide us all the information we need on how to make smart choices when dining out or searching for a new recipe. Low carb dieters have never had it better, or easier, than they do today.
Low carb specialty stores, like The Low Carb Grocery, make it easy to shop for a wide range of low carb products of all kinds. You can visit one of our many Low Carb Grocery locations, or shop online any time and have your order shipped right to your door. Going low carb is not that hard at all!
“You end up eating way too much meat and fat.”
Just because the low carb diet places more emphasis on protein from meat, it doesn’t mean you get to eat all the bacon in the world. Too much of anything can be unhealthy for us, and that goes for protein, too. The secret to a successful low carb diet is proper moderation and adjustment of the quantities of all the different foods we eat every day. Carbs need to be reduced, and protein needs to be increased, but it’s not a zero-sum game, and shouldn’t be treated as such.
A large portion of the carbs in a typical North American diet are found in foods that have been processed, and therefore have had additional ingredients added as part of those processes. Going low carb means veering away from large amounts of processed foods and sticking to fresh, natural products instead. This means you can still have a hamburger, but the ingredients that go in to it will all be healthier versions with fewer carbs and more nutrients.
“Our brains need glucose to work, and glucose comes from carbs.”
Certain parts of our brains do need glucose as fuel, that is true. Carbs produce glucose in our blood, that is true, too. But what this myth conveniently leaves out is that our bodies can synthesize glucose out of protein and other chemicals in our bloodstream, and that many parts our brains can also function by using ketones as fuel.
As carbs are gradually reduced in our diets, we eventually reach a point that is called ‘ketosis’, where ketones are produced as a result of the breakdown of fatty acids by the liver. The liver is also where a process called gluconeogenesis occurs, where protein and fat metabolism byproducts are converted in to the glucose needed to fuel the necessary parts of the brain not powered by ketones.
The Myths Go On
Myths about the low carb diet are so prevalent, there are dozens of other blogs that have also tackled this topic in order to provide clarity and facts to low carb dieters, including this one from TheFitHousewife.com that addresses myths about energy levels, saturated fats, and more.
So, as you can see, the truth about the low carb diet is that it’s not a fad, it’s not all about meat, and it’s not that complicated. Making the switch to a low carb diet can result in many significant health benefits, including weight loss and increased energy levels.
If these myths prove anything, it’s that no matter what healthy lifestyle change you may be considering, it’s important to always seek out trusted and reliable resources to make sure you’re getting accurate facts before making any changes to diet or exercise regimes.
Good luck with your low carb diet!