Low Carb Diet Side Effects

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A low carbohydrate diet can be a very successful tool for weight loss. By putting the body into a state of ketosis, stored fat is burned more efficiently. Coupled with exercise, this can lead to a healthy and effective reduction of body fat. A low carb diet has few side effects, many of which are positive--weight loss, stable blood sugar and decreased cravings for processed foods are among them. However, there are some negative side effects to consider.

A low carbohydrate has few side effects.
A low carbohydrate has few side effects. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Weight Loss

One of the most obvious side effects of a low carbohydrate diet is weight loss. When the body is put into a state of ketosis, it is forced to burn stored fat reserves. This results in a decrease in body fat. A low carb diet has the potential to be high in protein; when coupled with exercise, this type of diet is excellent in promoting a build of lean muscle tissue, resulting in a more effective metabolism.

Weight loss is a side effect of a low carbohydrate diet.
Weight loss is a side effect of a low carbohydrate diet. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Stable Blood Sugar

A less well-known benefit to a diet low in carbohydrates is a stable glucose level. When processed foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber or protein are consumed, this results in a fast release of glucose. This gives a quick burst of energy which quickly subsides. By avoiding foods that cause these peaks and valleys in glucose levels, the blood sugar remains stable. Less insulin is produced, which can decrease the chance of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and diabetes.

A low carbohydrate diet can help stabilize the glucose level.
A low carbohydrate diet can help stabilize the glucose level. (Image: verve231/iStock/Getty Images)

More Energy

Related to stabilizing the blood sugar, consuming food which is low in carbohydrates but high in fiber results in a slow release of energy. This ensures that the fuel you consume is burned for much longer than the quick spikes provided by refined and processed foods. The end result is a lasting, steady feeling of energy, rather than quick highs and prolonged "crashes" where the only fix is to eat more.

Having more energy is also a positive side effect.
Having more energy is also a positive side effect. (Image: Dirima/iStock/Getty Images)

Reduced Cravings

Another side effect of a low carb diet is reduced cravings for more carbs. This is a result of the stable blood sugar levels that occur when a low carb diet plan is being followed properly. The stable glucose levels and slow burn of energy released by high fiber foods keeps the body nourished for longer periods of time, making it easy to fight the physiological cravings for carb-rich foods such as bread and pasta.

A low carb diet helps reduce cravings for bread and pasta.
A low carb diet helps reduce cravings for bread and pasta. (Image: jeep5d/iStock/Getty Images)

Negative Effects

While a low carb diet has many positive side effects, there are some potential health hazards since the body does need some carbohydrates to function properly. The absence of carbohydrates can cause a potentially dangerous condition in some people, caused by ketone buildup, a side effect of burning stored fat. Lactic acidosis is another potentially dangerous side effect, resulting from a buildup of lactic acid in the blood. For this reason, a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking any diet program.

Consult your doctor before beginning a new diet program.
Consult your doctor before beginning a new diet program. (Image: Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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