A low-carbohydrate diet that strictly restricts carbohydrate intake is very effective in regulating the hormone insulin.
Insulin is what controls glucose uptake by blood cells. In this way, insulin regulates blood sugar levels. The glucose that is absorbed into the cells is used to satisfy energy requirements. When there is more glucose than the cell needs for energy, the excess is stored as fat.
In a recent report in one of the leading medical journals, a low-carbohydrate diet was found to reduce blood insulin levels by 27% and improve the sensitivity of cells to the hormone simultaneously.
As a result of this effect, glucose is metabolized normally without any stress in other organs or systems to produce additional insulin, a factor that has been considered responsible for weight gain and the development of diabetes later on. Simply put, a low carbohydrate diet helps improve glucose metabolism and protects against diabetes.
To see how a lower carbohydrate diet can achieve this, take a look at how the body deals with the reduced carbohydrate content of the daily diet.
When the carbohydrate content of your daily food intake falls below a point, two adaptive responses occur.
* You start to lose water
* You turn to fat as an energy source
Loss of water is one of the first changes to occur. Water is retained whenever there is a high content of glucose in the blood. Insulin regulation keeps glucose within a narrow normal range, so there is no need to store water. The loss of water is accompanied by a proportional weight loss shortly after following a low-carbohydrate diet.
But there is also the second answer, which is more important for long-term weight loss.
Your body’s metabolism shifts toward using fat stores for energy instead of glucose. So the various energy requirements in the tissues are provided by the anaerobic metabolism of fat stores. As a result, weight loss continues.
Reports from some highly respected medical journals have confirmed this impact of following a low carbohydrate diet. There is pretty conclusive data suggesting that a reduced carbohydrate intake can shed stubborn belly fat and even shed dangerous visceral fat.
A Tulane University study is widely cited in support of the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet. This experimental research conducted in a group of 148 volunteers compared the effects of a lower-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet. The test group of subjects were put on a strict low-carbohydrate diet in which they were restricted to only 40 grams of carbohydrates per day.
What was surprising about the study was that, contrary to prevailing wisdom, the low-carb diet group was found to lose 7.7 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet. It changed public thinking about the role of dietary fat in weight loss and showed that carbohydrates were more important than previously believed.
These data have also been confirmed in other studies. Low carbohydrate diets can lower insulin levels, delay or prevent the development of diabetes, and achieve weight loss by eliminating stored fat.