Low carb diet (LCD) – Everything you should know

What is Low carb diet (LCD)?

Low carb diet – This is a diet that limits the amount of carbohydrates in the diet to a minimum, which aims to maintain lower levels of the hormone insulin.

Maintaining lower levels of insulin during the day is said to help you lose weight more effectively, and the body uses mostly stored fat as a source of fuel.

The low carb diet is the main diet of most athletes who want to lose a few pounds. It is often practiced simply as a regular diet.

As they are often confused, it is important to clarify that IUD and ketogenic nutrition are not the same thing. While in the case of ketogenic nutrition the achievement of ketosis is obligatory, in the case of IUD ketosis is entirely optional.

Why is it popular?

It is popular because many people believe that because carbohydrates stimulate insulin secretion and insulin reduces lipolysis (the process of releasing fat from fat cells), this means that in order to lose weight you need to eat as few carbohydrates as possible. However, this is not the case at all. There are a number of claims that have a bad reputation for insulin (as well as carbohydrates), such as:

  • worsens health and leads to insulin resistance;
  • he is responsible for being overweight;
  • it is the cause of unsuccessful weight loss.

Insulin performs a number of tasks in our body. The main one is the regulation of blood glucose levels by binding to insulin cell receptors and stimulating glucose transporters. It also blocks lipolysis and stimulates lipogenesis (the process of storing fat in fat cells). These physiological actions of insulin are the main reason to believe that it is to blame for our extra pounds or inability to get rid of them.

However, this is a misinterpretation of the information, because the change in our body composition does not depend on the current state of insulin (or other hormones), as after a meal, but depends on what happens in the long run. While after a high-carbohydrate diet, insulin is indeed elevated within about 2 hours, during which lipogenesis is stimulated and lipolysis is blocked, the other hours of the day during which insulin is at lower levels should not be forgotten. Let’s also not forget that:

  • the presence of insulin is not necessary for the storage of fat in fat depots; Ie we can gain weight even without eating carbohydrates and with minimal insulin levels.

  • not only carbohydrates stimulate insulin secretion. Protein does it just as well;

  • Insulin resistance can be the result of many different factors, and carbohydrates and insulin should not be the only culprits.

LCD is effective, but not superior to any other diet. Two large meta-analyzes by authors Celeste E. Naude and Bradley C. Johnston and their teams show that, other things being equal, the amount of carbohydrates in our diet has no practically significant effect on the final effect.

What are the most commonly used foods in the preparation of LCD?

The main foods on which this diet is based are those high in fat and protein, and low in carbohydrates.

This group includes:

  • nuts;
  • meat and meat products;
  • eggs;
  • fish and seafood;
  • seeds;
  • milk (full-fat) and dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese, yellow cheese, etc.).

Carbohydrates in the menu can be obtained with virtually any food, such as bread and bakery products, rice and rice products, cereals, corn, potatoes, peas, oats, chestnuts, but must be organized so that the total amount of carbohydrates do not skip the recommended ones.

This also applies to fruits. By calculating your daily caloric balance, you will know how much fat you need in your diet, so that you can shape your body gradually and constantly, guided only by your own results reflected in the mirror.

Sources of fat are both most of the groups listed above and one with a superior amount of fat over other substances in the diet. Such foods are: vegetable oils from seeds and nuts, olive oil, lard, butter, cream, melted cheeses with a fat content of over 60%, seeds, coconut oil.

Vegetables and vegetable salads are a must and accompany every main meal. If the fats contained in the main dishes are below your individual optimum, then adding vegetable fat to the salad will cover the difference.

For an exotic taste, and because of the high content of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it is worth paying attention to the sprouts. Their presence in salads to the regime will allow the avoidance of complex vitamin and mineral supplements

How to determine the ratio of macronutrients in LCD?

For most people with this diet, enough protein is 2 g / kg (for men and women), but according to some scientific data, if the diet is followed for weight loss and the next is in a calorie deficit, it is not a bad idea increase the intake to about 2.5 g / kg for both sexes.

Carbohydrates are in the range of 1-1.5 g / kg body weight, and fat is calculated by subtracting the sum of calories from protein and carbohydrates from the calculated caloric balance, and dividing the resulting number by 9.

The number of meals and their distribution is strictly individual and one can adjust them to your preferences. In most cases, 3 to 4 meals a day are a good option. It is important for the next NVD to be able to get the necessary calories and nutrients in line with the goals.

If the amount of food is individually tailored so that weight loss is even and constant, but within 2 to 4% of weight per month, then the regime practically does not tolerate serious criticism. An even reduction in total fat is achieved while muscle loss is within the minimum.

The higher amount of fat in the diet can lead to some gastrointestinal discomfort. If this happens, it is best to switch to a lighter diet for weight loss – evenly balanced.

If you are one of the people who are not on calorie tables and who do not have calorie counting, as a guide in determining the composition of portions you can use the “rule” that each meal contains a minimum amount of carbohydrates and most of those for day to be procured through fruits and vegetables.

The arm size method is also a good starting point, and you can read more about it in this guide.

For whom is (not) suitable LCD?

The low-carb diet is suitable for people who want to get rid of excess fat and at the same time do not have too active daily routine and / or do not practice sports with a long duration such as marathons. It is suitable for people who do not feel a particular problem in limiting the foods that are a major source of carbohydrates. Although there are generally no advantages over eating higher carbs, some people still feel better and perform better on fewer carbs.

It is also suitable for overweight and obese people, who in most cases have impaired insulin sensitivity. A good option is to follow this type of diet until improvements in body composition and health are achieved.

Let’s also look at situations in which IUD is not an appropriate dietary choice. Strange as it may sound, the human brain and nervous system are so structured that most of the energy (50 percent or more) comes from carbohydrates.

Although not the most caloric, they are the fastest processing and easiest source of energy in the body for storage and processing.

Carbohydrates such as galactose and fructose, once in the small intestine and liver, are converted to glucose, a major form of transport in the blood. Glucose is used by muscle and nerve cells as an energy source at higher intensity loads. The problem is that in different regimens of IUD, the foods consumed contain little or no direct sources of glucose.

Therefore, the observance of IUD is not suitable for people who practice activities of high intensity and duration, as well as people who initially do not feel well in a low-carbohydrate diet. People who have difficulty maintaining a stable blood sugar, often leading to hypoglycaemia, should also be careful with the regimen, as it is rather unsuitable for them.

What type of physical activity combination would be optimal?

Most people who follow this diet combine it with sports. Apart from the purely physical effect, sport also has a number of physiological benefits. This type of nutrition is suitable for all types of loads in the classes of strength, power speed and speed sets of exercises.

However, it is best to follow the diet at the same time as a properly planned workout. With a regular low carb diet, most workouts are acceptable, as long as they are not too long. If your goal is ketosis, then it is best to do explosive, strength training, intense, but with a short duration and with an optional short cardio for the final.

Our opinion

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, contrary to popular belief, in general, IUD has no advantages in terms of weight loss compared to other diets. We have repeatedly said that there is no universal regime and no truth, and since the specifics vary from person to person, everyone can try and assess whether this type of diet fits well into his daily life and, more importantly – whether he can follow it. long-term, achieving your goals and at the same time feeling in good health. If we can talk about the “best” diet, it is something you can stick to in the long run.

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