The low carb diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, is among the most popular in the world right now. Why? Because it simply works for weight loss. This approach works around the fundamentals of reducing the properties that cause fat gain, while keeping hunger and appetite in check. We hear from plenty of people who swear by this structure and insist it’s the way to go. But are there low carb diet side effects that you should take into consideration before attempting this methodology? Let’s take a look at the cons. But first we’ll quickly cover the pros.
Cutting calories is a simple way to look at weight loss. The basic idea of burning more than you consume is fine and all, but it hardly taps into our deeper understanding of biological weight loss processes. In reality, the biggest obstacle for shedding extra pounds is carbohydrates. Specifically, we are talking about simple carbs, found in substances like sugar, bread, syrups and soft drinks. The low carb diet suggests that by cutting down drastically on these items, and focusing on getting our nutrients from other sources, we can push our body into a ketogenic state. When in this mode, our fat-burning efficacy goes through the roof. It’s tough to find an eating approach that more directly influences high metabolism. But are the low carb side effects worth it?
A Look at Low Carb Diet Side Effects
Because it works to push your body into that ketogenic state, the low carb diet has a more profound physiological impact than most. People frequently experience reactions or noticeable changes after overhauling their diet to meet the keto guidelines. The good news is that these side effects are usually temporary; in most cases they wear off as your body becomes accustomed, or keto-adapted.
However, it is good to be aware of what to expect. Here are some common low carb diet side effects:
One of the initial byproducts of the low carb diet is water loss. This, in turn, leads to reductions in some key minerals like salt and electrolytes. Some say this leaves them feeling tired, dizzy or lightheaded. You can usually prevent this effect from hitting you too significantly by increasing salt intake (broths are a good choice) and upping your potassium. Make sure you’re getting your leafy greens as well.
This explains the aforementioned water loss. As your body burns through excess glucose and insulin — part of moving into the ketogenic stage — you may start peeing more often. It’s nothing to worry about and usually goes away within a short period.
Because you’re cutting out most of the sugars that your body has become accustomed to, you may start noticing strong cravings. This aching for sweets usually subsides after three weeks or less. In the meantime, low-carb smoothies or certain supplements — boasting properties like L-Glutamine or B Vitamins — can help lessen the severity of cravings.
Is the Low Carb Diet Dangerous?
While the low carb diet side effects mentioned above — as well as others like headaches, diarrhea or muscle cramps — can be bothersome, they are typically not major health risks. As we noted, you can usually push past these issues after a few weeks.
With that said, if you have innate mineral deficiencies, or you deal with disorders relating to the pancreas or liver, consult a physican before embarking on this diet plan.