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Should you be on a low carb diet if you’re trying to lose fat? The answer can be tricky, depending upon your goals. Let’s be honest – we’ve all seen people gut it out and achieve some level of success on this style of diet. Typically, the number on the scale goes down, and certain parts of them look a little tighter because they’re no longer as inflamed as they were before. This has a lot to do with what kind of diet they were on prior to going low carb. In other words, it’s not all fat loss.
Now, you have to realize that I am having a discussion about populations that exercise intensely. This isn’t a knock on low carb – it can be an effective diet for sedentary people, and some athletes say it works for them. However, most athletes don’t do well on these types of diets. Glucose is the primary source of fuel during high intensity activtity, and performance practically always takes a backseat on a low carb diet. That’s not acceptable.
Some of the negative effects of low carb dieting can be attributed to reduction in calories. This can be made up for by increasing fat intake, but most folks eat about the same amount of fat as they were before, and end up in a huge calorie deficit created by the reduction of carbs. It basically becomes a less effective version of Weight Watchers – call it “Carb Watchers” if you will. The single-minded focus on reducing carbs leaves out one of the most basic components of fat loss.
Here are a few common pitfalls you’re bound to run into on a low carb diet:
1. Insomnia becomes “normal” and sleep quality is reduced
2. Cardio workouts might be slightly better, but during weight training you’ll never really feel strong
3. Stress levels will elevate
4. Your hormone function can get seriously thrown out of whack and your metabolism can be effected negatively
Keeping all of this in mind, there are ways to employ periods of lower carbohydrate/calorie intake and achieve all the positives without the negatives. This is the basis of Met Flex for Fat Loss – we teach you to shift between using carbs and fat to fuel different levels of activity. In short, it’s overwhelmingly unnecessary to restrict carbohydrates in such an extreme fashion if you’re maintaining a high level of activity. The end result tends to be a lethargic, broken, confused athlete.
There is a better way, and I think we have it.