What Happens If You Cut Carbs Out Of Your Diet

Your Muscles Get Stronger

You’ve Cut Carbs…Now What Do You Eat? | Low Carb Diet

Almost every food in the world is healthier than simple carbsfrom burgers and steaks to yogurt and even ice cream. In part, that’s because simple carbs lack protein, the building blocks of muscle . By filling your body with protein and other nutrients, you’re giving it what it needs to grow without having to find additional calories.

Eat This! Tip: If you typically get hungry between meals, try replacing those vending-machine sweets with high-protein snacks that will fuel your body and give you stable energy for the afternoon ahead, like with these 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss.

Bonus: Healthy Carbs That Will Benefit Your Health

  • Quinoa. This nutritious seed is high in carbs and, in addition to lowering your blood sugar levels, can help you lose weight faster.
  • Buckwheat. Buckwheat is a great source of protein and fiber and is particularly beneficial for heart health.
  • Barley. Its a great appetite suppressant that is associated with many health benefits, like lowered cholesterol and decreased blood sugars.

  • Chocolate milk. This delicious mix of good carbs and protein can help you build muscle and serves as a perfect sports drink.

Do you think you could cut out carbs completely? Which healthy carbs are already part of your daily menu?

Your Breath May Get Funky When Going Low Carb

Morning breath will have nothing on the breath you may experience after going low carb. “Keto breath” is a pretty common side effect and confirms that your body is in a state of ketosis. You may recognize the smell too nail polish! “One type of ketone, acetone, is an ingredient in some nail polish removers, which is why your breath may smell like this familiar scent,” Cynthia Sass, registered dietitian, told Health. Some also describe the scent as “fruity,” and you may experience a metallic-type taste in your mouth.

On the plus side, this isn’t a permanent side effect and usually subsides after a few weeks. “It’s more noticeable at first because of the big shift the body is going through,” said Sass. Some tips on keeping your breath fresh includes keeping mints handy, lowering protein intake, and slightly increasing carb intake by about 5 grams.

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Lack Of Carbs Might Be The Reason Your Fitness Has Plateaued

If you notice your fitness gains halting, you may benefit from analyzing your diet. Carbohydrates provide your body with quick energy: It’s the first macronutrient used for fuel, and it’s the easiest to release from storage.

Dietary fat and protein give your body energy, too, but your body doesn’t utilize either as efficiently as it does carbohydrates, especially when you first switch to a low-carb diet.

“Carb intake should be determined on a personalized basis,” Koff says, but “practitioners who work with athletes and very active individuals will often determine the nutrient needs to support health and performance cannot be met without carbs because of their role in energy metabolism, muscle formation and recovery, digestion, mood and sleep.”

So if you feel as if your performance in the gym has plateaued, you may simply not have enough readily available energy for your body to perform the tasks you want it to perform. Adding healthy carbohydrates, such as oats, quinoa or fruit, to your diet can help.

If you feel like you often feel weak, slow or generally poor at the gym, you may also want to pay attention to your overall calorie intake. If you aren’t eating enough to support your fitness routine, your body won’t have enough energy to get stronger, faster or more fit.

Eating healthy carbs before and after workouts can support your efforts in the gym.

Lower Heart Disease Risk

What happens to your body when you cut carbohydrates from ...

High triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease. Less added sugar can lower those levels and may help stop weight gain and fat buildup linked to heart disease. If you get more than 20% of your calories from added sugar — even if youre at a healthy weight — you may be able to lower your heart disease risk when you cut back.

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What Does Cutting Carbs Do

Carbs are a basic nutrient your body turns into glucose, or blood sugar, to make energy for your body to work. A very low-carb diet, like keto and the early phase of the Atkins Diet, triggers your body into nutritional ketosis. Your liver starts to make ketones — a fuel that kicks in when your body doesn’t have enough sugar to run on — by breaking down fat.

You Don’t Feel Satisfied For Long After A Meal

Surprisingly enough, carbs can actually help suppress your appetite, as they assist in regulating your hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies need fiber to help slow down the digestion process, and we often skimp on this important nutrient when cutting carbs.

Going low-carb can also put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies, which can also throw your hunger and fullness cues out of whack.

A 2011 study found those who consumed more fiber actually had smaller appetites and ate fewer high-calorie foods. The participants who followed a higher fiber diet were more likely to eat fewer calories each day and even saw slight weight loss without any dieting attempts.

Related: How to Get More Fiber In Your Diet

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It Can Tax Your Heart

Very low-carb diets also are high-fat. Your saturated fat intake should be no more than 5% to 6% of your total. Focus on healthy fats like those in avocados, olives, and nuts. On the keto diet , your triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels will likely get better. But you may see a rise in LDL, or bad cholesterol, which can also lead to heart disease.

Your Body Will Eventually Go Into Ketosis

How to cut carbs without starving (Eat these 3 Wonder foods)

If you cut out carbs completely, your body will eventually go into a state of ketosis where “small fragments of carbon called ketones are released into the blood because the body is burning fat instead of carbohydrates.” Keto diets might sound appealing at first, but fat is a slower source of fuel than glucose, which means it takes longer for your body to access it, so it will be harder to get going during exercise and other activities.

Gomer agrees, adding that “we need carbs to exercise,” so your activity level should be a consideration when trying out this approach.

Low-fiber diets can have a negative impact on both gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health.

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Not Regularly Communicating With Your Healthcare Team

Your diabetes care team can help you determine the right low-carb approach for you, but it can also help to avoid any bad, potentially dangerous, or life-threatening side effects of going low-carb to help manage type 2 diabetes.

You and your doctor may need to lower or change your meds to avoid low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia cardiovascular complications and diabetic ketoacidosis , which is a health emergency. This is especially true for people taking insulin, insulin-promoting drugs, or blood pressure medications, Urbanski says. Additionally, SGLT2 inhibitors, oral medications that assist the kidneys in lowering blood glucose levels, push some people into potentially fatal DKA, with low-carb intake further exacerbating that risk, she says. Its recommended that someone on SGLT2 inhibitors should not go on a low-carb diet or should first discontinue and change medications under their doctors supervision, she says. According to the Food and Drug Administration, examples of SGLT2 inhibitors include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin.

RELATED: What Are the Pros and Cons of SGLT2 Inhibitors?

Helps In Epilepsy Treatment

Epilepsy is a relatively common neurological condition in which people have recurring seizures.

People who have epilepsy can take anti-seizure medication, but these meds arent always enough to help their condition. Some people with epilepsy successfully use the keto diet to help manage their seizures. In fact, some people have even seen their seizures go away completely.

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The Critical Difference Between Complex And Simple Carbs

The biggest question for health enthusiasts lately has been to carb or not to carbbut it’s not a straightforward answer, according to Allison Curtis, MS, RDN, the director of integrative nutrition at STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa. How come? Not all carbs are created equal, and not all are bad news for our bodies. That’s why it’s vital to understand the difference between complex and simple carbs when we discuss our diets.

Curtis says complex carbs are nutritional superstars like these:

  • Fruits like apples, oranges, berries, and melons.
  • Vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and green peas.
  • Beans like black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and soybeans.
  • Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, oats, and ancient grains such as quinoa, barley, and farro.

On the other end of the spectrum are simple carbs that come from original carb sources but have been heavily processed and refined. Curtis says this means the nutrients were taken out, and thus, you’re only left with empty calories. When you think of simple carbs, consider white bread, sugary cereals, white rice, cakes, candy, and sodas.

So, the goal is to significantly reduce your simple carbs while eating a healthy amount of complex carbs for a balanced diet. When you do this, here’s how your body responds:

Your Heart Disease And Stroke Risk May Change

What Happens When You Cut Dairy Out of Your Diet

There are varying schools of thought on the impact of a low-carb diet and your health. PLOS One’s 2014 study concluded that increasing the intake of refined carbs increases the body’s production of palmitoleic acid, which is a biomarker for a host of health issues like high cholesterol, diabetes and more.

However, Emma De Fabiani, Editor at the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Universita degli Studi Milano in Italy, argues that our understanding of palmitoleic acid is incomplete, at best, and more study is needed to determine in which “stages of the lipid scene” the acid is harmful or harmless. Other studies, however, have examined the health impact of a low-carb diet. One found that, in a 24-week ketogenic diet, the subjects experienced lower total cholesterol with a significant decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL levels. Those findings might lead us to believe that a low-carb diet can, indeed, help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

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Your Skin’s Aging Process Will Slow

Cutting out excess added sugar and keeping blood glucose within healthy parameters may slow the rate at which skin ages. A high-sugar diet leads to the production of AGEs , and AGEs are associated with acceleration in the skin’s aging process. In fact, research suggests that decreasing sugar intake may slow the aging effects that AGEs have on skin aging by up to 25%.

Related: What to Eat for Healthy, Glowing Skin, According to a Dermatologist

Swap Out Potato Chips And Cookies For Low Carb Snacks

The quality of commercial snacks varies from product to product, but most popular snacks are engineered to taste delicious.

This fact is why a lot of people love them, but sadly, their health properties dont match up to their taste.

Snacks such as potato chips, cookies, candy, and milk chocolate are all very high in refined carbs too.

For this reason, substituting them with a variety of low carb snacks is a straightforward way to lower carb intake.

Some good examples of low-carb snacks include

  • Beef jerky
  • Mixed berries
  • Nuts

Key Point:

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When Cutting Carbs You May Not Feel As Hungry As You’d Expect

When starting a new diet and changing your eating patterns, especially to lose weight, many people expect to feel hungry. That’s because ghrelin increases during a diet and tells your brain that you need to eat . On a low-carb or keto diet, though, that may not be the case.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition wanted to find if ketosis had any part in regulating appetite. The results revealed that participants following a ketogenic diet had suppressed ghrelin levels, even after losing 13 percent of their initial weight.

A review and meta-analysis published in Obesity Reviews noted a similar conclusion with individuals following a ketogenic low-carbohydrate diet. Although the changes were small compared to other weight-loss diets, the individuals on the keto diet were less hungry and therefore had less desire to eat. The same review stated that more research would be beneficial to see what the minimum level of ketosis is required to see the same effects.

Your Breath Might Smell Weird

Amazing Body Changes When You Give Up Carbs – Health Benefits of Cutting Carbs from Diet

When your body runs on fatty acids instead of carbs, it releases ketones through your breath as acetone. Your breath might smell fruity or sweet. Some say it tastes like decaying apple. Also, if your mouth is dry, you can have bad breath. Thats because theres not enough saliva to get rid of bacteria and extra food particles in your mouth. So stay hydrated.

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Not Staying On Top Of Monitoring Your Blood Sugar

Following a low-carb diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels, but following a low-carb diet doesnt guarantee theyre stable. Without careful monitoring, periods of hyperglycemia as well as hypoglycemia can occur, explains Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, a Los Angelesbased spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care and Education.

When you go on a low-carb diet, monitoring your blood sugar can provide important information that you can use to adjust meal portions as well as medication dosages, she says. To get the most complete info and make the most-informed decisions, try continuous glucose monitor , which takes a blood sugar measurement every five minutes or less. Medicare covers CGM for people who use insulin, and so may your private insurance.

How Much Is Too Much

Added sugars should make up less than 10% of a healthy daily diet. Thats about 11 teaspoons if you eat 1,800 calories a day. Some experts recommend even less than that: 9 teaspoons per day for men, and 6 teaspoons for women. A single 12-ounce can of soda has 39 grams of sugar, close to a days worth by any measure.

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Cutting Carbs Could Cause Liver Damage

Oftentimes when we think of things that negatively affect the liver, our first thought is alcohol, especially since giving up alcohol can give your liver a chance to repair itself. However, cutting back on carbs can also have a harmful impact on this important organ.

A 2020 study found that the keto diet can cause higher levels of liver enzymes and that rodents put on this diet developed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. As the name suggests, this disease is defined by too much fat stored in the cells of the liver . It’s also worth noting that the keto diet requires consuming higher levels of fat, which means more fat for your liver to process and turn into ketones.

Although a person may have no symptoms and still have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, they also may experience pain in their upper right abdomen, as well as fatigue . In addition, it can lead to a condition called cirrhosis in which there is scarring inside the liver. And once your liver is at this point, you’re not only more likely to develop liver cancer, but your liver may simply stop functioning altogether. To reduce your chances of developing the disease, the Mayo Clinic recommends eating a “healthy plant-based diet.” This includes carb-rich foods like whole grains and fruits. However, it also says healthy fats and vegetables are also beneficial.

Dont Drink Sugary Fruit Juice

What happens to your body when you cut carbohydrates from ...

It still surprises some people to find out that most fruit juice contains more sugar than Coca Cola.

On this note, a typical 100% orange juice provides more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 ml .

Two cups of orange juice per day contributes almost 50 grams of sugar to the diet.

Unlike whole fruit, there is no fiber content to accompany the fruit sugars within juice. Fruit juice drinks are also far less satiating than whole fruit for this reason .

Key Point:

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Related: 6 Surprising Sources Of Refined Carbs

Whole-grain intake is a major player in how much fiber you get, according to a recent Nutrition Research study that found that 92 percent of U.S. adults dont get enough of the grains. Fiber, the indigestible part of plants, like grains, not only helps stabilize blood-sugar levels, reduce the risk of obesity, and chronic diseases, but keeps your bathroom habits regular, says Spano.

And not just because youre eating all of your sandwiches as lettuce wraps. Carbswhether they are whole or refinedincrease the brains levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, says Caspero. So when you cut healthy carbs like whole grains, your mental health goes right along with it.

Carbs Are Good For Your Brain

Carbohydrates are your brain’s preferred source of energy. Scientists estimate that the brain consumes roughly 120 grams of carbohydrates every day and that your brain accounts for roughly 20% of your total energy burned each day.

When you first start a low-carb diet, you may experience brain fog, mental fatigue and mood swings because your body’s primary fuel source suddenly disappeared. Once your body adjusts, those symptoms should subside, but those initial effects are part of the reason why low-carb diets are so hard to stick to.

Koff says that many people confuse the role of stimulants like caffeine with the role of carbohydrates: Caffeine and other stimulants provide short-term bursts of energy, whereas healthy carbs supply your brain with what it needs to perform its many functions and give you long-term energy.

“It’s important to choose healthy carbs, as the quality of these carbs is the real factor in determining not just what the brain gets to run, but how it and the rest of the body will use those carbs and what the outcomes will be health-wise,” Koff says.

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