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Low carb diets: Do they actually work?

A low-carb diet limits the amounts and types of carbohydrates you eat while favoring a diet of high protein and high fat foods. Regardless of how temporary the results are, when trying to drop pounds and lose inches, it seems like a relatively easy diet to follow and tends to be effective, at least in the short term. This is probably why the diet remains so popular historically and is common even today.

Unfortunately, because of its popularity, it takes on many interpretations and can be executed rather haphazardly in our DIY culture. So what should you know about low-carb weight loss plans? Are they safe, and do they really work in the long term? Let’s explore.

Use caution when considering low-carb diet plans

The first thing to note is that just because you’re eating low-carb doesn’t mean you’re eating healthily. One common example of doing a low-carb diet irresponsibly is to take the concept of “low-carb” at face value and reduce mostly all carb intake, including veggies, fruits, and grains—without any concern for risks of nutrient deficiencies or other health factors. The reality is that all carbs are not created equal! Some carry crucial vitamins and minerals with them, so don’t reserve the small carb allowances you do have for the soda and junk food habits you can’t seem to kick. Similarly, the fact that a food is low in carbs doesn’t mean it’s good for you. When following a low-carb diet, it’s important to eat healthily and avoid overeating certain things, like saturated fats and fatty meats.

Diets are temporary (and so are their benefits)

The problem with “diets” is that they eventually end. And at that point, you’ll probably gain back whatever weight you’ve lost. That’s why, instead of dieting, you want to build a different relationship with food. We know that sounds hard, but Noom’s expertise is in helping you develop good habits that enable you to maintain your weight loss goals for a lifetime – without dieting. Dieting most always involves extreme restrictions that inevitably make people feel deprived and prone to cheating, leading to patterns of failure and depression that in turn hinder weight loss goals. 

Low-carbohydrate diets are a dime a dozen

It’s not only difficult to decipher whether you’re approaching a low-carb diet in the healthiest way possible, but it’s even more confusing to know which diet to choose. There are so many diets promising fast and easy results that it’s almost too overwhelming to think about. They all claim to be more effective than the next and emphasize seemingly unique approaches as they compete for your attention. The ketogenic diet (or keto), Atkins, paleo, and Whole30 all come to mind as top players in the low-carb game. Though because none of these are sustainable long term, each leaves its users with the same unhappy ending: I lost the weight, but what now?

The typical low-carb diet aims to keep your daily intake between 20 and 60 grams of carbs. Note that this will probably be tough to maintain if you’re used to eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Operating in the 60-gram range is more realistic and most people find that careful meal planning and weekly organized food prep on a dedicated day of the week makes the process more manageable.

Noom meets you where you are

Noom’s goal is to help you succeed in meeting your goals long-term so the weight doesn’t creep back. If you’re interested in reducing your carbohydrate consumption, we help you do it in a healthy, informed, and sustainable manner with a weight loss program informed designed by registered dietician nutritionists and psychologists. We meet you where you are in your journey and provide coaching, meal planning services, recipes, tracking tools, and community support in a way that is fully moldable to your dietary restrictions, schedule, and other needs.

The low-carb diet wrap-up

At the end of the day, we think there are better, less disappointing ways to lose weight that don’t involve dieting. As a strict practice with no guidance, going low carb may well be a quick-fix, temporary solution that leads to re-gained weight and yo-yo dieting. If a low-carb model works for you, we help you develop a tailored, manageable version that blends with your lifestyle. Take our assessment today to learn more!