Some people mistakenly believe that a no carb diet or low carb diet plan is the answer they have been looking for to burn off unwanted body fat.
Ever since the start of the Atkins diet fad, all I ever hear is that in order to trim your physique, burn fat, and get skinny, you must follow a no carb diet or consume only small amounts of carbohydrates (less than 20g per day).
Not only is this premise ridiculously dogmatic as it assumes it to be impossible to burn considerable amounts of body fat while consuming a substantial amount of carbohydrates, but if followed, it also can lead to less than desirable outward appearances and actually hinder your ability to reach your personal fitness goals; not to mention that such a diet would be extremely boring.
Problems With Low Carb Diets
If you are only concerned with lightening the load on the scale, a no carb diet or low carb diet plan may temporarily give you the results you desire. Nevertheless, I would like to touch on a few points one should consider before starting a no carb diet or low carb diet.
Contrary to what you may have heard, the muscles in the human body need sufficient amounts of carbohydrates along with protein to grow. When you deprive your body of the carbohydrates necessary to sustain your muscles, you will end up depleting the amount of muscle mass on your body.
This happens because your body, realizing it is lacking the glycogen found in carbohydrates, will turn to body fat for fuel.
While this seems like a good thing, the body will also begin converting amino acids from protein into energy for your body as well resulting in muscle loss.
Almost everyone I have ever heard claim success from a low carb diet have been noticeably lacking in muscle development. Consequently, they were not very flattering to look at even at a “normal” body weight.
While they had lost some body fat, they had also lost significant amounts of muscle mass in the process leaving their body soft to the touch and still left with the undesirable “flabby” outward physical appearance.
Unless you are supplying your body with a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, you will lose muscle mass, period.
Muscle Mass and Metabolism
For those of you who think that you could stand to lose some muscle mass for the sake of burning fat, let me tell you about another adverse side affect of depriving your body of carbohydrates – a dragging metabolism.
Your body’s metabolism is essentially your body’s natural ability to burn calories without the addition of any outside stresses such as exercise.
In other words, someone with a high metabolism will burn more calories by performing their normal daily activities than someone with a lower metabolism who performs the exact same activities.
While it is true that everyone’s metabolism is different and determined by genetics, a much larger factor in determining one’s metabolism is the amount of muscle mass carried on their body. In order to maintain its muscle mass, your body must constantly supply the necessary energy to your muscles to sustain them.
Simply put, greater muscle mass equals more calories naturally burned, which leads to lower fat levels on your body.
When you follow a no carb diet or low carb diet and deprive your body of carbohydrates, you lose muscle mass which forces your metabolism to take a dive. This means that the food you consume has a much greater likelihood of ending up adding to your body fat levels because your body lacks the natural ability to burn it off.
Relapses and Fat Gains
This is also the reason that most people who discontinue their no carb diet or low carb diet will actually end up with more body fat than before they began the diet in the first place.
This happens precisely because their metabolism is now lower than before they began following the low carb diet, and reverting back to eating the same amount of food as before results in more body fat as their body is now less effective at naturally burning away the calories.
I want to iterate that eating an irresponsible amount of carbohydrates can lead to many health problems including diabetes, hypoglycemia, and obesity to name a few.
But used in the proper proportions, carbohydrates are an integral and necessary component of any nutrition plan being followed with the hopes of maintaining or building muscle.
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the sweet taste of a banana, a refreshing glass of milk, a crunchy bowl of honey-nut Cheerios, or for my college friends, a healthy portion of Ramen Noodles.
I could not imagine abstaining from eating carbohydrates; what a boring diet that would be indeed!
The Right Way To Burn Fat
Finally, I want to make the point that the most effective, healthy, and personally satisfying way to lose weight is by combining a disciplined fat loss nutrition plan with an effective exercise program.
What continually draws me to the gym and keeps me disciplined enough to follow my nutrition plan is the feeling that I get when I have achieved my short or long term fat loss and/or muscle building goals simply by hard work and dedication.
Words cannot explain the satisfaction attained from knowing that I am completely responsible for the successes I have achieved by exerting steadfast dedication and knowing that no one can take it away from me.
I can think of no other experience or feeling of accomplishment that compares to the thrill of seeing the results produced on my body from weeks of hard work at the gym and following a disciplined fat loss diet plan – this is what I absolutely love about body building!
What does this have to do with low carb dieting?
Well, without sufficient carbohydrate intake, it would be impossible to sustain any kind of intensity in my workouts and any intense exercise performed would actually be counter-productive as my body would be stealing energy from the very muscles I am working so hard to build which would actually result in a net decrease in muscle mass.
If you want to lose body fat, build muscle mass and keep the new body you have worked so hard to get, a no carb diet or low carb diet will leave you disappointed. Who wants to spend hours every week at the gym to build muscle just to see little or no results; not me!