The Science Behind Why Low-Carb Diets Are Effective for Weight Loss

low carb diets equal weight loss concept next to healthy foods like avocado and salmon

America is, unfortunately, a nation of heavy people. Nearly 37% of adults are obese with a body mass index of 30 or more, and 32.5% are overweight with BMIs from 25-29.9. This extra weight combined with any of the following health issues creates a dangerous situation. 

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High LDL cholesterol (bad fats)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (good fats)
  • High triglycerides  (bad plaque)
  • High blood glucose  (diabetes)
  • Family history of premature heart disease
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking

Low-carb diets have proven to be some of the best diets for weight loss. Here are some basics plan designs and how the science proves it works.

Basics of a Low-Carb Diet

Ketogenic Low-Carb High-Fat Diet

The keto low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet was actually created to help control epileptic seizures in children in the 1920s. The LCHF diet has shown positive results as one of the best diets for weight loss, reducing hunger cravings, and lowering blood sugar. This diet aims to have people get 75% of their calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs. 

Moderate Low-Carb Diet

A moderate low-carb diet is for those who want to shed some pounds at a gradual pace while maintaining their blood glucose levels. The goal is to eat 70% calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 10% from carbs.

Liberal Low-Carb Diet or Targeted Keto Diet

People striving for weight maintenance or those that are sensitive to the high carb restriction fare better with the liberal low-carb (LLC) diet. The targeted keto diet (TKD) is very popular with athletes, weight lifters, and people that exercise regularly and need extra carbohydrates. This plan allows up to 20% of calories from carbohydrates.

High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)

This plan variant increases the protein intake and reduces the fat for people that do not want to eat as much fat. It is easier for some people to follow. This plan may not result in ketosis but generally does result in weight loss. Diet goals for this plan are 60 to 65% calories from fat, 30% from protein, and 5 to 10% from carbs.

Cyclical Keto Diet 

Keto cycling allows participants to participate in an HFLC plan for five days, then enjoy a few more carbs on the other two days of the week. 

  • On days: 75% calories from fat, 15 to 20% from protein, and 5 to 10% from carbs
  • Off days: 25% calories from fat, 25% from protein, and 50% from carbs

What the Studies Show

The low-carb diet is the most researched food modification plan. Many medical studies were conducted when the diet originated for epilepsy. Numerous other studies have proven it is one of the best weight-loss diets. 

At least 23 high-quality studies have proven that low-carb diets can produce two to three times the weight loss of low-fat diets. The studies also indicate HFLC diets improve many of the risk factors listed above. Triglycerides go down, and HDL goes up. Significant amounts of retained water are lost, reducing swelling and inflammation. 

Much of the body fat loss is from the belly area and liver; this is the visceral fat that is extremely dangerous. Results are very impressive for people with metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. Low sugar levels not only improve overall health but also aid in fat burning. Increased protein boosts metabolism, and improves muscle mass. 

Low-carb diets are definitely worth considering if you are looking for help with weight loss. A strict LCHF will result in about one to two pounds per week. Once you meet your goal, you can go to one of the variants for maintenance.

Find more food-science content and recipes that are both low-carb and delicious at Sugarless Crystals. Once you go low-carb, you won’t want to go back! 

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