A low carb diet that tightly restricts the intake of carbohydrates is very effective at regulating the hormone insulin.
Insulin is what controls glucose uptake by cells from the blood. In this way, insulin regulates blood sugar levels. The glucose that is absorbed into cells is then used to meet energy requirements. When there's more glucose than the cell requires for energy, the excess is stored in the form of fat.
In a recent report in one of the leading medical journals, a low carb diet was found to bring down insulin levels in the blood by 27% and enhancing the sensitivity of cells to the hormone simultaneously.
As a result of this effect, glucose is metabolized normally without any stress on other organs or systems to produce extra insulin - a factor that has been held responsible for weight gain and development of diabetes later on. To put it simply, a low carb diet helps improve glucose metabolism and safeguards against diabetes.
To see how a less carb diet can achieve this result, look at how the body tackles the situation of lowered carbohydrate content in the daily diet.
When carb content in your daily food intake drops below a point, two adaptive responses take place.
* You start to lose water
* You turn towards fat as a source of energy
Water loss is among the earliest changes to happen. Water is retained whenever there is a high blood glucose content. Insulin regulation keeps glucose within a tight normal range, and so there is no need to store water. The loss of water is accompanied by a proportionate weight loss shortly after going on a low carb diet.
But there's also the second response which is more important for weight loss in the long run.
Your body's metabolism shifts towards using fat stores as a source for energy rather than glucose. So the various requirements for energy in tissues is provided by anaerobic metabolism of fat reserves. As a result, weight loss follows.
Reports in some well-respected medical journals have confirmed this impact of going on a lower carb diet. There is fairly conclusive data to suggest that a reduced intake of carbohydrates can eliminate stubborn belly fat and even get rid of dangerous visceral fat.
A study at Tulane University is widely cited in support of the benefits of a low carb diet. This experimental research conducted on a group of 148 volunteers compared the effects of a less carbs versus low-fat diet. The trial group of subjects was placed on a stringent low carb diet where they were restricted to just 40 grams of carbs per day.
What was astonishing from the study was that quite contrary to the prevailing wisdom, it was found that the low carb diet group lost 7.7 pounds more than those who were on a low fat diet. It shifted public thinking about the role of dietary fat upon weight loss and showed that carbohydrates were more important than had been believed until then.
This data has been confirmed on other studies also. Low carb diets can reduce insulin levels, put off or prevent the development of diabetes, and achieve weight loss by eliminating stored fat.