What does insulin do?
–One of the functions of insulin is to store fat.
This is why many believe that low-carb diets work so well, is that they reduce your levels of this hormone.
-Insulin hoards sodium, so high-carb diets can cause excess water retention.
Cutting carbs reduces insulin and your kidneys will start shedding any excess water, so it is common for people to lose 5-10 pounds of water weight in the first few days of a low-carb diet.
Weight loss will slow down after the first week, but this time the fat will be coming from your fat stores.
One study compared low-carb and low-fat diets and used DEXA scanners (very accurate) to measure body composition. The low-carb dieters lost significant amounts of body fat and gained muscle at the same time.
Studies also show that low-carb diets are particularly effective at reducing your belly fat, which is the most dangerous fat of all and highly associated with many diseases.
The “Low-Carb Flu”
If you’re new to low-carb eating, you will probably need to go through an adaptation phase where your body is getting used to burning fat instead of carbs.
This is called the “low-carb flu” and is usually over within a few days. After this initial phase is over, many people report having more energy than before, with no “afternoon dips” in energy that are common on high-carb diets.
Adding more fat and sodium to your diet can help with this.
Tip from Balancing Your Health: Daily carb intake can sneak up on you quickly! Track down your carb intake for a while so you can get used to what you can eat on a daily basis that won’t knock it up too high. Also, if you’re really trying to cut, count unrefined sources of carbs (for example carbs in a banana) the same way you would refined carbs; don’t give yourself an extra allowance of carbs just because they are from natural sources.