There are many myths about eating low carb. Find out why these myths exist and the real truth behind them.
I think we can all agree that cutting out sugar and processed foods is a good thing! But tell most dieticians or doctors that you’ve cut out carbs such as whole grains and brown rice, and you may have a fight on your hands.
When I first decided to switch to a low carb, high fat way of eating, I did get some questions from my family and close friends. They wondered why the foods I had touted as healthy for so many years were now “unhealthy?!”
We’ve been told for the past 70 years to consume whole grains as part of a healthy diet. However, there is more and more scientific evidence showing that a low carb way of eating is actually good for you.
Here are some of the myths about a low carb way of eating that just don’t make any sense.
Myth #1: Low Carb Eating Excludes Essential Food Groups
I have to admit, I fell for this one when I first heard about low carb. I truly believed we needed whole grains and legumes in order to be healthy.
After doing some research, I found out that there is no actual need for these foods in our diet. Humans were hunters and fishers long before they started cultivating grains.
The plants or roots that our ancestors had access to would have had much less carbs than their modern day counterparts. Cultivation and select breeding by modern day society has led to foods with much higher carb contents. Simply compare fruit today to what it used to look like:
We can get all the nutrients we need, and more, from animal foods and vegetables.
Myth #2: Low Carb Eating Leads To Nutrient Deficiencies
Many people think that those of us who eat low carb just eat cheese, cream, and bacon!
Did you know that there are certain foods that actually lead to a reduction in nutrient absorption?
Let’s go back to those so called “healthy whole grains.” Grains are high in phytic acid. Phytic acid hinders the absorption of many important nutrients such as calcium, iron, and zinc.
Low carb diets don’t contain ingredients that steal nutrients from the body. Foods that are unprocessed and high in fat such as pasture raised eggs and meat, nuts, and healthy oils are rich in fat-soluble vitamins, which high carb diets often lack.
I actually eat way more vegetables since switching to a low carb way of eating then when I ate a low fat, high carb diet.
Myth #3: Low Carb Eating Will Make Me Tired
When I first tried low carb a few years ago, I was exhausted. After the first two days, I gave up and decided that this way of eating just wasn’t suited for me.
Last year, after much research and realizing all the amazing health benefits of eating low carb, I decided to try it again. I’ll admit, the first few days I didn’t feel myself. I was tired and at times, a little nauseous. I immediately Googled my symptoms and found out that the “low carb flu” is a real thing!
What was happening to my body is it was switching from a sugar burning state to a fat burning state. I had been eating high carb for so long that my body only knew to burn glucose for fuel. But once it ran out of that glucose, it had to switch to burning FAT for fuel. Once my body made the switch to burning fat, I felt so much better.
When I was eating a high carb, low fat diet, I would usually have an energy crash around 3 in the afternoon. I would also get really tired again two hours after dinner. Falling asleep on the couch was normal for me! But now that I eat low carb, high fat, I have so much energy. I no longer have an energy crash in the afternoon or the evening.
Eating low carb will give you a consistent amount of energy throughout your day – in contrast to the roller coaster up and down energy levels typical of a high carb diet.
Myth #4: Low Carb Eating is Not Sustainable
I hear this myth all the time.
But in truth, no “diet” is sustainable!
Yes, I’ll admit, giving up my precious oats was difficult at first. Giving up ANY food group is hard at first. When I was eating a high carb diet, it’s true, I could eat more variety of foods, however, I was always worried about the number of calories I was consuming. I would restrict then binge, restrict, binge, restrict, binge…you get the cycle. I was hungry every two to three hours and never quite felt fully satisfied.
When eating low carb, high fat, I feel fuller for much longer and no longer have that need to binge. Healthy fats are so satiating. I actually feel like I’m “cheating” because I get to eat full fat sour cream, whipped cream, egg yolks, nuts, healthy oils, nut butters, etc.
I have personally found that eating low carb leads to more effortless weight loss. I don’t have to count calories. I eat when I’m hungry (which is usually in four to five hours) and I stop when I’m full (which happens faster with a high fat, low carb meal.)
The food I eat now is delicious. I make a low carb “no-oatmeal” that is to die for and keeps me full for hours.
Myth #5: Being In Ketosis is Dangerous
Unfortunately, the words “ketosis” and “ketoacidosis” get confused.
Ketosis is perfectly safe. Ketosis is when you eat very low carb and your body releases fat from the fat tissues which the liver turns into ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are molecules that can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain when it isn’t receiving enough glucose. This is the body’s natural response to a very low carb intake and also happens during fasting.
Ketoacidosis on the other hand is something that can happen to someone with uncontrolled diabetes (usually type 1) where their bloodstream gets flooded with glucose and ketones in extremely large amounts. This is very dangerous, but shouldn’t be confused with ketosis, which is very safe.
Being in ketosis is actually used to treat people with type 2 diabetes as well as other diseases such as cancer.
Myth #6: Saturated Fat is Bad For You
Oh man, this myth drives me crazy! You may have read the latest article put out by the American Heart Association telling us saturated fat is bad. I really hope you didn’t believe that cr**!
Saturated fat is NOT bad for you. There is no scientific evidence that shows saturated fat is bad.
People are so scared of cholesterol, but that’s because they aren’t sure how it really works in the body. We’ve been told to lower cholesterol for the past few decades. However, cholesterol is actually good for us!
Saturated fats in the diet raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change LDL from small, dense (bad) to Large LDL – which is harmless. So go ahead and eat the egg yolks, coconut oil, grass fed meats, and butter.
Low carb diets offer the following benefits:
- Reduce body fat much more than low-fat diets, even though the low-carb groups are allowed to eat more.
- Cause a greater reduction in blood pressure.
- Lower blood sugar and improve symptoms of diabetes.
- Lower blood triglycerides much more.
- Increase HDL (the good) cholesterol much more than low-fat diets.
Of course the choice is yours if you want to eat low carb, high fat, but I must say that since switching to this way of eating, I’ve never felt better! I have more energy, less cravings, I feel full and satisfied, I love the food I eat, and I don’t have to stress about how many calories I’m eating each day.