Low-carb diets DECODED
Don’t know your Paleolithic from your Ketogenic? You are not alone! Here’s the lowdown on low-carb diets — and what they actually do.
The Paleo diet’s main positive is the focus it puts on whole foods and the reduction it brings about in processed foods, sugar, salt and alcohol.
Low in fibre “This may cause constipation, and in the long term the lack of fibre may also increase the risk of bowel cancer,” says Dr Alan Barclay, dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
Excessive meat intake “Too much protein can stimulate insulin,” says Barclay. “If people eat a great deal of red meat, then this could also predispose them to bowel cancer.” Reaching its peak popularity in 2013, the Paleo is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that eliminates grains, legumes and dairy foods from your meals.
This ultra-low-carb diet aims to get your body to use ketones, from stored fat, as its preferred fuel source, instead of carbs. Ketones are produced by the liver from fat when the body is starved of carbohydrates. The Keto diet cuts your carbs to 50 grams per day, the absolute minimum required for our brain, nervous system, red blood cells and kidney function.
This extreme diet may alleviate symptoms in conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but some are adopting it to achieve major weight loss.
High in saturated fat It can boost unhealthy LDL cholesterol, bumping up your risk of heart disease. Hard to sustain “Most people can’t stay on a ketogenic diet for more than a few months because it’s too rigid and restrictive,” says Barclay.