Are you on a low-carbohydrate diet? Are you seeing weight-loss results, but wondering whether or not your new, thinner look comes at the cost of your health? If so, you're right to be worried; low-carb diets absolutely can be detrimental to your health, but they don't have to be. Read on to learn 3 tips for staying healthy while avoiding carbs.
Monitor Your Food Intake
Some low-carb diet fads offer the allure of limitless portions and the freedom to forget about calorie-counting. As long as you avoid carbs and sugars on these diets, you can chow down on bacon and burgers all day, every day. Here's the thing, though -- you really do still need to keep track of your caloric intake, but not for the reason you may think.
Oftentimes the goal of a low-carb diet is to induce ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body runs out of its stored carbohydrates and is forced to start burning stored fat for energy. What many people don't know, though, is that once your body is in ketosis, it has officially entered starvation mode. And as a symptom of starvation, you'll lose your appetite for food 2 - 4 weeks after ketosis begins. You don't need to count calories to make sure you don't eat too much on your low-carb diet; you need to count calories so that you can be sure you're eating enough.
The amount of calories you should be consuming in a day varies depending on your gender, age, height, and activity level. You can find calorie calculators online that allow you to enter your information and find out how many calories you should shoot for per day to both lose weight and stay healthy.
Limit Your Exercise Routine
Your stored fat is technically called glycogen, and for every gram of glycogen you have stored, there are 3 grams of water attached to it. As your body starts to break down your glycogen, you're going to be urinating a lot. Furthermore, if you're on a low-carb diet, you're likely avoiding many foods that offer natural hydration such as fresh fruit and some vegetables. With these factors combined, dehydration is a definite risk.
Make sure you're drinking plenty of water, and see a doctor if your urine becomes dark, cloudy, or has a strong odor (these are signs of dehydration). If you're allowing yourself some carbs, use them during your workouts by drinking a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes. This will avoid the depletion of your blood sodium -- a dangerous occurrence associated with dehydration.
If you're trying to avoid carbohydrates altogether, limit your workouts to less than 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, and drink water throughout the duration of your routine. It's a good idea to enlist the help of a private fitness trainer in designing a routine that can help you make the most of your limited workout time.
Take The Right Supplements
High-protein foods are acidic and calcium is neutralizing, so when you're on a high-protein diet, your body releases some of its calcium stores in an attempt to even everything out. To replace this calcium, drink plenty of calcium-fortified soy milk and eat hard cheeses and dark leafy greens (all are low in carbs but high in calcium). Adults under the age of 50 need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day; if you can't reach this goal through your diet, take a supplement.
It will also benefit you to take a daily vitamin that provides the recommended daily requirements of both potassium and magnesium. The body usually gets plenty of these necessary minerals from fruit and veggies, but if you're on a low-carb diet, you may have trouble meeting your daily requirements.
A low-carb diet can be an effective weight-loss tool, but it can also be dangerous to your health. If you must avoid carbohydrates, stay healthy by meeting your caloric intake each day, limiting your exercise to short, targeted spurts, and taking supplements that replace all of the essential nutrients you'd normally be getting from carbohydrate-rich foods.
For more information about health and fitness and how exercise can affect your diet, contact a trainer like those at Halevy Life.