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It’s Dr. Eric Bakker. Thanks for coming back. The question today is zero carb diets, are they any good for weight loss?
Well, we all know about low carb diets. We’ve all heard for many, many years government agencies and dieticians have been beating the drum on low fat diet, but they clearly didn’t work. I just read an interesting report looking at 26 different studies comparing the low fat to low carb diet and there’s no doubt that the low carb diet is the clear winner. But there are many conflicting studies around zero carb diets and extremely low carb diets, particularly long term what the benefit are.
I think that we’re sailing in uncharted waters with a lot of these like zero carb diets where you’re focusing on meat, fish, eggs, just primary proteins. Not a great idea longterm. You’re going to end up becoming nutrient deficient, you’re going to have lack of fiber in the diet, you’re going to get bowel changes and micro-biome changes. These diets are good short term, but they’re not great longterm. There are other studies that show bugger all difference was… Virtually no difference between people maintaining a low carb diet longterm and a low fat diet longterm. So the studies also show that there’s this conflict so.
But there are really good benefits from a very low carb diet, but I’m not a fan of zero kind of diets at all. I think the benefits are if you’re quite large because you’re going to drop quite a lot of weight in the first several weeks on a zero carb approach, because for every gram that you carry of fat, the body’s also maintaining a lot of fluid. So as soon as you start burning off some initial fat, your weight will drop quite rapidly. It’s a lot of fluid coming off the body too. So don’t be fooled, but then you plateau.
A lot of this kind of stuff in my opinion, really comes down to eating habits and the emotional side of food. Very much so. So you need to look a lot at your life in a long, hard and deep way. Look at the stress levels, look at your occupation, look at the reasons why you’ve gained this weight issue. These are the things that need addressing, not just jumping onto some diet to quickly lose the weight so you can get back on the bandwagon again and the gain it. And that’s what happens in most cases. All right?
So we need a permanent fix. We don’t need some short term diet approach at all. But there’s no doubt, the lower you go with carbs, the quicker and more you’ll burn the fat, but you’ll plateau and you’ll get to a point where you won’t keep losing and losing. And then you will have to do more extreme measures like exercise and things like that to get that extra weight off. So you should be looking at a 12-month approach with these kinds of diets. Not at a six-week approach, because my daughter’s getting married kind of thing, and I have to lose 50 pounds overnight. Don’t look at it like that. All right?
Fatigue and constipation are very real factors. So the lower you’re going in carbs, the more likelihood you’re going to get constipated and also very tired. You’re going to get hormonal changes. So you need to take all this into account and make sure that you’re working with someone who really understands these kinds of diets, particularly when you do get tired and the bowel plays up, which you need to find out, “What’s wrong, how can I get it fixed?” And get back on track.
So just be careful because the lower you’re go in carbs, the more likelihood you’re going to get problems. All right? And some people modify these zero carb diets to suit themselves. They’ll add things like avocados in there, which are high fat. They’ll think, “Well, it’s a great idea too,” at least they’re getting a bit of fiber in their diet.
So I feel any kind of diet approach should be modified to suit the person, not the book, the diet book that you’re reading. Okay? Don’t modify to suit the book, modify to suit yourself. All right? That’s how it should be. So that’s my take on a zero carb diet. Dangerous unchartered waters. May be okay very short term, but not a great idea longterm.
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