Do Low Carb Diets Really Work?
As followers of this channel know, I’m an
advocator for calories in and calories out
paired with macro counting and exercise for
But, rising research of low-carb diets are
beginning to blur our understanding of energy
Subsequently, it created two opposing groups
of believers in the matter, sparking heavy
debate and scrutiny on both sides.
The battle of low-carb vs energy balance continues
today, and it has been so intense that even
I have come to question the foundation of
calories in and calories out… ehh, not entirely.
But this video is not about that debate, because
frankly, regardless of what stance I take,
it won’t ever satisfy everyone.
That being said, low-carb diets DO seem to
have more weight loss benefits than most other
For those not too familiar with low-carb diets,
the concept is quite simple:
Consume fewer carbs.
In many cases, 50 grams of carbs or fewer
per day, at least for those aiming for Keto,
which is only about 2 medium-sized apples.
Although it sounds like quite an undertaking,
going low-carb also means you’re allowed
to eat a lot more protein and fat.
The mountainous carby mash potatoes go down,
but protein steaks and delicious fatty butters
It certainly makes the carb limitation…
easier to digest, pun intended.
But, what else makes it better than other
diets for weight loss?
One thing that many people initially experience
when going low-carb is an immediate drop in
water weight via the reduction of the water-retaining
carb our body uses known as glucose and its
stored form glycogen.
Obviously, this is not exactly the fat weight
you’re hoping to lose, but this can be motivational
for those easily swayed by the number on the
Not exactly my favorite measurement tool,
but alas, for many it is.
The lack of carbs also promotes the state
of Ketosis, as many of you already know.
Along with some of the benefits outlined in
my keto video, being in ketosis via low-carb
dieting has been associated with the suppression
of the hormone ghrelin, making you feel full
But… the majority of weight loss benefits
might not actually be related to the lack
If anything, it comes down to fact that you’re
eating more protein.
Out of the three macronutrients, protein is
the only one to show consistent positive effects
on weight loss.
And it comes down to protein’s effect on
three factors: satiation, thermogenesis, and
total food intake.
When it comes to satiation, almost always,
more protein makes study subjects feel fuller
with fewer calories.
A 2005 study showed that the satiating effect
of protein is so strong that it was able to
decrease energy intake by 441 calories per
day, hypothetically equating to nearly one
pound lost per week.
It’s hypothesized that this might be due
to an increased sensitivity to leptin, the
hormone that inhibits hunger, when consuming
In terms of thermogenesis, protein is beneficial
to weight loss under thermic effect of food.
Thermic effect of food is generally defined
as the amount of energy it takes for the body
to process the food you eat.
Carbs and fat tend to have a 5 to 15% thermic
Protein, on the other hand, has a notably
higher thermic effect of 20-35%.
That means for 500 calories of carbs or fat
you consume, it takes roughly 25 to 75 calories
to digest it.
500 calories of protein, however, will take
100 to 175 calories.
Short term, not that big of a deal… but
in the long run, it can add up to a significant
number of calories burned, thus more weight
Finally, with total food intake, it comes
down to limiting the desire to eat, aka satiety.
Unlike satiation, where you feel full quicker,
satiety means you feel satisfied longer.
The benefit of this is that it might reduce
the amount of food you eat later.
One study found that, subjects that had a
low protein lunch consumed 811 calories during
High protein group, however, consumed only
438, almost half as much!
Similar to keto, protein-induced satiety is
related to the hormone ghrelin, which regulates
Now, as we can see, if there’s any reason
to take up a low-carb diet outside of ketosis,
it’s because it naturally promotes eating
Of course, it’s still important to make
sure not to get too much protein, as it can
present a myriad of issues, just as overconsumption
of fats and carbs will.
But the main takeaway is that low-carb diets
can work regardless of its primary function.
And it still doesn’t go against the science
of calories in and out.
More protein means more calories burned and
fewer calories consumed.
Just like how it should be.
But, if it’s true that there’s other potential
weight loss benefits that we’re not yet
privy to when it comes to low carb diets,
it only stands to become an even stronger
weight loss tool.
But that’s a debate for another day…
For now, let me know your opinion on the matter.
Share your experiences with low carb or keto
diets in the comments below, or comment if
you think that all of the factors I’ve mentioned
still isn’t reasonable enough for using
As always, thank you for watching!