Learn what is more effective for weight loss: the no-carb diet, also known as zero-carb diet, or low-carb non-ketogenic diet.
The no-carbohydrate diet, as the name implies, excludes consumption of all carbohydrate foods, proteins and fats becoming the main source of energy. The no-carb diet is ketogenic. Proponents of no-carb and very-low-carb ketogenic diets believe that going into ketosis helps the body lose weight, as the body begins to burn dietary fat and body fat, not carbohydrates, for energy.
Both the no-carb diet and the very-low-carb diet impose no calorie restriction, allowing unlimited consumption of protein and fat; however, the diets still lower the food intake by reducing hunger.
Adequate protein intake helps avoid loss of muscle mass and even increase loss of body fat. However, when protein intake exceeds 25% of daily energy expenditure, it can cause side effects including headache, fatigue, and lack of energy, which is why ketogenic diets commonly lead to impaired physical performance. The ketogenic diet lowers the muscle glycogen levels significantly, so anaerobic exercises (weight lifting, sprint) are discouraged.
Ketogenic diets are recognized as a short-term obesity treatment but often considered very unhealthy in the long term. However, the study “Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients” suggests that a long-term, 24-week, ketogenic diet can have a beneficial effect on health, as it reduces the body weight and improves the blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol profile. The researchers also found that the ketogenic diet did not cause any significant side effects in the patients. However, this research is not enough to prove that the no-carb diet and the very-low-carb diet are safe. Being very high in saturated fat, the no-carb diet can result in artery damage, as saturated fats cause build up in the arteries. You should not follow the no-carb diet or the very-low carb diet, unless it is medically supervised to avoid side effects, which may include kidney disease, dehydration, constipation and others.
You can lose weight without going into ketosis. Low-carbohydrate diets providing enough carbohydrates to avoid ketosis are equally effective for weight loss. If you supplement your non-ketogenic diet with an exercise program, you get even better results. Carbohydrates provide you with energy for exercises. Anaerobic exercises help you build muscle, leading to higher energy expenditure. Aerobic exercises raise metabolism, the speed at which your body burns calories, leading to higher energy expenditure too. Both anaerobic and aerobic exercises help you create a calorie deficit required for burning body fat.
- Johnstone A.M., Horgan G.W.(2008) Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum.
- Manninen A. H. (2006) Very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass.
- Phinney S.D. (2004) Ketogenic diets and physical performance
- Johnston C.S., Tjonn S.L. (2006) Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets.