no-carb diets

now I mostly talk about this to my friends, but on the off chance that someone who buys into the above hops by this space:

No-carb diets work because they help you reduce your overall caloric intake. It’s like going on a ‘no-sugar’ or a ‘no-processed food’ diet or a ‘broccoli-only’ diet – by cutting out accessible and ‘staple’ food items, you reduce your caloric intake and make bingeing difficult. They’re not magic, though there is much to be said health-wise for reducing your intake of processed foods. To elaborate,

1. When it comes to weight loss, overall caloric intake is king. I quote AA on this: “If you’re comparing diets that match sufficient protein intake, you don’t lose fat more quickly with lower carbs (yes, even at keto levels). This has been demonstrated repeatedly:

  • “Body-weight loss and weight-maintenance depends on the high-protein, but not on the ‘low-carb’ component of the diet, while it is unrelated to the concomitant fat-content of the diet.”

2. In fact, consuming carbs boosts seratonin levels, which in human speak just means that it helps your brain make you happier. Going ‘no-carb’ Again, “KLC [ketogenic low-carb] and NLC [non-ketogenic low-carb] diets were equally effective in reducing body weight and insulin resistance, but the KLC diet was associated with several adverse metabolic and emotional effects. The use of ketogenic diets for weight loss is not warranted.”


3. Since it’s overall calories that matter, and since carbs actually do play a role in making you happy and helping you sleep better (plus they give you ENERGY if you exercise or live life in general), the most important factor to bear in mind when deciding your eating patterns should be health + sustainability. Any diet that makes you go loco and starve yourself of X food item for 2 weeks, then rebound with an ice cream potato chip binge one day when you snap, is a Bad Diet.

  • “Significant weight loss was observed with any low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet. Weight loss differences between individual named diets were small. This supports the practice of recommending any diet that a patient will adhere to in order to lose weight.”

If you want to get in shape, don’t go no-carb and deprive yourself of joy (and the delicious yumminess of carbs). Instead, go high-protein – because protein is (1) more satiating and it (2) helps you to retain lean muscle, which in turn increases your metabolic rate and helps to keep your body functional.

bonus: if you enjoyed reading the above, but you also worry about eating late at night because ‘eating after 8pm makes you fat!!!‘, welcome to more of alan aragon and nutrition science – !! don’t let silly myths ruin your enjoyment of food, especially if said food is essential for your health.

bonus 2: having a desk job and not having a gym membership doesn’t mean that you should be all sedentary and gain fat unhealthily. consider upping your NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis)!! one way to do so is illustrated by the delightful dorrismccomics over at Twitter:


have a pleasant week friends!!


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