Losing Weight on a Lower-Carb Diet

The amount of inaccurate or even misleading information that is passed off as fact among many people regarding lower-carb lifestyles still surprises me.

The latest is an article from a well-known medical Web site regarding high-protein diets. A physician expert states that “Much of the weight lost with the Atkins diet is water.”

I’m sure many people who have lost 30, 40, 50 or even 150 pounds would have a good laugh at that statement.

Carbohydrates Can Cause Water Retention

Because stored glucose binds water, there is a diuretic effect during the first few days of the Induction phase of the Atkins Lifestyle, when carbs are limited to 20 grams daily. That’s why people on diuretic medications are cautioned when cutting carbs to do so with the supervision of their doctor to avoid overmedication.

For anyone following a lower-carb plan, it is important to stay properly hydrated. Most people do very well during the Induction stage. However, if help is needed to replace lost minerals because of an excessive loss of water, taking a multi-mineral every day or drinking two cups of salty broth daily works quite well for most people.

Is There Research That Supports Fat Loss?

By the fourth day of the Induction phase, fat-burning begins and fat starts to be lost. One research study published in a 2002 issue of the journal Metabolism was done on normal-weight men following a less than 50-gram carb diet. The study found that not only did they gain lean mass without any change in their exercise level, but their weight loss was almost entirely from fat.

Another study by Boden presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in June 2004 on obese women with diabetes found that the weight lost was predominately fat.

A third study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on healthy women comparing weight loss and body composition, found that those on a low-carb diet lost more weight and more body fat compared to those on a low-fat diet.

It is accurate to say that when compared with people on conventional diets, low-carb dieters usually lost more weight. Furthermore, water accounted for only a small percentage of that weight loss.

What Is the Lesson?

Often people are frightened away from a lower-carb eating plan that could be the key to successful weight loss simply because of myths or wrong information. If you want the facts, do some of your own research, read the books and don’t believe everything you hear or read in the newspapers or on the Internet.

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