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What is considered a low-carb diet?

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Quick Answer

A low-carb diet is one that limits the number of carbohydrates – bread, grains and starch – that a dieter ingests. Although some carbohydrates, such as bread and potatoes, are obvious, there are hidden carbs in sugars, fruits and some vegetables. People on low-carb diets need to avoid these carbs as well.

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Full Answer

A low-carb diet reduces insulin levels in the body, which in turn limits the amount of glucose converted to fat. After a few days on a low-carb diet, the body goes into a state of ketosis, which turns the dieter into a fat-burning machine. There are over-the-counter test kits available to show if the body is in ketosis. This helps a dieter to know if he is ingesting too many hidden carbs.

Most low-carb diets limit the amount of carbohydrates per day to a range of 60 to 130 grams. Although there are many anecdotal accounts touting the effectiveness of low-carb diets to drop weight in the short term, the diet is not successful in the long-term. Dieters find it difficult to pass up bread and potatoes as a life-altering, permanent solution.

Risks from a low-carb diet include bad breath, tiredness, headaches and diarrhea. Extreme low-carb diets sometimes result in the creation of gallstones.

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