No-Carb Diet: Can It Help You Lose Weight?

Cutting out carbohydrates from the diet can ultimately lead to weight loss.

person on the no carb diet

A lot of fad diets claim that cutting out carbohydrates from the diet can ultimately lead to weight loss. However, a no carb diet comes with repercussions on one’s health. Plus, there are a lot of details one should learn about this diet before trying it out. Here is what an individual interested in a no-carbohydrate diet should understand.

What Is a No Carb Diet?

A no carb diet excludes carbohydrates from the diet. No carb diet is popularly known as the ketogenic diet, which limits carbohydrate intake to approximately 20 grams to none at all. While it may be an extreme option for those looking to lose weight drastically, it can be a challenge for some. This is chiefly because the diet requires an individual to get 60 to 80 percent of their needed calories from fat instead of carbohydrates.

While diets such as the no carb diet can be useful for people looking to lose weight, it is not advisable for people who have diabetes, are breastfeeding, are pregnant, or are taking medications for maintaining their blood pressure.

Rather than opting for a no carb diet, try a low-carb diet instead which is not as extreme. Apart from helping one lose weight, this type of diet also reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, or heart diseases.

Limiting the Carb Intake

Completely cutting out carbohydrates from the diet isn’t a smart move. Rather than cutting it out completely, remove the sources of unhealthy carbs such as sugars and refined wheat. Here’s how one should start on a low-carb diet.

1. 100 to 150 Grams of Carbohydrates Daily

This entails an intake of carbohydrates on a moderate level. It is recommended for individuals who are physically active and wish to maintain their current weight. Food portions are controlled, and calories from meals are counted. The carbohydrates one can eat for this moderate low-carb diet include the following.

  • All Vegetables
  • A Few Pieces of Fruit in a Day
  • Moderate Quantities of Healthy Starch and Grains, Such as Sweet Potatoes and Oats

2. 50 to 100 Grams of Carbohydrates Daily

If one is sensitive to carbs and gains weight easily when it is included in the diet, then this level is advisable. It allows only a healthy amount of carbs and can help one shed weight without difficulty. The carbohydrates permitted at this level include the following.

  • A Lot of Vegetables
  • Two to Three Pieces of Fruit in a Day
  • Minimal Quantities of Healthy Starch (Sweet Potatoes or Potatoes)

3. 20 to 50 Grams of Carbohydrates Daily

This level is excellent for individuals who are obese or wish to lose weight immediately. Take note, however, that limiting the carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams in a day can lead to ketosis.

This is a condition that happens when the body doesn’t get the required amount of sugar from food and breaks down fat for energy. It causes the buildup of ketones in the body and produces side effects such as bad breath, headache, and nausea. Despite the ketosis, it can help one lose weight dramatically. The carbohydrates allowed at this level include the following.

  • Berries
  • Low-Carb Vegetables
  • Trace Carbs from Seeds, Nuts, and Avocadoes

Diet Details

For those looking to try a low-carb diet, here is the food to eat and to avoid. Remember, the amount depends on the level of the low-carb diet one opts to follow.

1. Food to Eat

Choose unprocessed and real food.

  • Dark Chocolate: Should contain approximately 70 percent of cocoa
  • Eggs: Pastured or omega-3-enriched
  • Fish: Haddock, trout, and salmon
  • Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, pears, oranges, and apples
  • High-Fat Dairy: Yogurt, butter, and cheese
  • Legumes: Pinto beans, black beans, and lentils
  • Meat: Chicken, pork, lamb, and beef
  • Nuts: Walnuts and almonds
  • Oils and Fats: Fish oil, olive oil, lard, and coconut oil
  • Tubers: Sweet potatoes and potatoes
  • Unrefined Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, and oats
  • Vegetables: Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach

For drinks, coffee and tea can still be consumed in addition to water. Wine is also allowed as long as it does not contain added carbohydrates or sugar. Opt for carbonated beverages that are sugar-free as well.

2. Food to Avoid

A low-carb diet should not include the following food groups.

  • Highly-Processed Food
  • Low-Fat Food: Includes crackers and cereals that claim to be fat-reduced
  • Refined Grains: Rye, barley, rice, wheat, cereal, pasta, and bread
  • Starchy Vegetables
  • Sugar: Ice cream, candy, soft drinks, and fruit juices
  • Trans Fats: Partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil


Cutting out carbohydrates from the diet all at once can cause numerous adverse effects on the body. Some of these include the following.

  • Bad Breath
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Skin Rash
  • Weakness

For those who follow a long-term low carb or no carb diet, it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders, bone loss, and mineral and vitamin deficiencies. It also puts one at risk of getting a variety of chronic illnesses.

Diets that limit the intake of carbohydrates are not advised for growing children, especially those in elementary and high school. The bodies of the individuals in these categories are in dire need of nutrients that can be found in carbohydrate-rich food such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

As mentioned, another risk of the low-carb diet is ketosis where the body breaks down fat stored in it for energy. In addition to fatigue and headaches, ketosis can also cause physical and mental fatigue.

For those who still want to follow a no-carb or low-carb diet, it is highly advised that one opts for food that is rich in healthy proteins and healthy unsaturated fats. Avoid food sources that contain trans fats and saturated fats like high-dairy products, processed pastries, and meat.

Before one tries a diet that limits the carbohydrate intake, it is best to seek out the knowledge of a healthcare provider or dietician. The diet should still be able to supply the body with the needed nutrients for growth and optimum health.

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