Favorite Things about Low-Carb Eating

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People like being free to eat foods that may have been off-limits on other diets. Allison Michael Orenstein/The Image Bank/Getty Images

We know that there are many health benefits to eating a low-carb diet. Besides weight loss, there are consistently other improvements in health, such as improvements in blood lipids, blood pressure, and blood glucose. (See: 24 Benefits of Low-Carb Diets) However, I've been talking to people about low-carb diets for over 20 years, and the health benefits aren't necessarily people's favorite things about low-carb eating.

Caveat: Of course, not everyone will experience all of these responses. Some people respond dramatically to carbohydrate reduction while others have more mild reactions. Also, the "happy stuff" happens after your body adjusts to low-carb eating, which takes a week or two. That said, these are the things people consistently tell me that they love about following a low-carb diet.

1. Reduced Hunger/No Cravings

"I feel normal around food!", is a common refrain among people who are discovering low-carb eating for the first time. Once your body adjusts to the diet, you may very well experience a lack of impulses to eat when you're not hungry, and the absence of yearning for sweet or starchy foods. This can be a revelation for people who have been constantly nagged by cravings or hunger when on higher-carb diets. If your body responds well to a low-carb diet, this is really the main thing that makes the diet work over the long haul -- as our appetite adjusts, we naturally want to eat less food.

2. Not Having to Count Calories or Go Hungry

To be sure, we do have to pay attention how much carbohydrate we eat, but the idea that we must worry about the overall amount of food we eat (in other words "learn to live with hunger") should be a thing of the past. If we are hungry, we get to eat, and not try to survive on celery until our next meal.

3. Eating Foods that Were Previously "Off Limits"

No more throwing away those nutritious egg yolks! Dig into a nice juicy steak for dinner! Enjoy real butter on your vegetables! People love that high-fat food are actually encouraged -- as long as they aren't also high in carbohydrate, of course!

4. More Alert/Less Sleepy/Better Focus

Many people find that when they adjust to low-carb eating a "mental fog" they may not even have realized was there clears up. People talk about being able to think more clearly and concentrate more easily. Because of this, their productivity improves.

5. More Energy

Whereas low-calorie diets can leave a body listless and lacking energy after awhile, this is less likely to happen on a low-carb diet, and people are often amazed at the improvement in their stamina. Even some athletes are discovering ketogenic diets to boost their performance.

6. More Stable Moods

Along with having more physical stamina, people report that their moods are more stable as well. They tend to say that are less pulled around by transitory emotions and they feel they are more on an even keel. This is especially valued by women who may feel moodier before their periods or during menopause.

7. Fewer Aches and Pains

Whether because of decreased inflammation in the body (which has been shown in several studies) or some other factor, it's common for people to report fewer headaches, as well as reductions in muscle and joint pain. Also, reductions in heartburn are fairly common, which is another type of pain.

8. Less Medication Needed

Very commonly people require less medication for blood pressure and blood sugar control, and sometimes less pain medication as well. In fact, at the 2015 Low-Carb Cruise, we had a report from Dr. Philip Blair, who works with insurance companies to reduce costs in their high-risk patients.

He finds that a low-carb diet can help dramatically reduce medication costs as well as other medical costs. If you take medication for blood pressure or blood sugar, be sure to check out Medications and Low-Carb Diets .

9. Happy Doctor Visits

Have you ever heard your doctor say, "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it"? People following a low-carb way of eating hear this quite often. Weight loss and improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar are so common that they are almost expected. It's often refreshing and so uplifting to hear encouraging words from your doctor.

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