February 25, 2016 by Virginia James
I have spent all (or most) of December on a low carb diet, measured my waist, hips and took note of my weight, moods, and energy levels.
Then in January, I switched to high carb plant-based eating and took the same notes.
I had my blood levels (cholesterol/glucose/pressure) checked prior and after each change in diet so that my health was in check. The following are my notes as to how I felt on both diets, and what I plan to do next.
Please note: see your doctor prior to making critical diet changes.
December: Low Carb Diet
What I ate: All Meats both lean and fatty, and only low carb veggies, leafy greens (basically followed atkins diet).
What I had to avoid: grains, fruits, and starchy carbs
Weight Gained/lost: lost water weight at beginning but soon after, gained 5 pounds 😦
Difference in measurements: I lost about one inch after first week, then gained 3 inches on my waist -what?! I thought this was a diet?!
Moods: My moods would swing from super happy to super depressed extremely quickly
Energy Levels: Super lethargic. My energy was down the drain and I just wanted to sleep all day every day; I wasnt getting enough energy to complete any workouts -I’d stop roughly halfway through each day, and had a hard time sleeping
Symptoms: High Blood Pressure, sporatic sugar levels in blood, migraines, acne on skin, hair started to shedd more, overall bloating, occassional dizzy spells, and at times nausea.
January: High Carb Plant-Based Diet
What I ate: as many fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds as I wanted, without counting calories. Can be either raw or cooked. …and drink lots of water. and I mean LOTS!
What I had to avoid: meats, animal products, processed foods, sugary drinks.
Weight Gained/lost: lost 5 lbs (the ones I gained from low carb diet, I imagine)
Difference in measurements: lost 3 inches from waist
Moods: lighter moods, more care-free, happy most days.
Energy Levels: off the charts! I have enough energy to complete my average workouts -and then some! I was also sleeping better
Symptoms: blood pressure stabilized, no spikes in blood sugar levels, clearer skin, healthier hair, no more migraines, and no more dizziness or nausea.
The Difference in numbers
I compared my cholesterol, glucose levels and blood pressure before and after each diet change. I can tell you one thing; a high carb diet is extremely bad for your arteries! I did some research on how high carbs affect your body; and for someone to think this is okay is extremely confusing to me. Sure some people manage to lose weight this way, but by no means does it help you achieve a healthy body -no way! Low Carbs usually mean high fat, and that’s where people tend to get carried away …straight to the heart attack zone. You can count me out. I felt so lethargic and sloth-like after eating these foods, that I am pretty sure I won’t be eating that way again.
When I switched to a High Carb Plant Based diet, I confess I assumed that it would be extremely difficult -because it’s basically a Vegan diet. But when I saw the vast list of foods I could eat, I was actually surpised and excited. I love fruits!!! being deprived of them on the low carb diet made me miss them that much. So I ate fruit, veggies, grains, nuts and seeds and as much starchy carbs as I wanted; usually heavier dinners like pasta and baked potato. I’ve never felt so great in my life! Why did I not try this earlier?! Who knew it was possible to eat so much and still lose weight and inches off my waist? I’m left speechless.
So… next time someone tells me to eat low-carb to lose weight, I’ll be rolling my eyes, stuffing my mouth with pasta, bread, rice, fruits, and veggies, and shove my weight loss in their face! …maybe I won’t go that far! But it definitely makes sense. Carbs are what feed your body and brain with energy to strive. Deprive your body of that, and it won’t function very well; your arteries clog up, you get headaches, constipation, nausea… why would you want to make yourself feel that way?
I may not be full on Vegan, but after this experiment… I just may give it a try!
Low Carb: Ketogenic Diet Resource
Advocates of Low Carb: Robert C Atkins (Atkins Diet ‘Nutritionist’ with a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension)
High Carb: Nitrition Fact Org.
Advocates of High Carb: Freelee (Banana Girl) 20+ years in research in nutrition and fitness (nutritionist, blogger/vlogger, and High Carb diet advocate)
I’m not one of those people who like to tell people what they should eat. I respect your dieting choices, and expect you to respect mine. However, I felt that this little experiment was a huge eye-opener. Now the question is should I go Vegan, or become some sort of customized ‘flexitarian’?? I’d like to hear what you think about all this!