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Learn About Some of the Risks and Disadvantages of a Low Carb Diet

The first guide I ever wrote was called “the ultimate guide to low carbs”. In perspective, choosing to do a low carb diet can have some benefits, but there are some disadvantages of a low carb diet that we should talk about.

A friend and I during the pandemic gained quite a bit of weight, from stress, anxiety, lack of exercise and the shift that our entire life took. We started after doing a bit of research, her on a keto diet and myself on a low carb diet, which was for me 50g-75g of net carb total per day.

Did we lose weight? Yes, I lost 20 pounds in 7 months and my friend on a keto diet lost about 40lbs during the same timeframe. Did we gain it back? Out of 20 I regained 10lbs and my friend 30lbs during the following year.

From a holistic point of view, this sort of diet is not balanced. The action you choose is healthy, but there is more to it that creates added stress to your life. For example, you will reduce the amount of sugar, processed food, integrating more vegetables and better protein, but you are limiting yourself. What is better?

flat lay photography of two bowls of fruit and vegetable salad

What is a low carb diet?

You might have heard of this trend, eating low carb. But what does it mean? 

In simple terms, you will reduce your amount of net carbohydrates to allow your body to burn fat instead of sugar. At every meal, you would calculate the amount of carbohydrates minus the amount of fiber. Therefore, the amount will give you your total net carb amount for the day.

A simple low carb diet allows more wiggle room for carbs compared to the ketogenic diet which your net carb amount should be under approx 20g of net carb per day approx. This doesn’t include the calculation of fat and protein that will also be a requirement.


  • weight loss
  • deducing type 2 diabetes
  • reducing IBS symptoms
  • controlling blood sugar etc.

For further details on the ketogenic diet, please see here.

Easy way to calculate your carb

Net Carbohydrates: Total amount of carbohydrate minus total amount of Fiber

In the example above, the Total Carbohydrates are 26g, Fibers are 2g, which would provide you with 24g of Net Carbohydrate. 

You can use an application like My Fitness Pal or Carb Manager to easily count your total amount of daily calories, macronutrients and net carbohydrate.

Both applications offer free options. 

What to expect from a low carb diet?

Your metabolism is your own and the results will always vary from one person to another. The lower amount of carbs and sugars you will have in your diet, the faster your body can change to start burning fat.

This was not a miracle diet that made me lose 10lbs in a week. Even my friend started to lose faster when she started but started to lose approx 1-2lbs per week on average. It was consistent, we lost weight every month.

Depending on where you start, some people can lose 10-15 pounds in the first month. The weight, loss will come mostly from water weight, but when your body gets used to this that won’t last and you will start averaging your weight loss.

There are different approach to this type of diet to measure your weight loss. Some will weigh themselves every morning to get used to seeing your weight go up in down on a daily basis, so it becomes less scary when you see it fluctuate. Some will only weigh themselves once a week, which can give you a nice boost when you see a big chunk of weight go down, but this will always vary from what you eat the few days before.

The best way to see that it’s working is from your clothes, they won’t fit anymore, they will just be too big.  

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime

Disadvantages of a low carb diet

I know, from what I am talking about above it seems pretty straight forward and almost easy to start a low carb diet, if it would be easy, everyone would do it. Like everything, there is a lot of gray zone to mention here. Let’s cover some of the main disadvantages of a low carb diet and how it can affect your life. Even when you might not see it.

1. Calories and Macronutrients counting

This type of diet does require you to count your macronutrients, which you would need to measure per gram of all your food. This includes entering the data into an application and measuring all your meals to ensure you get the right amount of nutrients on a daily basis.

I used to think every morning what will I eat, enter all the raw data and adjust as my day. I had to ensure that by dinner I would have enough macronutrients left.

This is where it’s a very big disadvantage. This type of diet where even just measuring your food for calories is very stressful on your mind, all food becomes of source of struggle instead of being something that should give you energy and relief.

Are you more likely to still make the best decision for your health if you go over the numbers for the day? Or you say F***K it. I will eat the bag of chips, my day went to hell anyway. Or will you lie on your app, because you feel bad if it didn’t go like you wanted.

2. Sometimes life happens

The guilt. When your day went badly, maybe you had a fight and the stress is creating you some cravings or on a positive note, you had a special event and ended up eating some sugary dessert and you feel guilty. You start to think like you are not good enough. You are failing again. You should stick to this diet. Isn’t your weight loss more important?

3. It gets complicated

Not to mention that going out to a restaurant becomes almost impossible to calculate your macro nutrients. There is no way of really knowing how all food is really cooked. So you start to stress, do you avoid going out? Or are you strong enough to let it go?

4. Overwhelming feeling

This weekend was mothers day, image your family makes you breakfast in bed and the first thought that comes to your head is, how will I add this up?

Did they used oil? How much? They made pancakes, can I really eat it and from there my day is ruin? How will have dinner?

The constant thinking of measurement and numbers, thinking of food and choices it’s adding on to your anxiety and stress. What should be nice and enjoyable becomes a new thing to worrry about.

Some of these examples might sound crazy to you, but it is reality for most. Just like if you would go to the gym and the morning you decide not to go, the guilt takes over.

Does this mean you will not lose the weight you want? No, of course not, but you are playing tricks on your mind.

silver fork and knife on plate

Best recommendation to avoid extreme diets

1. Set your intentions

The actions that we choose and their intention matter. From the examples above, a low carb diet is not bad on its own. If you think about it, reducing sugar, processed food and total amount of carbs during your day will help you make the best choices for yourself. By default, you will make choose better food, eat more vegetables and feel better.

If you want to lose weight, maybe you have no idea what you even eat during your day and have no idea of calories and sugar. Counting calories for a few days is okay. This can give you an indication of where to start and what you might want to focus on. But again, a few days (like 2-3 days).

2. Avoid Extremes, find your balance

Avoid extremes, just like going 2-3 hours at the gym 6 days a week is extreme. Avoiding all food because it doesn’t match with your diet is another one. Some individuals can do it, and they will enjoy this lifestyle, but for most they will end up quitting, because it’s not balanced. Again, if it were easy, everyone would do it. It doesn’t mean you are failing. It might just be what you are choosing to do that doesn’t align with who you want to be.

Just like you shouldn’t have cake everyday or fast food at every meal, you will be okay if you have a meal with your friends on the weekend because it’s one night out.

3. Understand the reality

You will not lose the weight as fast, it will take you longer to reach your goal. In compassion, instead of being very good for 6 months and never wanting to do this again, you will be able to sustain a balanced life for the rest of your life. Trust me, I am better with 5lbs more, but I don’t count my calories or macronutrients.

Fat is not evil, carbs are not evil, and protein is neither, but like anything in moderation, is always better. If you choose to not count your calories or macros but remove all processed food and added sugar from your life, your body will thank you.

If you are ready to be healthier, but are not looking to get into an extreme diet, don’t miss out my other article about the benefits of eating healthy.

What benefits does a low car diet provided

After being on a low carb diet for almost 1 year, making the shift to not be low-carb was hard. The guilt took over a lot of the time. It was not sustainable anymore and I did not want to measure my food for ever, which to me is one of the many big disadvantages of a low carb diet.

Today, I do make better choices, after cooking food for a year with vegetables, it became this new habit in our house. We have reduced the amount of carbs, we used to make 1 cup of rice for a family of 3; now we only use 1/2 cup and we don’t really see the difference. Same with pasta. I realized, I don’t really like bread, which I just don’t eat. Also I would rather have a nice oatmeal for breakfast.

In conclusion

Unless the doctor is suggesting a low carb diet or keto due to certain medical conditions. It is not one approach I would recommend to any of my clients. I would rather work on reducing your stress, having a better relationship with food and avoiding that guilt.

At the end of the day, will you remember that all your life you were on a diet or will you remember the good times you had making good food for your friends and family? It’s all about perspective. I know the world makes it sound easy, but diet are hard mentally and physically. I hope you can make the best decision for yourself.

If you are ready to learn more about health and how to apply an holistic approach to your life, book a free consultation with me.

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