The Science (and math) behind low-carb diets – and why they don’t fail

We have heard of the three very famous (and of course, only-after water) MACROS that “nutrition” relies on- Fats, proteins and carbohydrates (famously carbs).

What are they?

And why would you need a specific amount of a certain macro in some x quantity, and the other in y quantity, and another macro in z quantity, where x>y>z (possibly), but you might as well be eating x=y=z OR x<y<z or any other possible permutation.

We, the dietitians, are here to figure out which of these tri-variable equations (where x, y, and z represent macros) work best for you, and trust me-nutrition is a game of math.

But we can’t find the unknowns here by three equations, the way we do in math. Instead, in this case, we need to take into consideration rather the chemical reactions (or equations) in a human body to figure out ONE SIMPLE QUESTION- will your body function optimal on fats?

We have famously heard of only glucose (or carbs) of an energy source, hence-we have multiple glucose-based energy supplements trending in the markets. Now of course, with the ongoing trend of ketosis, we do have MCT oils trending in the market too. (MCT is Medium Chain Triglycerides, these tend to go through the gut quite quickly as is an optimal “quick” energy source for people on fat-based diets)

Consider an example :

I am stuck at a border posting and want to kill 5 enemies. I have two guns – A&B. A is heavier than B, A, and B-though have the same volume. A has 2 gunshots and B has 10. Which one, would you ideally prefer to destroy your enemy?

Any sane person would say gun B.

In our case, A is carbohydrate, B is fat. The same grams of fat provide a lot more ATP than for the same grams of carbs do. 1 molecule of glucose = 38ATP, one molecule of fat-129ATP.

When you tend to be on a fat-protein diet, you obviously tend to have lower insulin spikes, hence the blood sugar doesn’t keep swinging in your body making you hungry time and again.

Hunger is a game of your brain, not your stomach. Once you know how to train your brain in a way that it won’t overeat, or give it food that doesn’t let the brain send a signal to eat more and more again- you are a winner in the game of fat loss. And this can be achieved by training yourself to function on fats. More energy, less hunger, less cravings, better skin and zero to no deficiency oy any micronutrient for that matter.

If x,y, and z are the three variable macros in my diet, variable y can be carb, and is okay to make it 5-20gms per day.

So, the key take away is: You can definitely try a low carb diet it you are economically okay with it. If you are okay with limited ingredients to rely on, and if you are diabetic or have PCOD.

There are other factors such as genetics, that also explain if your body will function better on fats or carbs. Early man relied on dead animals to feed themselves-which is nothing but protein and fat. Think, if you really need too many carbs?