Why Low Carb Diets “Work”… and Then Don’t


Carbs…the outlaw of most weight loss diets today. If you eat them, you will never lose fat because your insulin will always be juiced and you will store everything to your belly and hate your life…

This is what many low carb proponents will preach to their graves. Cut out carbs, and you cut out bloating, belly fat, lose weight, and feel better.

So people do it.

Any you know what? It works! It’s amazing!

But down the road…not so much.

So whats the skinny on low carb diets? Why do I still advocate for eating carbs, when many people do have success on low carb diets?

1) When many people “cut out carbs” they are really just cutting out a big chunk of junk calories – and actually more fat than carbs.

“I stopped eating pizza, burgers, and spaghetti, and I lost weight!”


Just because there are carbs in those foods, doesn’t mean you just cut out carbs. Those foods often times have more grams of fat in them than carbs, and thus you cut out a ton of calories.

Reminder: the first rule of weight loss is a caloric deficit – end of story.

If you stop eating plain rice, breads, fruits, pasta, potatoes, and oats – THEN you cut out your carbs only.

2) Initial weight loss from low carb diets is mostly water. 

You cannot lose 5 pounds of fat in one day.

You can lose 5 pounds of water in one day.

Water follows carbs, it is pulled to them. When we eat big carb meals, this is why we often bloat up. Carbs become stored as glycogen in our body, and water follows it.

When you slash carbs, workout, and keep drinking water, your kidneys essentially say, “welp, we have no where to put this access water, so time to pee”.

This is because exercising will deplete your glycogen stores, and by eating low-carb, you aren’t replacing them, so the water flows through you.

Also, when your insulin drops (from not eating carbs) – your kidneys start depleting sodium from your body to keep things in balance – and water follows that as well.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try for just a day, and see how many times you pee. It’s crazy.

Now, this is where I AM a fan of low carb dieting. 

Have a wedding, beach vacation, photoshoot coming up?

Even a few days of strategic low-carb dieting beforehand can work very very well to tighten up your look.

However, know that this is only temporary, the weight that you lose (and then will regain) is almost 100% water.

3) Low Carb can be hard to stick to.


Many people can do it, and that is awesome. However, it’s just not a realistic long term solution for many people. And studies even show that LONG TERM low carb diets have no advantage to other calorically restricted diets.

So yes, in the short term they can “work” – but for most people it just causes a frustrating, yo-yo type diet cycle that can be very hard to break.

So how do you make carbs work FOR you, and not against your goals?

It is a highly individualized process to determine, but I will try to keep it simple in a nutshell.

Carbs fuel performance. 

The more you workout, the more you need.

Our bodies respond differently to carbs based off of our body fat percentage and insulin sensitivity levels. 

Carry more fat, and have higher blood glucose readings? You would be better off eating lowER carbs to help get some weight off.

Are you a lean, mean, muscular person who works out hard almost daily? You would probably do well with MORE carbs in your diet.

So how do you know what to do? I can’t answer this in a blog, because it gets highly technical, and can be a long process to get someone from point A to point Z (most people ignore points B through Y)

If your goal is fat loss… here is the absolute basic recommendations I can make:

1) Men – Bodyweight x 12 = calories for weight loss

2) Women – Bodyweight x 10 = calories for weight loss

3) Protein = bodyweight x .8-1 grams (200 lbs = 160-200 grams of protein)

4) Fill in the rest of your calories with carbs and fat, and play around with the levels of each while staying under your calorie goal.

Not what you wanted to hear.

But, like I said this is a highly individualized process, and honestly, I would need hours to write up a post about it.

If you haven’t given the above recommendation a TRUE try, and followed it perfectly, I recommend you do. You will see results.

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Stay healthy my friends,


Published by Mike Gorski

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach OWNER OF MG FIT LIFE LLC

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