“Unless you’re eating chicken and steak all day, it’s nearly impossible to go on a no-carb diet,” says nutritionist Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D.N., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging. “Not only are carbs in foods like bread, pasta and fruit, they’re also in foods like nuts, beans, lettuce and broccoli.” Fruits and vegetables are the best carbs for you, because they contain the most vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So when we talk about going low-carb, we’re talking about cutting refined sugars, refined grains like pasta, whole grains and starches like brown rice and quinoa. Whole grains increase your blood sugar and insulin levels at a healthy (but not excessive rate) and regulate your microbiome.
“By eating too few carbs, you’re getting less probiotics and total fiber,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN. “Most guys likely need more not less probiotics – which are the fuel for beneficial probiotics in the gut.”
“To go low-carb the right way, realize that you are going to need some carbs for energy, nutrients and fiber, so get them from nutrient-packed lower-carb sources like vegetables, nuts and seeds,” Ansel says. “And keep in mind that the very lowest you should ever go is 20 grams of carbs a day. Less than that will cause your body to go into ketosis which can make you feel nauseous, weak and generally lousy.”
How lousy is it, you ask? Here are some of the uglier potential side effects of going low-carb: