The Limitations of a No-Carb Diet

Many individuals tend to seek rapid and effortless solutions to achieve their fitness goals, disregarding the facts and searching for sources that align with their beliefs. However, it is important to understand that there is no magical solution for weight loss.

Please note that as a personal trainer, I am not authorized to provide recommendations on food choices. The information provided in this article is a summary of my knowledge. For professional guidance on weight control, please seek advice from a registered dietitian.

Why you need Carbs?

carbs food

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and are deemed “irreplaceable.” Without it, both the brain and body cannot function normally.

But, what happens when the body’s carb storage is depleted?

Contrary to popular belief, the body doesn’t immediately use fat as an energy source; it enters “saving mode.” This survival tactic causes the metabolism to slow down, leading to a lower basal metabolic rate. Despite being a basic survival skill, the body’s metabolic slowdown remains unchangeable.

Protein is the next source of energy


As previously mentioned, the human body does not utilize fat as the next energy source after carbohydrates, but rather protein. During the process of protein breakdown for energy, the body requires more water than it typically does, ultimately leading to dehydration.

This phenomenon is the primary reason why individuals are misled into believing that they have lost weight rapidly through a no-carb diet.

Before delving into the second reason, it is important to consider the primary function of protein in the body. Unlike carbohydrates, protein is not intended to serve as the primary source of energy. Instead, its purpose is to repair damaged muscles and facilitate their rebuilding.

In instances where protein intake is insufficient, the body experiences a loss of muscle mass, which can result in weight loss that is not directly attributed to fat loss.

Nutrition rules that will fuel your workout by Mayo Clinic

Comparing Carbs and Protein Per Gram

It is important to note that the notion that carbs are solely to blame for weight gain is a misconception that needs to be debunked. The truth is, the real problem lies in consuming too many calories, regardless of the source. It is essential to focus on maintaining a balanced and healthy diet that incorporates a reasonable amount of all macronutrients, including carbohydrates.

To help with this, it is crucial to understand the caloric content of each macronutrient. The table below provides a breakdown of the number of calories you consume per gram of each macronutrient, including carbohydrates and protein.

4 kilocalories / gram4 kilocalories / gram

In terms of caloric intake, it’s important to note that consuming carbs and protein in equal amounts will result in the same number of calories. However, some people tend to blame carbs for weight gain, and one possible reason for this is that protein has been shown to be more satiating than carbs. This means that even when consuming the same amount of calories, protein tends to make you feel fuller than carbs do, which may lead some individuals to eat more when consuming carbs.

Rebound weight gain after following a no-carb diet

gain weight

As previously mentioned, the absence of carbohydrates in the body can pose a challenge. While it may be effective in the short term, it is crucial to consider whether this diet method is sustainable in the long run.

A popular diet company with the iconic TV commercial in Japan had used the no carb diet and while it had received mixed reviews, one of the main reasons why people could not stick to it for their entire life is that we all want to enjoy our food.

If you are seeking a healthy and sustainable way to control your weight, it is recommended to consume controlled food portions without going overboard, while also regularly engaging in exercise that includes strength training and cardio.

If you are interested in personal training, please do not hesitate to contact me. My gym is located in Kitsilano, Vancouver.