People follow low carb diets for various reasons, such as losing weight, reducing bloating, or helping to keep blood sugar low if they have diabetes or similar. A low carb diet is all about reducing your intake of carbohydrates, and such a diet has been linked to heart health as well as weight loss and improved blood glucose levels. There are a lot of myths about low carb eating, so it is important to be aware of the facts if you are considering a reduction in your carb intake.

Carbohydrates are an energy source for daily activities, along with fuel for exercise, your heart, brain and nervous system. After eating carbs, your body will break them down into simple sugars which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. The pancreas reacts to this sugar by releasing a hormone known as insulin, which can move sugar from the blood into the cells. It can then be used as an energy source.

Many people eat about 300 grams of carbs a day, but a low carb diet could be anything between 20 and 60 grams. Everyone is different though, and some people will lose weight on 10 grams of carbs a day while others might be able to have 80 grams of carbs and enjoy the same benefits.

If you have been eating plenty of carbohydrates, dropping down to 20 grams suddenly will probably give you side effects because your body suddenly has to start using its own fat as fuel instead of using carbs. Side effects might include headaches, constipation or fatigue as the body gets used to this way of eating. These side effects are normal and temporary, but you can minimise or avoid them by gradually reducing your carb intake rather than suddenly cutting right down.