Low Carb Diet

Low Carb Diet for Teens is Safe or Not? – Paleo Diet and Weight Loss Effects

Teens and Low Carb Diets - Safe or Not?

Trying to cut down on those carbs and want your family to follow in your footsteps? Or are you a health-conscious teen looking in for ways to reduce weight, cure acne, balance out your mood swings and while you’re at it, boost up those energy levels?

Well, if you are, then these ketogenic diets are the way to go. The dietary requirements for teens and adults do vary, but overall, for a specified period of time, they are safe in application and result oriented for people in both categories.

Teens and Low Carb Diets – safe or not?

If you’ve just celebrated your sweet 16, and you’re at the stage where you miraculously grow an inch taller in your sleep, then you should always consult your doctor on any sort of dietary changes. It may not seem like it, but the food we consume and the lack of it thereof can create quite a mess for all- adults, even. And the after-effects are even worse for those who are still growing. Starving yourselves at such an age could actually expose you to weight gain in your future.

Although, most doctors are cynical of low carb diets; often called Paleo diets- ideally speaking, when you do visit your doctor for advice, avoid using the word ‘Paleo’ at all. Rather, go ahead and explain it to them in laymen terms; like just tell them you want to add in more veggies and protein into your diet, use olive oil and cut out on that sugar and refined flour. It’s the same thing, but to the doctors, it sounds a bit more ordinary than the crazy assumptions they usually get into when they hear the word ‘Paleo’.

Here are some get to go knowing that you might find in handy to know about.

Studies related to Paleo diets for teens

Study 1: Weight loss – with significant individual differences

With individuals limited to the age limit from 9 to 18, to an average of 14 to 15 years old, this study consisted of about 11 participants. This diet experiment consisted of a so few amounts of carbohydrate intake, with about 20 grams each day for the initial 2 weeks and then at most 40 grams for the days ahead.

Being basically a keto diet; the participants following these instructions had lost much of their weight in and over the specified period of 12 weeks, without any negative noticeable changes in their blood cholesterol. Looking closely at the study, however, the statistics involved showed that the results were practically identical for all, but 3 kids, who had had a spectacular result of the diet which had, in turn, skewed the group’s total average. This conclusion can, therefore, be used as a basis to state that the diet may not show a big difference for the average teen but it may end up dramatically affecting some of them.

However, for all those of you who are particularly concerned about the safety of integrating a low carb diet into your daily life, then rest assured; the most seen side effects of it are diarrhea, headache, and constipation. Not the jolly ride to weight loss, I agree, but it’s not that serious either.

Study 2: 36 weeks Low carb, Low fat

In this test, teens with a severely heavy built were gathered. The average age was about 13-14 years old, with 33 members curbing their diet to food that either consisted of high protein/low levels of carbs or involved low fat for a span of 36 weeks. The progress was checked in over their 13th, 24th, and 36th weeks. In the last week of the study, the research indicated that both groups had lost a substantial amount of their weight. However, the researchers were unable to find a distinctive difference in the two groups’ results; in their weights, or hunger ratings. There were no noticeable changes in their bone density levels either. On the contrary, the groups were happy to see their blood lipid improve, where the group following the low carb regime was particularly celebrating the sudden decline in their level of triglycerides.

(Have a look at, how taking on a low-carb/high-fat diet won’t shoot the cholesterol levels to the sky.)

Hence, a conclusion was drawn, which stated that the application of a low carb diet was practically safe- that is, without any grave negative effects.

Study 3: Low-carb diet and Insulin

With 55 heavy teens aged 12 to 18, this diet concluded that even though the low carb and low-fat diet gave an almost similar result in weight loss; the diets focusing on a lower level of carbohydrates also brought in improvements in the individuals sensitivity to insulin, which is an assessor of how effective your body is in processing the carbs you digest. In other words, it helps your body improve your control of sugar levels and is therefore quite useful for those with diabetes.

Study 4: Another study

This study did not have a control group; although, in terms of numbers, this one had more participants. About 63 children had been taken in as a member for the low carb diet program, each aged 12-18, where they all had to intake 50 grams of carbs a day for the span of 6 months. This program had no control group so, well, we’d recommend taking this study with a pinch of salt. It was a tough project and only 38 out of the total participants had completed the span of 6 months, and of them, 32 had said goodbye to a range of 12 lbs- 53 lbs of fat that had weighed them down. Like all study diets, this one was again, safe and no serious problems had been highlighted.

The Conclusion

Well, if we look at them together, these studies don’t mix well together. While one specifies low carb diets to be much better, the others claim them all to be alike. Either way, the researchers in all of them have reported no serious side effects for their application, with all of them consisting of a tied in the regime of low carb and a healthy low-fat diet for teens. The study also indicates that the low carb diets, being safe, are right next to a typical weight loss diet; and as a plus, it won’t shoot your cholesterol into a heart attack zone, ruin your bone mass, or add in another item of worry to your everyday life.

Considering the people who had dropped out in the last study we can say that these low carb diets aren’t just as more cumbersome than the low-fat ones. Some people will go ahead and lose an extra pound but then again, if we talk about the long term, then most of them won’t be able to maintain it. It’s a tough job for all kinds of diet, because well, who doesn’t love to eat?

What we all found interesting was the part of how all the studies had shown dynamically different outcomes for all separate individuals. Some teens did well on low fat, while some better in low carb. We can also note how simply curbing yourself from the harmful intake of junk carbohydrates, without reducing the overall intake has been shown to be beneficial for the body. An intake of 45% of whole-food carbohydrates by teenage boys-which is relatively quite high in reference to Paleo-has resulted in the loss of weight and betterment in their acne.

These low carb diets aren’t the only way to go, however. If you want you can go all Paleo, without going low carb. Just fill your diet with 100% Paleo-friendly starches; eat loads of sweet and white potatoes (I’m not kidding), root veggies and winter squash. For teens bordering around their development days, getting the right diet may take some time, effort and a whole lot more tries; it may even have to change annually. So when I say this, I say this with the sincerity of my heart: Weight loss for teens- is easier said than done.

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Suhira Munshi

Suhira heads the editorial department of SheBegan Magazine. She joined SheBegan Magazine as an author in 2017, and her writings also appeared on cosmopolitan, lifefalcon and other mags. Suhira loves to write on wellness-related topics, skin/hair/beauty tips, and bridal grooming niche. Later, in 2019, she became the head of our editorial board and also holds the position of Growth analyst. Having had sufficient experience with fitness and nutritional balance, Suhira has worked as a fitness trainer at local Gyms, we utilize her experience in our fitness and nutritional recommendations.

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