What is a Low Carb Diet?
Over the decades, human beings have increased their obsession with healthy living. An increase in people trying to improve their lifestyles has been seen. There are many ways which have been adapted as a form of healthy living and among these includes the diet or what a person should strictly eat in order to lose weight or achieve their desired weight.
What people eat or consume daily is very important, as it is their sustenance that decides the kind of living they will lead. Even in diets, a number of them have been developed, especially in this age of technological advancements where it is absolutely easy to monitor everything.
One of the most embraced and popular diet is the low carb diet. A low Carb diet or a low carbohydrate diet is just what it implies. It is the kind of diet that restricts the intake of sugars and carbohydrates and substitutes them with natural fats, vegetables, and proteins.
A low carb diet has been attributed to a healthier lifestyle among people who adopted it. It is also used to combat diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and much more.
What a low Carb diet does to the body is to help in balancing blood pressure and lower insulin levels in the blood. During intake of sugary foods, or foods high in carbohydrates, the levels of insulin in our bodies increases. This, in turn, prevents the body from burning up fat, therefore, more fat gets stored in our bodies and we gain weight. The accumulation of this fat in our bodies’ leads to a lot of complications and since it is brought by unhealthy lifestyles; doctors have called these complications lifestyle diseases. Our bodies rely on carbs as a source of energy.
Cutting carbohydrates allow our bodies to turn on the stored fat as a source of energy. This is called Ketosis, which is simply a natural metabolic reaction that involves our livers being flooded with fat and turning it into ketones, which are then used for energy by our bodies.
Less or no carbohydrates keep our insulin levels low. The body turns to the fat stored in our bodies for energy. This leads to loss of weight, and with the loss of weight comes other benefits.
Low carbs for Weight Loss
For people who are willing to adapt a low Carb diet, for weight loss, there are foods that they should try as much as possible to avoid. These include;
- Starchy foods such as pasta, bread, rice, beans, and potatoes
- Processed foods
- Starchy fruits such as bananas and apples
- Soft drinks and juices, smoothies
There are foods that can be eaten and should be eaten. These include:
- Plenty of vegetables. It is advised that the more vegetables you eat, the better
- Plenty of water
When it comes to beverages, water is the best natural beverage. However, drinking coffee and tea are also fine. Coffee has been known to contain some antioxidants that are helpful for the body. Try to avoid sweeteners. An occasional glass of wine is also recommended.
On beer, not all beer contains carbohydrates. Sugar-free labeled beer can be taken, but one has to be sure that it is indeed sugar-free by reading the label carefully.
What if you do not want to lose weight?
There are individuals who do not wish to lose weight but would want to try a low carb diet.
If you are healthy, fit and in good shape, then there are some of the foods that one could eat that contain starch. This should, however, be done in moderation.
- Tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Grains such as rice, quinoa and oats. This is not recommended for people trying to lose weight.
- Legumes such as beans.
Dark chocolate can also be taken with moderation but one has to make sure that it is an organic brand that contains seventy percent cocoa or higher. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that have been known to help the body.
Wine can be taken in both instances in moderation. Choose dry wines with no added sugars if you have to drink wine.
Types of foods to try:
Making a low carb diet meal can be tasking, especially for people with no knowledge of how to go about it. Here is, however, a list of foods that would make a great low carbs diet.
Cauliflower– This can replace potatoes, for people trying to lose weight. Cauliflower also has some added benefits. It also contains a good measure of antioxidants.
Zucchini– Not only is it a low carb food but it also great for vitamin B6, Potassium manganese, and Vitamin C. It can easily be integrated with pancakes and can be eaten as a low carbs snacks.
Mushrooms– These are very low in carbohydrates and good for your immunity as well.
Eggs- A hard boiled egg can be used as a snack. It can be eaten in between meals as it stays for longer in the stomach. Eggs can also be eaten during breakfast in their many forms. Contrary to what is perceived of eggs, eggs are very nutritious and healthy.
Nuts- Nuts can be eaten but one has to be very careful with a number of carbohydrates in them. Go for nuts with low carbohydrates such as macadamia.
Berries– Most berries have a lot of carbohydrates; your best choice would be raspberries because they contain very few carbs.
Vegetables- As mentioned before, you can eat as many vegetables as possible. Look out for carrots because they contain a lot of carbohydrates, however. Types of healthy vegetables include cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, green beans, spinach, and avocado.
Point to note:
– It is not advisable to overcook spinach.
– While avocado is technically a fruit, it can be eaten as a vegetable.
Different people have different reasons to adopt a low carbs diet. All, however, is to achieve one goal.. To have a healthy lifestyles. So there comes a question; how low should one go on the carbs?
How low to go on the carbs
There isn’t a single scale to measure how low, one is supposed to go. One cannot simply generalize because there are many different factors that influence how low one has to go. This is especially the case with people trying to lose weight.
These factors include:
- Body consumption
- Activity levels
- Personal preference
- Metabolic health.
People with a lot of physical activity such as weight lifting do not need the small amount of carbohydrates as compared with people who are trying to lose weight. This also applies to age as people across all ages need different levels of carbohydrates.
It is therefore advised to experiment and see what works for you as an individual. In case of a medical condition, talking to your doctor is advisable because sometimes taking fewer carbohydrates or changing your diet may affect how medicine works in your body.
Diet Plans for Low Carbs
There are a number of diet plans that support a low carbs lifestyle such as
– Atkins’ diet, which was developed by Dr. Atkins.
This diet emphasizes on restricting carbohydrates and putting some emphasis on proteins and fat. It has a number of phases as well as different menus to ensure that every meal follows a low carbs diet.
– The Mediterranean diet
This diet is derived from the Mediterranean people. This diet encourages less starch and more vegetables with healthy fats. Olive oil is used extensively in this diet plan and the results are great.
Eating out can be tricky for people who do not know what to order and still keep up a low carbs diet. The good thing is, however, that most restaurants are versed with most diet plans and will be ready to help you.
In the event you are still not sure what to eat, here are some of the foods you can order comfortably.
– Meat or fish based main dishes.
– You could ask them to fry food in real butter.
– Instead of rice, bread or potatoes, you could ask for extra vegetables.
How about someone who wants to shop?
Low Carbs Purchasing Guide
Before buying, it is advisable to clean out your pantry of all products that are not low in carbs. This includes processed wheat, sodas, ice cream… any sugary food should be gotten rid off. This is because, a few days into your carb diet, your body will start to ask you for sugary foods.
This has been noted in people and it usually goes on for a few days or even weeks before it completely disappears. So it is important to remain vigilant and remove all kinds of temptations.
Here is a list of foods to buy.
– Meat- Lamb, beef, pork, chicken, bacon.
– Fish- Ask for fatty fish such as salmon.
– Eggs- pastured eggs or omega-3 enriched eggs are the best.
– Coconut oil
– Heavy cream
– Condiments such as salt, pepper, etc.
– Sour cream
Are there effects of low carb diet?
There are some side effects associated with low carb diet. Among these side effects are;
- Induction flu
- Heart palpitations
- Bad breath
- Reduced physical performance
- Leg cramps
These side effects only last up to a few days and may make one lose focus of their dietary plans. The remedy is water and salt.
One teaspoon of salt stirred in a glass of water takes up to about thirty minutes to get rid of the side effects. Fats are also important so eat as much fat as you can. Sometimes, in the event of the induction flu, the best option is to hang in there and let it pass in a few days.
A healthy low carb diet is not hard to achieve. It may, however, be hard to maintain during the first few days. But after that, our bodies will become adapted to living without starchy foods. This not only leads to weight loss in those who wants to lose weight, but it also means a healthier life for whoever tries the low carb diet.