If you are thinking to initiate your weight loss journey and ameliorate your health at the same time, then you have landed at the right place.
In this article, we will outline in detail a low-carb diet and how it would help you restrict your carbohydrate intake and enhance your health.
However, at the same time, it used to be highly controversial earlier but has now gained acceptance by the masses.
The reason behind this acceptance could be because of the numerous benefits of a low-carb diet.
This diet could help you to lose more weight than the low-fat diet, at least in the short term.
With so many benefits, let’s have an insight into the meaning of a low-fat diet and its other aspects.
As the name itself suggests, a low-carb diet aims at restricting your carbohydrate intake.
You could limit your carbohydrate intake in your low-carb diet by limiting various foods like grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
At the same time, you may focus more on foods that have higher levels of fat and protein in them.
However, there are different variations of low carb diet which you may follow depending on the amount and the type of carbohydrate you want to eat from your food.
Generally, your major purpose behind following a low-carb diet could be to support your weight loss process.
On the other hand, you may even follow this guide to reap other health benefits like decreasing the risk for metabolic syndrome and even type 2 diabetes.
Why Should You Follow A Low-Carb Diet?
Low carb and low-fat diets are normally suggested for overweight and obese people.
But some people intend to follow a healthy lifestyle and may also try low-carb diets.
A low-carb diet, as per this study, could help in reducing appetite which would, in turn, result in the consumption of fewer calories which could amount to weight loss.
Moreover, it could also provide you with certain health benefits like providing good cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, and regulating blood pressure and blood triglycerides levels.
There are different situations when you may follow a low-carb diet like-
- When you wish to modify your eating habits.
- When you want a diet that can reduce your carbohydrate intake and support you in your weight loss process.
- When you want to consume the different types of food included in the low-carb diet.
Foods To Avoid During The Low-Carb Diet
The foods you include in your guide depend on different factors, like how much weight you may be willing to lose, how much exercise you do per day, and how healthy you are.
Here are different food items that you may avoid adding to your low-carb diet-
- Refined grains like barley and rye, wheat, rice, cereal, pasta, and bread.
- Sugar like soft drinks, ice cream, fruit juices, and any other products that have added sugar in them.
- Highly processed foods.
- If you are following a very low-carb diet then you may even avoid adding starchy vegetables to your diet.
- Trans Fats like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
Foods To Add To Your Low Carb Diet
Here are certain food items that you may include in your low-carb diet. These real and unprocessed foods could help you in your weight loss journey.
- Meat like chicken, pork, lamb, and beef.
- Eggs, especially the pastured eggs are rich in Omega 3 acids
- High-fat dairy like yogurt, heavy cream, butter, and cheese.
- Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and cauliflower.
- Fish like Salmon, trout, and haddock.
- Fruits like pears, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, and apples.
- Certain oils like fish oil, olive oil, butter, lard, and coconut oil.
- Nuts and seeds, like walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.
Low Carb Diet Tips
If you are one of those people who could find the low-carb diet slightly daunting in the beginning, then here are certain tips that might help you.
These tips are good to help you to stick to your diet schedule and hence lose weight successfully.
Fabricate Your Meal Plan
If you are striving to follow your low-carb diet, then the first thing you may do is fabricate your meal plan. Planning meals could help in better weight management.
Formulating a meal plan will help you to map out the entire eating schedule of your week before you head out to the grocery store.
Once you visit the grocery store, you can easily stock up on the required items instead of opting for unhealthy ingredients.
Planning meals help you make things easier and allow you to stick to your schedule.
Additionally, you may even evade going to a fast-food restaurant or resort to unhealthy food choices when you already know what to prepare for lunch and dinner.
Know The Calorie Count Of Your Meal
Before you start your low-carb diet, you must know the right types of low-carb food.
Carb counting could also be essential for anyone with insulin issues which could help them stay healthy and improve their quality of life.
Different food items have different carb accounts and serving sizes.
Generally, most low carbs will provide you with approximately 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates in a single day.
So you must opt for a diet that has a low carb count, but at the same time could provide you with a high nutritional value as well.
Even though the carb content of different ingredients might be similar, some may provide you with more nutrients like extra vitamins and minerals as compared to others.
So it depends on you how you modulate your diet according to your requirements.
Besides planning your meals for the week ahead, prepping your meal is also a crucial step to follow your low-carb diet.
Meal prep can not just help you to save money and time, but may also compel you not to make any unhealthy food choices when you are all occupied on the weekdays.
So you may prepare your lunches and breakfasts during the weekend and store or freeze them in advance.
Pre-prepared meals could save your time when you are running late for your office on the weekdays or when you are just too lazy and might opt for some less healthy options.
Some of the popular low-carb meals that could include advance preparing are protein pancakes, chicken lettuce wraps, Greek yogurt bowls, or egg muffins.
Get Enough Exercise
Getting enough exercise is another crucial tip for following a low-carb diet.
Moreover, adults may do moderate exercise for approximately 150 minutes a week for healthy living and improve the working quality of everyday activities.
Also, at a single time, the adults may exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes to seek moderate health benefits.
However, in case you might want to see optimal health benefits, then you could perform approximately 300 minutes of exercise per week.
But the people who are on low-carb diets may evade performing intense activities for long periods like distance running.
The simple reason behind this could be that in case you are engaged in extra endurance, then you might need extra carbohydrates to fuel up your body.
Ways To Do A Low-Carb Diet
There are different popular methods according to which you may do your low-carb diet.
However, you could focus on choosing a plan that adheres to your health, goals, and food preferences.
What could work for one person will not work for the other, so you must testify a particular low-carb diet for yourself.
There are different ways of low carb diet like-
A Typical Low-Carb Diet
Also referred to as a low-carb or carb-restricted diet, a typical low-carb diet may not have any specific definition but it may help in weight loss.
Under this type of diet, you may simply focus on consuming higher levels of protein and lower levels of carbs as compared to a typical Western diet.
It could include food items like healthy fats, fruits, meats, eggs, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fish.
Low Carb, High-Fat Diet (LCHF)
Low carb high-fat diet, also referred to as LCHF, is a standard, very low-carb diet except that it focuses more on whole and unprocessed foods.
A low carb high-fat diet may help in the treatment of fatty liver which could be caused by obesity, as per this randomized control trial.
If you are following this type of diet then your recommended daily carb consumption could range anywhere from 20 grams to 100 grams.
The food items that you could include in your Low carb, high-fat diet are vegetables, berries, nuts, dairy products, meat, healthy fats, eggs, shellfish, and fish.
The ketogenic diet includes high fat and very low carb diet that aims at making your body go into a metabolic state referred to as Ketosis.
Under this type of diet, the insulin levels in your body might fall and the body may make use of the fatty acids released from the fat stores.
Apart from this, the keto diet may even provide you with certain benefits to treat different issues like metabolic problems, neurological disorders, or type 2 diabetes.
The Zero Carb Diet
Sometimes, people may eliminate all carbs from their diet and this diet could be referred to as the zero carb diet. In such diets, the maximum energy sources of the body come from fat.
Under this type of diet, your food could include only the animal foods like animal fats, eggs, fish, and meat.
However, this diet may lack certain important nutrients like fiber and vitamin C due to which it may generally not be recommended.
Thus, these are some of the variations of the low-carb diet which you may follow. However, there are many more variations and you could choose a diet that suits you the best.
Let Us Sum It Up
Thus, this was all you need to know about a low-carb diet. Since a low-carb diet is high in healthy vegetables, protein, and fat, it could help to improve your health.
Moreover, the particular type of low-carb diet you choose will affect your weight loss process and other health benefits it provides.
You could prepare a meal plan beforehand by consulting your doctor according to your requirements.
Generally, your meal plan could provide you with less than 50 grams of carbs in a single day. However, in case you are active and healthy, then you may even amplify this amount of carbs.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
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- Judith Wylie-Rosett, Karin Aebersold, MPH, Beth Conlon, et al. Health Effects of Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Where Should New Research Go? Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Apr; 13(2): 271–278. doi: 10.1007/s11892-012-0357-5
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- Carb Counting. Available from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html
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- Magnus Holmer , Catarina Lindqvist , Sven Petersson, et al. Treatment of NAFLD with intermittent calorie restriction or low-carb high-fat diet – a randomised controlled trial. JHEP Rep. 2021 Feb 17;3(3):100256. doi: 10.1016/j.jhepr.2021.100256. eCollection 2021 Jun. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33898960/
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- About the Author
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Alisha Matthew has been a practicing nutritionist since 2016. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of IOWA. She is a staunch believer in improving the human health index by educating people about nutrition and the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and happy life. Her long-term goal is to keep educating people on general health and keep herself updated with the latest trends in the field of health.