Low carbohydrate diets involve restricting how many carbohydrates you eat, usually in favour of eating more fat.
Well, before we go in the low carb diet, it is important for us to understand what is carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Though often maligned in trendy diets, carbohydrates — one of the basic food groups — are important to a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are macronutrients, meaning they are one of the three main ways the body obtains energy, or calories. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. They are called carbohydrates because, at the chemical level, they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is the nutrient which has the greatest effect in terms of raising blood sugar levels and requires the most insulin to be taken or be produced by the body.
What is low-carb diet?
A low carbohydrate diet is one that is low in carbs, and high in protein and fat. Instead of eating carb filled foods such as pasta, potatoes, rice, baked goods, bread, etc, you focus on eating lean meats, eggs, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, and vegetables instead. Low-carbohydrate diets involve restricting how many carbohydrates you eat, usually in favour of eating more fat.
Studies suggest that a low carb diet comprises 10–30% of calories from carbs, although there is no set definition. For a healthy person who consumes 2,000 calories per day, this equals 50–150 grams of carbs. When following a low carb diet, it’s common to increase your intake of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables to replace the carbs and promote fullness.
Low-carb foods include:
- lean meats, such as sirloin, chicken breast, or pork
- leafy green vegetables
- cauliflower and broccoli
- nuts and seeds, including nut butter
- oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and rapeseed oil
- some fruit, such as apples, blueberries, and strawberries
- unsweetened dairy products including plain whole milk and plain Greek yogurt
Low-carb snack options for between meals include:
- hard-boiled eggs
- unsweetened yogurt
- Nuts (cashews, pistachios, peanuts, brazil nuts, almonds)
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
It is essential to regulate the portion size of any snacks to avoid overeating.
- may promote weight loss
- reduce acne
- eliminates many processed high carb foods
- can be sustained long term
- less extreme adaptation phase than keto
- less restrictive and easier to follow than keto
- you may feel weak or experience constipation
- limits food options
- limit fruit intake
- nutritional deficiencies
- loss of bone density
- gastrointestinal problems
People looking to lose weight or considering going on a low-carb diet should speak to their doctor or nutritionist before making any significant changes.