Your essential guide to starting a low carb diet
After fats and sugar, carbohydrates have become the new outcast in the food industry thanks to the growing popularity of low-carb diets.
More and more people are turning to low-carb diets (like Keto and the Low Carb High Fat Diet) because they have been linked to rapid weight loss, lower blood pressure, and better management of weight problems. health such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But like most popular things, there are a lot of myths circulating about these diets.
– leaving consumers confused and in conflict. In an attempt to separate fact from fiction, I spoke with two health experts to learn the basics of a low carb diet.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
First of all, what is a low carb diet?
There are many types of low-carb diets, but in summary, “a low-carb diet limits high-carb foods like grains, starchy fruits, and vegetables – and focuses on high-rich foods. in protein and / or fat “. says Amy Gorin, a New York-based registered dietitian-nutritionist and owner of
Amy Gorin Nutrition.
Usually, “a ‘low carbohydrate diet’ has a limit of about 100 to 130 grams of carbohydrate per day. While a ‘low carbohydrate diet’ generally allows less than 100 grams of carbohydrate per day.” says Leanne Ward, a Brisbane-dietician, nutritionist and co-founder of
Love to live skinny. Meanwhile, a “low-carb, high-fat diet” has a daily carbohydrate limit of 20 grams per day “but generally allows for extra calories from fat,” she adds.
How to know if a low-carb diet is right for you
“For anyone considering a low-carb diet, I would recommend speaking with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist about the potential risks and benefits, as well as things to consider while on a low-carb diet.” , explains Gorin. .
Once you have the green light from a health expert, start by analyzing your fitness goals and your level of physical activity. “If this is a strength or endurance based exercise program, you will want to include more
carbohydrates in and around your workout to get the most out of each session, ”says Ward.
Next, figure out how much carbohydrate you can cut from your diet without pushing your body too hard.
It is very important to listen to your body. If you feel dizzy, irritable, have bowel problems, or have trouble falling asleep, increase your carbohydrate intake. And ask your dietitian to help you adjust your diet accordingly.
Now, what is an ideal low carb meal plan?
“As a general rule, you should focus on consuming non-starchy meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and vegetables,” Gorin explains.
Here are some foods she recommends incorporating into a low-carb diet:
- Eggs: A large egg has six grams of protein and almost no carbs, making it a great food option. The type of protein found in eggs is one of the easiest for your body to absorb. Here are some fun ways to enjoy eggs on a daily basis.
- Pistachios: A quarter of a cup or about an ounce of pistachios contains as little as eight grams of carbohydrate. Apart from that, they offer six grams of plant protein, three grams of fiber, and 10.5 grams of heart-healthy fats. “This trio of nutrients helps you feel fuller for longer. I like using shellless pistachios as a substitute for croutons in soups and salads to reduce my carb intake,” says Gorin.
- Groats: “When you are on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, don’t try to cut out all the carbohydrates. Make sure the carbohydrates you eat are full of nutrients,” says the nutrition expert. Unsweetened oatmeal, for example, offers filling fiber as well as protein as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Low-Carb 101: Five Simple Tips For Beginners To Familiarize With The Diet
- Don’t try to cut out carbohydrates completely. Remember, this is a “low carb diet”, not a “no carbs diet”. So, “don’t try to cut out all sources of carbohydrates because your body needs carbohydrates to function. Your brain, for example, uses carbohydrates as its main fuel, ”Gorin notes. Meanwhile, “naturally occurring carbohydrates like those found in whole grains, milk, yogurt, fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients like fiber. – which helps improve satiety and can lower cholesterol levels, ”she says. Work on limiting carbohydrates that are not beneficial to you – think of processed foods like frozen pizzas, white bread, pastries, store-bought juices, etc.
- Gradually reduce. “Try to cut back on carbs one meal at a time. And closely monitor how your body feels after a few days,” suggests Ward.
- Get enough micronutrients. “Make sure you hit your micronutrient targets as well as your macronutrient targets,” says Ward. People forget about essential vitamins and minerals as they continue to obsess over calories and macronutrients. “Pay particular attention to vitamin D, your B vitamins, calcium and dietary fiber,” adds the nutritionist.
- Fill up on fiber. “On a low-carbohydrate diet, constipation is a possible side effect, because when you reduce your carbohydrate intake, your fiber intake may also decrease,” says Gorin. “Make sure to include plenty of high-fiber vegetables in your diet to reduce the risk of constipation. And stay hydrated to get things done,” she adds.
- Stay off the scale. Your weight will likely drop one to ten pounds in the first week. Note that you will mainly lose water weight during this time, but not much in terms of fat loss. Instead of constantly checking your weight, “focus on getting nutritious food into your body (think non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds) and listen to how you feel,” says Ward.
Finally, here are the three most common low-carb diet mistakes people make (and how to avoid them).
- Focus on quantity over quality. One of the most common mistakes people make when dieting low in carbohydrates is reducing their carbohydrate intake so much that they end up feeling hungry. As a result, they fall off the wagon and gain weight again. Rather than aiming for a set amount of carbs, work on eliminating bad carbs from your diet, says Ward. Think of soft drinks, cereals, packaged juices, etc. And stock up on better carb options like beans, legumes, fruits, whole grains, and starchy vegetables, she suggests.
- Worrying too much about calories. Cutting back too many calories is impractical and unsustainable in the long run. It can also seriously damage your metabolism, Ward points out. Instead of obsessing over the number of calories, focus on the size of your meals. “Aim to have a quarter of a plate full of lean protein and carbohydrates and a half plate full of non-starchy vegetables,” she suggests. Plus, add a small amount of healthy fats like a slice of avocado or a tablespoon of olive oil for the dressing, says the nutrition coach.
- Make uninformed choices. “When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you naturally need to increase the percentage of protein and fat in your diet,” says Ward. Many people turn to processed, unhealthy options like keto cakes, high-sugar protein bars, and salami for these nutrients. Needless to say, it does their health more harm than good. Get your required dose of protein and fat from healthy, natural sources like eggs, yogurt, milk, fish, tofu, and nuts.
Also, remember that there is no one size fits all. Nutrition can be completely personalized according to your needs. So the best approach is one that is sustainable
and aligns with your lifestyle and long-term fitness goals.