In this fast paced life, people don’t even have time to cook a proper meal so they heavily depend on instant food and junk food. They prefer takeout food so that they can save their precious time. These unhealthy food habits have resulted in obesity among people which is the root cause of many health related problems. Many diet plans are introduced so as to help people reduce weight and lead a healthy life. Low carb diet is one such diet.
As most of you must have guessed, low carb diet means restricting the amount of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of protein and fat in your diet.
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that can be found in many foods and beverages. They are one of the sources of calories and are of two types: simple and complex. They are the main source of energy for the body. At the time of digestion, complex carbohydrates (starches) break down into simple sugar which is then absorbed into the bloodstream as blood sugar (glucose). Generally, natural complex carbohydrates take more time to digest and they don’t have much effect on blood sugar.
In low carb diet there is low consumption of sugar and starch because of which the blood sugar level is stabilized and the level of insulin drops in the body. Then the fat stored in the body is used for energy, resulting in weight loss. As the insulin level drops the kidneys shed extra sodium and water. Therefore, it is advisable to drink more water while on this diet so as not to dehydrate yourself.
Natural carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, seeds, nuts and legumes while refined carbohydrates are added to pasta, cake, cookies and white bread as sugar or white flour.
It is a widely believed misconception that if one reduces fat consumption in low carb diet then it will make the diet much healthier. In fact, it does just the opposite. As the intake of carbohydrates is reduced so fats should be increased so as to compensate for less carbs. If you do not consume fats in your diet then you will not get adequate nutrients and will feel hungry all the time. Just remember to stay away from trans fats and opt for healthy fats.
People follow this diet for different reasons. Many of them do it to lose weight. Others may follow it to change their way of eating. Whatever are your reasons to diet may be, remember to consult your doctor before starting this diet program especially if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or if you are currently breastfeeding. In the beginning of this diet you may face different temporary health issues like weakness in body, cramps in your muscles, headache, constipation or diarrhea because of sudden cut in carbohydrates. But don’t worry as the body takes some time to get accustomed to new routine. Everything will be normal within a week or two.
Parents need to pay special attention and note that this diet is not meant for preteens and high school students. This is due to the fact that low-carb diets may not provide necessary nutrients that their growing bodies need.
- Reduces risk factors related to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Improves blood pressure and cardiovascular disease
- Helps in losing weight
- May alleviate your blood sugar levels
- Lowers inflammation
- Boosts metabolism as it is high in protein
- Keeps the digestive problems away from you
Foods having low-carbs
Low carb diet includes protein rich foods like fish, eggs, poultry and meat and vegetables which don’t have starch content. Milk, tea and coffee (without sugar) and vegetables that grow above the ground like broccoli, bell pepper, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower and lettuce are also part of this diet. Coconut oil and olive oil are low carb diet friendly so they can be used instead of any other oil.
Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, avocados, blackberries and pears are low in carbs. Therefore, they are a healthy option.
If you are following a low carb diet then avoid the intake of starchy vegetables and processed foods like rice, potatoes, beans, corn, beets, sweet potato, bread, pastry and pasta. Also, stay away from chocolates, candies, banana, donut, sugar, sugar induced beverages and all those food items that contain saturated and trans fats. Low carb diet restricts some fruits, breads, legumes, grains and some nuts and seeds.
Oats and wheat contain high amount of carbohydrates so their consumption should be either limited or restricted.
In low-carb diet 20 to 60 grams of carbohydrates are allowed per day which provides 80 to 240 calories. There are many variations of this diet. The type and amount of carbohydrates you can take differs depending on the variety of low carb diet chosen by you and your personal preferences. In some low-carb diets carbs are restricted during the initial period and then slowly their consumption is increased.
Healthy fats both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and unprocessed carbs like legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products are a good choice for people following low carb diet.
If you get hungry between meals and want to eat snacks then fruits like apple and strawberry, nuts, carrots and boiled eggs can be a good option for you.
Get rid of all those unhealthy foods that can tempt you. Give your chips, ice cream, juices, cereals and chocolates to your partner or friends or your next door neighbor. Just make sure that all these items are not in front of you to lure you. Keep a grocery list with you so that you don’t buy foods that are not part of low carb diet. You can also plan your meals in advance so that you don’t cheat on your meals.
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Low carb diet can be good for weight loss but at the end of the day it depends on individual’s body. Some may take more time to lose weight than others. But one should not lose hope. Keep on motivating yourself to be the better version of yourself.