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What is a Low-Carb Diet
Do you want to lose weight (without always feeling hungry), lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, and lead a vibrant, healthy life?
If so, get on a low-carb diet!
A low-carb diet limits the intake of foods rich in sugar, starch, and unprocessed carbs.
The name of the game is cutting down your carbs and adding more proteins and fats to your diet.
A sure-fire way to provide you with energy without punishing your taste buds is replacing bread, pasta, and sugary drinks with fish, vegetables, and fruits.
Do Low-Carb Diets Work
Yes, they do! Many different kinds of diets have gone in an out of fashion, but low-carb diets have managed to withstand the test of time.
And the reason why is that low-carb diets have a simple (yet highly effective) principle behind them — they essentially cut out the foods that offer empty calories, and replace them with nutrient, fiber-rich ones.
These diets don’t create a constant calorie-counting frenzy, which works in their favor.
A well-planned low-carb diet seeks to fulfill your emotional and psychological needs concerning food — by allowing you to fill up your plate with healthy foods.
No need to weigh everything you eat. No need to go for zero-calorie food options.
No need to starve yourself with barely-there portions of tasteless food.
Low-carb diets work because they don’t deprive you of the tastes and flavors that different foods offer.
Many different types of low-carb diets have shown tremendous promise.
A quite popular option restricts carbs but encourages fat intake; it works wonders.
And a low-carb, high-protein diet is popular among many gym-goers.
If you stay away from sugars and starches, it helps your body keep your insulin levels in check.
Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables help fight lethargy and boost your immune system.
A low-carb diet gives you all the goodness of food without causing you to break your scale.
Low-Carb Diet Precautions
A low-carb diet has two major advantages over a no-carb diet — it allows you to eat foods from all the major food groups, and it hasn’t shown any adverse effects on the health of dieters.
Your body needs carbs, as it’s the main source of energy for your body.
However, eating bad carbs that are devoid of any health-enhancing nutrients is detrimental to your health.
Therefore, it’s important to be smart about your carb intake.
Perhaps you’re inclined to eliminate fiber-rich vegetables and fruits out of your diet when you go completely carb-free.
If so, you could be playing with your health. The absence of fiber doesn’t do your gastrointestinal system any favors.
You don’t need to overlook fiber to reap the benefits of a low-carb diet.
If you’re on a high-fat Ketogenic diet, you need to ensure that you’re combining your fats and proteins with healthy carbs.
You may be at higher risk for developing a condition called “ketosis,” which hampers your body’s ability to process fats.
Get your diet plan from an authorized source, and don’t forget to add a little something from each food group every day.
And if you have any pre-existing medical condition, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor.
High-Carb Foods to Avoid
Most low-carb diets tend to avoid the dreaded “white foods.”
That way, you’ll easily know which foods you should completely avoid.
Sugar, flour, and white rice are the main culprits.
So you shouldn’t eat foods such as bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, rice dishes, syrups, and sugary drinks.
In addition, foods with saturated, hydrogenated, or trans fats are also to be avoided.
Below is a list of seven kinds of foods that are high in carbohydrates.
A good low-carb diet plan must omit these foods:
- Sugar. Avoid foods with high sugar content (such as market-bought fruit juices, sugar-filled treats, sugar-rich beverages, dried fruits, high-fructose corn syrup, sweetened candies, agave syrup, and soft drinks). Sugar can make you gain weight, and it offers nothing but empty calories. And it’s highly addictive.
- Gluten Grains. In addition to rice, it’s wise to stay away from grains with high gluten contents (such as wheat, spelt, barley and rye). Gluten has a high glycemic index and tends to make you crave more carbs.
- Hydrogenated or Trans Fat. Avoid foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats at all costs. They increase the bad LDL cholesterol and take down the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in your body, not to mention making you gain weight. Artificial trans fats are linked to various heart problems.
- Seed and Vegetable Oils. The best oils on the shelves are cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, grapeseed corn, safflower, and canola. These oils have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which lead to inflammation of the body. Omega-3 rich fish and cod liver oils are the healthiest ones to consume.
- Artificial Sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, cyclamates and acesulfame potassium) have been shown to be linked with obesity and type II diabetes. Avoid them!
- Low-Fat Products. You may find many cereals, crackers, and drinks on the market that are labeled “diet”, “low-fat,” or “calorie-free”. Stay away from these products, as most of them are packed with sugars.
- Processed Foods. No good can ever come from eating factory-packed foods. They contain too many harmful chemicals. Go natural!
Low-Carb Foods to Eat
If you’re wondering which foods will go well with your low-carb diet, we have a comprehensive list of foods that are sure to delight your taste buds.
- Meat. Most meat has zero carbs in it. Feel free to choose from beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or turkey. They’ll amp up your iron and B-12. Go for meat from organically raised, grass-fed animals.
- Fish. Almost all kinds of fish make for great, nutrient-rich, low-carb ingredients. Salmon, trout, haddock and even shellfish make for hearty low-carb meals.
- Eggs. Eggs are universally accepted as one of the best sources of protein. If eggs are pastured and have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, they’re better options.
- Vegetables. You should stay away from potatoes and other starch-rich vegetables. Nevertheless, you can’t go wrong with most vegetables. Spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, and cauliflower all make great nutritional sense.
- Fruits. Fruits tend to have higher carb contents than vegetables, but feel free to eat apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, blueberries, and apricots.
- Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are low in carbs but high in protein, fat, and vitamins, so they make great dietary sense. Almonds, peanuts, and cashews are the cream of the crop.
- High-Fat Dairy. If you can tolerate dairy, eat up. High in protein and fats, they’re a low-carber’s dream. Full-fat milk, cheese, butter, Greek yogurt, and heavy cream will fill you up well.
- Oils. Nutrient-rich oils (such as coconut and cod fish liver) are low on carbs and high on richness and goodness.
Foods to Consider
If you lead an active life, you’re entitled to entertain your tongue with the carb-rich foods below.
- Tubers. They include nutritious sweet potatoes and potatoes.
- Legumes. Legumes (such as lentils, black beans, and pinto beans) are some great choices.
- Non-gluten Grains. Rice, oats, and quinoa won’t hurt in moderation.
- Wines. When on a low-carb diet, dry wines are best.
- Dark Chocolate. Chocolate with 70% or more cocoa is perfectly fine in moderation.
If you’re wondering which drinks you can have to quench your thirst for flavor, worry not.
We have solutions.
- Water. There’s no substitute for water when dieting. Make sure to drink plenty of this zero-carb drink.
- Coffee and Tea. You’re more than welcome to make use of the health benefits of coffee and tea.
- Sparkling Water. If you like a bit of fizz in your drinks, sugar-free carbonated drinks will go well with your diet.
Low-Carb Menu for a Week
We have a treat for you!
The following is a basic menu for each day of a week, with a variety of delicious, satisfying foods.
If you follow this menu, you’re guaranteed to keep your carb tally lower than 50 grams per day.
Breakfast: Fry up some vegetables in butter or coconut oil, and have them with a spicy omelet.
Lunch: Combine a sensible-sized cup of yogurt with blueberries and almonds.
Dinner: Make a cheeseburger (except without the buns), adding salsa and roasted vegetables.
Breakfast: Start your day with bacon and eggs.
Lunch: Make use of the leftover burgers and veggies.
Dinner: Cook yourself some salmon in butter, and enjoy with vegetables.
Breakfast: Have some eggs and vegetables cooked in butter.
Lunch: Try out a delicious shrimp salad with olive oil dressing.
Dinner: Use your grill to cook some chicken and vegetables.
Breakfast: An omelet with butter-fried vegetables is sure to pump you up for the day.
Lunch: Enjoy a coconut milk, berries, almonds, and protein powder smoothie.
Dinner: You can’t go wrong with steak and veggies.
Breakfast: Have some bacon and eggs.
Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil makes a hearty daytime meal.
Dinner: End your day with a pork chop and vegetables.
Breakfast: Nothing is better for breakfast than eggs, so add a mouthful of veggies to as omelet.
Lunch: Enjoy grass-fed yogurt with berries, coconut flakes, and a handful of walnuts.
Dinner: Go all out with meatballs and vegetables.
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
Lunch: Fill up your smoothie with coconut milk, heavy cream, chocolate-flavored protein powder, and berries.
Dinner: Have some raw spinach with grilled chicken wings.
If you follow the low-carb menu we’ve laid out, you can expect to have sufficient energy all day without feeling hungry.
However, if you do feel like having a little extra between meals, you can choose from the following healthy options:
- A small serving of full-fat yogurt
- A handful of baby carrots
- Leftovers from the night before
- One or two hard-boiled eggs
- A piece of fruit
- Some nuts
- Some protein-rich cheese and meat
Low-Carb Diet When You Go Out
If you think you won’t be able to follow your diet when you go out with your friends, you’re wrong.
The simple nature of low-carb diets means that all you need to do is follow these tips.
Then you can make your meal low-carb anywhere you go.
- Make your main course protein-heavy. Ask for fish or meat-based dishes.
- Get the cook to make your meal by using real butter.
- Replace potatoes and rice with fruit and vegetables.
Low-Carb Shopping List
One of the best ways to follow a low-carb diet is to fill up your pantry and refrigerator with low-carb goodies.
When you make a trip to the market, try to get whole foods that are grass-fed and organic.
Stay away from processed foods at all costs, and get some of the following healthy options:
- Beef, pork, chicken and bacon! Get every kind of meat you like.
- Fatty fish (such as salmon)
- Pastured eggs that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Unsweetened full-fat yogurt
- Fill up your cart with fresh vegetables (such as leafy greens, peppers, and onions)
- When buying frozen vegetables, go for broccoli, carrot, and various mixes.
- All kinds of nuts
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
Don’t forget to buy the spicy condiments (such as sea salt, pepper, garlic, and mustard).
We hope this low-carb meal plan and menu helps give you a better idea of what to eat (and what not to), so you can get a healthier, leaner body.