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Low Carb Diets: What You Need To Know

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Apr 25

Low Carb Diets: What You Need To Know

What is the Low Carb Diet

Low-carb diets are one of the most common types of diets that people go on. A lot of people claim that it is an effective form of dieting, and it can help you lose a lot of weight in a short span of time.

Different types of low-carb diets exist, and some claim to be more effective than others. But all of them have the same basic principle⁠—cutting out or reducing carbs from your diet can help you lose weight quicker.

But how exactly does this type of diet work?

How does the low-carb diet work?

As its name suggests, going on a low-carb diet means that you eat fewer carbohydrates in your meals. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fiber, and are commonly found in fruits, grain, and in some root vegetables such as potatoes.

The body takes carbohydrates and breaks it down into simple sugars during digestion. They are then absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of glucose.

Afterward, the body starts to produce insulin which makes it easier for glucose to be absorbed by the cells of the body. Glucose acts as the main energy source for our bodies and helps us do our daily activities.

However, the body does not always use up 100% of the glucose that it has. Some of it gets stored in the liver and muscles, while some of it turns into fat that can be used later on for energy.

The logic behind a low-carb diet is that if you eat fewer carbohydrates, your body produces less insulin. Because of this, the body starts using its fat reserves for energy instead of the glucose in the food you eat. This in turn leads to weight loss.

Who Needs to Go on a Low Carb Diet

Low-carb diets are not just for people who want to slim down. While there are a number of popular diets that advocate eating fewer carbs, people can also go on low-carb diets for a number of health and medical reasons.

Who benefits from a low-carb diet?

People with obesity who need to lose weight for health reasons can go on a low-carb diet to help burn fat faster.

Diabetics in particular can benefit from this diet as it can potentially help lower their blood sugar levels. Additionally, people suffering from hypertension and heart disease can also benefit from a low-carb diet as this can help reduce the fat in their bodies.

People with fatty liver disease can also benefit from going on a low-carb diet.

All in all, low-carb diets are generally safe, and anyone interested in going on a low-carb diet can try it out. Of course, it would be best to consult your doctor first before doing any drastic changes to your diet.

Who Should Avoid the Low-Carb Diet

For the most part, going on a low-carb diet is safe, and almost anyone can go on a low-carb diet without any harmful side effects.

What are the risks of a low-carb diet?

Low-carb diets come in many forms. Some types of low-carb diets cut out around 45%-50% of the recommended carbohydrate intake per day.

Other types of low-carb diets can cut out up to 75% of the recommended carbohydrate intake. While it seems that this will be more effective in terms of weight loss, this diet is ideal only for people with serious health problems such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, etc.

This is due to the fact that eating too few carbohydrates may cause carbohydrate deficiency, and can negatively affect your health. Carbohydrate deficiency can lead to low energy, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and potentially serious long-term complications.

Eating fewer carbohydrates does not necessarily mean that you need to cut them out of your diet entirely, it’s more of controlling how much carbohydrates you eat.

Be sure to consult your doctor first, and ideally talk to a dietitian if you want to make any significant changes to your diet. This helps ensure that you can maintain your diet for the long-term without putting your health at risk.

Low-Carb Foods

The key to successfully going on a low carbohydrate diet would be to focus on eating more low-carb foods.

Your body still needs carbohydrates, fiber, and sugar—in fact, fiber can help you stay fuller for longer, and also aids in your metabolism. So the best compromise would be to eat more low-carb foods instead of taking them out of your meals.

Low-carb foods include:

  • Lean meat
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Citrus fruits
  • Healthy oils such as coconut or olive oil

One-week diet plan with low-carb foods

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet plan for low-carb foods. Some types of food may not be easily accessible, or you might be allergic to certain foods.

This diet plan serves only as a guide or a template that you can try to tweak and adjust to suit your needs. This sample diet plan should give you an idea of what types of low-carb foods to eat, and what foods to avoid.

The goal here is to eat a more balanced diet that can help you lose weight, but still have energy to exercise and live an active lifestyle.


Breakfast: Mushroom omelet with a fresh vegetable salad

Lunch: Steamed or roasted salmon with green peas and corn

Dinner: Pork and beans with fresh fruits and Greek yogurt for dessert


Breakfast: Avocado toast on whole wheat bread with fruit salad

Lunch: Roast chicken with Caesar’s salad

Dinner: Pork steak with cauliflower rice and hot chocolate for dessert


Breakfast: Scrambled egg with bell peppers and a glass of low fat milk

Lunch: Lean beef hamburger with a healthy salad

Dinner: Chicken teriyaki with brown rice and fresh fruits for dessert


Breakfast: Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread

Lunch: Chicken casserole with broccoli

Dinner: Beef chili con carne with Greek yogurt for dessert


Breakfast: Quinoa porridge with dried fruits, nuts, and yogurt

Lunch: Whole wheat chicken burrito with guacamole

Dinner: Beef stew with mashed potatoes and a cup of pudding for dessert


Breakfast: Greek yogurt with steel-cut oatmeal

Lunch: Chicken BBQ with Italian salad

Dinner: Roast beef with asparagus, green peas, and carrots and a dark chocolate bar for dessert


Breakfast: Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast

Lunch: Chinese chicken salad with fresh fruits for dessert

Dinner: Grilled pork ribs with corn and avocado salad

Can I eat snacks?

Even if you are on a low-carb diet, you can still eat healthy snacks.

Great snack foods are:

  • Fresh or dried fruits
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Healthy nuts such as almonds, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts

Important Things to Remember

Here are some important things to remember before you try out a low-carb diet:

  • Always consult your doctor first before going on any type of diet.
  • Your health should always be your top priority when you go on a diet.
  • Make it into a lifestyle change; your diet should be sustainable and you should enjoy eating healthy.
  • Don’t forget to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
  • If you feel anything wrong after starting your low-carb diet, do not hesitate to stop. Don’t push yourself if you feel that you are having problems with a low-carb diet.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Chris Icamen

Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Apr 25

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