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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
Even if you are on a low-carb diet, you can still eat healthy snacks.
Great snack foods are:
Here are some important things to remember before you try out a low-carb diet:
Use our calorie-intake calculator to determine your daily caloric needs based on your height, weight, age, and activity level.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight? – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831, Accessed August 4 2020
Low-carb diet and meal plan | Eating with diabetes | Diabetes UK, https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/meal-plans-/low-carb, Accessed August 4 2020
Low-Carbohydrate Diets | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/low-carbohydrate-diets/, Accessed August 4 2020
Low Carbohydrate Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/, Accessed August 4 2020
Low Carb Diet – What is Low Carb?, https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diet/low-carb-diabetes-diet.html, Accessed August 4 2020
Low-Carb Action Network | Low Carb Nutrition Guidelines, https://lowcarbaction.org/what-is-low-carb/, Accessed August 4 2020
(PDF) Low-carbohydrate diets: What are the long-term health implications?, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230631094_Low-carbohydrate_diets_What_are_the_long-term_health_implications, Accessed August 4 2020