A low carb diet means eating fewer carbs, and a higher proportion of fat and proteins. For years, people have distrusted fat as causing obesity and heart disease. But, fat intake in proper amounts supports your metabolism.
If you consume fewer carbs, you will have lower glucose and insulin levels, which is good for you. You will be able to burn the fat that is otherwise being stored in your body. You also might lose weight.
With weight loss and lower blood sugar levels, you can also expect improved digestion and mental clarity. Some people have also reported life-altering changes, such as lower blood pressure, better skin, and fewer migraines. Read on for a complete guide to a low card diet.
The History of Carbs
Humans as a race started out as hunters and gatherers years and years ago. Our ancestors would source food from nature by hunting, fishing, and gathering edible foods. These foods had natural fat which was good for us. What these natural foods did not have was pure starch.
The advancement of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution led to factories being set up. These could manufacture white flour and bread, and carbohydrates were introduced into our food. At a genetic level, though, we still have not fully adapted to processing these.
In the 80s, the western world started to move away from fat, since it was believed to cause obesity. But, cutting down on fat actually makes us eat more carbohydrates. In fact, this is how the journey to weight gain, and diseases, like diabetes, starts.
What to Eat When On a Low Carb Diet?
Basically, more intake of carbs stimulates the production of insulin. This hormone stores the surplus nutrients into fat cells. Since the nutrients have been removed from the bloodstream, the person starts craving carbs.
They eat again and this vicious cycle continues, and as a result, the person can become obese. Studies show that low carb diets are more effective in weight loss than low-fat diets.
When on a low-carb diet, you should eat meat, fish, and eggs (please avoid if you are on a vegan diet). Also, vegetables growing above the ground have lesser carbohydrate content. Consume nuts and berries, as well as natural fat, like butter and olive oil.
Notably, avoid “low-fat” products that you see in the market. These are likely to be high in carbs. You can look up healthy recipes online. Just make sure that the ingredients are low in carbs and calorific count.
What to Avoid When On a Low Carb Diet?
Avoid starchy foods, like potatoes, fruits, such as bananas, and beer, pasta, sodas and juices. Foods, such as chocolates may give you a momentary sugar high.
But, eating these off and on over time can lead to obesity and related health conditions. Avoid “low-carb” junk foods, these mostly have a higher carb content than is shown on the packaging.
Side Effects of a Low-Carb Diet
When you start a low carb diet, it is likely that you will feel tired and have low on energy. This is because of the loss of water and essential salts from the body. To avoid this, have more fluids during the day.
In addition, you might experience leg cramps, constipation, heart palpitations, and bad breath. Consult your doctor or dietitian for advice on the possible remedies.
Tips for a Low-Carb Diet
A low carb diet has many scientifically proven benefits. Just because you are avoiding carbs does not mean that your food should be bland and boring. Healthy food can be tasty too. People who follow a low carb diet can have bacon and eggs, or even just a cup of coffee in the morning.
For lunch, your diet can have meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, and full-fat sauces. Butter-fried or mashed vegetables are a great alternative to potatoes, pasta and rice. When eating out, avoid starchy foods and ask for natural fat, such as olive oil or butter.
The Bottom Line
Fat can very easily enhance the taste of a dish and makes you feel satiated. So, how much fat should you eat when on a low carb diet? Caution: If you are breastfeeding, or taking medication for heart disease or diabetes, do consult your doctor or dietitian.