Planning to go on a diet but do not have any idea which diet suits your needs? Are you interested in a low carb diet plan?
Selecting a diet plan that suits your needs is a difficult task. Especially when you have so many diet plans to choose from. It is however important that you choose the best diet plan.
So, how are you going to make your choice, one that delivers results to you? Well, let’s leave that question for later answering. First, we shall point out your specific needs and then discuss which diets suit you the best.
Let’s see if you fall under these categories and please raise your hands up in the air if you do.
- Are you someone who is overweight and obese and looking to lose weight but have no time to hit the gym?
- Are you someone who needs to lose weight fast so that your beloved dress fits you perfectly?
- Do you want to live a healthy and long life?
- Are you someone who is suffering from type 2 diabetes?
- Are you someone with a higher risk of getting heart disease and want to minimize the risk?
- Do you want to lower your blood sugar and fight bad cholesterol?
- Are you someone who is looking to live a cancer-free life if possible?
- Lastly, are you someone who has a 10-5 job that keeps you seated for the whole time?
Well, if you are someone who falls under similar categories as mentioned above or has a similar goal in mind, switch to a low carbohydrate diets plan.
Now that you know what you need to do, let me provide some insight into what a low carb diet is. So, let’s get started.
What is a Low Carb Diet?
A typical low carb diet is a diet that restricts the intake of carbs or carbohydrates in the food you eat. You might as well define a low carb diet as a diet rich in fast and protein content. Low carb diets are also known as a weight loss diet.
A low carb diet is linked with many health benefits including fat burn, weight loss, improved energy level, better insulin control, control over blood sugar, a healthy heart, lower risk of certain cancer, reverse type 2 diabetes, and more.
When eating a low carb diet you consume a limited amount of carbohydrates per day which is nearly 50-60 grams in weight per day. On the other hand, you consume foods rich in fat amounting up to 70 percent of what you eat and the other 25 percent food rich in protein.
You avoid foods that are rich in carbs content such as grains(most of them), legumes(most of them), fruits(most of them), bread, sweets(all of them), pasta, and starchy vegetables.
List of popular low carb diets:
The ketogenic diet is a low carb diet for weight loss which is rich in fat content and involves restricting carb content in the diets to 50-60 grams per day.
The standard ketogenic diets are made up of 60-70% fat, 20-30% protein, and 5% or fewer carbohydrates. This diet is usually recommended for weight loss purposes. It is also linked with diabetes mellitus(diabetes care).
Read our dedicated article on health benefits of keto diet here.
The Atkins Diet:
The Atkins diet is another low carb diet which is considered good for weight loss, blood sugar level control, promoting good HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
It was initially considered to be unhealthy due to high saturated fat content and was discouraged by mainstream health authorities.
Later, studies suggested that saturated fat content was not harmful to the body. It was also found that low carbs diets rich in fat content promoted effective weight loss.
The Atkins diet has four different phases. They are:
Induction Phase: In this phase of the Atkins diet, one must limit the carbs intake up to 20 grams per day and continue doing so for about two weeks. You can eat high fat and high protein during the period. Doing so helps to kickstart the ketosis process sooner.
Balancing Phase: In this phase, you are allowed to add fewer calories of carb in your diets in the form of fruits and vegetables. You might as well add nuts and low carb vegetables in your diets.
Fine-tuning Phase: In this phase, you are allowed to add even more carbohydrates to your diets. But make sure you do not stop losing weight. If the rate of weight loss shows down, cut down your carbs content, or else you might as well eat more carb in your diets.
Maintenance Phase: This is the final phase where you can keep adding good carbohydrates unless you start gaining weight again.
The zero-carb diet or no-carb diet is a strict low-carb diet. In this diet, all of the carb-containing food items are removed in order to make it carb-free. The diet, however, might not totally be free of carbohydrates, it is, however, the extreme of low-carb dieting.
In this diet, most of the fruits and vegetables are discarded. The diet is also free of whole grains. This diet is supposedly more effective in activating ketosis in a short period of time. It is however not suggested by the nutritionists and pediatricians.
A zero-carb diet lowers carbohydrate consumption by almost half of what people eat on a standard low-carb diet i.e. you only consume about 25-30 grams of net carbs each day.
Low Carb High Fat- LCHF:
A low carb high-fat diet(LCHF) is similar to a standard low-carbs diet. It is rich in fat content while containing moderate protein content and lower carbs content.
The two popular low-carbs high fat diets are:
- Keto diet
- Atkins diet
People following an LCHF diet plan can take from 20-100 grams of carb content each day depending upon their need. This diet is beneficial for weight loss and people with type 2 diabetes, health issues such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. Since the weight and cardiovascular risk are interlinked low-fat diets help to prevent heart diseases.
Low Carb Paleo Diet:
A paleo diet is based on what our ancestors used to eat in the paleontological eras. The diet varied greatly depending upon the tropological region they lived in. Some were more dependent upon food rich in fat and protein while others ate green plants and fruits more.
Now people have developed a new way of eating that is basically derived from the paleontological eras but suits people’s needs as well. A new low-carb paleo diet is on the rise where people eat foods rich in fat and protein while avoiding processed foods and foods rich in carbs.
In this diet plan, people eat what people of the paleontological eras could gather easily. It includes food items such as fish, meat, nuts, vegetables, etc.
‘Eco-Atkins‘ as the name suggest is an eco-friendly Atkins diet. It is also known as the vegetarian Atkins diet plan which does not include non-veg items such as meat and fish like the Atkins diet.
If you’re a vegetarian and looking to switch to an Atkins diet without having to eat non-veg items you can go for eco Atkins diet plan. There are many soluble fat-containing vegetables and fruits out there to eat while in an eco-Atkins diet plan.
The basic idea here is to replace the animal fat content with the vegetable fat content in the diet so that it could provide better results for LDL cholesterol(bad cholesterol).
The diet is, in fact, more effective when it comes to reducing LDL cholesterol than any other low-carb diets.
Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet:
A low-carb Mediterranean diet is a type of low carb diet that emphasizes more on eating seafood as the primary source of the fat instead of meat and oils.
This diet isn’t just about eating more fat but this diet packs more of essential vitamins and minerals and is easy to get used to than any other low carb diets.
If you’re someone living in the coastal region, this diet could be your everyday go-to diet.
Apart from the above-mentioned popular low-carb diet plan, there are few other low carb diet plans that help you shade weight. The south beach diet plan which is also known as a modified low carb diet is one of the high protein diets.
Why Go On a Low Carb Diet?
If you’re still wondering about why should you go on a low-carb diet, it’s understandable. You might as well be keen to know how a low carb diet works?
A low carb diet is rich in high fat and low carbs foods. Additionally, low-carb meals do not include processed food items along with added sugar. It encourages people to eat healthy unprocessed foods rich in fat. This helps to burn out the glucose (sugar) stores in our bodies.
Going on a low-carb diet means that you are forcing your body to obtain ketosis, a biochemical reaction that converts body fat into ketone bodies which are then used as the source of energy for the body and brain.
Ketone bodies pack more energy than the conventional energy source, glucose. Thus it gives a sensation that your body is filled with a greater energy source, one that never runs out.
Research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that people who consume a high-fat diet are more likely to lose weight than those who eat a low-fat diet in a short period of time. Low-carb is highly effective for weight loss over a short period of time.
So, if you are someone who is looking to lose some pounds, you might as well go for a low carb diet. This diet is sure to help you lose some weight and fast too. It is, however, unknown whether this diet is effective in the long run. Thus a long-run analysis of the diet is needed.
Benefits of a Low Carb Diet:
Now that we know what a low carb diet is, what are its types and why to eat a low carb diet, it’s time we talk about the health benefits of a low carb diet.
Below are some of the health benefits of a low carb diet which were observed after years of research conducted on a low carb diet.
- A low carb diet is highly effective in promoting ketosis and ultimately leads to fat burning and reduced body weight. It helps in weight management.
- It helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and promotes healthy living. Since body weight and cardiovascular disease go hand in hand.
- A low carb diet is beneficial in preventing some kinds of cancers.
- A low carb diet is useful in reducing insulin resistance which is important in the management of type 2 diabetes.
- It is related to better glycemic control and insulin control.
- Eco-Atkins low carb diet provides better results for LDL cholesterol(bad cholesterol) control.
- A low carb diet is also known to reduce hunger due to excess consumption of high-fat foods.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a systematic review including GRADE assessments on the ‘Effects of low-carbohydrate- compared with low-fat-diet interventions on metabolic control in people with type 2 diabetes‘ concluded that there is low to moderate certainty evidence that restricting in carbs in diet to up to 40% provides better metabolic control than restricting fat to 30% in the diet.
What to Eat and What to Avoid on a Low Carb Diet?
Now that you’ve decided to stick up with a low carb meal, you might as well aware yourself regarding the low carb foods that you should eat and those that you must avoid.
A healthy diet requires a healthy meal plan and thus it is important that you know all the things that you can use in order to prepare yourself a low carb delicacy.
List of Food to Eat on a Low Carb Diet:
- Vegetables: Bell paper, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, mushroom, cauliflower, and a few other non-starchy vegetables.
- Fruits and nuts: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
- Fish: Shrimps, salmon, tuna, haddock, trout, and many others.
- Eggs: Pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Meat: Lean meats, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc.
- Dairy products: Cheese, cream, butter, plain greek yogurt, milk, etc.
- Oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, lard, and fish oil, etc.
Healthy Low Carb Snacks:
Below are some of the healthy low carb snack that you can enjoy in between meals.
- Boiled eggs, egg salad, scrambled eggs
- Lean meat items
- Low cooked vegetables
- Fruit salads
- Stuffed avocado
- Dark chocolate with nuts toppings
- Chandler cheese
- Tuna salad lettuce wrapped
- Berries with cream
- Strawberry smoothie
- Kale chips
- Chicken burrito bowl
- Chicken lettuce wraps, roasted chicken
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Yogurt with berries and nuts
- Sardine and seed crackers
- Cream cheese
There are many other low carb healthy snacks that you can eat while on a low carb diet.
Low Carb Condiments list:
Here are a few condiments that you can include in your low carb meals to make them taste better.
- Apple cider vinegar Spices and herbs
- Hot sauce
- Soy sauce
- Dried spices and herbs
- Seasoning salts and peppers
- Mustard without any added sugar
- Unsweetened mustards
- Cocoa, powder
- Zucchini noodles
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut milk, coconut cream
- Lemon juice
- Low carb jams and preservatives
- Mayonnaise with monounsaturated fat
- Coconut and nuts floor
Low Carb Drinks:
Below are some of the low carb drinks that you can drink while on a low carb diet plan.
- Pure water
- Coffee (creamed or black) and tea with no added sugar
- Freshly made vegetable juice and smoothies
- Red wine
- Protein shakes
- Almond milk with no added sugar
- Low carb matcha drinks
List of Foods to Avoid on a Low Carb Diet:
Below is the list of high carb food items that one must avoid while preparing low carb meal plans.
- Grains: Barley, rice, wheat, Ferro, etc.
- Starchy vegetables: Sweet potato, beetroots, cubes potatoes, corn, peas, squash, etc.
- Fruits: Apple, banana, oranges, pineapple, mango, pomegranate, etc.
- Low-fat dairy products: fat-free milk(skimmed), cheese, yogurt
- Processed food items: Oats, pasta, bread, cereals, chips, crackers, canned soups, cookies, cakes, etc.
- Trans fats: Artificial trans fat, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated oils.
- Sugary and soft drinks: Carbonated soft drinks, soda, chocolate milk, energy drinks, sweet tea, and coffee, fruit juices, etc.
- Added sugar alcohol drinks: All kinds of sugar, syrups, honey, fructose, glucose, maltose, lactose, etc.
- Processed red meats with added sugar: Red meat is a great way of obtaining quality protein and fat however one must avoid consuming processed red meat.
Low Carb Food Shopping List:
It is important that you have all the necessary ingredients with you before you start preparing a healthy and delicious low carb meals. It is true that you have fewer options when you decide to switch to a low card diet plan. Still, you have got plenty of food choices to make healthy low carb meals.
Below is the list of ingredients that you can buy from a grocery store or a supermarket:
- Meat items: beef, lamb, goat, venison, veal, organ meats, chicken breasts, etc.
- Tyes of fishes: salmon, tuna, sardine, prawns, mackerel, etc.
- Poultry: duck, chicken, turkey, goose, etc.
- Eggs: All kinds of eggs
- Fruits and berries: avocado, cranberries, blackberries, lemons, melon, etc.
- Vegetables: asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, bell peppers, leafy greens, etc.
- Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, lard, MCT oil, ghee, butter, etc.
- Dairy products: milk, cheese, curds, cream, etc.
- Herbs/spices: Pepper, basil, cinnamon, turmeric, etc.
Low Carb Diets Helps To Prevent Heart Disease:
Research conducted on a low carb diet over the years supports the fact that people consuming a low carb diet are less likely to suffer from different types of heart diseases in his/her lifetime.
It was also mentioned that the source of fat and protein also significantly affects the probability of people getting heart-related diseases. Protein and fats gained from healthy sources were more likely to help prevent heart diseases in people.
The Eco-Atkins diet was also found out to be more helpful in comparison to a low-fat high carbohydrate diet when it comes to lowering blood pressure. Since increased blood pressure is an early symptom of heart-related disease, it is safe to say that a low carb vegan diet is helpful in preventing heart diseases.
There is more evidence of a low carb diet being good to the heart. A randomized controlled trial reported that a healthy diet rich in fat or protein content did a better job of controlling the blood pressure and LDL cholesterol when compared to a healthy diet rich in carbs.
What can I eat on a low carb breakfast?
Eating breakfast is a symbol of a healthy lifestyle. You can enjoy breakfast even when you are following a low carb meal plan. Below are some of the low carb breakfast that you can enjoy.
- Vegetables and eggs fried in olive or coconut oil,
- Hard-boiled eggs with spinach,
- Muffins made up of egg and cottage cheese,
- Cheese pancakes,
- Bacon with eggs,
- Eggs and sausages, etc.
Are low carb diets safe to eat for women?
The low carbs diets are safe to eat for women too. But women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or are underweight must not eat low carb foods.
Is consuming fat bad for you?
People have a misconception regarding the impacts of fat on our health. In the past, people used to discard fat from their diets so that they could lose weight and stay fit. It was a little effective method of weight loss.
However, things have changed drastically and now people consume foods rich in fat and low in carbohydrates in order to lose weight. Fat is, in fact, beneficial for the body. It helps to control bad cholesterol, lowers blood sugar, prevents heart diseases, and also helps to treat type 2 diabetes.
Why do I feel better eating a low carb diet?
A low carb diet allows your body to reach a biochemical reaction called ketosis which converts body fat into ketones that are used as the source of energy for the body and mind instead of glucose.
Since the ketone bodies pack more energy in them, you feel much better and energetic.
Is it possible to gain weight on a low carb diet?
A low carb diet is primarily used to lose weight and not the other way around. When you are on a low carb diet, you will most likely lose weight and not gain any weight at all. But if you increase the calorie intake per day, you might as well gain lean muscles.
How many grams of carbohydrates should I eat?
The amount of carbs intake per day may vary from person to person and also from stage to stage. If you’re a beginner you can consume from 20-50 grams of net carbs per day whereas if you’re on the final stage, you can intake about 100-300 grams of net carbs each day.
Do I need to exercise on a Low Carb Diet?
Exercising while on a low carb diet is a matter of choice. You can either choose to exercise or can also skip it. Unless you are a sportsperson or an athlete, you can choose to skip exercising while on a low carb diet. But if you choose to exercise, make sure you increase your daily calorie intake.
Is a low-carb diet beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes?
Yes, a low carb diet is beneficial for people with type diabetes. A low carb diet helps in regulating blood sugar and insulin level in blood which is the major problem with people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Over time, it may also help to reverse type 2 diabetes.
I’m constantly hungry and craving food in between meals. What do I do?
Eating between meals while you are on a low-fat diet is restricted. And it might prove difficult if you are someone who cannot suppress your craving for food.
The best way to deal with your situation is to eat a larger portion of meals. You can also eat more foods with higher fat content. Since eating fat is known to suppress your hunger.