A low-carb diet as one can read in the name requires a person to eat no carbohydrates or limiting their intake by replacing them with protein and fat intake. This diet has been a part of society for generations and can be followed without burning a big hole in one’s pocket.
A low-carb diet as the name suggests basically means limiting the carbohydrates in your diet. By simply avoiding food like sugary foods, pasta, and bread, the food items in which the carbohydrate level is remarkably high one can achieve their weight goals and healthier lifestyle. When you are not eating carbohydrates, you are replacing them by eating whole foods that include natural protein, fats, and vegetables.
This type of diet plan has been known to society for decades and a lot of people have followed and are following this diet plan as it does not require much effort but to skip certain types of food items.
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Types of Low-Carb Diet
There are different types of low-carb diets that one can choose from as per their goal and requirement. These low-carb types include:
- A typical low-carb Diet
- Ketogenic Diet
- Low-Carb, High-Fat (LCHF) Diet
- Low-Carb Paleo Diet
- The Atkins Diet
- Eco-Atkins Diet
- Zero Carb Diet
- Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet
All these types have different dos and don’ts along with different benefits and risks associated with them. While every diet is different, the only common point to all these diets is that they help in reducing weight and achieving a healthy lifestyle that is especially important for a person of any age.
What Are the Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet?
There have been many known and proven benefits that one can reap by following a proper low-carb diets. While the list of the benefits is very long, here are few of them that makes that diet very attractive for people of every age:
- Reduction in Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels:As mentioned above, people who follow the low-carb diet limit or completely eliminate the intake of carbohydrates from their diet. By doing so, the first and the most important benefit one reaps is the reduction in blood sugar level and insulin level as carbohydrates have a direct impact on them
- Reduces Hunger Pangs: People who have been following the low-carb diet have experienced a major and a drastic decrease in their cravings and hunger level. It has been proven that the low-carb diet improves the signals of satiety and satiation
- Improves the Heart Condition: If you reduce or eliminate the carbohydrates from your diet, it will directly improve the condition of your heart as well as it reduces triglycerides and increases the concentrations of HDL. Reduced blood sugar level also reduces the chances of chronic inflammation in the body that is another major cause of heart problem
- Induces Weight Loss: As per a study conducted by Harvard University on more than 68,000 participants, low-carb diet leads to weight loss. The participants who were following a low-carb diet lost a greater amount of weight as compared to the ones who were not. This study has proven that a low-carb diet is beneficial for people who are looking to lose weight by controlling their diets
Who Should Not Follow the Low-Carb Diet?
While there are so many benefits related to following a low-carb diet, everybody cannot reap those. There are certain categories of people who should not practice the low-carb diet until they have consulted a dietician and taken their permission. This list of people include:
- Women who are pregnant
- People are vegans
- People who have a digestive disorder or eating disorder
- The category of people who have kidney issues
People belonging to these four categories are highly recommended to avoid this diet plan and not follow it until suggested by a dietician.
What Should One Eat-In low-carb diet?
As the name suggests, the people who follow this diet plan are required to eat any kind of food and drink items that have low or no carbohydrates in it. Some of these items include:
- Meat: Pork, chicken, beef, and lamb
- Fish: Haddock, Salmon, and Trout
- Eggs: Pastured Eggs
- Vegetables: Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, Pok Choi, Capsicum and other green vegetables
- Fruits: Oranges, apples, pears, and berries like strawberries and blueberries
- Nuts, Dry Fruits, and Seeds: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachio
- High Fat Dairy: Yogurt, cream, walnuts, cheese, and butter
- Healthy Oils: Fish oil, coconut oil, lard, and olive oil
- Certain Tuber and Non-Gluten Grains: Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes (in limit)
- Legumes: Pinto beans, black beans, and lentils
- Unrefined Grains: Quinoa, oats, and brown rice
- Dark Chocolate: Any dark chocolate with 70% cocoa is suggested. It is high in antioxidants and can be consumed in moderations
What Should One Not Eat In low-carb diet?
Now that we have looked into what one should eat during the low-carb diet, here is a list of items that one should be avoiding while following this diet plan:
- Sugar: Any product that has added sugar including, soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, ice-cream, sweetened yogurt, honey, and agave
- Refined Grains: Rice, wheat, barley, rye, bread, pasta, cereal
- Trans Fats: Oils that are Hydrogenated, even partially
- Diet and low-fat products: Many products have their fat reduced like dairy, cereals and crackers. They have added sugar in it so they should be avoided
- Highly Processed Food Items
- Starchy Vegetables: Corn, sweet potato, yam, beetroots
- Certain Fruits: Bananas, apples, raisins, mango, dates
Not eating these products at all or in very less quantity can help you lose weight very easily and quickly. Follow the balanced diet and take care of your health when avoiding these food items
Can You Drink Alcohol During Low-Carb Diet?
Now drinking alcohol is not that much recommended but even if you want to consume it, it is suggested to be consumed in a very limited quantity and choosing the drinks that do not hinder your progress of weight loss
The amount of alcohol that should be consumed also has a limit, while it is 1 glass for women, for men it is a maximum of 2 glasses in a day.
If you need suggestions on what type of alcohol you should consume and what be a healthier option, then that would include dry wine, light beer, hard spirits like whiskey, gin, and vodka. As mixers, use soda water instead of sugary sodas. Drinking them on their own without any additions or mixing is the best option.
What Are the Risks Associated With Low-Carb Diet?
Now that we have gone through dos and don’ts of this diet, let us discuss some of the risks and side effects associated with low-carb diet that you should be aware of before starting it:
- Leads to High Cholesterol Problem:Now that a person cuts on his carbs, the new option is to increase the intake of protein to maintain health. Some of the sources of protein like fatty cuts from meat, whole dairy products, and products that have high fat in them can raise cholesterol in one’s body. The increase in cholesterol can further cause chances of suffering through heart disease
- Kidney Disease:People who have been suffering from any kind of kidney problem should not follow this diet. As this diet requires an increase in protein consumption that could lead to straining one’s kidney and worsening its condition
- Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones: A high protein diet causes one to urinate way more than normal and passing out more calcium in the urine. This could cause the problem of kidney stones or osteoporosis in the body and other health problems
Consult a proper dietician and provide him or her with all the required details about your body and health so that they can give you an informed recommendation related to this diet plan.
No diet plan is easy to follow and requires a lot of dedication and hard work. If done right, a life with good body shape and no or rare health problem is the reward you will get. Study well about all the diet plans that are available and look for the one that suits your lifestyle and requirements. Post a discussion with your dietician you can start it and look forward to the transformation in your body you always wanted.