A low carb diet substitutes carbohydrates ( bread, pasta, rice, biscuits, cereal, pastries...) with nutrient dense, low carb foods. When you eat a low carb diet, your meals will consist of nutrient dense whole foods including proteins, fat and vegetables. Carb intake will be lowered to a maximum of 130 g of carbs each day. Low Carb Diets are recommended for weight loss, to help prevent and treat Type 2 Diabetes , for fatty liver disease and for other metabolic health conditions including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It works too - just watch your sense of well-being sky- rocket when you ditch unnecessary carbs!
Your journey to a happier, healthier fuller self begins here!
Low Carb v Low Calorie Diets
Low Calorie diets don't work. Calorie counting doesn't work - and the reason why is simple: evolution! When you count calories you restrict the amount of food you eat. On a very low calorie diet for example, that might be as few as 600 to 800 calories per day. It is simply not enough food. When you eat this way, your body's biochemistry is programmed by evolution to register a lack of food and this in turn will trigger a hormonal starvation response. Lack of food is perceived by the body as a survival threat. There is less food for energy coming into the body so your body's response is to slow down your metabolism to use the limited food coming to the body in a more efficient way. However, a slower metabolic rate makes it harder for your to lose weight because it burns off fewer calories. Hmm
Low Carb Diets are Different
On a low carb diet we choose to eat foods that satiate our appetite and do not trigger a negative hormonal response because we do not experience hunger or that sense of restriction and loss. We feel fuller for longer whilst we burn fat and lose weight.
Why should I eat a low carb diet?
To truly understand why we should eat a low carb diet, we need to consider the science behind eating a sugary, carbohydrate dense diet. We need to understand how carbohydrates impact our bodies.
When we eat carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, biscuits, cereal, pastries) our bodies quickly break these down into sugar (glucose) which moves from the gut straight into our blood stream. BUT our bodies are not designed to absorb this much sugary food and throw out a hormonal response to deal with the sudden surge of blood sugar. Ever felt the jitters when you overconsume sugar? In a healthy person eating a balanced diet, our body produces insulin to bring the blood sugar levels back down to normal.
However, insulin does not make the blood sugar magically disappear. Instead, it drives the sugar into muscle cells for energy. So far so good BUT if we have eaten more sugar than the cells require, insulin clears out the excess sugar by pushing it into the liver and then into fat cells where it is stored as - FAT ):
Even worse, this fat can build up in the liver causing fatty liver disease. Over time this stored fat can leak out into the blood stream from where it is transported around the rest of the body clogging up essential internal organs. It can even cause that spare tyre around our tum.
Those with Type 2 Diabetes have difficulty dealing with the sugar and glucose from high sugar and starchy foods, Their insulin response no longer works properly or is unable to keep up with the high level of demand and unable to produce enough insulin to deal with the incoming sugar. The result is a permanently high blood sugar level which can damage blood vessels in vital organs and cause significant complications such as blindness, nerve damage and even amputation. That's what makes it such a nasty disease.
The key to eating a low carbohydrate diet is to ditch the sugar and eat more fat.
By the way....
Fat was the cornerstone of our ancestors' diet. Eating healthy, NATURAL fats does not make you fat. If it did, then obesity would have been a problem for our predecessors, it was not. It is sugar that makes you fat and we, as a nation, guided by Government advice on healthy eating are doing the reverse - we are getting fatter and fatter. In the 1980s, just 7% of us were regarding as obese. Today, 40 years later and 40 years after the low fat guidelines on healthy eating were issued, 25% of us are classed as being obese and 64% of the nation has a weight problem. This means that well over half of the nation is battling to find and maintain a healthy body weight. Consider the impact that all this disease has on our NHS - something has to be done!
Fat satisfies your appetite and a little goes a long way! When you plan your food, choose for natural healthy fats such as those found in dairy, meat, oily fish, nuts, seeds and healthy oils such as olive or avocado oil. These foods do not break down into a lot of sugar which means that you do not need to produce much insulin in response to eating them. Remember, low insulin levels are the signal for fat to break down without the need for excessive and rapid corrective action. Instead of feeling weak and wobbly, you become a delicious fat-burning machine. And lose the weight while feeling happier, healthier and fuller for longer.
Hello new life!
Which foods should I avoid on a low carb diet?
When you eat a low carb diet you will avoid eating ultra processed food, refined carbohydrates, sugar and starchy carbohydrate foods including: breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice, crackers, oats, oat cakes, rice cakes, cake in general, biscuits, sweets, milk, chocolate fizzy drinks, ice cream, orange juice, squash and cordials.
Other natural carbohydrate foods to avoid that have a similar impact on blood sugar levels and are easy to overeat include:
root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, beetroot)
Fruit (especially bananas, mangoes, pineapples and grapes)
Which foods can I eat on a low carb diet?
Keep it simple! Build your daily meals around protein, vegetables and healthy fats. Vegetables should be green and leafy and grown above the ground (broccoli, cabbage, celery, salad leaves, fennel). Nuts and Seeds and dairy provide additional variety but it is important to monitor the impact of these foods on your body and their effect on your blood sugar levels. You have the power to determine what works and what does not work for your own body - go find it! Alternatively, browse our incredible range of Low Carb Foods available in the online shop. Here you'll find the UK's largest collection of nutrient dense, free from foods all in one place. Go lower! Then, Foods For Keto is thee place for paleo-friendly ultra low and no carb foods.
For me, guidelines for a basic low carb meal plan would consist of the following
Load up with vegetables at every meal but choose non starchy and salad vegetables to keep you fuller for longer. Adjust your consumption of root vegetables according to how low you want to keep your carb intake (see below)
Eat good fats including oily fish olive oil, avocado oil, animal fats )tallow, beef dripping, lard) as there are great for your metabolism and will help you feel full. Go steady with nuts and cheese as these are highly calorific but over and above that can trigger many of us to overeat.
Choose fruit that is naturally low in sugar such as pears, apples and berries but avoid super sweet tropical fruit including bananas, pineapples, grapes and mangoes
Eat protein at every meal. Again this is essential for your bodies repair mechanism and will help you to feel fuller for longer.
Stop snacking between meals. Eat three decent meals per day and allow your body's digestive system time to reset in between.
And finally keep hydrated by drinking up to 2 litres of water per day. Ask your self am I hungry or thirsty? You might be surprised how many cues your body sends out for a drink of water and how these are misread for trigger foods!
How low should I go with my carb intake?
The following guidelines may help:
Up to 130 g of carbs per day would be suitable if you maintain a good weight and are looing for a way of eating that will keep energy levels consistent and to ensure you are eating a varied and healthy diet
75g - 100g of carbs per day is suitable if you would like to lose some weight and often feel hungry between meals. This framework of eating will encourage you to base your meals around protein, vegetables and fats and to ditch the ultra processed food and sugary drinks
Up to 50 g of carbs per day This is more restrictive as it will eliminate all starchy carbs from your diet including grains, fruit, and starchy veg, It will allow for a rapid weight loss
Below20g of carb per day
This is a carnivore and keto type way of eating and is more restrictive and challenge although it will produce dramatic effects for weight loss.
As always, it is wise to consult your doctor before you start any change of diet plan, especially if you are taking tablets to cure a pre-existing condition.
If the snack attacks happen, here are some simple suggestions:
No carb Food List
If you do feel a snack attack coming on then go back over your meal plan and find out what is triggering you. Did you eat cheese or nuts with your last meal for example? No carb snacks do exist and they will provide virtually zero grams of carbohydrates to see you through a blip - for a snack to have no carbs, the calories are instead coming from fat or protein .
Examples of zero carb snacks include
If you do need to snack try to choose natural, or single ingredient nutrient dense foods.
How can I eat little to no carbs on a low carb diet?
Choose natural or single ingredients foods! One ingredient foods include eggs, milk, Greek yoghurt, meat, fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices. This is such a great way of looking at your new way of eating! These foods do not break down into a lot of sugar which means that you don't need to produce much insulin in response to eating them and instead maintain that fat burning machine you have become with this new way of life!
In this article we have looked at the difference between a low calorie and a low carb diet, We have looked at the reasons why we should eat a low carb diet. We have examined the impact of eating sugary foods on our body and how we gain weight. We have looked at foods to avoid on a low carb diet and all those foods to consume on a low carb diet. We have also reviewed carb intake and considered the carb content of our meals to ensure the best results on our weight loss journey.
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