Low carbohydrate diets are often used as a quick tool for weight loss. By beginning a low carbohydrate diet, there is some evidence of quicker weight loss, compared to a low fat diet. Ultimately, low carb diets are good for quick and drastic weight loss, but often can lead to gaining the lost weight back in the long term.
One of the main benefits of starting a low carb diet is it's ability to help you lose belly fat, or fat around your abdominal cavity. Low carb diets have proven to be more efficient at reducing fat around your trunk and stomach than low fat diets, especially in the short term.
Another prominent benefit of a low carb diet it it's health benefits, such as it's ability to improve the affects metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
What is a low carb diet?
A low carbohydrate diet plan is usually below 130 grams of carbs every day, dependent on your body size. The normal western diet is around 250 grams of carbs a day, and a ketogenic diet is less than 20 grams of carbs per day.
What types of carbs are there?
There are 3 types of carbohydrates:
Foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread are all carbohydrates that release a steady amount of energy throughout the day.
Fibre comes from plant-based foods, such as fruit, veg, pulses and whole grains. Fibre is an important part of your diet as it helps digestion, when pursuing a low carbohydrate diet it is important to include foods that will help toy get your dietary fibre in.
Sugars are in most refined foods, such as biscuits, chocolate, sweets and fizzy drinks.
Naturally occurring sugars such as those in fruit and honey are usually counted as free sugars, but should still be restricted on a low carb diet.
Sugar essentially a refined carbohydrate, such as white flour and white bread. Sugars and refined carbs give a sharp burst of energy (sugar rush), so your sugar levels spike and then will drop.
What's the difference between a low carb and a keto diet?
Following a keto diet is trying to push your body into ketosis. Ketosis is where the body is in a metabolic state that relies on fat resources to fuel the body, rather than your blood sugar. This can be achieved on a very low carb diet, but often requires your net carbs to be under 20 grams per day.
Low carb diets allow you to eat more carbs per day, but this means you are eating less protein and fat that a keto dieter. Low carb diets are easier to stick to, and are less harsh on the body than a keto diet, making them more sustainable in the long term for many dieters.
What can I eat on a low carb diet?
On a low carb diet, you can eat a variety of fats and proteins, as well as a moderate amount of carbohydrates. This includes:
- Lean protein sources such as chicken and sirloin steak
- Unsweetened dairy products
- Leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower
- Nuts and nut butters
- Some fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and apples
How can I stick to a low carb diet?
Making a meal plan at the beginning of every week is a simple way to ensure you are able to stick to your diet. At first, it is essential to make achievable cuts, rather than going cold turkey. By cutting down carbs slowly, such as reducing your daily intake each week, you'll find it easier to adjust to your new diet.
Remember, if you fall off the wagon one day, it's not the end of the world, or your diet. Don't restrict the following day and just reset, this way you're less likely to yo-yo between a binge and going on a strict diet. Incorporating fun foods that fit in with your low carb diet will help you manage this and prevent any binging.
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