How many times have you heard people say, “I’ve lost all that weight because I went on a low-carb diet!”? In today’s scenario, it would be too many to count! Let’s face it – low-carb diets are one of the most popular diet plans today, with everyone from celebrities to your best friends trying it out (and probably even succeeding). So, yes, a low-carb diet is a good choice for you if you intend to lose some weight. But, it’s also important to keep your meal plans balanced, so that your body receives all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and of course, display effective results.
Why should you go on a low-carb diet?
Most people opt for a low-carb diet to lose weight. But there are other benefits to this, too. For instance, when you begin a low-carb diet, your sugar cravings will start reducing. This is because carbs break down into sugar in the body and when you cut down on your carb intake, you’re bound to have a lower amount of sugar cravings, which can aid in weight loss. Moreover, when you cut down on sugar and starchy food when you’re on this diet, it leads to more stable blood sugar levels. What this also means is that your body’s levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, tend to go down, which helps burn fat and leaves you feeling content, instead of irritable and hungry. You might also find that you have more energy and are sleeping better.
Where do you even begin?
Before you get started, it’s important to educate yourself. After all, it’s your body that’s going to go through this change and so, it’s absolutely essential for you to know everything about this diet plan before you take the plunge. So, begin by doing all your research – read relevant articles, speak to people who know more about this or consult with your dietitian.
The most important thing to do before you begin is to understand what kinds of food items contain carbs. Bread and rice, for example, contain a lot of carbs, as do starchy vegetables including potatoes, beans and corn. Proteins and fats, on the other hand, do not. You can keep whole grains, low-carb veggies like broccoli and cauliflowers, in your diet. What you should do is reduce the intake of unhealthy carbs in your diet, such as extra sugar and refined food. Cookies, cakes, cereal, and aerated drinks are your enemies, so steer clear! Look for substitutes such as almond or peanut butter, if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Incorporating healthy fats like avocados and nuts in your diet, is also essential because these fats keep you full.
Once you’ve done all your research and know exactly what you should eat and what you must avoid, start stocking up your kitchen with the ingredients and food stuffs you need, while throwing away what you do not. If you’d like, you can also prep your meals beforehand, so that it saves you time and keeps you from craving other kinds of food when you’re hungry and have no inclination to put together a meal from scratch. You can also start looking for low-carb substitutes. For instance, lettuce leaves are great substitutes for taco shells, while zucchini ribbons can be used instead of pasta.
Studies also suggest that a good way to begin is by trying to consume less than 200 gms of carbs in a day. You can start off this way and then bring the count down lower, if you feel like you can. It’s all about focusing on exactly what you eat and how much of it you eat. Once you start focusing on the carbs in your diet, you will slowly begin to reduce your intake of processed food. To help yourself, try to maintain a food journal. There are also Keto apps that you can download, to keep track of your calories and carb intake. While this may seem difficult at first, don’t give up! With time and practice, you will definitely get a better idea of your daily carb intake and will be able to prepare your meals more mindfully.
It’s equally important to understand that eating fat is not going to make you fat. In fact, if you eat healthy fats and cut down on carbs, it leads to body fat burning faster. But more than anything else, it’s vital to be patient with your body and mentally prepare yourself for this diet by consulting with a doctor or a nutritionist first.
What to eat on a low-carb diet
- Natural fats like butter, olive oil, etc.
- Fish and other seafood
- Lean meat
- Veggies that grow above the ground (Tomatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Bell Peppers, Avocados, Brinjal, Lettuce, etc.)
- Nuts (in moderation)
- Berries (in moderation)
What to avoid
- Sweets including doughnuts, cakes, chocolates, and candy
What you must also avoid is any product that claims to be a ‘low carb’ version of high-carb food. This happens with ice-creams, chocolate, bread, pasta, cookies and more. But, don’t be fooled into thinking this is ‘low carb’. Avoid such items altogether or make sure to check the macro-breakdown carefully
To conclude, what we’d like to say is – always, always listen to your body and look for signs. Your body knows enough to let you know whether a particular diet regime is working for it or not. Keep your nutritionist or doctor informed of your progress at all times and if you’re absolutely careful and dedicated, you’re bound to achieve your goal weight soon.
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