Thinking about starting to be on a low carb diet can be challenging for many of us. Whether it is to lose weight, or another health issue that you doctor suggested you should try to lessen carbs in your diet, the more you know the better. If you feel like you know what you should eat and should not eat, it tends to be less of a challenge. So below I categorized which foods you can have a surplus of, which you should have only in moderation and which you should avoid all together. Remember, you should never cut a group of foods out of your diet entirely, so unless given orders by a physician to do so, it is okay to have a few carbs (20-30g) per day.
Best Foods for a Low Carb Diet:
Meat: Beef, pork, poultry, lamb, etc.
Fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc.
Eggs: Preferably organic
Vegetables: Any vegetable that are grown above ground are low carb safe and can be eaten freely with no restrictions such as: broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
Dairy: Yogurt, cheese, milk. *Just remember to have balance and to read labels cheese is high in fat so if you have some cheese maybe opt for a low fat yogurt but just read labels to avoid lots of added sugars.
Nuts: *Know your proportions. A handful of nuts will give you nutrients, energy, and satisfy your craving but too much will overboard you with added fats.
Here are some easy ways to make sure your proportioning out nuts correctly:
Worst Foods for a Low Carb Diet:
Starch: Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, lentils, chips.
Beer: “Liquid bread” contains rapidly absorbed carbs.
“Low Carb” foods!: Do not trust when a packaging states that it is low carb unless you are very comfortable reading food labels and know exactly what to look for.
Foods to have in Moderation:
Root vegetables: these are vegetables that grow underground such as: carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, etc.
Fruit: treat fruit as a source of sweets and do not over do it. Even though they have natural sugars…sugar is sugar, especially when trying to stay on a low carb diet.
Important Things to Remember:
Carbohydrates are how the body contains energy so when you are on a low carb diet you need to compensate with high fat in order to have energy. The tricky part is how much fat do you consume. Too much and your body will slow down your weight loss process and eat too little and you will be left feeling tired and sluggish. So add in some fats to each meal: add a side of bacon with breakfast, have a yogurt for snack, add chicken and olive oil to your salad for lunch, have a good size salmon for dinner. Also doing your research on how to eat the right amount of fat is essential as well as listening to your body. It might take you a few days or even a few weeks to figure out the correct amount but you will get it.
Benefits of a low carb/ketogenic diet
-Lowering blood sugar levels, which could help decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
-Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
-Can help individuals with PCOS by helping reduce insulin resistance in the body
-Improve brain function
-Improving endurance performance