Overview of a low carb diet
If you are diabetic or a looking to shed off some extra pounds then without a shadow of a doubt you would need a low carb diet. A low carb diet, as the name would suggest, is a diet characterized by significantly low amounts of carbohydrates. Cutting out on carbs however is not the easiest of things you could do, especially if you have a sweet tooth or if you love pasta and bread. The good news is that once you get the hold of it, you will be good to go. Did you know that even most of the fruits you thought were ‘safe’ contain significantly high levels of carbohydrates than you could be willing to use?
To get started on a low carb diet, the first course of action would be to read labels on all the items on your list. This move alone can be a great eye opener as you may be very surprised at the amount of carbs available in the foods you have been taking on a daily basis. The first step therefore that would help you lower your carbohydrate intake and ensure you stick to a low carb diet is to be conscious of your intake.
Once you know the carbs available in your daily foods, the next course of action would be to sit down and formulate a viable plan i.e. determine the amount of carbs that you need to be consuming on a daily basis. This is best done with a professional dietician or nutritionist’s help. Remember that for you to be able to formulate a viable diet; you will need to have your fitness level determined so you can get a customized low card diet.
Important Facts of a low carb diet
One thing that should be mentioned here is the fact that a low carbohydrate diet is very different from a low fat or low calorie intake. Unlike a low fat or low calorie diet where you need to have a daily ration of fat or calories whereby you can use them as and when you please as long as you do not exceed your daily allotment, with a low carb diet, it is highly recommended that you learn how to balance your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. Rather than have a daily allocation, it is always best to have a target of carbs intake for each meal you take throughout the day. This is especially important if you are diabetics.
The reason for this is because you will be able to control your blood sugar levels and have then evenly distributed throughout the day. Even if you are simply looking to reduce your daily carbohydrate intake, you may find this tip especially important. The reason for this is because going for a significant period of time without taking sufficient amounts of carbohydrates can be detrimental to your health. It is believed that insufficient supply of carbs in the body elevates the ketone levels i.e. an indication that you will be using stored fat to fuel your body instead of the fat that you derive from your daily diet.
While this is a great thing when seeking to shed off some pounds, elevated ketone levels can be very dangerous, and sometimes even lead to a coma if you go for longer periods without consuming enough carbohydrates. The secret therefore would be to regulate and spread out your daily intake of carbohydrates so that your body gets used to it.
Additional Low carb diet tips
- Complement your low carb diet with fiber and protein which are derived from cheeses, meats, eggs, peanut butter and vegetables. By the same token, you might want to consume carb products from whole grains since they are highly concentrated in fiber… which aids in digestion among other helpful functions in the body. Rather than eat white bread, you are better off eating whole grain bread.
- Reduce your intake of sugar, which you can simply do by cutting out that sugar-laden cereal and replacing it with a whole grain cereal or eggs. It is to be mentioned that reducing your carb intake is not something that happens overnight. You will need to get used to it. The good thing is that the moment the body is used to it, it will be a life-long commitment to healthy eating and you get to maintain your optimal body weight.
- Many people believe that it is a little tricky to take a low carb diet when dining out at a restaurant. Actually it is one of the easiest things to do because you will simply need to divide your carbohydrate rich foods by two. This way, you will end up eating much less than if you took a whole plate full of carb rich foods.
Rules to guide you when on a ½ carb meal
- The best course of action when eating your meals is to pay attention to what and how you eat. In other words, switch of the Television, do not drive, and switch of your mobile phone if you need to until you are done eating. This way, you will be conscious of what you are taking in and you will end up taking less.
- You are better off taking tinier bites and chewing each bite severally before you swallow. Breaking down the food through chewing ensures it is easily absorbed in the body.
- Avoid sugary products and white flour under all costs
- Ensure you have 2-3 servings of low carb fruits on a daily basis. Should you get a very sweet fruit, such as a banana, apple or orange, half a piece per serving would do.
- Should you feel hungry while on a low carb diet, you are free to increase your protein intake. Be careful though not to exceed the 12 ounces limit. By the same token, avoid over-fried and highly salted food items.
- You typical caloric intake per day for optimal performance is 1200-1500 for the ladies and 1500-1800 for the guys. A total of 40-80g of carbohydrates should complement your caloric intake per day.
- The role that water plays when on a low carb diet can never be overemphasized enough. Water plays a very integral role in the body. For one, it accelerates the metabolism and keeps it in check all throughout, meaning it will always be at its optimal performance as long as you are taking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. By the same token, water helps flush out harmful toxins in the body, which should come as good news to diabetics since the accumulation of toxins in the body can wreck havoc on an otherwise mild case of diabetes. If you feel that water is tasteless, you can always add lime or squeeze in some fresh lemon and you will be good to go.
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. If you must drink anything in addition to water, stick to pure fruit juices.
- Always complement your low carb diet with regular exercises to ensure you remain fit and active all throughout. Exercising can be as simple as walking fast, jogging, cycling, swimming etc.
Common Myths about low carb diets
Having said that, and despite the well known fact that a low carb diet is essential when it comes to controlling insulin levels in the body, an important factor in weight loss and specifically in diabetes, you are not supposed to embark on a low carbohydrate diet without the help of a professional, unless of course you are a professional in your own right. Talk to your dietician or nutritionist, your doctor, and your physical fitness expert so that the right diet can be formulated based on your fitness level.
Many people have been led to believe that low carb diets are a bad approach to successful weight loss. Rest assured that with a well-formulated, professionally guided diet, it is a perfect approach to long-term sustainable weight loss, especially because of the fact that it does not demand a lot, hence can be a total lifestyle approach to healthy living.
The second widespread misconception about low carb diets is the fact that exercise a carbohydrate restricted diet do not mix. This leaves many confused, especially if the body is yet to get used to using fat as its main source of fuel. The good news is that once you get a professionally formulated fitness plan, you can be able to gradually maintain a good balance between your carb restricted diet and exercising.
In conclusion therefore, it can be categorically mentioned that although it takes a significant period of time for the body to get used to a low carb diet, over time it will become second nature to you and your body will start responding positively. Take your time to go through online resources that talk about low carb diets for you to be able to find more information and tips on how you can survive on a low carb diet without feeling restricted.