Low-Carb Diet: What Is It?

low-carb avocado salad

Happy New Year! There’s a lot of debate around whether the whole ‘new year, new you’ mentality really works. Getting into the habit of exercising or trying a new diet isn’t easy but it’s all about balance and going slow. Given the New Year is all about starting anew, here’s everything you should know when starting a low-carb diet.

Low-carb diets are divisive, some people swear by the power of a low-carb life whereas others see it more as a fad. Every restrictive diet has its pros and cons, however, a low-carb diet does have its purpose. The number one, of course, being weight loss but studies also suggest it may have further health benefits, such as reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Whatever the reason you have for starting a low-carb diet make sure you check with your doctor, especially if you have any health conditions. 

Right So, What Is A Low-carb Diet?

When people hear low-carb, they often jump straight to keto, however, low-carb is a lot less restrictive than a keto diet. 

Keto Diet: restricts you to less than 50g of carbs a day. 

A Low-carb Diet: requires you to eat between 50 to 100g of carbs a day. This is much less restrictive than keto and can often be used as a starting point to eventually transition to a keto diet. 

How To Start…

It’s all about taking it slow and transitioning healthily, sadly that means don’t go loading up on cheese and steak everyday. It also means that you remember that you can still eat carbs, they’re not a big bad monster! Some dieticians recommend starting at around 120g of carbs and reducing that number gradually to introduce yourself to the diet.

Knowing What To Eat

Common sources of carbohydrates: 

  • Grains (bread, rice)
  • Starchy vegetables  
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
  • Fruit
  • Milk 

No or low carbohydrate:

  • Protein 
  • Fats (butter oil) 
  • Non Starchy Vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, leafy greens)

Where To Start

It is generally suggested to keep grains, dairy, fruit, and veggies in your diet in order to get the fibre you need. Start by reducing processed, high-sugar carbs, such as biscuits and fizzy drinks.

Dos and Don’ts 

Dos

  • Make sure you get your healthy fats in. They keep you full and are a key component of going low-carb, diets shouldn’t be about being hungry! You can get healthy fats from avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
  • Space out your carbs throughout the day
  • Try to have four components on every plate: protein, healthy fat, a fruit or a non starchy vegetable, and a whole grain or starchy vegetable.
  • If you want to keep track of your carb count, try a food diary app, here’s a link to some recommended apps

Don’t

  • Don’t lower your carb count too far, you still want to be getting the nutrients you need 
  • Try and steer clear of processed food
  • Eat full, balanced meals so you don’t fall into the granola bar, snack trap!

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