A low-carb diet focuses on cutting carbohydrates from a person’s diet. Many people think of low-carb as a fad diet, but it has been around for decades, and many have made this diet their lifestyle. Low-carbohydrate diets are used to treat or prevent some chronic diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hyper insulinemia and obesity. Many studies have been done on the benefits of this type of diet, and many are positive.
A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates — such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat. Many types of low-carb diets exist. Each diet has varying restrictions on the types and amounts of carbohydrates you can eat.
A low-carb diet is generally used for losing weight. Some low-carb diets may have health benefits beyond weight loss, such as reducing risk factors associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Low Carb Food List – Foods to Eat
You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.
- Meat:Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others. Grass-fed is best.
- Fish:Salmon, trout, haddock and many others. Wild-caught fish is best.
- Eggs:Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
- Vegetables:Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others.
- Fruits:Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
- Nuts and Seeds:Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- High-Fat Dairy:Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.
- Fats and Oils:Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.
Why Should You Try a Low-Carb Diet?
Low-carb diets are nothing new and have been used in the medical community for a variety of purposes for more than a century. Based on decades of research, low-carb diets have been linked to benefits including:
- fast weight loss
- reduced hunger
- better control over insulin and blood sugar
- enhanced cognitive performance
- lower risk for heart disease factors
- reduced risk for certain types of cancer
How do low-carb diets work?
The benefits of low-carb diets mentioned above are due to a reduction or in some cases almost an entire elimination, of glucose. Glucose, or other molecules that can turn into glucose once eaten, are found in all carbohydrate foods, whether grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, fruits, sweeteners of all kinds — and even nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Once glucose from carbohydrates is no longer available for energy due to following a low-carb diet, we begin to burn stored fat instead and experience weight loss fast. Our bodies normally run on glucose or sugar for energy, but we cannot make glucose ourselves and only store about 24 hours worth within our muscles and liver.
Glucose quickly runs out, and when our supply is low enough, the body turns to fat for fuel as a backup — luckily whether it’s coming from our diet or our own body fat.
Problems with the low-carb diet
Though the low-carb diet works for many, it does have flaws. The biggest flaw is that it often cuts out healthy carbs as well as unhealthy carbs and replaces them with high fat meats, cheese, fish and poultry.
There is widespread agreement and good scientific support that processed carbs (white flour-based cakes, cookies, breads, candies, etc.) are unhealthy.
However, the best supported evidence is that diets rich in unprocessed carbs are extremely healthy. Unprocessed carbs are fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, potatoes that are not fried or covered in butter/sour cream, and whole grain breads and pastas.