what is a low carb diet

What is a Low Carb Diet?

It’s funny because no matter how often people hear about low carb diets that are supposed to be the magic solution to weight loss there are a lot of misconceptions which I hope to demystify in this article.

For those of you looking for a way to cut weight fast then you have probably come across various low carb diet plans. The truth is that cutting carbs can be a quick way to shed some extra pounds but it is important to understand what a healthy low carb diet entails in order to avoid health concerns.

A low carb diet will consist of a lot of proteins, vegetables and fruits. This diet will not include oats or grains in any form. This means that you can’t have breads (even whole grain breads), cereals, pasta or baked goods of any kind. You may think that this can be a problem and we’ll address this a little later.

The “low” in low carb refers to the carbohydrates you will intake through your vegetables, proteins and fruits.

The Science of Low Carb Diets

The science behind the low carb diet is that the body converts excess carbohydrates into sugars that are then stored as fat if they can’t be burned as energy. The thought is that you can’t store excess carbs if you are restricting the amount of carbs you intake.

Proteins run through the system faster without carbohydrates to attach to. Some scientists assert that this helps to keep the body from accumulating additional weight as well as burning through already stored fats while others believe that this leads to a number of serious health complications which counteract these benefits.

Some people take the idea of a low carb diet as a license to pig out on steak, chicken wings, and blocks of cheese, which are foods that most dieters have to avoid. While technically these items aren’t on the restricted list they are still unhealthy in large amounts.

The fact is that calories still matter regardless of what diet plan you are on, and eating high-calorie proteins for three meals a day can thwart your efforts. The best route to take will be to eat lean proteins such as chicken and fish for most meals and only indulge in the heavier fare on occasion.

Low Carb Diet Precautions

On a low carb diet it is important to eat a high amount of vegetables, especially leafy greens. Eliminating grains will mean that you need a higher intake of vitamins and minerals from other components of your diet. Grains are fiber dense and proteins aren’t, thus highlighting the fact that veggies and fruit should make up for the lack of fiber. Because of this, some people find that they have stomach issues on a low carb diet, especially if they ignore the need for vegetables with every meal.

It is important to eat fruits as well, especially since your body will be lacking in the sugars that it generally receives from carbohydrates. This can be a little tricky because an overabundance of fruits can throw off the protein-heavy formula that is helping with your weight loss.

A good rule is to eat your fruits on their own, thirty minutes to an hour before or after eating a protein and vegetable meal. This way the sugar is isolated and has less chance of attaching to the proteins.

There are also some foods that fall into both the carbohydrate and the protein categories. It is best to limit the intake of these foods while on a low carb diet or to avoid them altogether. These foods include beans, ice cream, yogurt, and most protein bars in the market.

It is also best to limit the amount of bananas, potatoes and servings of corn you eat as they are starches which convert in the body the same way that carbohydrates do.

As long as you are careful to keep up a steady intake of healthy produce with your proteins you can expect to have a consistent amount of weight loss and no health problems.

Conclusion: What is a Low Carb Diet?

I hope this article has filled in the gaps about a low carb diet and given you insight on how to avoid the pitfalls that most fall into.

Although I highly recommend to stay away from low carb diets and instead focus on well balanced meals which provide all the essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber we need I know that many of you will still want to give it a try and why I thought I’d write this article.

If you’re going to insist on trying a low carb diet make sure to think of it as a short term strategy for about 4-6 weeks and follow it with diet plan which then brings in whole grains and beans.

Have any questions about low carb diets? Please leave me a comment below…

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