The low-carb diet has been in existence throughout history. It was presumed that a diet low in fat is the most effective and convenient way of losing and maintaining weight, but with time and finings, it was found that a diet low in fat, does encourage eating lesser fats, but increases the sugar or carbohydrate intake. These sugars contribute to weight gain, as sugar or glucose or carbs are the first things that the body converts into fat.
Although it is very much true that cutting down on sugar and carbohydrates is a good idea, and also promotes many health benefits along with helping in weight management.
What is a low-carb diet?
The term ‘low-carb diet’ is very broad. The principles of a low-carb diet plan can be found in many renowned diet plans like the Atkins, Zone, and South Beach diets. Defining simply, a low carb diet weight loss restricts the consumption of high carbohydrate foods. Many refer to the diet as a ‘No White Food’ diet plan, and its approach is to establish an eating regime that focuses on eliminating foods like white rice, sugar, starch vegetables like potatoes from the diet to lose weight.
In general, the basic guidelines of any regular diet are that 50 to 60% of the calories should come from carbohydrates. But, as of a low-carb diet plan, less than 40% of your calories only should be from carbohydrates. Instead of having carbohydrate foods, the focus is more on having protein-rich whole foods along with fruits and vegetables.
What you can eat on a low-carb diet?
Low carb diet foods are the foods that limit your carbohydrate intake. Carbs are one of the three main types of foods that are essential for the body. The two others are fats and proteins. Carbs are the ones that provide the body with the much-needed energy, which the body breaks down to be used immediately or store for later use. What are these low-carb foods that you can eat?
- Meat : Lean meats like chicken breast and sirloin.
- Seafood and Fish : Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herrings.
- Eggs : All kinds.
- Natural and Healthy Fats : Coconut oil, olive oil, and butter.
- Vegetables : The ones that grow above the ground. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, peppers, and eggplant, all are good.
- Fruits : Apples, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Nuts : All of them, but in moderation.
- Dairy : Butter, cream, cheese, yogurt, and all. Avoid milk and milk products with sugar.
What are the benefits of a low-carb diet?
Living a low-carb life is always easy and healthy, and there are strong reasons behind it. Well, weight loss is no doubt one of the major benefits of a low carb diet, some of the other valuable reasons, we should follow it is:
- It is heart-healthy
Eating complex carbs can lead to the rise of triglycerides (small fat molecules that can accumulate in the veins and restrict proper blood flow leading to increased risk of cardiac arrest). A low-carb diet meal plan can take care of this problem. Thereby, protecting our hearts.
- Keeps your sugar levels under check
Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar, hence eating a low-carb diet for diabetics is the best option to keep the sugar levels under check.
- Keeps your metabolism in control
A lot of things from weight reduction to proper digestion, sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, all depend on our metabolism. Where a diet rich in carbohydrates can be the biggest enemy of our metabolism, a low-carb vegetarian diet plan or otherwise can be its best friend.
- Protects the brain
Our brain might need carbohydrates to stay happy, but a diet low in carb can also do the same. When you go for a low-carb diet, the brain fires up the ketones, and this has been used for ages to treat brain malfunctions like epilepsy.
- You are left with more energy
Who says that only carbs are what the body needs to fuel up? Healthy fats, fibers, and proteins can do the same. Perhaps a low-carb high-fat diet makes you more energetic and makes the way for effective weight loss. You can even observe low carb diet weight loss in 2 weeks only.
High protein low carb diet
A high protein low carb diet is one of the most popular diets of recent times, and all because not only promotes effective weight loss but also helps to increase and maintaining muscle mass.
The basis of a high protein and low carb diet is swapping the majority of your carb intake with proteins. Although there is no set of micronutrient range, and hence, most of the followers of the diet, swap the majority of their carbohydrate foods with proteins. Some of the major advantages of the diet are:
- Weight loss
- Balanced body composition
- Improved blood sugar regulation
- Reduces the chances of heart diseases
- Improves bone health
A high protein low carb diet emphasizes eating foods that are high in protein contents like fish, eggs, tofu, chicken, and others and also some carbohydrate foods like starchless vegetables. This type of diet is mostly preferred by athletes and sportsmen, who want to maintain their weight and focus on improving and maintaining their muscle mass at the same time.
Low carb vegetarian diet
Avoiding carb is not so complicated, be it with non-vegetarian foods or vegetarian foods. Just cut back on the sugar and starches in your regular diet. Yes, indeed, conventional low-carb diets rely hugely on non-vegetarian foods, however, you can still follow a low-carb vegetarian diet if you are a vegan or a vegetarian.
A low-carb vegetarian diet can be equally effective and healthy as a regular low-carb diet that consists of non-vegetarian foods. What all you can eat in a low-carb high protein vegetarian diet if you are a vegetarian?
Friendly low-carb plant foods like:
- Vegetables : Many of the vegetables are low in carbohydrates, like tomatoes, cauliflower, onions, bell peppers, eggplant, Brussel sprout, and broccoli.
- Fruits : A variety of berries like strawberry and blueberry are low in carbohydrates. There are many other fruits that you can eat, depending upon how many carbs you can eat on your diet. Fruits like olives and avocado are superbly healthy and low in carb but are high in good fats.
- Legumes : Certain legumes like peas, green beans, and chickpeas are extremely healthy but low in carbs.
- Nuts and Seeds: High in fats and proteins, nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are very low in carb. Chia seeds, on the other hand, are pure fiber and the calories that you get eating them are from proteins and fats.
Soy and Soy products: Tofu and tempeh are low in carbs, but high in fats and proteins, and this is what makes them a perfect choice in any low carb vegetarian diet or a low carb vegan diet.
Indian foods on the other hand are enriched with a variety of herbs and spices and a distinct variety of flavors. Though the dietary preferences change in India with every region, mostly it is vegetarian plant foods that are preferred the most.
The traditional Indian diet emphasizes majorly on the intake of plant-based foods – vegetables, fruits, lentils, and whole grains. Hence, following a low-carb Indian diet is not at all difficult. You will just need to avoid Indian vegetables and other foods that are majorly eaten and are high in carbohydrates like white rice in a low-carb vegetarian Indian diet.
Low carb diet plan for weight loss
A low carbohydrate diet for weight loss can be very effective. Reducing carbs from your regular meals helps in reducing your general appetite, resulting in automatic weight loss, an effective and safe weight loss without the need of counting calories. Also, a low-carb diet allows you to eat with fullness and satisfaction and still lose some weight at the same time.
Low carb diet for PCOS
Women facing the harshness of PCOS can largely benefit from the low-carb diet. The Ketogenic diet (a type of low-carb diet that also is high in healthy fats and normal amounts of proteins can help women with PCOS manage the symptoms of weight gain, low glycemic index, diabetes, and many others.
Women suffering from Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) often face insulin resistance and diabetes. This results in high blood sugar and all the associated dangers of diabetes. A low card diet can aid in the effective management of weight loss in women with PCOS and reduce the risks of diabetes and the dangers associated with it. Adopting a low carb diet, they can benefit with:
- More regular periods
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Weight loss
- Subsided cravings
- Improved hormone profile
- Improved cardiovascular health, and
- Relief from acnes