The Low-Carb Diet Trend
The common American diet is rich in negative carbohydrates. Frequently consuming fast food, white flour products such as white bread, white rice, and white sugar, and carb-heavy options like donuts, pizza, and fried food has caused rates of obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases to skyrocket across the country. This has led many doctors and dieters alike to conduct more research into carb consumption while exploring healthier lifestyle changes.
Low-carb diet plans have gained popularity in the past 20 years with the help of Dr. Robert Atkins, who formulated the Atkins Diet. A diet emphasizing reduced carbohydrates could be one of the fastest ways to lose weight, control blood sugar, and reduce the likelihood of developing many common conditions.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates often get a bad reputation, but they aren’t inherently harmful—they’re your body’s main source of energy. The body typically digests carbs and transforms them into glucose, which is then used for energy. Carbohydrates can also be broken down into fat, which stores energy for later use. Your body needs carbs to function properly, but consuming too many leads to health problems.
How Does a Low-Carb Diet Work?
The overconsumption of carbohydrates causes excess fat and resistance to insulin, your fat-storing hormone. Avoiding carbs reduces your intake of sugar and starches, allowing your blood sugar to stabilize and lowering your insulin levels. The basis of low-carb weight loss plans can work, as a stable blood sugar and decreased insulin production allows your body to naturally burn stored fat for energy—you’ll feel full longer and lose stubborn weight quickly.
Not all carbs are unhealthy. Complex carbs are preferred because they take your body longer to process, providing you with a consistent amount of energy. They can be found in a variety of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, brown rice, and some breads, like rye
Simple carbs are the ones to watch out for. They quickly break down in your body and turn to sugar, causing a spike in energy and insulin levels. Simple carbs can also be found in some fruits, but they’re more associated with processed and refined sugars added to sodas and candy. The key to a low-carb diet plan for weight loss is to moderate the amount of healthy, complex carbs in your diet and reduce foods with simple carbs.
Foods to Avoid on a Low-Carb Weight Loss Plan
A good rule for low-carb diets is to omit any and all refined and processed sugars. Avoid foods high in sugar and starch, along with any processed and prepackaged foods.
- Avoid: bread, pasta, cereal, chips, starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn), fried food, soda, sports drinks, candy, sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Acceptable Foods to Eat on a Low-Carb Weight Loss Plan
In general, a low-carb diet focuses on increasing the amount of protein you eat daily, also called a high-protein low-carb diet. A low-carb diet plan also increases the amount of healthy, complex carbs you receive by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Eating 1-2 servings of vegetables at each meal is one of the most important aspects of keeping blood sugar under control.
- Eat: lean meats (turkey, beef, pork, chicken), fish (salmon, shrimp, halibut, and more), eggs, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), and natural fats and oils (coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil).
Side Effects of Low-Carb Diets
It’s important to talk to your doctor before beginning any extreme diet. A drastic reduction in carbs can sometimes lead to headaches, fatigue and lack of energy, muscle cramps, skin rash, and constipation. A low-carb diet isn’t for everyone: Those who participate in high levels of physical activity need more carbs than usual to maintain endurance and facilitate muscle repair. Diabetics should also be cautious because sticking to a low-carb diet may bring blood sugar levels too low.
Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet
Participating in a low-carb diet in conjunction with exercise can lead to weight loss. Adding additional protein to your diet can also help you feel full longer, discouraging the snacking and overeating responsible for weight gain. Low-carb diets may help prevent and alleviate health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
Maintain a Healthy Low-Carb Diet Plan with Diet Doc
Schedule your free consultation with one of our expert weight loss physicians to develop a personalized low-carb weight loss plan specific to your needs. DietDoc can determine the best course of action utilizing your health status, current weight, and lifestyle to come up with the best weight loss program for safe and quick results. DietDoc offers balanced low-carb solutions and powerful carb crave blockers to keep you healthy and on track.