Low carb is all the rage and for good reason. It’s proven itself to be tried and true for health and weight loss. But if you’re like most people, you still have questions. That’s where this FAQ comes in… with answers to some of the basic questions many people have and take out the guesswork.
Question 1: What Is A Low Carb Diet?
Answer: A diet that is very low in carbs where carbs are replaced with healthy fats and their reduction triggers, a state known as ketosis, where the body uses fat instead of dietary carbs for energy.
There have been more than 20 randomized controlled trials published since 2002 in respected, peer-reviewed journals that show low carb diets to be effective for weight loss and completely safe without a single adverse effect, this cannot be said about many of the fad diets.
Additionally, many studies show low carb eating to have better results in both weight lost and in support of heart disease prevention than the typical low-fat plan.
Low carb leads to more weight loss, especially visceral fat, and also helps to improve HDL cholesterol, insulin levels, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. (Volek et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2004) (Foster GD, et al; A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity) (Keogh et al; Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity) (Westman et al, The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus) (Gardner et al; Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial).
Question 2: What Can I Eat?
Meats/Protein: Turkey, chicken, red meat, ham, sausage, bacon, organ meat and exotic fowl. Fish, seafood and eggs.
Produce: All non-starchy vegetables and possibly a few berries.
Fats: Grass fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and whole avocados.
Diary: Heavy cream, full fat sour cream, salad dressings and full fat cheeses in moderation.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, nut butters, sunflower seeds and flaxseed in moderation.
Others: Salt, herbs and spices, low-carb sauces.
Question 3: What Carbs Are Not Allowed?
Answer: All refined sugar, sweets, fruit, rice, pasta bread, grains, starchy vegetables and beans. A slow of integration of some carb rich foods, like nuts, berries and beans takes place in the later phases of the diet and how much you can have depends on individual weight monitoring and the carb’s effects on ongoing weight loss and management.
Question 4: How Many Carbs Can I Eat?
Answer: This depends on the particular plan, the strictest recommendation is 20 grams or less daily, as with the Ketogenic Diet and Atkins Lifestyle. Overall, 50 grams or less daily is recommended.
Question 5: How Can It Be Healthy to Cut Out Carbs From My Diet?
Answer: Non-starchy vegetables are allowed and they are the healthiest carbs. It is the unhealthy carbs that are cut out, like unrefined sugar along with grains like rice and pasta, including whole grains which are not much different than sugar. Many grains have a higher glycemic index than sugar, lack the nutrients or longevity of fats and proteins, and have been strongly associated with autoimmune diseases. The healthy fats provide essential nutrients, energy and promote the fat burning process called ketosis.
Question 6: Isn’t Low Carb Just Another Fad?
Answer: Absolutely not! It’s a lifestyle change is not something intended as a temporary fix or a quick weight loss scheme.
Most fad diets are notorious for making you feel starved and desperate as you white knuckle your way through them to lose a few pounds. Crashes in energy levels and mood fluctuations are also common with fad diets.
With a low carb plan, you feel satisfied and eat to satisfaction! Most people who go low carb find their appetite is naturally satisfied, because they have eliminated those bad carbs that cause erratic blood sugar spikes that cause out of control cravings and overeating.
There is no white knuckling involved, as you get you get to eat an abundance of real whole food, including steaks, chicken, bacon, eggs, butter, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seafood.
This makes low carb sustainable for the long term, and since as you reach your weight loss goals you can begin to re-introduce new carb foods as you continue to monitor your weight, this makes low carb a true lifestyle plan and not some useless temporary solution.
On a fad diet, a lapse of one day could ruin your overall goal, placing undue pressure on you. However, when adopting to a lifestyle of low carb, it is understood that lapses happen from time to time, and that is ok.
It will not wreck your metabolism, or cause you to gain weight lost back in the space of 24 hours. In fact, you will likely find that your cravings for carbs decrease significantly over time, making it less likely from the get-go that you will have major lapses.
Don’t think of it as a stringent diet, but forging a new relationship with the right foods.
Question 7: What Are the Health Benefits Of A Low-Carb Diet?
Answer: Weight loss, appetite control, prevention and management of diabetes, reduction in visceral fat, stable blood sugars, healthy blood pressure and may lower risks for heart disease, cancer and stroke. Used to treat some cancers, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Question 8: Do I Have to Count Calories?
Answer: Low-carb diets advocate eating to satisfaction and not counting calories. When you eliminate unhealthy carbs, you also get rid of out of control carvings, stabilize blood sugar and consequently the appetite. Research has shown that reducing carbohydrates and replacing them with protein and healthy fats results in reducing overall caloric intake naturally and without starvation. That being said, you do have to take into account the macros and you cannot go crazy consuming calories in wild abandon.
Question 9: How Will My Body Run If I Cut Carbohydrates? Aren’t They What Fuel Us?
Answer: Yes, carbohydrates are a source of fuel, but they are not the only ones. Evidence shows that our bodies run better when burning fat as opposed to carbs. That is a process known as ketosis which is triggered by eliminating insulin trigger carbs.
There is also a natural process in the body that turns protein into glycogen fuel called gluconeogenesis. So you will have plenty of fuel, better health and weight loss.