Are you looking to improve your health? Maybe you simply want to get rid of the excess belly fat? Whatever the reason may be, you are in the right place. Today, we are here to discuss the benefits of the popular low carb diet plans.
At the same time, we will focus on the many delicious low carb fruits and veggies that you get to enjoy.
Perhaps you are not allowed to eat any sweet potato anymore, but there are some pretty amazing replacements out there. Let’s see what gifts of Nature you get to enjoy in, shall we?
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Benefits of a low carb diet
For quite some time now, low-carb diets have been all that people talk about. Here is a clear definition of what a low carb diet represents for anyone unfamiliar with the term. A low carb diet is a specialized diet plan that focuses on high protein and fat intake while reducing the total carbs intake.
Carbohydrates are not our enemy, but many of us tend to see them as such. It is important to remember that not every single carbohydrate is necessarily bad for our health.
Our bodies need proper carb intake to survive. After all, carbs are the primary energy source for our bodies. There are simple and complex carbs. Whenever you need an instant energy rush, grab a simple carbohydrate such as fruit juice. But, if you want long-lasting energy levels, then complex carbs are a better fit.
Often people like to track their net carbs intake. The term net carbs are different from the term total carbs. Total carbs include both indigestible and digestible carbs, including sugar alcohols. Net carbs, on the other hand, do not contain dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.
Many people like to track their net carbs intake since these are the ones that often trigger a spike in your blood sugar levels. By following a low carb diet, you are not obligated to track your net carbs intake, although it would not do any harm.
If you were to mention weight loss, the chances are that someone will instantly recommend trying a low-carb diet. And then some consider low-carb diets to be quite controversial.
In such a case, it is always good to see what science has to say about it. Here are a couple of scientifically-proven benefits that the low-carb diet has to offer.
It curves your appetite
When we try to lose weight, we tend to feel hungrier throughout the day. This often causes us to feel miserable and quit on our goals sooner than expected. If only there were something to help us. Wait – there is! As science suggests, a low carb diet can efficiently lower your appetite.
Mind you that the whole process happens in a rather natural, healthy way. By simply eating more protein and healthy fats instead of carbs, you are able to eat fewer calories while still feeling full and satisfied.
It induces fast weight loss results
If there is a big event coming up and you want to lose weight, you should give the low carb diet a try. Compared to the low-fat diets, a low-carb diet results in better and faster weight loss results. Again, there is nothing unhealthy about this process.
A low-carb diet focuses on eliminating the excess water from the body as well as lowering the insulin levels. This will cause noticeable weight loss results to take place as soon as the first week or two.
It eliminates belly fat
Most often, it is our belly fat that is causing us shame and low self-confidence. This is especially true for women, who tend to have a higher percentage of belly fat as compared to men. You would be happy to learn that a low carb diet can efficiently get rid of the excess belly fat for you.
It reduces blood sugar levels
The low carb diet is a good fit for anyone who has trouble keeping their blood sugar and insulin levels low. Eliminating carbs can reduce the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance, which is highly essential, especially in those with a medical and/or family history of diabetes. In the past, diabetes patients have reduced their insulin dosage by 50% almost immediately after starting a low carb diet plan.
It reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels is just as harmful as having high blood sugar levels. Instead of diabetes, in this case, you would struggle with a high risk of heart disease, arteriosclerosis, stroke, etc. Luckily, a low carb diet can help reduce your “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides levels while at the same time giving your “good” cholesterol the boost that it needs.
It maintains normal blood pressure
Another highly dangerous health issue is hypertension. Hypertension, too, is an important risk factor for several serious health problems. However, once again, the low carb diets are here to help you. By maintaining your blood pressure levels within the normal ranges, these diet plans will also prevent all of the potential health issues.
It fights metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a health issue that we see very often today. It is linked to several health risks such as hypertension, diabetes, high blood sugar levels, etc. The good news is that science has proven the low carb diet plans to be highly effective in the treatment of the metabolic syndrome.
Types of low carb diets
Over the years, we have seen many diet plans that are based on the low carb intake principle. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular ones, shall we?
- The basic low carb diet
As the term suggests, this is a typical low carb diet. It is also known as a carb restricting diet. Compared to the well-known Western diet, the low carb diet is higher in protein while it contains low carbohydrate levels. The carb intake can variate anywhere between 150-50 grams. These numbers include the net carbs as well.
- The Keto diet
The Keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, may as well be the most popular diet plan of them all. This diet plan focuses on a very low-carb intake, while it is high in healthy fats. The aim is to put your body in a state of ketosis. To do that, you organize your meals around keto-friendly vegetables and keto-friendly fruit.
- The Atkins diet
Besides the Keto diet, the Atkins diet is quite a popular diet plan as well. The Atkins diet focuses on eating as little carbs as possible while at the same time enjoying as much protein and healthy fats as desired. Many suspect the safety of the Atkins diet. However, research suggests that this is a safe option as long as you intake enough dietary fiber. To do that, you may want to keep an eye on your net carbs intake.
- The low carb paleo diet
The Paleo diet is one of the best well-known diet plans out there. This specific diet plan encourages us to eat like our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. While the Paleo diet is not necessarily low carb, people prefer it to stick to a rather lower carb approach while still following Paleo’s main principles. The Paleo diet eliminates any kind of processed foods, legumes, dairy products, and grains. Instead, it focuses on meat, fish, eggs, low carb vegetables, low carb fruit, nuts, and seeds.
- The low carb, high fat diet
The low carb, high fat diet is a lot more like the previous diet plans. However, it has an even greater emphasis on eating whole, unprocessed foods. You would eat lots of fish, meat, eggs, dairy products, low carb vegetables, and fresh fruit.
Low carb diet and diabetes
As we mentioned earlier, research supports the use of low carb diets in the treatment of diabetes.
You may be surprised to learn that the low carb diet was the usual treatment method before insulin was ever introduced to the market. Both diabetes type 1 and type 2 can be efficiently managed by following a low carb diet.
Eating lots of low carb veggies and fruit, meat, fish, and dairy products is how you can improve your blood sugar levels. At the same time, you can improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of the long line of diabetes complications.
Low carb fruits
- Watermelon – Watermelon has the lowest carb content among all fruits. 100 g of watermelon contains as little as 7.55 g of carbs. Watermelon is also rich in several nutrients and vitamins, among which are Vitamin A, fiber, calcium, etc. At the same time, watermelon is a perfect fit for a calorie deficit as it contains very few calories.
- Berries – Berries have surprisingly high antioxidant levels. They are also rich in potassium and Vitamin C while being low in carbs. Their fiber content is impressive as well. Knowing that they are a great fit for any low-calorie diet plan. If you are looking for the berries with the least amount of carbs, we recommend stocking up on raspberries. 100 g raspberries offer 5.44 g carbs.
- Honeydew – Another excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium, among other nutrients, is honeydew. This is the perfect low carb fruit for anyone who has a sweet tooth. Not to worry, their net carbs content is quite low, coming at 9.09 g for 100 g of honeydew.
- Peaches – Peaches are the real summer treat. Surprisingly enough, they do not contain that many carbs nor do they have high-calorie content. One hundred grams of peaches will provide around 8.04 g net carbs.
- Avocado – If you are on the lookout for healthy fats, then you have to eat more avocados. Avocados are high in fats while being low in digestible carbs. One cup of avocado offers 13 g of carbs, with as much as 10 g being clean fiber. They are also rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and folate, among other nutrients.
Low carb vegetables
- Cucumbers – Cucumbers has to be our favorite low-carb, low-calorie vegetable. This vegetable works great in several salads and offers only 2.16 g per 100 g of cucumber. Even when you do not have the energy to prepare a salad, all that you need is a little olive oil and sea salt, and there you have it – the perfect refreshing salad to start your meal.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms work great with a variety of meals. With them being quite rich in several nutrients, mushrooms will add to your meal’s overall nutrition. They fit great in almost every recipe, especially your favorite Keto recipe. You can even add them to a salad.
- Iceberg lettuce – Iceberg lettuce is quite the popular veggie, although not the most nutritious one out there, of course. It is a leafy green vegetable in the same group as bok choy, arugula, Brussel sprouts, etc. This amazing veggie is easily paired up with quite a few other Keto vegetables. Iceberg lettuce offers only 2.97 g carbs per 100 g.
- Spinach – Spinach is also one of the popular Keto vegetables. Eaten raw or cooked, spinach is quite delicious. 100 g spinach offer 3.63 g carbs. That is only around 1.40 g net carbs, which are pretty amazing. One of the best things about spinach is that you can find it fresh or in the frozen vegetable aisle, and it will be delicious both ways.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is not everyone’s favorite cruciferous veggie, but that does not change the fact that it is both nutritious and low in carbs. Eaten raw, broccoli contains around 6.64 g carbs. It is very versatile and can be fitted in any recipe. Do not miss out on this amazing vitamin and mineral source. Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, and Vitamin B9, among other nutrients, can all be found in our favorite broccoli.
- Bell peppers – Broccoli is not the only versatile vegetable. Bell pepper, whether red, yellow or green, works great as a snack and as a side dish. And did you know that this vegetable contains only 5.88 g carbs per 100 g bell pepper.
- Zucchini – Zucchini is a variety of summer squash. Unlike the winter and spaghetti squash, zucchini belongs to the non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables are the ones that are higher in carbs, thus the ones that you need to avoid. With its 3.11 g carbs per 100 g, zucchini is the perfect example of what keto vegetables look like. Zucchini is also high in Vitamin A, manganese, and protein, among other nutrients.
- Asparagus – Who does not like some roasted asparagus brushed with olive oil and sea salt? Asparagus is yet another favorite among the vegetables. It is also a favorite among those on Atkins and Keto diet since it only contains around 3.88 g carbs per 100 g.
- Radishes – Radishes represent a low carb root vegetable, which cannot be said for the most vegetables from this group. 100 g radishes offer 3.4 g carbs, which makes them a great addition to any salad and roasted veggies.
- Celery – Celery and peanut butter, now that is what we are talking about! Eaten as a snack or as a part of your main meal, celery is one of the most famous veggies that we know of. It is also quite low in carbs, offering 2.97 g per 100 g. Mix it well with some of our other low-carb veggies and prepare yourself a real deliciousness to enjoy in.
- Cauliflower – Cauliflower is another popular cruciferous vegetable. This veggie has only 2.97 g net carbs per 100 g while at the same time offer an amazing 2 g fiber. And have you heard about cauliflower pizza yet? Did not think that you would ever be able to enjoy pizza again now that you are on a low carb diet, right? Well, think again!
- Garlic – You may be wondering what garlic has to do on this list. For those of you that did not know, garlic is pretty high in carbs. However, because of its strong smell and taste, we rarely see anyone eating too much of it in one sitting. Our advice would be to enjoy garlic and allow it to give your dishes a nice taste and smell. Enjoy it, especially in the cold, winter days when you would use the extra immune system support that garlic has to offer.
Cucumbers, zucchinis, and asparagus are all great examples of how a low-carb vegetable looks like. Then you also have peaches, watermelon, and berries to enjoy in as well. As you can see, when you have such delicious foods to enjoy, a low carb diet is not so bad after all. Allow the low carb diet to improve your health and help you lose weight.