The Ultimate 20 Low Carb Diet Tips For Improved Health & Weight Loss
A low diet is one in which you consume foods that are low in carbohydrates that are primarily found in sugary, processed foods, and items like pasta and bread. Instead it is recommended to eat whole foods that include natural fats and, protein and vegetables that contain fiber and minerals.
It is proven that low carb diets result in weight loss and overall improved health, so much so, that low carb diets have been recommended by many doctors for decades, in order to treat common ailments, especially lifestyle related ones. A low carb diet need not be super strict and rigid; that means one does not need to constantly calculate calories and use special foods or products, all one needs to do is eat whole foods that make for a complete, nutritious and filling meal.
What is Low Carb diet?
A low carb diet, as the name suggests is when you consume fewer carbohydrates, and instead increase the intake of a higher proportion of fat, this is often known as a low carb-high fat diet or popularly known as the keto diet.
For long we have been told that fats are harmful and detrimental to one’s health. Now while that is somewhat true, it is not the whole truth. Studies have shown that there is no need to fear natural fats; in fact they are good for you. This entire concept of low fat “diets” resulted in a mammoth of dietary products to flood the supermarkets, and yet they had heaps of sugar. The keto diet helps in weight loss as it eliminates sugars and refined carbohydrates. However all carbs are not bad. It is just that the keto diet focuses on eliminating carbs out of the picture.
It is important to understand that there are two kinds of carbs, there are good carbs which include foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, all which keep the body healthy by providing vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients. Carbohydrates are indeed an important source of energy, however most people tend to consume carbs in the form of white bread, rice, sugar sodas, processed foods, etc. all which are referred to as bad carbs, and hence make one fat.
The Keto diet aims to cut out this portion of carbohydrates, that’s unhealthy and thus aids to weight loss.
When you tend to avoid sugary, processed foods your blood sugar tends to stabilize and the levels of fat storing hormone- insulin drops. This in turn helps increase the fat burning ability and makes one feel more satisfied, thus naturally reducing the food intake and promoting weight loss.
Keto Diet- Low Carb, High Fat Diet:
The word keto actually is derived from the word ketones, which is an alternative source of fuel for the body, when there is a shortage of glucose in the body. Now typically, when we consume carbohydrates, it breaks down into sugars, which the body absorbs and uses as fuel. However, on the keto diet, the body switches its fuel supply, and runs on fat. In other words, the keto diet helps in weight loss by causing the body to enter into a Ketogenic state, wherein the liver starts to break fats into ketones, which is basically breaking down fats into acid, in order to supply energy
The Ketogenic or Keto Diet plan is a high fat, low carb diet. It works on the idea that you deprive the body of its preferred fuel source, that is carbohydrates, and use fats for energy instead. The diet works in such a manner that body will get more calories from the proteins and fats that enter the body, and less from the carbohydrates. When one reduces their carbohydrate intake, the body eventually runs out of fuel, or blood sugar, that it can use quickly; this usually happens after three to four days of minimizing your carb intake. When the body realizes that it does not have enough quick fuel, it starts to break down protein and fat for energy.
Research has shown that the Keto diet is much more effective than the other recommended low fat diets out there. One of the main benefits of the Keto diet is that it is extremely satisfying and filling, despite being a diet it does not curb one’s urge to eat by low calorie intake demands, and hence it does not feel like you are starving yourself. One can lose weight without having to micromanage their calorie intake; in fact studies show that the keto diet plan helps an individual lose 2.2 times more weight than a regular restricted low fat diet. There are specific keto diet plans for men and keto diet for women, thus it is a good idea to consult an expert who can guide you towards the right keto diet plan. Last but not the least, the reason for Keto’s popularity is that it not only helps in weight loss but has been proven to help in improving health conditions and prevents metabolic diseases.
Therefore, when one reduces their carbohydrate intake, the body eventually runs out of fuel, or blood sugar, that it can use quickly; this usually happens after three to four days of minimizing your carb intake. When the body realizes that it does not have enough quick fuel, it starts to break down protein and fat for energy, which leads to weight loss. The reduction in carbs puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
This is how the Keto diet works, however there is much more to this diet than just cutting carbs. Following the keto diet is a complete lifestyle change; like with any eating plan the keto diet comes with its own unique lifestyle requirements. It has its sets of advantages and disadvantages that are important to weigh in before diving into the diet plan.
Low carb diets like the keto diet meal plan are gaining all the traction as it has promised rapid weight loss without making one feel starved and deprived of food; it is almost like having the best of both worlds. However when it comes to Indian food, there is a general assumption about food being too rich, spicy, oily and filled flavor; basically one would not look at Indian meals and call them appropriate diet foods. While our herbs and spices that make food so satisfying are usually keto friendly, they are often times paired with foods that are carb dense, or ingredients that can keep one from entering into ketosis.
Fortunately today with the growing success of keto, there are increasingly more ways that the keto diet plan for Indians for its unique palate needs. In this guide we shall discuss 20 tips to make a low carb diet effective.
What to eat on a Low Carbohydrate Diet?
- Herbs and spices that are used extensively in Indian cooking can be used as normal as they have very low amounts of carbs, this way you can enhance the flavor of even the more boring keto food options.
- Veggies like cauliflower, kale, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicums, zucchini, etc. are great options to cook meals with. Additionally, veggies like mint, coriander, mustard leaves, bottle gourd (lauki), bitter gourd (karela), eggplant (baingan), ladyfinger (bhindi) and broccoli go well with the keto diet meal plan.
- Meats play a pivotal role in the keto diet, thus, chicken, red meat, fish, sausages, bacon, etc. are your best friends.
- Tofu or paneer are great alternatives to convert several non-veg dishes into vegetarian options.
- Dairy is a major component too- adding cheese, butter, creams are essentials.
- Nuts and seeds are filled with good natural fats and work wonders for the wellness of the body too. Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds are all integral parts of the keto diet plan, and make great snacking options too while in between meals.
- When it comes to drinks, unsweetened coffee, and water is your go to option. However, if you want to up your game try these keto friendly beverages.
- Fish, especially fatty and oil rich fish is a good option. Salmon, trout, Tuna, mackerel are all great options to add to your diet for the best keto diet plan.
- Cooking oil: Since keto diet is a high fat diet, cooking in ghee, butter or cream is recommended, one can also use coconut or olive oil.
- Fruits: Since most fruits are high in carbs, selecting fruits is a little harder. However watermelon, different types of berries and lemons are a few options you can enjoy.
Ultimate 20 Low Carb Diet Tips For Improved Health:
In order to make the low carb diet truly simple and enjoyable, here are some tips and skills that can come in handy:
Breakfast is a great time to eat low carb foods, because that is the time one can load up on food that are tasty and filling like bacon and eggs, other than that too there are several other low carb food options that can be prepared to keep you full all day.
2. Eliminate sugar sweetened drinks
These are truly unhealthy and are high in sugar which leads to increased risk of insulin resistance leading to type two diabetes, obesity, etc. If you want fewer carbs the best way is to start by cutting out sugary beverages, if you want something refreshing to drink with a good taste, one can try adding lemon or lime to their water or tea or try out these keto friendly beverages.
3. Cut back on Bread
Bread is a staple part of many diets, and is SO tasty, howevere unfortunately it is loaded with carbs and is generally low in fiber. This is especially true for breads made up of refined grains which are bad, and negatively impact health and weight (find out why).
Although whole grain bread contains vitamins and minerals there are many other low carb food options that can provide the same nutrients. These healthy foods include nuts, veggies, seeds, etc.
But if you are really missing that bread, here are some low carb bread recipes, that you can make easily.
4. Avoid Fruit Juice
Market or store bought fruit juice gas little to no fiber and is full of sugar. It is almost no better than sugar sweetened drinks in terms of sugar and carbs. Try flavoured waters instead.
5. Low Carb Snacks
Consuming low carb snacks that contain proteins are the best way to curb hunger pangs between meals, some healthy snack options are almonds, peanuts, cheese, walnuts, etc. However if you are feeling something more, check out these keto healthy snacks.
6. Try incorporating eggs
Eggs are ideal ig you are trying to cut back on carbs, as they contain less than 1 gram of carb, and are a high source of quality protein, which can help one feel full for longer durations and thus eat fewer calories.
Additionally, eggs are super versatile and can be prepped in multiple ways.
7. Use Sweeteners instead of sugar
While enjoying natural flavors of the food without added sweetener is the ultimate goal to achieve on a low carb diet, sometimes we cannot just give up on sweets, and rightly so.
In times like this, indulge in sugar free sweeteners that have modest health benefits.
Some common sweeteners are- stevia, sugarfree diet sugar, erythritol, etc.
8. Replace Potatoes or bread with Veggies when eating out
While eating out one typically receives starch on the sides in the form of breads, potatoes, rolls, etc. However starches can add up to 30 grams of starch to a meal depending in portion size. Thus ask the restaurant to substitute those with low carb veggies instead of high carbohydrate foods
9. Switch to Low Carb Flour
To continue cooking baked goods, or for coating meats and fish, it’s a good idea to switch to flours made from nuts or coconut. These flours can be used to coat foods for sautéing, as well as in recipes that call for wheat flour. However, because they do not contain gluten, the texture of the finished product often won’t be the same.
Here are some keto flour options.
10. Replace regular milk
While milk is nutritious it contains a type of sugar called lactose, which makes it high in carbs. Today there are several milk substitutes available, like coconut or almond milk.
11. Watch out for your Veggies
Vegetables are a valuable source of nutrients and fiber, and contain antioxidants that protect from diseases. However it is important to select non- starchy options to keep carb intake low.
Veggies like cauliflower, kale, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicums, zucchini, etc. are great options to cook meals with. Additionally, veggies like mint, coriander, mustard leaves, bottle gourd (lauki), bitter gourd (karela), eggplant (baingan), ladyfinger (bhindi) and broccoli go well with the keto diet meal plan.
Certain root vegetables and legumes, such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, peas, lima beans and corn, are moderately high in carbs. Fortunately, there are many delicious, nourishing low-carb veggies you can eat. To find out more about them, read this: The 21 Best Low-Carb Vegetables.
12. Consume Dairy that is low in Carbs
Dairy is health and delicious. It contains calcium and magnesium and other important minerals, and also promotes fat loss. However, some dairy like flavored yogurt, pudding, fro-yo are loaded with sugar and are nit great options on the low carb diet.
Instead Greek yogurt, cheese, etc are great as they are low in carbohydrates and have shown to reduce appetite.
13. Eat high protein foods
Eating good protein source can make it easier to cut out carbs and is essential to lose weight. It also triggers the release of a fullness hormone and helps fight hunger. Protein additionally helps increase metabolic rate. Meats thus play a pivotal role in the keto diet, thus, chicken, red meat, fish, sausages, bacon, etc. are your best friends.
14. Prepare food with Healthy Fats
Fat replaces some carbs and typically makes up over 50% of calories on a low-carb diet. It is a good idea to choose oils like coconut or extra virgin olive oil as they are highly saturated, and contain MCT’s which helps decrease appetite, reduces belly fat and reduces cholesterol levels
15. Read food labels to understand the composition of your food.
16. Keep a nutritional tracker in handy to track your progress till you become used to the low carb diet.
17. Try out a meal plan
18. Meal prep is your best friend in order to not feel too overwhelmed by all the restrictions of a low carb- high fat diet like the keto diet.
19. Exercise is always important
20. Know the health risks and benefits of starting a low carb diet. Consult a doctor if needed.