Getting Started with a Low-Carb Diet

If you’re ready to start a low-carb diet, it helps to have an understanding of why this type of diet works. Understanding the basics of nutrition will help you make healthy choices and build new eating habits — just the type of changes that will keep the weight off for good!

Most carbohydrates, aka “carbs,” break down in the body as sugar. This is the main reason that doctors suggest a low carb diet for people with certain blood sugar issues like Diabetes. Not all carbs are bad, though. There are some low-glycemic carbs which do not break down as sugar which are good for you and these are the carbs that contain fiber. This is because the fiber causes the carb to break down more slowly in our bodies, not causing an instant rise in the blood sugar or glucose.

While there are several popular low carb diets, like the South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet, you can incorporate a low carb lifestyle without having to follow a rigid food plan.

The basic idea behind a low carb diet is to not provide your body with sugar to burn. When sugar is present, the body burns it first, never allowing it to reach the fat stores, therefore preventing weight loss. When you remove sugar from your diet, your body is able to reach the fat stores and use those for energy, burning off the excess fat.

Another reason low carb dieting works so well for weight loss is because the pancreas no longer has to pump out large amounts of insulin to balance out the blood when sugary or starchy snacks are present. Without sugar and starches available, your body uses fat for energy, and the insulin turns any excess sugar into fat. Therefore, your body is no longer able to make fat stores.

Once your blood sugar is stabilized, you no longer have cravings for sugary and starchy foods. This transition may take a few days or a week for your body to adjust to, but once it does, you’ll notice that you are satisfied much quicker, as well as hungry sooner. When you feel hungry, you can eat as much as you want until satisfied as long as you stick with low carb foods.

What types of low carb foods can you eat?

  • When following a low-carb diet, it’s best to stick with lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs and poultry—they are high in protein and carb free.
  • Most cheeses are very low in carbs as are most nuts.
  • High fiber foods such as whole grain breads, brown rice and whole grain pasta are also acceptable on most low carb diets.
  • Consumed in limited amounts, low carb fruits are cantaloupe, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, lemons and limes.
  • Most vegetables can be consumed on a low carb diet. However, there are some vegetables to avoid, such as potatoes, corn, beets, winter squash, carrots and peas.

Low carb dieting can offer guidelines and eating plans to help you lose weight, but even bettet, following a low-glycemic diet can also help you transform your eating habits and change your life for good.

There are many books that offer more information about low-carb eating or tips for creating a low-glycemic diet plan.

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