Low-Carb Foods and Their Benefits
Carbohydrates have been associated with most lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.
For this purpose, the use of low-carb diets has become famous.
Most individuals who are health conscious always try to find a way of reducing their carbohydrate intake.
If you are going to eat low-carb foods, you need to be on a low-carb diet.
Low-carb diets such as keto diet are known for their effectiveness in weight loss and also come with more health benefits.
Based on research, low-carb foods have been used in the medical community for centuries to help manage different conditions.
Some of the benefits of low-carb foods include:
- Enhancing weight loss
- Reducing hunger
- Helping control blood sugar levels
- They help lower risks of heart diseases
- They help improve cognitive performance
Before we get deep into how low-carb foods will help you, let’s first understand how they work.
Low carb foods high in protein
Most of the benefits of low-carb foods mentioned above are due to the reduction of glucose in the body.
Glucose and most of the compounds that can be turned into glucose when eaten are stored in carbohydrates.
This includes grains, legumes, fruits, starchy veggies and other foods.
This is the main reason why low-carb diets are beneficial for weight loss.
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Once your body runs out of glucose and other sugars for energy supply, it starts burning down fats which lead to weight loss.
The human body cannot make its glucose. It can only store some glucose from foods in the liver and muscles.
The reserved glucose may last up to 24 hours. After this period, the body is forced to turn to the fat fuel for energy.
One of the most popular low-carb diets is the ketogenic diet.
It utilizes the principles above by starving the body of any glucose until it turns to burning the fats.
This does not mean that when you are on a ketogenic diet, you do not eat.
You will continue eating other foods that have little to no significant amounts of glucose.
Ketogenic diets have been used to treat epilepsy, reduce the risk of diabetes, and enhance weight loss.
A ketogenic low-carb diet usually focuses on eating 75% fats, 5% carbs, and 20 % proteins.
If you are looking to try out a low-carb diet, you can start on a ketogenic diet that is flexible by keeping your carbohydrates intake at about 15%.
There are plenty of foods that you can eat to avoid carbohydrates. You can enjoy all types of foods ranging from grains, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and nuts while still avoiding carbohydrates.
There are foods that are low-carb while there are those that are entirely free of carbohydrates.
It should also be noted that carbohydrates contribute the largest amounts of calories to your body.
Taking too many carbs may lead you to gain too much weight in a short time.
The effect of carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels also means that carbs are controlling your hormones especially insulin.
They may lead to the diminishing of insulin levels which is usually the starting point for diabetic related conditions.
Low-carb Foods Benefits
Low Carb Foods for Fast Weight Loss
One of the main low-carb foods benefits is weight loss.
If you are trying to cut down weight, counting your calories every day will not help.
It is advisable to try investing in foods that will help cut the calories. Carbohydrates are known to contain high amounts of calories. Losing weight is merely a product of calories consumed minus calories lost.
Weight loss equals calories consumed minus calories lost.
If you are consuming too many carbs, the chances are that your workout efforts will not help you lose weight.
A research done by the National Institute of Health in 2014 on the effect of carbohydrates on weight gain showed that; by comparing two overweight adults- one on a low-carb diet and the other on an utterly low-fat diet- the low-carb diet individual lost more weight in 12 months.
This was true to all the 148 participants in the study.
So, if you are thinking that the cause of your weight is consuming fatty foods, you are wrong.
Low Carb Foods for Better Cognitive Function
Fats and carbohydrates usually have an inverse relationship in the diet.
When you find yourself taking too many carbs, the chances are that your intake of healthy fats is low.
This is not good because your brain needs the healthy fats for proper function.
Sugar may feel very sweet and enticing initially, but after some time of eating, your body will get tired and grumpy.
Sugar is also very addictive. Some studies have shown that sugar is four times more addictive than cocaine.
Getting addicted to sugar means that you will have food cravings and anxiety.
By reducing your carbohydrate intake, you will create some room for healthy fats.
Some healthy fats are known to act as antioxidants and precursors to neurotransmitters.
By taking a healthy meal that has fewer carbs with balanced fats and proteins will boost your brain’s performance at large.
Low Carb Foods for Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
A study done in 2012 found that eating low-carb foods is effective in reducing the risk of some metabolic and heart diseases.
The study whose results were published in The American Journal of Epidemiology was used to compare the effects of low-carb diet and low-fat diet.
Surprisingly, eating fewer carbs will help you reduce the chances of heart attacks more than eating fewer fats.
While the report showed that both low-carb and low-fat diets are effective in reducing weight, it is the low-carb diet that has more significant results.
By eating low-carb foods, you will increase your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and decrease triglycerides.
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Low Carb Foods Lowers The Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
The rate of type 2 and type 1 diabetes keeps on increasing on a daily basis.
Despite that, the medical community has not been very successful in reducing the number of people being affected on a daily basis.
The good news is that there is a way you can start managing diabetes even before it strikes.
According to a research done at the SUNY University of Brooklyn, high-carb foods can raise postprandial plasma glucose and insulin secretion and hence increase the risk of diabetes.
If you know there is a history of diabetes in your family, adopting a low-carb diet will help you reduce the risk of diabetes or delay its occurrence.
Low-carb foods are also used to manage the symptoms of diabetes. There are plenty of low-carb diets for diabetes in the market. These foods are very efficient in reducing the risk diabetes.
Low Carb Foods Help Fighting Cancer
Several studies have revealed that high refined carbohydrate sugar contributes to free radical damage hence feeding cancer cells and helping them spread rapidly.
Since low-carb foods help you reduce the amount of sugar, grains and processed food intake, they may act as natural remedies against cancer by reducing the oxidative stress.
One study carried out in the U. S on rats revealed that a low-carb diet influences the development of prostate cancer.
This was demonstrated by feeding rats that had experienced smaller tumors with a low-carb diet and feeding their counterparts with western food.
By sticking to your western diet, you may be increasing your chances of cancer without knowledge.
You can start using low-carb foods to enhance your health and reduce possibilities of cancer.
Low Carb Foods for Fewer Cravings
The most significant benefit of eating low-carb foods is that you will not be feeling hungry as you would on high-carb meals.
When you eat low-carb foods, you end up consuming more fats and proteins.
Proteins are known to keep the stomach full for a long time since digestion starts in the stomach.
Further, carbohydrates are known to cause food cravings due to blood sugar imbalances.
As we have already seen, taking too many carbs will contribute more glucose to the body.
When the glucose level goes up, it spikes the production of insulin. Studies have shown that insulin inhibits ghrelin ” hungry hormone.” By spiking insulin, glucose leads to food craving, and as a result, you end up eating more.
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Low Carb Foods for Better Digestion
Sugar is known to provide a thriving environment for bacteria. Less sugar will, therefore, mean having a better digestive system.
A diet that is rich in carbs may cause the development of a virus known as candida.
It may also cause IBS and worsen the symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome.
Low-carb foods with plenty of vegetables are right for your digestive system.
They help in reducing bacterial growth and facilitate the burning of foods.
A research done by the American Gastroenterological Association in 2008 showed that patients with IBS reported improvements in implementing low-carb diets.
Majority of the patients reported reduced abdominal pains, stool habits, and the general quality of life.
If you are suffering from IBS or any other digestive system complication, you should consider switching to low-carb foods.
Low Carb Foods for Better Hormone Regulation
As we have already seen, low-carb foods are effective in controlling blood sugar levels and as a result boosting the production of insulin- which is an essential hormone in the body.
Low-carb foods also help in balancing neurotransmitters and as a result improve your moods.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide between the effect of low-carb diet on women who suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS) and realized that after 16 weeks of the carb, the women experienced a significant reduction in depression and their overall self-esteem.
If you are struggling with self-esteem or depression, it is time you shifted to eating low-carb foods.
Low-Carb Foods List
You are probably wondering which are the low-carb foods and which ones are the best.
The varieties of low-carb foods available can be used to supply you with all your daily meals.
A low-carb diet is not the same as fasting. When eating low-carb foods, you have all your daily meals including snacks while reducing the intake of high sugar foods.
Even if you are trying to lose weight, it is advisable to have a healthy breakfast that will give you energy.
This is the only time you can introduce little of carbs to your diet if you are new to dieting.
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Here are some of the low-carb breakfast foods.
- White coffee with cream
- You can have a can of mackerel with boiled eggs.
- Salmon, avocado and sour cream will make a right mix
- Cheese with butter
- You can also mash boiled eggs with butter alongside coffee
- A piece of cheese alongside salami.
- You can enjoy a high-fat yogurt with some seeds or nuts.
When you are on a low-carb and high-fat diet, you find it challenging to take breakfast. Fats and proteins will keep your stomach fool for a long time; with minimal metabolism overnight, it is easy for you to skip breakfast.
Low-carb lunches and dinners
There are plenty of low-carb foods that can be used both for lunch and dinner.
Here are some of the best combinations for a complete meal.
Either meat, fish or chicken dish with vegetables and a creamy fat sauce.
If you are used to potatoes, you can use an alternative such as cauliflower.
Make stew, casseroles or soup using low-carb ingredients.
Drink plenty of water during your meals to reduce food intake if you are cutting weight.
Cheese, butter, and fats should always be part of your recipes
Low Carb Side Dishes
Salads from above the ground veggies such as kales mixed with some cheese.
Boiled broccoli or Brussel sprouts are also good
Carbohydrates of vegetables such as fried squash, aubergine or fennel or any other kind of swings.
Always add some salt and pepper.
You can also use physical sweetened with cream -cabbage or spinach.
Avocado can be taken alongside any dish.
Low-Carb Foods When Dining Out With Friends
For restaurants, you will not have any problem getting low-carb foods.
You can ask for your potatoes or fries to be switched with salad and ask for extra butter.
Stick to proteins such as poultry fish and beef and veggies in most cases.
Low-carb Snacks and Desserts
You can catch a snack even when you are trying to shed weight. Low-carb snacks are available in plenty, but the chances are that you will not need them.
When on a high protein and high fat, diet you will fill full most of the times.
However, in case you need a snack, you can try these.
- Roll up some cheese with a vegetable
- Only take a piece of cheese
- A boiled egg -either refrigerated or cooked one.
- Canned mackerel
- Baby bel cheese
- Mixed nuts and seeds
- Turkey Sausage with some cheese
- Veggies with dip- try cucumber sticks
- Roll up some cheese in salami
A Sample Meal Plan With Low-Carb Foods
Sometimes it is not easy to plan your meal when you are trying to stick to low-carb foods.
Nutritional content per serving
- 151 calories
- 46.8g protein
- 10.4g fat
- 1.7g sugar
Huevos Rancheros is a hearty Mexican meal which can make your breakfast very fulfilling.
It includes eggs, ground beef, peppers, and some spices served on a tortilla with fresh tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
All these are low-carb foods that will make you a big breakfast.
You can also replace some components like the beef with either vegetables or fish.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Nutritional content per serving
- 9g protein
- 3g fat
- 1g sugar
- 108 calories
If you are a fan of fried rice, this will cheer you up.
A simple alternative to the high-calorie rice is cauliflower rice.
Just chop up some cauliflower and add it to the blender or a food processor to create fluffy rice.
You can then add in some eggs for protein and ghee or butter.
Pecan Pesto Salmon
Nutritional content per serving:
- 140 calories
- 17g protein
- 5 g fat
- 2 g sugar
This is one of the simplest low-carb meals that you can prepare in just 20 minutes.
You can serve it with a salad of any leafy veggies.
The salmon is rich in omega three fats and will not only help you cut on sugar intake but help you boost your mental health.
You can always use this combination when in a hurry.
Risks Of Eating Too Many Low-Carb Foods
If you are on too many low-carb foods, you are probably on a diet plan.
Going on a low-carb diet may also come with side effects.
Your body equally needs carbohydrates as it needs proteins and fats. The situation you create by eating much proteins and fats while avoiding carbs is not ideal for the body.
It is, therefore, essential to consider your health, your age and weight before going on a low-carb diet.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, low-carb foods may lead to body weakness.
The research revealed that there is a relationship between ketones levels and a feeling of fatigue.
You will probably perceive more effort during workouts when you stick to low-carb foods.
It also revealed that the higher the levels of ketones, the more a person gets into a feeling of unease, mood swings, and general body fatigue.
If you are a physical exercise enthusiast or you do a physical job, it is advisable to maintain some level of carbohydrates in your diet. For those using low-carb foods for diabetes, it is also good to consider including a few carbs in your meals.
You can cut off your carbohydrates intake in case you are trying to lose weight without necessarily working out.
However, this may not help you so much as much as losing weight is concerned.
Low-carb foods are used by people who are on low-carb diets to help reduce their intake of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are high in calories and sugars. Both high sugar and calories are not suitable for your body.
When you take too many carbohydrates, the glucose levels in the body increase.
An increase in glucose affects the functioning of various body hormones such as insulin.
This is the leading cause of diabetes. Eating a high-carb diet may also trigger the occurrence of cancer among other issues.
The fact that carbohydrates contain the highest amount of calories means that when you eat foods that are high in carbs, you gain weight.
There are plenty of low-carb foods that you can eat to help you reduce the symptoms of diabetes and cut weight.
Sticking to proteins and fats is the best way to reduce your carbohydrates intake.
There are a are also healthy vegetable and fruits. It is important to note that not all veggies and fruits are low-carb.
You can combine several foods including proteins, high-fat foods, and vegetables to create a low-carb diet as shown above.
To ensure that you are not affected by the diet, it is good to assess your health and ask a doctor if a low-carb diet is right for you.
This is especially for individuals who are on medication. Low-carb foods are not recommended for people who are underweight.