Low carb diets have been around for a while, and you probably still remember the Atkins diet craze of the late 90’s, early 2000’s. But low carb diets seem to be having a moment right now with some promising everything from curing diabetes and a variety of diseases to others harkening back to prehistoric days.
Low carb diets, however, do have their benefits and can be a great way to cut down on harmful sugars and lose weight fast. In this article, we’re going to run down some of the most popular low carb diets today, as well as a few pros and cons of each. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to implement them into your everyday routine.
The Classic Low Carb Diet
This one doesn’t have any fancy brand name or core ideology behind it besides restricting your carb consumption and increasing your consumption of protein. A low carb diet will usually have more protein than the average western diet and will focus on foods like fish, meats, eggs, nuts, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
Under a typical low carb diet, you should also watch your consumption of starchy vegetables, grains, and high sugar junk food and drinks.
The recommended daily carb intake will usually depend on what kind of results you’re looking for and your current lifestyle. You have diets that will allow as much as 150 grams of carbs per day, allowing you to squeeze some grains and some starchy vegetables in there. Others will restrict you to about 50 grams to 100 grams per day. These are better for people who are trying to maintain their weight or lose it slowly. In this case, you don’t have to check things like high sugar fruits, for instance.
Then you have diets that will call for less than 50 grams of protein per day. These are for those looking for a rapid weight loss. On this kind of diet, most fruits will be out of the question except those that are very low on the glycemic index. All starches will be completely off limits too.
Out of all diets, this one might be the one gaining the most traction right now. The keto diet focuses on almost completely eliminating carbs from your diet and replacing them with fats and protein. Depriving your body of carbs allows your body to turn into a state called ketosis. This is when your body starts using your fat reserves and turns them into ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are then used by your body as a source of energy.
While your brain will rely almost completely on ketone bodies for fuel, your body will be able to produce the little amount of glucose that it still needs through a process known as gluconeogenesis.
It’s interesting to note that this diet was originally developed to help treat certain forms of epilepsy in young children, so it does have proven health benefits. The keto diet has also been shown to benefit people suffering from type 2 diabetes and a variety of neurological disorders.
The keto diet is one of the most efficient diets for people who want to lose weight, and is frequently used by bodybuilders. It has also been shown to have appetite suppressing properties.
The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet is another very popular low carb diet these days. The main principle behind the paleo diet is to eat foods that were mainly available during the paleolithic period. That doesn’t only mean reducing your carb intake, but avoiding heavily processed foods as much as you can as well.
The rationale for this diet is that our bodies allegedly adapted and evolved eating these kinds of foods. But whether this is true or not, the paleo diet has been shown to have a few benefits, such as reducing blood sugars, boosting weight loss, and reducing heart disease factors.
And note that while the paleo diet is usually a low carb diet in practice, it isn’t in all cases. Most proponents of it, however, will focus on eating good natural fats and protein coming from things like nuts, meat, eggs, and seafood, but also tubers and fruit.
How to Switch to a Low Carb Lifestyle
Many of us are hooked on carbs and don’t even know it, and switching to a low carb diet can be difficult to some. The best way would be to start slow and gradually change your eating habits. It all starts by identifying the sources of carbs and reducing or eliminating them.
Some of the first things you should do is start removing sugary drinks. And that goes for fruit juices as well. If you need something with flavor, then you should try adding some lime or lemon to carbonated water, or use low calorie sweetener, but in moderation.
You should also eliminate sneaky sources of protein from your diet, like condiments for instance. Things like ketchup and barbecue sauce can be very high in sugar and throw you off your objective. One thing you could do is make your own ketchup at home and control what you put in it. And it’s not that difficult to do either. If you want to learn how to make your own ketchup, check out this article.
Start adding some low carb snacks into your diet as well to combat cravings without going over your carb limit. Some examples of great low carb snacks include things like macadamia nuts, cheese, and hazelnuts just to name a few. Not only are those low in carbs, but they are chock full of protein, which will keep you full all day and rev up your metabolism.
Starting a low carb diet can be a great life choice, and could help you reduce your overall sugar load while helping you lose or maintain your weight. Make sure that you check into as many diets as possible and do your research on each before you decide which one would be the best for you. And don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor as well to see if it would actually be a safe choice.