Everyone wishes to lead a healthy lifestyle, but very few research and learn about the many ways to lead one. One of the ways is by following a low-carb diet, something that's been gaining a lot of popularity lately for all the right reasons. If you know about low carb foods and are inculcating them in your daily diet, you're already making a great decision for yourself. There are several benefits, pros and cons of following a low carb diet. All of which we're about to tell you in this space, along with a low carb food list.
Benefits of Low Carb Diets:
Before you understand the cons of a low carb diet, you first need to know about the health benefits of following one.
1. You Consume Less Sugar:
When you consistently follow a low carb high protein diet, you cut down on the consumption of sugar drastically. Carbohydrates break down in your body and turn into sugar. So when you consume a higher intake of carbs, it will lead to a higher level of sugar which can fluctuate insulin production levels in your body.
2. Keeps Your Metabolism in Control:
It's important to maintain a good metabolism as it helps with managing weight and your overall well-being. In fact, all the important things like sugar level, absorption of cholesterol, blood pressure and digestion depend on how good or bad your metabolism is. That's the reason why it is recommended to include high protein low carb foods in your diet as it can help you stay away from a range of illnesses.
3. Avoids Bloating:
If you're someone who experiences bloating a lot more than usual, you must try switching to low carbohydrate food. Eating too many carbohydrates is a major reason behind bloating as it causes water retention in your body. So low carb foods help you cut down on water retention and keep the bloating away.
4. Your Workout Sessions Get Better:
Fats or low carb food tends to burn faster, which means your workout sessions are more impactful if you're on a low carb diet. This provides you with more energy and promotes weight loss as well.
5. Protects Your Brain:
Carbs are helpful to keep your brain happy. But low carb foods can do the same as your brain fires up the ketones that are in there when you are hungry or consuming less carbohydrate foods. In fact, a low carb diet like keto is said to boost your memory, so people who are at risk of Alzheimer's or stroke should definitely consider switching to a low carb diet (1).
Cons of a Low Carb Diet:
While there are some benefits of following a low carb high protein diet, there are some cons of low carb diet (2) that you need to know of.
- Some people experience symptoms like diarrhoea, cramps, headaches and tiredness when they get the 'keto flu' while following a low carb diet.
- You may experience a sense of confusion and irritability when you're consistently eating less carbohydrate food as your brain uses sugars from healthy carbs in your diet.
- A low carb diet is a restrictive one, which is obviously difficult to maintain for a longer period, so if you lose weight during this period, it might only last temporarily.
- Limiting your food range can lead to a deficiency of micronutrients. Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars along with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in the form of polyphenols.
- A low carb high protein diet can lead to a lower fiber intake which in turn can increase your risk of experiencing constipation. It can negatively impact the microorganisms that live in your gut and contribute to an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Low-Carb Food List:
If you wish to follow a low carb high protein diet, you need to first know about low carb foods that you can include in your daily diet. Some of which we've mentioned in this list for you.
This is a low carbohydrate food that is the most popular meat that is included in the low carb food list as it contains almost zero carbs. It is loaded with nutrients and makes for a great source of protein as well (3). Make sure to choose fattier cuts like wings and thighs if you wish to include chicken in your low carb high protein diet.
One of the high protein low carb foods that should make it to your daily diet is this one. Eggs have almost zero carbs and are packed with healthy nutrients (4). Eggs can effectively improve memory in older aged people and reduce the rate of eyesight degradation (5).
Salmon is one of the famous low carb foods among all types of fish that contains zero carbs. This fatty fish has great amounts of heart-healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains vitamin B12, vitamin D3 and iodine (6).
This cruciferous vegetable contains 6 grams of carbs per cup. You can either consume this vegetable raw or cook it in different styles, however, you like it. Broccoli is packed with vitamins C, K and fiber while containing cancer-fighting plant compounds (7).
One of the low carb foods to include in your daily diet is onions. You can add this vegetable to several dishes or toss it in a raw salad as per your liking. Onions are high in fiber and antioxidant. (8)
A fruit (usually classified as a vegetable) that should make it to your low carb food list is tomatoes as they contain grams of carbs if they're large in size. They are loaded with potassium and vitamin C and can be added to salads, curries, or eaten raw (9).
Cucumber contains 11 grams of carbs per cup and mostly is made up of water with a small amount of vitamin K (10). It has a mild flavour and can be eaten raw or tossed with other veggies.
8. Green Beans:
A less carbohydrate food that should make it to your diet is green beans. It contains 5.66 grams of carbs per cup and is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber (11).
If you are a fan of mushrooms, you'll be happy to know that they contain only 1 grams of carbs per cup which makes them a great low carbohydrate food. It is loaded with some B vitamins, and potassium and makes for a great ingredient in curries, sauteed salads and soups (12).
Another less carbohydrate food that you will enjoy relishing is avocado as it is packed with potassium and fiber among other nutrients. One avocado contains 17 grams of carbs but since most of the fruit carbs are fiber, it contains almost no digestible net carbs (13).
A low carbohydrate food that is packed with vitamin E, fiber and magnesium are almonds. They're excellent to keep you satiated for long hours and also promote weight loss as they contain only 6 grams of carbs per ounce (14).
Eating fewer carbs can have many health benefits, as mentioned above. Most low carb foods are healthy, delicious and nutritious as well. Following a healthy low carb diet that is based on real foods that cover major food categories will only help you manage weight better while improving your overall health. Make sure to consult an expert before switching to a low carb diet as they can guide you better with food preferences according to your body's needs.
Does a Ketogenic diet come under low-carb food?
The keto diet falls under a low carb diet as it is a diet with less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. Only 5% or less of calorie intake is from carbs when you're on a ketogenic diet, which makes for 20-50 grams of carbs per day.
Is it good to eat a low-carb diet for a long time?
If you restrict carbohydrates in your diet for a long time, it can increase complications like kidney damage, osteoporosis, heart arrhythmias, etc. So make sure you switch to low carb foods for shorter durations.
How many carbs can I eat in a day?
If you are consuming 2000 calories a day, 900 to 1300 calories should be from carbohydrates. This means 225 to 25 grams of carbs should be had per day which makes for 45-65% of total daily calories.
Is a low-carb diet good for people who have diabetes?
Although a low carb diet can be effective for people with type 2 diabetes as it helps with managing weight, and blood glucose levels, it isn't for everyone.
Which oil can we use to cook low-carb food?
You can cook low carb foods in the below-mentioned oils:
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- MCT oil
- Extra virgin olive oil: Talking of which, you can try the Saffola Aura Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants. It is extracted from carefully plucked olives from Spanish orchards and then imported to India. This oil has a rich and flavourful taste that beautifully complements any of your food items.