Two weeks ago I started a low-carb diet for the first time ever. I didn’t really put much thought into it, just read one website which explained scientific research on why low-carb diets work to make you loose weight and improve your overall health. As I still have some baby weight to loose since I haven’t been on a diet after delivering (that was 1 year ago already!) so I thought I’ll give it a try.
Being a very much of a pasta, rice and noodle person I thought this could be very challenging for me, but somehow it is not as hard as I thought. Previously I always thought if I don’t consume carbs I will be constantly hungry, but it is the totally opposite, I feel much less hungry now then ever before. What I like best about this diet that I can still eat whatever is for lunch/dinner for the rest of the family, all I do is replace the carbs with some vegetables. Another plus is that everything you eat on this diet is tasty and you don’t have to have that dry, tasteless grilled chicken breast. Since there is no strict diet regime, except no carbs and sugar, it is even possible to eat in restaurants. Overall to me this seems quite an achievable diet, of course providing it works in the long run.
During my first week I didn’t get much cravings for carbs and felt much lighter and more energetic. I’m a bit of a sweet tooth so I had to fight a bit of those dessert urges, but overall it was fairly easy. The only thing that I noticed was that I was constantly very thirsty. After the first week I already felt my pants were fitting a lot better (these are my pants pre-pregnancy which have gotten very tight). The low-carb website did say you can have 1 cheat day so I decided to have Sunday as the cheat day, but still not completely indulging in carbs and sugar, but just for 1 meal.
Basics of Low-Carb Diet
Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy, fats, healthy oils and maybe even some tubers and non-gluten grains.
Don’t Eat: Sugar, HFCS, wheat, seed oils, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods
Photo by Adam Fields.
Foods to Avoid
You should avoid these 7 foods, in order of importance:
- Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many others.
- Gluten Grains: Wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Includes breads and pastas.
- Trans Fats: “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
- High Omega-6 Seed- and Vegetable Oils: Cottonseed-, soybean-, sunflower-, grapeseed-, corn-, safflower and canola oils.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. Use Stevia instead.
- “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Products: Many dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc.
- Highly Processed Foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.
Another name for this diet is Paleo diet as it goes back to basics on what humans ate 2,000,000 years ago. The idea is that our genetics are still the same as the ones from a caveman and therefore our bodies should consume the same diets today as back then. Human health has been on a decline after the agricultural revolution due to change in dietary habits. Our bodies are just not able to digest the ‘modern’ food such as dairy, grain and high calorie processed food and this is leading to many diseases.
I do believe there is a lot of truth there as most of the diseases these days are linked with the food that we consume. Due to the evolution I think it is fairly difficult to live like a caveman, but I think we should take out as much processed foods from our diets.
Science behind low-carb diet
Carbs are the main driver of insulin secretion. A low carb diet lowers and balances blood sugar and therefore lowers insulin levels.
When insulin goes down, the body can easily access the calories stored in the fat cells, but it can take a few days to adapt to burning fat instead of carbs.
Low carbohydrate diets are very satiating. Appetite goes down and people start to automatically eat less calories than they burn, which causes weight loss.
This helps greatly with: lowering blood sugar, lower cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and it is proven to reverse many other illnesses.
This is not meant to be treated as a crash course diet, but it is suppose to become the new way of life. This is also, I believe, the only way not to gain all the weight back on, as most of the diets have the yo-yo effect and sometimes you gain more weight than what you lost. As with any type of healthy lifestyle you still have to exercise to keep fit, but with the low-carb diet approach you will loose weight much faster.
I’m really enjoying changing my dietary habits and discovering new ways of baking without flour and other processed foods. I just hope I will stick with it and make it into part of my lifestyle for long term goals.
Will keep you updated on the results 🙂