by Caitlin Hendee,
Jun 26, 2017
Low carb diets have had their ups and downs over the years.
When the idea first gained popularity in the market in the late 1990s, it quickly became clear that going low-carb was a lightning quick way to shed unwanted pounds.
But over the years, research started indicating that maybe low-carb wasn’t all it shaped up to be. One study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating too much dairy and animal protein was associated with high mortality rates.
Over time, low-carb diets meant some people were eating too many trans fats, which opened them up to a higher risk of disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Plus, not eating carbs at all, another common practice in extreme low-carb diets, often led to gluconeogenesis, a bodily process in which the liver turns non-carbs into glucose to regulate blood sugar levels, which can ultimately negate the weight loss effect of going low carb, a University of Lausanne study found.
That effect is compounded for people who exercise regularly, because bodies need carbs to burn. Without a proper level of healthy carbs, people are likely to experience lower energy levels and perform poorly.
So, does this mean that going low-carb is a bad idea?
No. In fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats and limiting consumption of refined carbohydrates is beneficial for overall health.
It’s like anything else: Use common sense and find the middle ground, rather than going to extremes.
Here are 5 ways to go low-carb the right way:
It’s okay to have bacon now and again (because, well, it’s bacon), but for the most part, try and limit your diet to lean proteins high in omega-3 fatty acids (think fish and seafood). That same Harvard study we talked about earlier also found that low-carb diets with more plant protein (tofu, beans, lentils) and lower trans fat were associated with lower mortality rates.
Some low-carb diets call for what you eat to be 50 percent protein (or more). That’s a bit over the top. Instead, shoot for filling your diet with 30-40 percent protein.
With the other 60-70 percent, eat foods like cheese, yogurt and milk, plus nutritious carbs like vegetables and whole grains. The key is to avoid, whenever possible, processed grains like bread, pasta and foods with refined sugars.
Many low-carb diets tout an “all-you-can-eat” mentality as long as you stick to the “rules.” But even when eating by the book, consuming more food than your body requires is still going to contribute to weight-gain. In today’s world, proper portion sizes are tough to distinguish. Most of us eat too much at any one meal, which ultimately causes our stomachs to expand and us to eat way more than necessary. Check out a serving size on your food’s packaging to know what is best and limit your intake accordingly.
There are plenty of pre-packaged foods that are high in protein and low in carbs, but the problem with these is that they often contain too much refined sugar and artificial additives. Be mindful of the ingredients when you shop.
It’s true, going low-carb can be tricky. But when done right, it can be a great way to lose weight and live healthy.
That’s why we here at Diet-to-Go offer a meal plan that takes all the thinking out of it. Our Carb30 plan replaces unhealthy, refined carbs with healthy fats, limits carbs to 30 net carbs per day and calories to about 1,300 per day and varies menus often so you don’t get bored.
And it tastes good, too. Diet-to-Go has asked many external sources to review our low-carb plan. Find out what external reviewers thought here.
It really is the best option available for busy people who don’t want to think about how to go low-carb.
View a sample menu here.
And learn more about all our meal plans here.
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.