What is a no-carb diet? It sounds pretty extreme, doesn’t it? Could you really go through with it? Let’s delve into it and see what it’s really all about it. It’s not as bad as it sounds. You can eat eggs, meat, fish, low-carb veggies, nuts & seeds, oils & fats, condiments, herbs, and spices.
You just need to ditch the refined carbs. You basically get rid of all starches and sugars that don’t exist naturally in nature. So, you throw out pasta, chips, fries, and so on. You get to keep eating beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and so on.
A no-carb diet is hard for some people who have become addicted to refined carbs. Some people switch out the worst offending carbs, like white flour, white rice, and pasta for whole-grain bread, steel-cut oats, and other fiber-rich products.
You might experience headaches, fatigue, moodiness, lack of concentration, weight loss, extreme cravings, irritability, getting easily angered, less bloating, and stomach aches.
1. Timing Carb Intake
When you begin a low carb diet one of the most important things that you can do in order to be the most successful is to make sure that you are timing your carb intake wisely. One of the main reasons that a person goes on a low carb diet is to help stabilize blood sugar levels. The best time to consume carbs is either before, during, or after exercising. If you are on a low carb diet you will want to avoid carbs the majority of the time.
However, carb intake before an intense exercise session, an exercise that involves lifting weights, and for programs that last more than two hours can actually be beneficial. In addition, eating carbs before, during or after exercise will not cause an ill effect on blood sugar levels. If you are limiting your carb intake throughout the day, try to eat your highest amount of carbs during these times for the most effective.
2. Body Fat Levels
When going on a low-fat diet it is important to consider your current body fat levels. If you are obese or overweight, you will have more fat to burn. If you have a muffin top or beer belly, all of the fat can be mobilized if you are eating a low carb diet all of the fat can be mobilized. However, if you are male and have body fat that is under 8 percent or if you are female and your body fat is in the low teens, it is likely that you will struggle on a consistently low carb diet.
For those that have a lower amount of body fat, a low carb diet may not be the best option. Since the body has little fat to burn for energy, not eating enough carbs may have a negative effect. However, for those that have excess body fat, low carb is the best option.
3. Avoid Processed Foods
When you are on a low carb diet or any type of diet really, it is important to make sure that you avoid processed foods. Many people who start a low carb diet will quickly turn to eating meal replacement shakes and bars, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream, and other snacks that are low carb, but not very healthy. Many of these items contain ingredients that are unhealthy such as maltitol. In addition, these foods are full of highly processed ingredients and preservatives.
A proper low carb diet should not contain a ton of packaged food. The best way to do a low carb diet is to turn to all-natural foods. Your diet should consist of foods that you know where they come from. Think of lots of fruit and vegetables. If you purchase an item that has a list of ingredients you do not recognize, it is best to get it off of your plate.
4. Carb Loading Days
When you are on a low carb diet you may think that you should avoid carbs completely forever. However, this is not only difficult to do, but it is also not the best way to do a low carb diet. When you deprive your body of carbs for a long time, it can lead to a depletion of glycogen levels in the body. This can cause a decrease in metabolic function.
If you are exercising regularly and losing weight all while avoiding most carbs, it is important to have some days where you choose to eat a few extra carbs. This can help to keep your diet balanced. Once again, it is important to choose good carbs for these days and not highly processed foods. Whole-grain bread and cereals are good choices for days that you are going to increase your carb intake by a bit.
5. Supplement Use
When you start a low carb diet you are going to experience some serious cravings for carbohydrates. There are some supplements available that can help to curb these cravings. Some of these include vanadium and chromium, amino acids, or L-tryptophan. However, it is important to be very careful when you are using supplements on your diet. While there are some supplements that can help to stave off cravings, they should not be your go-to the source of nutrients for long periods of time.
In addition, if you are planning to use supplements on your low carb diet it is very important to make sure that you are getting them from a reputable source as there are many supplements out there that are simply not good for you. You also need to discuss any supplements that you are taking with your doctor to ensure that they are okay for you to take.
6. Be Committed
When you choose to start a low carb diet it is important that you are totally committed to it. As you start the diet you are going to lose weight quite quickly as the body will start to shed the glycogen and the water that the glycogen tends to suck up from the body.
If weight loss is your goal, this diet is going to be great for you during the first couple of weeks. However, after the first few weeks, the weight loss will start to stall. It is during this time that most people decide that the low carb diet does not work and is not worth it. However, it is important to stay committed to the diet as weight loss will continue to be slow and study. When you choose to go on a low carb diet make sure that you are ready to commit to it for the long haul.
7. Prepare for Discomfort
During the first week or two of a low carb diet, you need to prepare yourself for the side effects of cutting down your carb intake. You may find that you do not have as much energy, you feel grumpy, and that your body stops performing the way that you want it to. The reason for this is because when you stop eating carbs your body will start to burn fatty acids for fuel. Going on a strict low carb diet is going to cause a bit of discomfort and you need to prepare yourself for it.
After the first couple of weeks on a low carb diet you will notice that your energy will start coming back. Once again, when you choose to do this type of diet it is important to be committed to it if you really want it to work. The cravings and other symptoms will be hard, but once you get past the initial hurdle you are going to see results and feel better.
When it comes to any type of healthy diet it is important to make sure that you are staying hydrated. When you first start a low carb diet one of the best ways to help with cravings is to make sure that you are drinking enough water. Water can help to stave off cravings. In addition, water is important for beta-oxidation, which is how your body begins burning fat for fuel.
In addition, when you start a low carb diet you are going to lose stored water as your body starts to get rid of carbohydrate stores. This means that you are going to need more water from dietary sources. Avoid drinking anything that has artificial sweeteners or flavors in it. If you are drinking from a bottle or package, make sure that you check the nutrition label. Drinking plain water, bone broth or water with added electrolytes can help you stay hydrated best.
When you begin a low carb diet the drop in vegetable, fruit, grain, and legume consumption can go down, which will decrease the amount of fiber that you are eating. This can result in inadequate antioxidant, phytonutrient, potassium, and vitamin C intake. It is important to make sure that you are eating liberal amounts of leafy greens and other vegetables that do not have a lot of starch. This can help to provide the body with the nutrients that it needs so that you can maintain a healthy low carb diet.
If you choose to eat starchy vegetables such as beets or sweet potatoes, make sure that you time it right and limit the amounts. It is important to find veggies that have high fiber content, but low amounts of carbs. Fiber is important for your digestive health and if you are not getting enough of it you may experience cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive issues.
10. Stay Positive and Don’t Judge
When it comes to choosing a healthy lifestyle and diet there are many options available. Some people choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, which is completely acceptable. While these diets are not low in carbs, they are considered to be rather healthy as well. If you are trying to lose weight low carb or ketogenic diet can be a good option.
The most important thing to remember when you begin this type of lifestyle change is that you should stay positive about your choices and do not judge others for theirs. If you keep a positive mindset while you are embarking on a low carb diet, chances are that you are going to be more successful. In addition, it is important to remember that you are making these choices for yourself and no one else. If you have a day where you go over your limit on your carb intake, simply regroup and move on.