The low carb way of eating has been around for decades. While it did have a shaky and controversial beginning, it has already gained mainstream acceptance. And if you are unfamiliar with this kind of lifestyle, then this article is for you. Here are the things that you need to know about this kind of diet, including the types of low carb diets.
The Basic Principles of a Low Carb Way of Eating
Like all types of diets, the low carb way of eating relies on a set of principles to help guide those who wish to observe such a lifestyle.
Low Carbs, Moderate Proteins, High Fat
As a matter of rule, the diet should have low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of proteins, and high levels of fats. As to the exact number of grams or ounces that one has to adhere to, everything depends on the type that one will use.
Fats for Carbs
One principle in low-carb diets is to substitute carbohydrate-rich foods for food items that are rich in healthy fats. For example, one can include eggs, meats, seafood, and cheese in the diet instead of bread, candies, juices, pasta, and rice.
Types of Low Carb Diets
The low carb way of eating focuses on reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed. The next most logical question will be, how low can you go when it comes to carbohydrate intake? Unfortunately, the amount of carbs you can take depends on the type of diet that you are going to observe.
Low Carb Diet
The maximum amount of carbohydrates that you can consume in a typical low carb diet is 150 grams. Most diet practitioners categorize this diet plan into three groups.
The first group aims for 100-150 grams of carbohydrates per day. It is ideal for the maintenance of ideal body weight. It also works for people who engage in high intensity exercises.
The second group targets to consume anywhere between 50 and 100 grams of carbs per day. This is ideal for maintaining weight or for a more gradual loss of weight.
The third group are those who will consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is for those who need to lose weight fast.
The main goal of this low carb diet is to induce a metabolic process called ketosis. As such, in addition to low carbohydrate intake, one has to consume larger amounts of both protein and fat. In strict ketotic diets, the individual does not consume more than 20 grams of carbs per day. On the average, however, carbs are limited to about 50 grams per day.
LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat)
The focus here is on whole and unprocessed foods. These can include lean meats, healthy fats, nuts, berries, eggs, seafood, dairy products, and vegetables. The calories consumed per day can be as low as 20 grams or as high as 100 grams.
One of the most popular types of low carb diets is the Atkins diet. It is a 4-phase diet plan that starts with a 2-week consumption of less than 20 grams of carbs per day. As you progress with the diet, you begin introducing other carbs. Upon reaching the weight goal, additional carbs are added to slow down the weight loss process.
Very few people observe the Zero-Carb diet, if any. This means the complete elimination of all food items that contains carbohydrates. Since most of these foods are vegetables and fruits, this type of low carb diet can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Is Low Carb Diet for Everyone?
People with diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure should never go on a low-carb diet. Too much fat can complicate heart and blood vessel diseases. Excessive proteins can overburden the kidneys. Low-carb diets can also lead to ketosis and produce keto breath. For those with gout, too much protein can lead to flare-ups.
Observing a low-carb diet can be a great way to lose weight. It can also help address a few other health problems. But this is a way of eating that is not for everyone. It is best to talk to your physician if going on a low carb diet is going to be good for you or not.