A low carb diet or low carbohydrate diet has become extremely popular in recent times because it promotes fast weight loss and improves overall health. A low-carb diet plan restricts carbohydrates such as rice, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, pasta, bread, oats, sugary foods, etc and includes protein, fat, low-carb vegetables, etc. The main aim of the low-carb diet is to replace starchy foods with low carb, high-fiber vegetables and lean proteins. Other than weight loss, a low-carb diet also works as a treatment for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
Low-Carb Foods that Are Allowed on the Diet
The list of low-carb foods that you can include in a low carb diet meal plan are as follows:
- Meat: Chicken, Beef, lamb, pork and others.
- Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock, tuna, etc.
- Eggs: Free range or pasteurized eggs enriched in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Vegetables: Spinach, kale, chard, collards, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower.
- Fruits: Apples, peats, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, etc.
- Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and hemp.
- High-fat Dairy: Cheese, butter, yogurt and heavy cream.
- Fats and Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, fish liver oil and lard.
Foods to Avoid in Low-Carb Diet
You should avoid the following foods in low carb diet
- Sugar – Soft drinks, ice cream, fruit juices and many others.
- Gluten Grains: wheat (including breads and pastas), barley, rye, triticale and oats
- Vegetable Oils: Rapeseed oil, Soybean Oil, Sesame oil, Sunflower, Corn oil, Cottonseed oil, Palm oil, Safflower oil and etc
- Artificial Sweeteners: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Neotame, Saccharin, Sucralose and Advantame.
- Diet Products: Dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc
- Highly Processed Foods: The over-grilled vegetables and synthetic drinks (Factory making foods)
Foods to Eat in Moderation in Low Carb Diet
You can eat the following foods in moderation (may be or not based on your health)
- Sweet potatoes
- Lentils and Black Beans
- Dark chocolates
- Dry wines
Drinks Allowed on the Low-Carb Diet
- Tea and coffee without sugar
- Carbonated soda without sweeteners
Seasonings and Flavouring’s allowed in the Low-Carb Diet
- Sea Salt
- Mustard, etc
Healthy Low-Carb Snacks
- Full-fat yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Vegetable sticks
- Fresh fruits
- A handful of nuts
- Cold meat and cheese
Sample Low-Carb Diet Meal Plan and Menu
Following is a sample menu containing all low-carb diet foods. You can always include 2 to 3 low-carb snacks in this menu. Each and every meal strictly supplies less than 50 grams of carbs per day.
Sample Breakfast Menu
- Option 1 – Omelette with peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach, kale, etc prepared in coconut oil or butter
- Option 2 – Scrambled eggs with quinoa
- Option 3 – Fried bacon and eggs
- Option 4 – Boiled eggs and seared asparagus
Sample Lunch Menu
- Option 1 – Full-fat yogurt with strawberries and blueberries topped with coconut flakes and walnuts
- Option 2 – Baked Salmon with a drizzle of olive oil
- Option 3 – Smoothie prepared with coconut milk, almonds, berries and protein powder
- Option 4 – Avocado, chicken and goat cheese salad
Sample Dinner Menu
- Option 1 – Shrimp salad
- Option 2 – Grilled chicken with vegetables
- Option 3 – Meat balls and grilled vegetables
- Option 4 – Lamb chops with herbed butter
How Does a Low-Carb Diet Work?
Most of the health benefits of a low-carb diet are attributed to its capacity to reduce or completely eliminate glucose from the body. Most carb-rich foods such as grains, legumes, fruits, starchy vegetables and sweeteners break down into glucose in the body. The body uses up the readily formed glucose to produce energy.
Once you start following a low-carb diet the body no longer gets the glucose from carbohydrates and as a result it begins to use the stored fats for producing energy which leads to rapid weight loss.
Our body uses glucose and sugar for energy production, but it can store only 24 hours’ worth of glucose in the muscles and liver. So, once the stored glucose runs out and the supply of carbohydrate is low, the body turns to the store of body fat for fuel. A high-protein low-carb diet eliminates almost all sources of glucose and puts the body in a fat-burning mode.