Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Get Started On a Low-carbohydrate Diet

If you read our previous article Is a Low Carb Diet Right for You?, a primer on low carbohydrate dieting, you may feel ready to forget about counting calories and focus instead on counting carbohydrates per day. Here’s how:
  • Get guidance
  • Get inspiration
  • Prepare your fridge
  • Stock up on low-carb recipes

Safe Low-Carb Dieting


Doing a low-carb diet “right” – that is, in a way that is safe and optimizes long-term weight loss potential – requires a proper balance of dietary fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Getting the balance wrong – too few carbohydrates, too much protein, too little dietary fat or the wrong kinds of fats can sabotage your success or worse, lead to health risks. Always discuss any weight loss plan with your doctor before you begin and report any health issues right away.

burning fat
A low-carb diet does not mean cutting out all carbs.
For example, some people might thing that ending their carbohydrate intake completely is a low-carb diet. But, they often cut out all fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds from their diet, opting instead for nothing but bacon cheeseburgers, steak, and hot dogs.

Not only is a zero-carb diet very hard to stick to, it can also be counterproductive, slowing down long-term weight loss while depleting alertness and energy. All the above foods are permissible in the right type and quantity, and at the right phase of the diet.

Another common mistake some low-carb dieters make is to get stuck in the what is called the introductory phase, which is only supposed to last about two weeks. This is a "kick-start" phase and it is valuable for getting your body keto-adapted, which means adjusted to burning fat instead of sugars.This introductory phase is not sustainable in the long run. For one thing, it lacks variety and dieting can become boring and unproductive when there is little variety in the menu.

Inspiration to Stick With It


Any diet change can be difficult to adjust to. To help you maintain a low carbohydrate diet, it helps to have inspirational sources, such as the examples of others who have stuck with the diet and have succeeded in losing weight or meeting other health goals. There are plenty of places you can turn to online for this kind of support. Some of my favorites include:
  • Me and My Diabetes – Both inspiring and educational, this blog shows how low carbohydrate dieting has helped the author overcome many health issue.
  • Timothy Olsen's article on the effectiveness of a low-carb diet for ultra-marathon runner.
  • It's the satiety A successful low-carb dieter discusses weight, health, and satiety as a guiding principle to the diet.
  • Eating Academy: Another successful weight loss individual, focusing on the positive effect of a low-carb diet on athletics/physical performance.
It's also helpful to develop a network of low-carb buddies – people who are doing the same diet and have similar goals. Participating or commenting in discussions on blogs dedicated to low carbohydrate dieting is a great way to build such a network and to get that much-needed inspiration.


Prep Your Fridge 

Prepare your food supply to support a strong start to a low carbohydrate diet. has several lists that can help you determine the best low-carb foods for your lifestyle and health goals. We also cannot stress enough how important your health care professional is as a partner in your weight loss plan. Having a physical prior to beginning a new diet is a great step in helping you decide with diet is right for you.

Here are some of the foods that are either extremely low in carbohydrates or are low enough that you can still achieve a healthy weight loss:
counting calories
Green vegetables and healthy fats are
recommended instead of starchy
carbs and high fat foods.

  • Meats – Proteins usually have no carbohydrate calories on their own. However, if something is breaded or marinated, those extras will add carbohydrates.
  • Healthy fats – Lean cuts of meat are healthier than fatty choices. Also, beware of low-fat dairy products that are sometimes higher in carbohydrates due to added sugars. Full fat cheeses may be better, as long as you have smaller portions. Butter, olive oil, and coconut oil are also good choices.
  • Greens – Any green vegetable is recommended including lettuce, spinach, kale, and green beans.
  • Seeds and nuts – Though not free of carbohydrates, most nuts are low enough in carbs that you can safely enjoy a few handfuls daily. A handful of sunflower seeds or almonds makes a great between-meals snack to keep you feeling satisfied.
  • Fruit – Nearly all fruits are too high in carbohydrates to include on the diet. The exceptions to that include berries, avocado, lemons, and limes.
To get a better handle on what foods with carbohydrates are healthy, WebMd's article about the Glycemic Index can help.

Stock up on low carbohydrate recipes 


There are many low-carb recipe books available as well as recipes for a low carbohydrate lifestyle online. Ready Set Eat has some great low carbohydrate recipes. Remember that variety is the spice of life and of any weight loss plan you want to use. Making sure your refrigerator is stocked with the healthy foods you need and having quick and easy recipes handy will help you be successful

Happy dieting, and feel free to share your recipes and idea about low-carb dieting in the comments.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

1 comment:

  1. Weight loss typically involves the loss of fat, water and muscle. Overweight people, or people suffering from obesity, typically aim to reduce the percentage of body fat. Additionally, as muscle tissue is denser than fat, fat loss results in increased loss of body volume compared with muscle loss. Thanks.