Eating foods that are low in carbs or almost zero carb have become increasingly popular due their benefits especially with regards to weight loss. Many people have lost some weight following a low carb or no carb diet commonly known as ketogenic diet. These foods are sometimes all mixed up together and it is important to know their differences and how they can impact on your health.
Low Carb Foods
Low carb foods are foods that contain fewer carbohydrates. It is common knowledge that carbohydrates or carbs are broken down to simple sugars in the body which when in excess, can result to overweight, obesity, rapid increase in blood sugar or type 2 diabetes and heart related issues like high blood pressure. Consuming low carb foods have helped many people lose weight or achieve their body or health goals. These foods actually contain carbs but in few amounts.
Ketogenic experts recommend not more than 100g of carbs per day in food consumption. This implies that you have to choose and eat foods with low amount of carbs so as not to exceed the recommended amount. Many of these foods are rich in protein, fats and oils, as well as fiber which makes you feel full and curtail hunger. They are also made up of vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals so, you do not have the need to consume fruits that are high in fructose or sugar to get some essential nutrients.
A gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, a gram has protein has equally 4 calories while a gram of fat has more than twice the amount of protein and carbs at 9 calories.
Examples of foods very low in carbs include
- Fish like salmon and tuna
- Meat like chicken, lamb, veal or pork.
- Nuts and Seeds such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pecan nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Fruits such as apples, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peach and cantaloupe among others
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, Brussels sprout and Kale.
- Oils such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil (though high in saturated fat).
There are two kinds of carbohydrates. Simple and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are largely whole grain foods. These foods are rich in fiber and other antioxidants because they are consumed with the bran which has been removed from refined grains. They take time to breakdown and do not rapidly increase blood sugar. They are suitable for consumption in low carb diets in moderate amounts. Examples of these foods include oats, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat among others.
Supplying the body with fewer carbs has proven to promote weight loss, prevent or manage obesity and high blood pressure.
No Carb Foods
No carb foods are foods that contain zero or negligibly minute amount of carbohydrates. A no carb diet is one that contains less than 30g of carbs per day.
Foods that contain extremely low to zero carbs include
- Chicken Breast
Although consuming fewer carbs have shown positive results in terms of weight loss, absolutely no carb is an extreme measure that can have health consequences. This is because the body needs at least some amount of carbs for energy and functioning of the entire body systems. Completely taking out carbs from your diet can lead to low sugar which is equally dangerous, fatigue, weakness and many other negative effects which might not even be known. The best thing to do is to consult your doctor before you make any significant diet change. This is safer because it will provide you with knowledge on what you need to get, limit or avoid and if the diet change is going to be for a short time or a long time and the right way to balance your body nutrient needs. Even the amount of carbs in a daily low carb diet depends on your body tolerance.
No carb diet can really be challenging to keep up with. Apart from having fewer choices or options, the foods do not contain all the nutrients required by the body so you definitely will have to find a way to supplement the deficiencies. All the classes of foods or nutrients have roles to play in the building and development of the body. Ensure that your diet choices do not starve your body of important essential nutrients.