You can reduce your desire for eating which causes automatic weight loss without having to count calories or your portions. This means that you can eat until you feel full, and still lose weight.
Why you need to reduce your carbohydrates?
Over the past decades, nutritionists have suggested that you should follow a low calorie and low fat diet. The problem is that this kind of diet does not really work. Even if you try to follow it strictly, you will not see serious results. An alternative method that is available for a long time is diet low in carbohydrates. This diet limits the intake of carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch (bread, pasta, etc.) and replaces them with protein and fat.
Research shows that low-carbohydrate diet reduces your appetite and makes you take fewer calories and lose weight, almost without effort, as long as you manage and restrict carbohydrates. In researches that compare low fat and low carbohydrate diets, researchers needed to reduce calories in low fat groups to make the results comparable, but low carbohydrate diets usually gain.
Low carbohydrate diets, however, have benefits beyond weight loss. They reduce blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides. They increase HDL (good cholesterol) and improve LDL (bad cholesterol). Low carbohydrate diets bring about greater weight loss and improve health than a calorie restriction on a low-fat diet and this is a scientifically proven fact.
How do you understand your own carbohydrate needs?
There is no clear definition of a diet low in carbohydrates and what is meant by the term “low”, since the term “low” is subjective and depends on each individual. The optimal amount of intake for each individual depends on age, gender, body composition, activity levels, personal choices, nutritional culture and metabolic health.
People who are physically active and have more muscle mass are allowed to consume higher amounts of carbohydrates than those who make a sedentary life, especially for those who are doing high intensity anaerobic exercise like weights and sprints.
Metabolic health is also a very important factor. When someone acquires metabolic syndrome, becomes obese or acquires type II diabetes, the rules change. If you are in one of these categories you can not consume the same amounts of carbohydrate as those who are healthy. Some scientists refer to these problems as “carbohydrate intolerance”.
Instructions that work for everyone
If you remove unhealthy sources of carbohydrate, flour and additional sweeteners from your diet, then you will be able to find your way to an improved health.
However, in order to be able to have all the metabolic benefits of a low carbohydrate diet, you will need to restrict other sources of carbohydrate. Even if there are no scientific studies fully explaining the right carbohydrate intake for each individual, there are some guidelines that are very effective for everyone.
1) 100-150 gr each day
It is a moderate level of carbohydrate intake. It is suitable for people who are thin, active, they excercise and try to stay healthy and keep their weight. You may lose weight with this carbohydrate intake, but you may need to count the calories you consume and the size of your portions.
Carbohydrates you can consume:
Various pieces of fruit everyday
An amount (not large) of healthy starchy foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and healthy seeds such as rice and oats.
2) 50-100 gr each day
This level of intake is ideal if you want to lose weight effectively and also allow a small amount of carbohydrate intake in your diet. It is also the ideal range of carbohydrate intake to maintain your weight if you have “carbohydrate sensitivity.”
Carbohydrates you can consume:
Maybe 2-3 pieces of fruit every day
Minimum amounts of starchy carbohydrates
3) 20-50 gr each day
This is a level where the metabolic benefits are obvious. This is the best level of intake if you need to lose weight quickly if you have metabolic disorders, if you are obese or have diabetes. When you consume less than 50 gr of carbohydrates per day your body goes into ketosis (burns fat for energy), providing energy to the brain through the ketones (acetoacetate and B-hydroxybutyrate). The more likely it is to lose your appetite to lose weight immediately.
Carbohydrates you can consume:
Many low carbohydrate vegetables
Traces of carbohydrates from other foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds
Remember, however, that a low carbohydrate diet is not a zero-level diet of carbohydrates. There is room for many low carbohydrate vegetables (green vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, cabbage, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, aubergines etc.).
Every person is unique and an effective diet for someone may not be also effective for someone else. You have to experiment and see what works for you. If you have a medical condition then you should talk to your doctor first before making any changes to your diet.
Good and bad carbohydrates
A diet low in carbohydrates is not a diet just for weight loss. It is supposed to improve your overall health. For this reason, it should be based on unprocessed foods and healthy carbohydrate sources. So all low carbohydrate junk foods are bad choices. If you want to improve your health, choose unprocessed foods: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats and full dairy products.
Choose fiber sources of carbohydrates. If you prefer a moderate level of carbohydrate intake, try to choose unprocessed starchy sources such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, rice and other gluten-free seeds.
Additional sweeteners and flour are always bad choices and should be avoided, save in special cases.
Low carbohydrate diets effectively reduce insulin levels in the blood, a hormone that carries glucose from carbohydrates to the cells. One of the functions of insulin is fat storage. Many experts believe that low carbohydrate diets work so effectively in weight loss because they reduce levels of this hormone.
Another thing that insulin does is to tell your kidneys to store sodium. This is why high carbohydrate diets can cause high fluid retention. When you reduce carbohydrate intake, you reduce the insulin secreted by your body and your kidneys begin to remove fluids. It is common to lose plenty of fluids in the early days of a low carbohydrate diet, about 2-5 pounds. Weight loss will slow down after the first 1-2 weeks, but this time fat will come from your fat cells.
One study compared low carbohydrate and low fat diets using DEXA, a kind of high-precision X-ray, to measure body composition. Those who followed a low carbohydrate diet lost significant amounts of body fat and increased their muscle mass.
Research has also shown that low carbohydrate diets are particularly effective in reducing body fat in the abdomen, which is what dangerous fat is associated with many diseases. If you are new to low carbohydrate consumption, you will have to go through an adaptation period where your body should be accustomed to burning body fat instead of carbohydrates. This period is called “low carbohydrate” and usually lasts for a few days. After the end of this initial phase, many say they have more energy than before, without the afternoon energy “cravings” seen in a high carbohydrate diet. But adding more fat and sodium to your diet, you can avoid such situations.
If you want to try it, try first to monitor daily food intake for a few days to get an idea of the amount of carbohydrate you consume. Because fibers do not count on carbohydrates, you can exclude the total grams of fiber you consume from the total carbohydrate you take up. Instead, measure the remaining carbohydrates by removing the fibers.
However, one of the great benefits of a low carbohydrate diet is that it is very simple. Just eat a little protein, healthy fat and vegetables at every meal. He also added a few nuts, seeds and dairy products.