Cutting down carbs or eating fewer carbohydrates are frequent goals during your weight loss journey. It can help you shed those extra pounds. However, it is not only confined to weight loss. There are many more benefits of eating low carbs. Majority of the food products you come across contain simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are harmful, with many of their essential nutrients removed.
Carbohydrates are one of the significant sources of energy. including the right carbohydrates in the prescribed quantity helps maintain a healthy weight. However, whether you’re trying to lose weight or focus on eating healthy, too many carbs can hinder your efforts. But this doesn’t signify eliminating carbs from your diet. Now, what are the suitable carbohydrate sources? What is its significance? Read through to know further how to include fewer carbs and its benefits.
What is the Recommended Amount of Carbs?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65% of your total daily calories. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, you need to eat 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day. People who follow a 1,200 calories diet for weight loss need about 50 per cent of their calories from carbs or 150 grams per day. However, the carbohydrate requirement depends on your age, gender, activity level, metabolism, health, and fitness goals. But regardless of the varying carbohydrates needs, the type of carbs to eat is the same for everyone.
Everyone should aim to eat slow-digesting carbs or the healthy kind. Healthy carbs—complex carbs and dietary fibre— keep you full for longer because they take more time to digest and break down for energy. More digestion time means you’ll spend more energy/calories while burning them. And it would be best if you avoid fast-digesting carbs, which are simple and refined sugars. Refined carbs burn up fast, spiking your blood sugar causing a high risk of diabetes.
Eating Fewer Carbs
Eating fewer carbs refers to reducing the consumption of carbohydrates. Minimal carb consumption involves eating food with low carbohydrate content. It also involves including the recommended amount of complex carbohydrates and refraining from simple carbs. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, skinless poultry, and healthy fats are ideal for eating fewer carbs or a low carb diet. These are rich in protein and low in carbohydrates. A low-carbohydrate diet has moderate protein and healthy fats. It is suitable for your health. It prevents and protects against various health conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, weight gain, etc.
Eating fewer carbs or a low-carb diet is never a no-carb diet.When you completely cut off carbohydrates, you are at risk of nutritional deficiency. It results in the depletion of glycogen stores in your muscles. Glycogen retains water. Thus, resulting in severe dehydration.
Moreover, a sudden cessation of carbs from your diet results in unhealthy weight loss. Ketosis is another adverse effect of a restricted carbohydrate diet. Extreme ketosis is harmful when your body synthesises ketone bodies for energy. It leads to weight loss due to energy released from burning fat instead of glucose. However, extreme stages of ketosis result in bad breath, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and likewise.
Benefits of Eating Fewer Carbs
The biggest reason for the popularity of eating fewer carbs is weight loss. But, the health benefits are not just for slimming down. The following are a few of the numerous health benefits of eating fewer carbs.
Lose Body Weight
A study shows that eating fewer carbs leads to weight loss significantly. A mild change in the number of carbohydrates reduces your body fat essentially. Fruits and non-starchy vegetables have fewer carbohydrates. Moreover, it is high in dietary fibres, which satiate you for a longer duration. Feeling satiated for longer prevents unhealthy binge eating. Furthermore, you might also be able to remove excess fat from your abdomen.
Moreover, most low-carb food has potassium that removes excess body fluid and maintains your body’s fluid balance. Healthy fluid balance makes you feel less stuffy.
Reduce Bad Cholesterol or LDL
Low-Density Lipids are components of unhealthy cholesterol present in the blood. They form cholesterol deposits along the blood vessels to inhibit the smooth blood flow—the accumulation of which results in high blood pressure.
Carbohydrates are one of the significant reasons for LDL. Therefore, a low carb diet reduces LDL. Besides that, a low carb diet has healthy fats. Consequently, it enhances HDL or good cholesterol., HDL cholesterol lowers the risk of heart diseases.
If you can reduce your carbohydrate consumption, you may experience a significant drop in your triglyceride levels. Focusing on your triglyceride level is important because high levels of triglycerides can increase your risk of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.
A low carb diet has high dietary fibres, healthy fats, and proteins. They effectively make you satiated for a longer duration. Thus, it prevents you from overeating. In addition, a study shows that low carb eating plans, which tend to be high in fat and protein, may reduce appetite. The appetite is suppressed because eating low carbs help better control appetite-related hormones.
Research states that fewer carb foods help burn fat and stimulate the breakdown of stored fats as a source of energy. Thus, it controls hunger better without the urge to eat. Moreover, few carbs are equal to a low insulin diet. That means it naturally enhances or maintains insulin levels. Thus, maintaining balanced glucose levels in your body. When you are on a lower carbs diet, your body burns fat for energy.
Moreover, studies show it also regulates insulin levels that help diabetes patients. Exercise or regular workouts are also essential to achieve overall health and a balanced diet. Diet alone may not be effective significantly for long-term effects. However, a well-coordinated, balanced lifestyle modification that includes diet and physical activity helps burn your extra calories and improve overall health.
Ways to Eat Fewer Carbs
Eating fewer carbs does not mean you should refrain from carbohydrates entirely. Complex carbohydrates are nutritious. They take a longer duration to digest, making you feel full and satiated for a more extended period. They have a low glycemic index. The healthiest carbohydrates are unrefined foods. They are high in dietary fibre and low in added sugars. Thus, ideally recommended for use in your diet.
However, check with a dietician before you choose to lower carbs in your diet. The diet plan with fewer carbs may differ from person to person. It depends on your general health, medical history, underlying disease, etc. Moreover, it ensures adequate nutrition alongside achieving a healthy dietary goal.
A more moderate approach — being selective about what kind you eat — helps long-term. Here are the top tips for eating fewer carbs.
Include More Portions of Vegetables in Your Diet
Any vegetable that grows above the ground level has lower carbohydrates. For instance, tomatoes, chilly, leafy vegetables, cauliflowers, bell peppers, etc., are vegetables that grow above the ground and have low carbohydrate content. They have high antioxidants, essential minerals, and vitamins. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralise radical cell injury. Cell injury triggers various disorders, from flu to cancer. Thus, the nutrients combat multiple diseases. It includes diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, and much more. Get your fibre from vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, string beans, cauliflower, onions, peppers, and beets.
Replace Mid Meal Snacks With Fruits
Most fruits may have lower carbohydrates along with high nutrients. For example, apples, citrus fruits, berries, avocados, kiwi, and peaches have fewer carbs. Moreover, they contain natural sugars and do not harm you like refined sugar. However, they are also an excellent source of dietary fibres, essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also help strengthen your immunity.
Moreover, it helps in regulating body weight. Most fruits contain arginine, a compound that helps to burn body fat. For example, a study finds that watermelon has high arginine levels. Moreover, arginine helps in boosting immunity and cardiac functions.
Increase Your Protein Consumption
Including more protein boosts metabolism—healthy metabolism results in less calorie consumption and cravings. For example, a protein-rich breakfast with an omelette and a slice of grilled meat keeps you full until lunch. Thus it enhances your after-meal satiety.
Meat, fish, and eggs are low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Additionally, fatty fish has high omega-three fatty acids effective in combating bad cholesterol and increasing HDL or good cholesterol. Salmon, sardines, prawns, and tuna are examples of fatty fish.
Low Carb Snacks
Nuts are an excellent choice for eating fewer carbs. Moreover, high dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, and manganese in nuts impart multiple health benefits. It includes weight loss and suppressing your hunger pangs. Additionally, they have healthy fats, Omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and low sodium.
Additionally, eating nuts prevents cardiac disease, weight gain, and likewise. Almonds, cashew, walnuts, and popcorns are a few examples.
Avoid Junk and Processed Food
Junk and Processed food have refined flours with high carbohydrates and no nutrients. Additionally, they are high in sodium, unhealthy trans fats, and more. They result in cholesterol, weight gain, and likewise. Thus, resulting in blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Moreover, they induce obesity and toxicity. Processed foods may be appealing to your taste buds. However, they lack essential nutrients that combat and prevent disease.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Water is free of carbs and keeps you full. Therefore, drinking enough water can prevent you from overeating, which helps reduce your carb consumption. Moreover, high water consumption has a vital role in fat breakdown.
Avoid Sugary Drinks and Beverages
Sugary cocktail drinks and juices, soda are high sources of carbs due to their sugar content. Moreover, fruit juice contains less dietary fibre, unlike fruit, besides high fructose. Fructose or fruit sugar is a simple carb. A study states whole fruit is nutritious with fewer carbs compared to fruits. Whole fruit is sweet and contains dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Sugar adds to excess carbohydrates. Honey and stevia are excellent natural sweeteners with fewer carbs. Moreover, stevia has a blood glucose-lowering effect on diabetes.
Eating fewer carbs usually results in weight loss without hunger. For many people, this is enough to reach their goal weight. When you eat carbs, you should opt for higher fibre and complex carbohydrates. Following a lower-carbohydrate diet essentially means you do not eliminate the intake of foods containing carbs. Instead, you increase the amount of protein and fat in your diet. Low-carb diets are different from the keto diet (which eliminates carbs).
There are many compelling reasons to eat fewer carbs. However, every eating plan has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, check with a qualified nutritionist before you make any dietary changes. They can guide you with a customised dietary plan with ways to eat fewer carbs in the best and most sustainable manner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How can I get protein without carbs?
A. You can get protein and no or low carbs from many sources. Animal-based protein sources are rich in protein and high in biological value. Some healthy, high-protein, low-carb foods include salmon, eggs, and Greek yoghurt. For high-protein, low-carb snacks, choose nuts like almonds or seeds like sunflower seeds.
Q. Can I eat popcorn on keto?
A. Yes, you can eat popcorn. It has fewer carbohydrates and low calories. However, ensure it is air-fried, which prevents any oil consumption. Do not add any caramel or sweet topping to the popcorn, as that will give you carbohydrates. Solely, air fried popcorn with a bit of seasoning is allowed. Air-popped popcorn would be the best choice, as it is lower in carbohydrates and calories.
Q. What foods burn abdominal fat?
A. Most fruits and vegetables burn belly fat. Broccoli, bell peppers, avocados, and watermelons are some examples. Most fruits and veggies are good options because they have a high level of antioxidants and dense fibres that help in burning belly fat. In addition, these fruits and vegetables also have high arginine levels, which help in burning belly fat.
Q. Which is worse, sugar or carbs?
A. Sugar is a simple carb and is refined in nature. Refined sugars are worse sugars and have simple carbs. They are the primary cause of weight gain and excess calories resulting in disorders. The calorie count is the same for weight loss, whether from sugars or carbohydrates.
Q. How can overeating one day a week cause weight gain?
A. Overeating once a week can risk gaining weight with digestive problems like bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea, etc. However, it adds an insignificant rise in weight gain for that period. The extra calories from overeating will be stored in the body and result in weight gain. Hence eating should be avoided.
Q. Can you live without carbs?
A. Carbohydrate is the essential energy-giving source. The brain only utilises glucose as its primary food. So, you cannot survive without carbs. It results in dehydration and nutritional deficiency. Thus, resulting in multiple disorders.
Q. What carbs Should I cut out to lose weight?
A. You need to cut out simple carbs, including any food from refined food products and sugars. They are devoid of nutrients and have high calories.
Q. What happens if I eat no carbs for a month?
A. Complete restriction of carbs results in nutritional deficiency and health disorders. It also causes ketosis, which is an unhealthy condition. In addition, it results in headaches, dizziness, fatigue, keto flu and much more.
Q. How can one lose weight without exercise?
A. Reducing the quantity of your food and more water intake may help. However, it is hard to lose weight significantly without exercise. A well-balanced diet with regular exercise helps healthily reduce your weight.
Q. What’s the lowest calorie snack?
A. Most fruits are low in calories. It includes watermelon, berries, lemons, melons, oranges, etc. Seafood, air fried popcorn, and nuts are also good options.