Table Of Contents
The food that we eat essentially has 2 groups of nutrients in it:
- Macronutrients: Comprising of Carbohydrates (or carbs for short), fat and protein. These macronutrients are responsible for providing energy to the body.
- Micronutrients: Comprising of Vitamins and Minerals. These are responsible for the correct functioning of the body organs.
Traditionally, our meals have carbohydrates as the largest component, followed by a moderate level of protein and a very low level of fat.
A low carb diet plan for weight loss flips this notion on its head. It is defined as low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet.
Popular Low-Carb Diets
There are many popular forms of the low carb. Some of the famous ones are:
- Atkins Diet
- Paleo Diet
- Keto Diet
All these forms of low-carb diets follow the same principle:
- Keeping carbohydrate intake to 20g or less daily.
- Eating a moderate amount of protein, not exceeding 1g per kilogram of your weight.
- Eating a high amount of good, plant-based fat.
- Avoiding any food that causes gas and flatulence, like legumes.
- Avoiding food with high carbohydrate content, like grains, cereals, refined flour, starchy vegetables etc.
How does a Low-Carb Diet work?
On a normal diet, carbohydrates supply energy. This happens because of the processes in the body, where the digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose and water.
The glucose is used to fuel the muscles, and the excess water is expelled from the body through the kidneys.
Any excess glucose that cannot be utilized as energy is converted to fat and stored in the body to be used later.
Over time, the fat accumulates in the body, leading to excessive weight gain.
In the low-carb diet, the body is starved of glucose, because there is a very low supply of carbohydrates that can be turned into glucose.
Therefore, the body turns to the next best source of energy, the stored fat.
The stored reserves get depleted very fast, and the body needs more fat to refuel itself.
When the body is deprived of carbohydrates, it turns to fat for energy.
However, to metabolize fat, the body, and specifically, the liver, needs to produce a hormone called as “ketones”.
This process of producing ketones to process the fat and turn it into energy is called “Ketosis”.
To lose weight on a low-carb diet, it is very important for the body to be in a state of ketosis.
The process of ketosis is very sensitive to the number of carbohydrates that is present in the body.
Glucose is the easiest way for the body to fuel itself, and if it finds glucose the body immediately comes out of ketosis and switches to burning carbs for fuel instead of fat.
Therefore, when on a low-carb diet, it is very important to stick to the number of macronutrients prescribed.
How are the results of a Low-Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet is extremely effective for losing weight. Followers are known to lose about 5 kilograms a month, by being just on the diet.
If you add exercise to the equation, the weight loss is much more than that.
The initial 2-3 kilograms is just water weight, which is lost within the first one week of starting the diet.
What to eat on a low-carb diet?
- Vegetables with more water content, like zucchini, bell peppers, cucumber, lettuce and many more. Avoid any vegetable to high starch like potatoes, sweet potatoes, radish etc.
- Any kind of meat.
- Cottage Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Healthy plant-based fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados etc.
- Black coffee or Green Tea
- Multi-Vitamin and calcium supplements.
- Whey Protein/ Casein Protein Shakes
- Sweeteners like Stevia and Erythritol.
What to avoid on a low-carb Diet?
- Any kind of fruit, except berries like blueberry, strawberry etc.
- Grains and Cereals (Rice, Wheat, Millets etc.)
- Refined Flour
Use this link to calculate your macros. There are plenty of support groups and resources such as this one available online that you can use to find recipes and socialize with other followers of the diet.