Low carbohydrate diets go in and out of popularity in the fad diet world but recently they have received renewed attention for their role in helping to control blood sugar and diabetes. They are one of the most controversial topics related to nutrition for diabetics and even for weight loss for non-diabetics because they are in contrast to the recommendations made by most major medical organizations. So what exactly is a low carbohydrate diet. Well there is no exact agreed upon number of carbohydrates that defines a low carb diet but usually it means consuming less than 150 grams per day. There are different low carbohydrate diets and they vary. For example, some like the Atkins Diet start with an initial phase of very low carbohydrate intake while eventually adding more as the weeks progress. The diets usually focus on foods high in protein like meats, poultry, eggs, fish and will minimize foods like pasta, bread, potatoes, beans and dairy. Following a low carb diet will result in weight loss, mostly because people who follow them eat fewer calories. In the short term, they typically lead to rapid initial weight loss which many people find very encouraging. However, in the long run, following such diets results in the same weight loss as following a Mediterranean or vegan diet. The down side is that many people find low carbohydrate diets very restrictive and difficult to stick to. Some report experiencing constipation from not consuming enough fiber, and others report headaches and fatigue. Most of these complaints can be resolved by modifying the diet slightly by including a small amount of whole grains. In addition, people who are active will often find a low carbohydrate diet difficult to follow because carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for exercise. Whether you follow a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or vegetarian it is important to make sure you lose weight by consuming less calories, exercising and finding a diet you can stick to.
A sample One Day Menu for a low carbohydrate diet:
3 egg omelet with spinach and mushroom
One slice cantaloupe
Spinach or dark green salad with tuna and walnuts
Grilled Chicken and broccoli