What is a low-carb diet?

What is a low-carb diet?

On average when following a balanced diet we consume between 250-350 grams of carbohydrates each day.  If we want to reduce this and follow a lower carbohydrate diet there are various degrees of carbohydrate intake we can choose.

A low-carb diet is low/lower in carbohydrates, which are primarily found in sugary foods, pasta, potatoes and bread. This means that you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of protein and fats

A reduced carb diet means you’ll be consuming between 125-150g of carbohydrates per day (often suggested by medical practitioners if you are diagnosed as being pre-diabetic). So essentially you can have small amounts of  jumbo oats, pasta and rice providing they are wholegrain and not white or wholegrain/rye bread in small quantities.

A low-carb diet means you’ll be consuming less than 100g of carbs per day, this means you will cut back on all carbohydrates

A very low-carb diet is some times be referred to as a Keto Diet. In actual terms this style of eating means you will consume no more than 20g of carbohydrates per day.  

Following this type of eating style means that you will need to avoid sugars and starches that make up carbohydrates. When you avoid sugar and starches, your blood sugar tends to stabilise and the levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin drop. This helps increases fat burning and makes you feel fuller for longer, which in turn means you are less likely to over eat and therefore lose weight as a result.

What should you eat:

  • Plant-based Cheese, Butter, oils, and vegetables that grow above the ground such as asparagus, courgettes, broccoli, aubergines, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes etc.
  • Protein rich foods such as tempeh, natto, black soy beans, tofu, lupini beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans and chickpeas
  • Make as many of your meals as you can from scratch so that you can moderate what you consume
  • Eat low-carb snacks such as brazil nuts, almonds and macadamia nuts. A few strawberries, raspberries or blueberries are ok as the occasional sweet treat.

What you should avoid:

  • Sugar and starchy foods such as milk chocolate, crisps, refined porridge, cakes, biscuits, bread, pasta, rice, beans, and vegetables that grow in the ground such as potatoes and carrots.
  • Avoid fruits such as bananas, grapes, apples, pears etc
  • Avoid processed foods, margarines, foods sold as low carb alternatives and products stating net carb values as they are rarely what they seem to be

A low carb diet is not suitable for everyone.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, are breast-feeding or taking any medications then you should not adopt this style of eating without first seeking the advice of your GP.

If you have any concerns as to whether this style of eating may conflict with any medical condition you may have then you should seek medical advice prior to changing your eating habits.

You may be able to meet most of your essential nutrient needs on a vegan diet. However, one nutrient you’ll definitely need to supplement is vitamin B12, which is found only in animal foods. Vegans are at very high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency unless they take supplements or consume fortified foods. Failing to supplement with vitamin B12 on a vegan diet can lead to anemia, nerve damage, dementia, and other serious medical problems — some of which may be irreversible. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, you may wish to consider taking a daily supplement - check with your GP first