Low Carb Diet Basics

There are many variations of low carb diet plans being touted these days, some of them very strict and others more lenient in their requirements, but they all work on the basic concept that eating fewer carbohydrates will result in weight loss and even improved health in many cases.

The information here will provide you with an overview of what to eat and how this way of eating works, guidelines that you can use in selecting the best eating plan for you based on your self-discipline level and on the types of healthier foods you like best.

Making a change in your eating habits to lose weight, become more healthy, and live a better life is a good decision. If you’ve chosen to use a low carbohydrate diet to make those goals a reality, then you’ve picked the easiest, most fulfilling, and most effective solution.  A healthy low carb diet can help reverse type 2 diabetes, build muscle, and promote fat burning while keeping you from feeling deprived and hungry.

What are Carbohydrates?


Scientifically, a carbohydrate is one of the four classes, and the most abundant of bimolecular compounds, consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides and lipids. Carbohydrates transport energy through the blood to the cells.  They play an important part in life for all living creatures.

Even when you eat a low carb diet, it’s important to understand the difference between good carbs and bad carbs.  Good carbs come in the form of plant matter such as vegetables, legumes, low sugar fruit and 100 percent, high-fiber whole grains.  Bad carbs come in the form of white sugar, some grains like white bread, and high sugar fruits.


Net Carbs


Net carbs are the number of grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and therefore are the ones you want to watch.

How many carbs you eat each day depends on your goals, your current weight, and how much fiber you ingest.  You may want to lose weight, maintain your weight, or even gain weight on a low carb diet.  Balancing your carbohydrate intake will control your appetite, improve energy levels, keep you satisfied, and help you avoid overeating.

To figure out how many net carbs you’re eating, simply subtract the fiber grams from the total carbs to get the net carb grams.  This is the number you count.  For example, on the label of a brand of rye bread it says there are 15 grams of total carbohydrates in each serving with 2 grams of dietary fiber. Subtract the fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate to get your effective net carb count (13 per serving).  You can do this for everything you eat that has carbohydrate and fiber in it.  Fiber does not add calories to your diet, nor actual digestible carbs, so in essence they don’t count. (about.com)

Everyone will have a different level of net carbs they can eat that allows them to lose or maintain weight and avoid cravings while keeping energy levels high.  You may need to start with one number, and move to another depending upon your personal experience and reaction.  It’s important when embarking on a healthy low carb diet that you pay close attention to the signs your body gives you.

Most people can get weight loss results by starting at around 60 grams of net carbs per day and moving down to as low as 20.  To maintain or gain weight, they can gradually increase to up to as much as 120 grams of net carbs per day.  Listen to your body to determine the exact right amount for you.

Many people find it too difficult to go as low as 20 grams of carbs a day long-term, but some low carb diet plans do suggest starting at 20 grams per day, then gradually increasing that amount to find your sweet spot.  You’ll find that you experience greater success eating as many healthy carbs as your body allows while still checking cravings, losing or maintaining weight, and having plenty of energy and mental clarity.


Ketones and Ketosis


Ketones are molecules generated during fat metabolism.  Many people who are on low carb diets try to make sure their body is “in ketosis” in order to ensure that they are in fat burning mode.  In reality, what is being excreted when your body is in ketosis is acetone.

There is no reason to put your body into ketosis to lose weight or to be healthy on the low carb diet, and many people prefer to avoid ketosis due to the side effects caused, such as smelly breath, bad body odor, and even worse smelling bowel movements and flatulence that can be produced when on a low carb diet.

On the other hand, some people want to put their body into ketosis in order to lose a lot of weight quickly, or to avoid certain conditions such as some types of epilepsy.  In addition, some people believe that the benefits of a Ketogenic diet – lower blood pressure, balanced cholesterol levels, improved blood sugar levels, increased energy, less joint stiffness and pain, clear mind, weight loss, and better sleep – are worth the issues with bad breath and body odor, which can be overcome.

But, don’t confuse ketosis with a dangerous medical condition called ketoacidosis that many people with type 1 diabetes suffer from.  Being in ketosis due to a low carb diet is very different and is normal for this way of eating.

It will depend on your body and how it reacts to a healthy low carb diet, and on your goals as to whether or not you decide to try to put your body into super fat burning ketosis.  Some people like to and some people prefer not to.  Usually you’ll need to go down below 30 net carbs per day to achieve ketosis.


The Benefits of a Healthy Low Carb Diet


Most people won’t stick to any diet long term without seeing some excellent results.  Luckily, there are many benefits of a healthy low carb diet, as the low carb lifestyle comes with huge results.  You’ll experience less sweet and junk cravings while still enjoying the food on the plan.  There are so many good things about a healthy low carb diet it’s hard to ignore the fact that it works for many people.  With proper planning and dedication it can work for you too.


Experience Effortless Weight Loss


Because you’ll eat a large amount of nutrient dense foods, reducing cravings for foods void of nutrients and thus the possibility of binge eating, you’ll lose weight effortlessly.  You won’t feel hungry, deprived, or left out in social situations.  There will always be good choices available no matter where you eat.


Thrill Your Doctor with Improved Blood Tests


Low carb dieters enjoy improved blood sugar levels and balanced cholesterol numbers; and, as a result, end up taking fewer medications.  Any time you can stop taking medications for preventable diseases then you’re ahead of the game.

When you can reverse food borne illnesses by eating more nutrient dense foods, you’re essentially doubling your money.  First, you avoid overly processed foods, then you avoid medications, and finally, you avoid illness…all of which adds up to a huge savings.


Be Happier Due to an Elevated Mood


Simply eating more nutritious and satisfying foods that keep you from being deprived will help elevate your mood.  Many people report fewer mood swings on a low carb diet.  It’s likely due to not being hungry, losing weight, and feeling healthier, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep.  Deprived people can be moody and unpredictable due to fluctuating blood sugar.  On a healthy low carb diet your blood sugar is more stabilized, thus your moods will be more stable.


Enjoy More Radiant Skin


Eating a diet low in carbs and rich in healthy fats and proteins causes your skin to glow with health.  By eliminating (as much as possible) artificial ingredients, sugar, nutrient void starches, and gut destroying gluten your skin will benefit.  Your skin will be smooth and less puffy due to the anti-inflammatory benefits a low carb diet provides.  You will be feeding the largest organ in your body, your skin, exactly what it needs – like omega-3 fatty acids – to literally glow with health.


Experience Increased Energy Levels


Eating a healthy low carb diet that lowers blood pressure, balances blood sugar levels, and helps you drop excess fluid and weight quickly also improves your night time sleep, which enables you to have more energy throughout the day.  Imagine falling asleep the moment your head hits the pillow, and waking up in the morning feeling well-rested and ready for the day.


Finally Get Rid of Junk Food Cravings


While some people disagree, most food cravings occur due to habit, as well as hunger and inadequate nutrition.  People who are satisfied with their diets don’t get very many inappropriate cravings, and by learning a new way of eating you can develop new healthier habits.

Cravings are also caused by dips and spikes in blood sugar levels.  A healthy low carb diet helps keep your blood sugar level, which helps avoid out of control food cravings.  In addition, there is enough variety in the food allowed on a low carb diet that you can actually healthfully indulge cravings on occasion with healthy substitutes.

Due to all the factors mentioned above, you will benefit from better overall health.  Your need for various medications like antacids, insulin for type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction drugs, and even drugs for pain will diminish the longer you are living a healthy low carb lifestyle.  You can truly be the picture of health inside and out by practicing a healthy low carb way of living.

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