A low carb diet is one of the oldest diets around, many of the food items we consume on a daily basis have a high content of carbohydrates; which are considered to be a root cause of many metabolic diseases attributable to obesity like type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. some researchers specify having a content of carbs that is lower than 25% to be considered a “low carbs diet” and if the carb content is lower than 10% then it is considered to be a “very low carb diet”.
Low carb diets have gained worldwide acceptance and have been used by a lot of people for decades now for their benefits of weight loss, controlling insulin and sugar levels in people with diabetes, it also improves the lipid profile through lowering the LDL cholesterol levels and raising HDL cholesterol and has shown some effects of lowering blood pressure.
Moreover, the quality of the carbs you choose to incorporate into your diet matters more than the amount, if you choose carbohydrates with high fiber content and complex sugars it will give you more health benefits than abstaining from carb intake completely that is why there have been varying types of low carb diets with different restrictions and types of carbs allowed but all under the same concept of lowering the consumption of carbohydrates.
Low carb foods:
One large egg of about 50 grams contains 78 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein.
Eggs are considered to be a breakfast staple that provides you with all nutrients especially high-quality proteins with all of the essential amino acids, that help you stay strong and keeps you full for longer as well as form important hormones and enzymes there are 0% carbohydrates in eggs which makes it an ideal food item for people who want to follow a low carb diet and limit their carb intake, it is also highly packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin B complexes, zinc, calcium.
the only drawback to eggs is that it is high in cholesterol but this type of cholesterol doesn’t increase your cardiovascular disease risk as it has no effect on LDL cholesterol but it actually increases HDL cholesterol levels which is the good protective type. eggs are full of antioxidants like choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are essential for eye and brain health and delay the degeneration that occurs in neurons as a result of the accumulating oxidative damage
Eggs are versatile and can be eaten in many ways it is best eaten hard-boiled whole with both the whites and the yolks, it can also be eaten fried, scrambled, poached, and many more ways that are all equally delicious.
100 grams of eggplant contains about 25 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein
Eggplants or aubergines are nightshade vegetables, they have a very unique texture and hold a lot of flavors if prepared properly, they contain magnesium and niacin and are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanins that protect your body from the accumulated free radical damage they are also high in fiber that helps you control your blood sugar and insulin levels and keep you full for longer which makes it easier for you to lose weight. eggplants also contain a substance called solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides SRG that has cancer-fighting properties
Eggplants are flavor carriers if you add the right types of spices and condiments to them, you can roast them, fry them, stuff them with minced meat or rice, you can turn them into steak with some sauces, or make the famous dip baba ganoush along with some tahini ,lemons and garlic that taste incredible with all sorts of food.
100 grams of chicken contains 239 calories, 14 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of protein
Chicken is by far the best type of protein available from animal sources, chicken breast, in particular, is very low on unhealthy fats and carbohydrates that are usually present in large amounts in red meat, so it can help you lower your blood cholesterol levels and protect you from heart disease, chickens are full of high-quality proteins that help you lose weight and build muscles and the high amount of amino acids help boost your immunity and elevates your mood through enhancing serotonin secretion.
They are also packed with trace elements like selenium which is very important for thyroid health and vitamin B complexes important for nerves, skin health, and DNA synthesis, the phosphorus in chicken also helps you keep strong healthy bones and protects you from osteoporosis as you get older.
Chicken is one of the easiest proteins to work with you can basically roast it, grill it, fry it, make chicken burgers, fajitas, tacos… tons and tons of recipes all equally delicious and nutritious
100 grams of avocado contains 160 calories, 15 grams of fats, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of proteins
Avocados are important popular fruits nowadays all over the world it was mostly eaten by natives in Mexico and the United state in many traditional dishes but now it gained a lot of love and is used by everyone. avocados are rich in vitamins C and vitamin E, vitamin B6 and folate which are essential, especially for pregnant and lactating women it is one of the highest food items with potassium content in them since potassium is very important for a lot of biological functions and isn’t consumed enough it is important to load up on avocados to get enough potassium and protect yourself against strokes and boost your immunity.
Avocados are known to promote colon microbiota activation and increases the level of short-chain fatty acids that help protect the colon from inflammatory diseases and colon cancer the best feature of avocados is their abundant content of high-quality fats, this fat content makes it unique to other types of fruits that are mainly loaded with carbohydrates and what makes it essential for weight loss and heart protection since it lowers the level of LDL cholesterol, it is also packed full of carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Avocados can be made into beautiful smoothies with their creamy texture and can be made into sandwiches with eggs or salmon but the tastiest way and the most popular is turning it into guacamole with some lime, chili, and cilantro to add heat and a zesty flavor to it and really bring out its great flavor and texture.
100 grams of salmon contains 208 calories, 13 grams of fat,0 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein
Almost All types of fish are low on carbs and are full of proteins that support you and supply you with the much-needed amino acid content, salmon, in particular, is one of the most well known fatty fishes that increases your supply of omega 3 fatty acids which help your brain stay young and improve your memory and learning abilities as well as lower your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels to protect your heart and vessels.
Salmon is high in cobalamin and vitamin B6 that boost your energy and optimize neuronal signaling and brain function, as well as potassium that helps you get rid of water retention and lowers your blood pressure and decreases your chances of getting a stroke, and is high in selenium that guards your thyroid against damage by autoimmune antibodies.
Salmon specifically is full of astaxanthin a compound with antioxidant properties that helps you fight free radicals damage and rejuvenate old cells, salmon is one of the best types of food with anti-inflammatory properties that protects you from getting all sorts of cancers, metabolic and joint diseases, and lowers your CRP and IL6 levels in the blood.
Salmon has a beautiful bright color and tastes fatty and satisfying, it can be grilled in a skillet and presented simply with some vegetables and that would do the trick but there are millions of ways to have it like smoked salmon with some cream cheese on a bagel or canned salmon in salads with some mayo and lemon, or putting it in pies for an outstanding main dish on the dinner table.
6) Greek yogurt
100 grams of greek yogurt contains 59 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 3.6 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of protein
Plain greek yogurt is a great food ingredient you can add to your everyday meals to just get some of the many health benefits it harbors. Greek yogurt is normal fermented yogurt but strained so it has a higher content of protein that helps your muscles recover after workouts and increases their bulk, straining also makes it smoother than regular yogurt and that is the cause of its characteristic sour taste. it is best to choose the types that are fat and sugar-free for it to be the healthiest.
It Is rich in vitamins B12, B2, and selenium it is also rich in zinc, calcium, phosphorus that helps you get healthy strong bones, Greek yogurt contains a very high content of probiotics that help your gut increase the amount and diversity of the gut microbiome and protects you against inflammatory bowel diseases, unsweetened Greek yogurt is very low on carbs which makes it ideal for weight loss and controlling your appetite.
You can have it just as is or add some healthy fruits, nuts, seeds on top to make it even healthier, you can use it as a dip, in desserts, in smoothies, or even in making salad dressing.
1 tablespoon of butter 14.2 grams contains 102 calories, 12 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of protein
Butter is a dairy product made from cow’s milk that has been separated from its other components, butter is rich in fat soluble vitamins mainly vitamins A, D , E ,K which play important parts in all body functions and help your blood coagulation cascade, butter has no carb content which makes it ideal for people who want to follow a low carb diet.
The only problem with butter is its fat content it is full of saturated fats that have been blamed for the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases, but if you want a more heart-healthy option you can try margarin which is higher on unsaturated fats that help you control you lipid profile better than butter.
As we all know butter is a great spread on toast in the morning with some sugar-free jam and even better in making delicious heart warming pastries in the winter, so consuming butter in moderation to get some of its benefits and avoid the harmful effects might be the best way to go about this.
100 grams of cauliflower contains 25 calories, 0.3 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of protein
Cauliflower is one of the best types of vegetables that is full of minerals and vitamins it has high vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate content, cauliflower is very high in fiber that is beneficial as it helps reduce gut inflammation and prevent inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis, it also increases the healthy gut bacteria population that helps you fight constipation and helps you form a better stool bulk it also promotes fullness which helps you lose weight and control your cravings.
It is full of antioxidants like glucosinolates, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates that have protective properties against some types of cancer, it is also high in choline that lowers your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimers and since it is a low carb ingredient it has been used as a substitute for high carb grains many people nowadays grate it and use it as rice, making tortillas, or pizza crusts and mashing it instead of mashed potatoes or hummus it can also be eaten in other ways whole, you can grill it, roast it, saute it, add it to salads, make stews with it, and fry it, it is an extremely cheap and healthy vegetable to that should be eaten more often.
High carb foods to avoid:
● Refined grains: wheat, rice, barley, white bread, cereals, pasta…
● Sugary sweets: candy, cakes, cookies, pastries, ice cream…
● Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets…
● Soft drinks: fruit juices, soda, milkshakes…
● Trans fats: hydrogenated oils or saturated fats
● Highly processed food and prepackaged food
Other types of diets that are low carb :
There have been a lot of variations in the types of diets that follow the same concept of lowering carbs consumption and these are some of the most popular ones that are still in use today:
1. The keto diet :
This Diet was first developed to treat children with refractory epilepsy but was then found to have many health benefits if done correctly and has been by far the most popular diet plan with low carb content that thousands of people follow to this day. it depends on lowering the carbohydrate intake so much to get the body to enter a state of natural ketosis where you turn your body into a fat-burning machine and instead of depending on carbohydrates as the main source of fast energy you depend on fat burning which happens more slowly and produces more energy that lasts for longer.
the drop in insulin from the lack of glucose intake also helps the body release more ketone bodies for stable energy production and there are times when you load up on fatty foods and high protein foods to enhance the ketones production that the brain now depends on. this diet is also useful for the prevention of many neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic diseases, as well as enhancing weight loss and getting rid of the visceral fat around the organs which is considered to be one of the main risk factors of developing heart disease and insulin resistance.
This diet can be customized to your preference some people only go keto around workout times and some people alternate throughout the week with some days of keto and normal days with no restrictions but all these don’t really help you stay in a state for natural ketosis so it is best to turn this diet into a lifestyle modification.
2. The Atkins diet :
This Diet doesn’t differ much from the keto diet it follows basically the same principle of depending on low carbohydrate intake and having a higher fat and protein content the difference here is that the Atkins diet has more meal plans available and is way easier to follow as it is split into phases and throughout each phase, you are allowed a certain amount of carbs intake per day and it also specifies the types of foods you can consume during this phase there are mainly 4 phases in the Atkins diet
- The induction phase starts out with a strong prohibition of carbs intake up to 20_25 grams of carbs per day for two whole weeks to help you have a powerful start with easy weight loss
- The balancing phase where you restrict the carbohydrates intake to 25_50 grams per day and have more fatty foods, fruits, and vegetables
- The fine-tuning phase where you consume from 50_80 grams of carbohydrates per day with a wider variety of food reintroduced to your diet
- The maintaining phase where you increase the carbs content to 100 grams per day but not exceed that to help your body stay fit for longer with maintaining the weight you managed to lose throughout the previous phases
3. The Zero Carb diet :
In this type of diet you don’t eat any carbs at all and mostly depend on animal meat, fish, eggs, and animal fats like butter and spices, but this type of diet is generally not safe and can lead to a magnitude of health problems from the lack of the much-needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber
4. The low carb low-fat diet :
This type of diet aims towards having higher-quality foods with as little processing as possible depending mainly on having lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and it is best to keep the carbohydrate content below 100 grams every day but with that many restrictions, not many people manage to stick to it for long periods of time.
5. The Low carb Mediterranean diet :
This diet is the same as the very healthy well known Mediterranean diet but with some restrictions to the foods with high carb content you focus more on having fatty fish, healthy fats, like extra virgin olive oil, and more fruits and vegetables like eggplant and olives. this diet is one of the best ones in preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancers
6. The paleo diet :
This diet isn’t necessarily a low carb diet but the food ingredients that are mainly used in this diet are mostly natural and don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates in them. this diet takes us back to the stone age where the cavemen used to hunt and gather their food from nature like red meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and all these food items are believed to enhance your health and promote weight loss along with lowering the risk of chronic metabolic diseases that are typically associated with the western diet with its high fat and high carb content.