Low Carbohydrate Foods

by Michela DiTocco

There are many different ways and new diet trends for losing body-weight; most of the time they expect you to eat unrealistic foods or meals that don’t fit into your daily lifestyle. A safer and more natural way to lose that unwanted body-weight is to consume foods in your everyday diet which are low in carbohydrates, and avoid those nasty processed junk foods that claim to be healthy for you. Foods that are considered a low carbohydrate option are generally more nutrient-dense and help to satisfy your cravings, while providing fewer calories.
Firstly, let’s explore carbohydrates, how they affect the body, and their role in weight gain. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates (which are bad for you), and complex carbohydrates (which are good for you). Simple carbohydrates tend to raise your insulin and blood-sugar levels, which consequently leads to weight gain. Complex carbohydrates gradually raise your insulin and blood sugar levels over time, allowing you to feel fuller; they are generally lower in sugar and calories. The basic rule to maintain or lose weight is the ‘calories in vs. calories out’ balance. The fewer calories you consume and the more calories you expend (burn off through exercise), the more weight loss you can achieve. An energy imbalance (more in than out), can lead to obesity. You may think, as with some of the diets out there, that completely carbohydrate-free diets are the way to go for fast weight loss; however, there are many associated side-effects linked to such eating plans, and the negative effect they can have on your body can be long-term.
An important fact to remember is that by consuming simple carbohydrate foods (which are normally sweet and processed), there is a rapid rise in insulin released by the body. This in turn increases your body’s hunger cravings and consequently causes you to eat more food (i.e. more calories), and the vicious cycle continues. One way to break this cycle is to reduce your body’s insulin levels, by reducing simple (bad) carbohydrate intake, or switching to low-carbohydrate alternatives.  This thereby allows the insulin levels to not peak (you will also feel more full), and causes a consequent increase in levels of glucagon (a hormone that stimulates the burning of fat).
Overall, the best option is to opt for healthy and non-processed carbohydrates that are full of nutrients and low in calories. It is easy to include many of the foods from the list below into your everyday diet and watch the weight drop off, feel your energy levels improve, and have a feeling of satiety for longer.  A great way for you to make sure you are on the right track is to discuss this weekly in your mobile personal training sessions.

Examples of Low-Carbohydrate Foods

Vegetables: Carrots, Broccoli, Green beans, Snow peas, Green leafy vegetables, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Squash, Fennel, Celeriac, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Peppers, Eggplant, Radishes, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Onions, Leeks, Spring onions, Celery, Pumpkin, Avocado, Brussels sprout,

Dairy: Milk (low fat), Yoghurts/cheese (without whey), Grains/cereals, Oatmeal, Brown rice
Lentils: Barley, Beans (kidney/chick peas/butter)
Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Cantaloupe, Tomatoes

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