If you want to lose weight fast, a low carb diet might be right for you. For many people, cutting carbs results in fewer hunger pangs, more energy, and a slimmer figure. Could it work for you, too?
Low carb dieting isn’t a magic bullet, and it isn’t right for everyone. But if you’re interested in this diet, there’s never been a better time to try it out than right now. Here’s what you need to know about cutting carbs for fast weight loss.
Are Low Carb Diets Really Effective? Why Do They Work?
Many people report that cutting carbs helps them drop weight and maintain their new figure easily. But why is this?
Satiety plays a big role in the success of reduced-carb dieting. Many carb-heavy foods – think white pasta, white bread, and sugary desserts – are tasty but unsatisfying. Even if you eat a large portion of these foods, you’ll probably feel hungry again an hour or two later. This can lead to overeating and a cycle of carb addiction.
When you cut carbs, you’re forced to replace those foods with more satisfying alternatives. Meat, cheese, oils, and nuts are all more filling than processed carbs. When your diet consists of these foods, you’re less likely to get hungry in between meals, and you’re less prone to overeating.
The mechanism underlying all of this is your blood sugar. Processed carbs cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly and then to crash. That’s why you have an immediate spike of energy after eating a donut, followed by a period of low energy and irritability. Foods that are low in carbs don’t have this effect on your blood sugar, so they help to keep your hunger cues stable.
What Can You Eat on a Low Carb Diet?
At first, cutting carbs might seem to be a restrictive way of eating. But as you get used to following a low carb diet plan, you’ll realize that there are actually plenty of healthy and delicious foods you can eat. Various low carb diets have different guidelines for what you should eat, but in general, foods that are on the menu include:
- Meat of all types, including beef, chicken, fish, and pork.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Healthy oils, such as olive oil.
- Full-fat dairy products.
- Plenty of non-starchy vegetables.
It’s not realistic for most people to cut out carbs entirely, so you’ll probably end up eating a small amount of carbs – between 50 and 150 grams – every day. Vegetables should be one of your main carb sources – it’s hard to eat too many fresh, colorful veggies, even on a carb-restricted diet. You may also be able to fit in moderate amounts of your favorite whole grains – for instance, a small bowl of oatmeal or a small portion of rice.
Is Low Carb Dieting Right for Everyone?
Going low carb is a useful strategy for many people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. People who are very active will probably not be able to get all the energy they need to fuel their workouts on a low carb diet. If you exercise a lot or work a physically demanding job, you should talk to your doctor about how much you can safely restrict your carbohydrate intake.
Some people also simply find that a low carb diet plan doesn’t agree with them. It’s normal to feel sluggish and foggy for a couple of weeks after you start cutting carbs, but if the feeling persists longer than that, it might be that your body simply functions better when you eat more carbs. There’s nothing wrong with quitting a low carb diet if it doesn’t work for you.
Tips for Making Your Low Carb Diet Successful
1. Eat nutrient-dense food.
You’ll feel clearer-headed and more energetic when you avoid processed foods and choose whole, nutrient-dense options instead. Steer clear of packaged food, even if it’s advertised as being low carb.
2. Be mindful of what you eat.
It can take a while to break the carb habit. Try writing down everything you eat for a week or two – by that point, limiting carbs will have become second nature.
3. Structure your carbohydrate intake around your workouts.
Your body needs more carbs when you exercise. Try to eat your carbs for the day either right before or right after your workouts.
4. Keep protein-rich snacks with you.
You’ll be less likely to crave high carb foods when you have some nuts or a cheese stick with you.