What are the benefits of a low carb diet?
For almost a decade now, low-carb diets have been all the rave. But, are there really health benefits to be had from one of these diets?
But, before we jump into the details, let’s define what a carbohydrate is.
Carbohydrates are sugars, starches and dietary fibers found most commonly in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk-based products. Believe it or not, carbohydrates are one of the basic food groups and are important (in moderation) to maintain a healthy life.
The unavoidable truth is most things we eat have some amount of carbs in it. So, completely eliminating carbs from your diet will be impossible. It isn’t carbohydrates that are “bad” for you per se, it is the amount that we consume on a daily basis and from the processed foods that can take a toll on your health – and your waistline.
When you eat more sugar than what you consume, your body stores it in the liver. And, as your sugar reserves continue to grow (without being burned off), that stored sugar eventually becomes deep, visceral fat. This is the kind of fat that is both hard to lose and can be harmful to your health. Reducing your carbohydrate intake is one way you can avoid fat from being produced. But, also getting in a regular dose of exercise or living an active lifestyle can ensure that you’re constantly burning through your carbs each day.
Are low-carb diets safe?
As with any diet, you want to be sure to check with your physician to ensure you are getting the right nutrients for your health profile. If you are prediabetic or diabetic, eating low-carb foods can be a great way to naturally manage your blood sugar levels. The key with this is to make sure whatever diet you choose is tailored to your dietary needs.
But, here are 3 scientifically-proven benefits that low-carb diets can provide.
1. Better Weight Management
Recent studies have shown that low carb diets can help you regulate your weight by reducing the amount of excess sugars you have in your bloodstream. There is no guarantee of how much weight you can lose, but low-carb diets, especially full of low-calorie foods can be a great way to shed those extra pounds.
2. Lower Your Blood Sugar Level
With low-carb foods, less sugar is put into your bloodstream, ultimately lowering your fasting glucose levels. If you have prediabetes or diabetes, this can be an all-natural way to improve your blood sugar score without insulin injections. Not to mention, low-carb foods, like bean pastas can be just as delicious as sugar-packed foods.
3. Improved Heart Health
Not only can eating foods low in carbs help to drop that stubborn weight, but doing so puts less strain on your cardiovascular system. And, low-carb diets are known to lower your cholesterol levels, keeping your arteries clear of plaque formation, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease.
What kind of foods can I eat on a low-carb diet?
Here’s a list (though not an exhaustive one, by any means):
The key is that the foods should be unprocessed.
- Meat: organic and grass-fed is preferred.
- Fish: Wild-caught fish is best over farm raised.
- Eggs: Preferably those that are omega-3-enriched or pastured.
- Vegetables: any raw vegetables or steamed will work well.
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
- Nuts and seeds: take your pick - but remember moderation is everything!
- Fats and oils: Unsaturated fats such as coconut oil and olive oil.
BONUS: You can still eat pasta on a low-carb diet, especially pasta that has low net carbs like LIVIVA’s Bean and Shirataki Pasta. As with anything, you don’t want to over do it, but you can eat great foods, even on a low-carb diet!