What are low carb foods? Low carb foods contain fewer carbohydrates with a higher proportion of fat and protein. What does this offer to our health? How do we know if we are getting the right amount of carbohydrates?
What are low carb foods and why we need them for optimal health? According to dieticians, carbohydrates provide our body with glucose for an energy source that our body needs for physical activity. But there are good and bad carbs. And when you overeat bad carbs, your blood sugar level will be negatively affected.
So it’s best to go through a low carb diet and make a good selection of foods that you will eat. Foods with labels of a low-carb diet are often full of sugar content. So how do we know if these products are safe to eat and complement our high protein low carb diet?
Since carbohydrates provide us energy through glucose or sugar, monitoring the amount of carb food sources is the essential thing to do. Remember that one of the reasons for type 2 diabetes is overeating sugar. By having just the right amount of sugar in our body, it will be prevented. Our blood sugar level will stabilize, and the insulin hormone will normalize. Once blood sugar and insulin hormones are at normal levels, your food cravings will be lessened, and you will feel more satiated.
So, what are low carb foods do to our body then? Aside from an energy source food, we can also get some health benefits from low carb foods. But let us check first the nature of carbohydrates as a food source.
Carbohydrates can be found in most of our favorite foods. But not all foods with carbohydrates are healthy. There are also carbs that we need to avoid.
Well for beginners, it will not be easy to cut carbohydrates, especially when you think that it is the source of your energy. But, a low carb diet proves that cutting down carbohydrates in our body will give us strength and other healthful benefits.
Choosing the food sources of carbohydrates that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and some phytonutrients are what we need to stay fit and healthy. You can have these from whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. On the other hand, some carbohydrate food sources that you need to avoid are white bread, pastries, soda and processed or refined foods. These foods contain lots of sugar but less fiber which can interfere with weight loss. Or worse, it can promote risks of diabetes and heart problems.
Healthy options for low carb foods
Think smart and wisely choose when it comes to consuming carbohydrates. When we say that it is better to have complex than simple carbohydrates, we are talking about the digestion process it will take and the context of it. Simple carbs are foods that can be digested easily while complex carbs will take too long to absorb by our body.
Why do simple carbs get easily digested? Simple carbs are made of single sugars that usually used in making candy, soda and syrups. It is also commonly used in processed foods. Simple carbs give a spike in our blood sugar because of the quicker rate of absorption in our body. Unlike complex carbs which have a stable energy food source, simple carbs can also lead one to a higher risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, carbohydrates that are easily digested should not be on your top list when it comes to carb food sources. Complex carbohydrates are far healthier than simple carbs. Then you can start including vegetables, whole grains, some dairy products, eggs and meat to your low carb diet.
What are the benefits of low carb foods
Indeed, foods low in carb can do an excellent job when it comes to health benefits. But, what are the impacts of low carb foods to our body anyway? A low carb food diet should not set aside our carbohydrates intake. The diet only limits and cuts the types of carb food sources to ensure the right amount of glucose in our body. As we are all familiar with carbohydrates, it will make things clearer to know what are low carb foods are healthy.
Carbohydrates provide energy to our muscles. It keeps our body mass and composition to have maximum oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake at the lactate threshold. It is crucial for athletes.
Protein is also an energy source of our body. But certain carbohydrates enable fat metabolism than protein as an energy source.
Little did we know, carbohydrates fuel our brain to do some of its functions like decision-making, memory, and control of our moods. Therefore, what are low carb foods for our brains? According to a study, eating high-carbs breakfast has an excellent effect on decision making compared to high-protein breakfasts. How is this possible? It is because of the increase of dopamine levels during intake of high carbs breakfast. So, carbohydrates are essential for cognitive function as well.
And of course, low carb foods are very famous for many who want to lose weight. A low carb diet is proven to be more effective than most other diets. According to a study, getting into a low carb diet will make your body burn more calories without feeling hungry. It is because of the complex carbohydrates that can sustain energy in your body.
Regular blood sugar and insulin hormone
Sugar is not our enemy in carbohydrates but let’s still consider low carb food for our energy. Then, what are low carb foods for our blood sugar? A low carb diet contains the right amount of sugar, which helps reduce blood sugar up to its average level. It also normalizes insulin hormones which can affect the risk of having type 2 diabetes.
With the low carb diet, sugar cravings will be prevented. Many are struggling with cutting sweet foods in their eating lifestyle. But with a low carb diet, it will lessen your cravings for sugary foods overtime.
Aside from craving sweet foods, what are low carb foods give us? Food that is low carb contains less sugar but the high amount of fibers. In this way, you will have a natural treatment for your indigestion, reflux, and other digestive issues. The changes in your digestion will come forth a few days or over the first week after the starting point of your low carb diet.
At some point, a low carb diet can affect the hormonal balance of our body. Once our body gets enough to sleep, proper rest, and have more energy, it will keep our hormones in balance.
What are low carbohydrate foods to enjoy?
So what are low carb foods that you can relish? To achieve the health benefits of a diet that is low carb, you will need the foods that can give you optimal health. Here is the list of the low carb foods that you can include in your meal plan. Clean your plate and select from these foods and vegetables right away!
Grass-fed or pasture-raised beef is considered a good source of high protein low carb foods. If you are in a low carb diet, choose lean beef for vitamins and minerals. Lean, mean meat like beef has all the essential amino acids. Also, it has vitamin B12 as a critical role in energy production and digestion. Bacon, sausage and other foods with preservatives are not considered low carb foods. Chemicals always consist of artificial sugar that is bad for your body.
What are low carb foods other than meat? Fish and seafood are a good source of low carb with high protein foods. These foods have less cholesterol and saturated fat but deliver omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are essential for cognitive functions.
Another source of functional low carb foods is vegetables. Fiber, antioxidants and vitamins are the nutrients we can get from eating vegetables. But choose non-starchy plants and keep starchy vegetables away from your plate. Starchy vegetables are rich in carbohydrates like carrots, onions, beets, corn and potatoes.
Instead, choose non-starchy vegetables. Cucumber and celery should be your top picks for non-starchy vegetables. Then you can have chickpeas in hummus which can provide protein and B vitamins. Another choice is cauliflower as low carbohydrates which can be a rice substitute if you love to eat white rice.
Tender pasta should not be your reason for eating the regular pasta dishes. You can have a recipe for zucchini pasta, spaghetti or linguine noodles. Zucchini is a low carb vegetable that can be your alternative to regular pasta.
How can you determine fruits that are low in sugar? What are low carb fruits? Low carb fruits are equivalent to foods low in sugar. Fruits like berries, melon, plums and many other fresh fruits contain less sugar. So a low carb diet should include fruits low in sugar.
Of course, fruits are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. For instance, berries have lower sugar content compared to other fruits. It is high in fiber. The most common berries are blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Other fruits, especially when freshly picked, it has low sugar content and high in fiber. Dried or sweetened fruits have rich sugar content and more carbohydrates.
Other than meat, vegetables, fruits and seafood, what are the low carb foods to be on your plate? Well actually, dairy products are not needed to be on your plate. But you can add yogurt and cottage cheese to your meal plan. These are some dairy products that are high in protein and low in carbs. Also, it has calcium content which makes it a good source of probiotics.
Opt for non-flavored yogurts that contain less sugar and carbs. If you want it to be flavored, go for a squeezed lime or toppings of low carb fruits.
Nuts and Seeds
You can also add nuts and seeds to your yogurt. Nuts and seeds are an excellent provider of fiber and protein, making it a low carb foods source. Some nuts like cacao nibs and mixed nuts can be added to your salad for additional sources of energy.
High in protein, low in carbs – this is the best description for eggs. A single egg is packed with 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. Egg whites are the source of low carbs, and the egg yolks contain choline which is needed for your brain development. The cholesterol of an egg has no role in increasing the risk of heart diseases. It has important nutrients like vitamin D, lutein and choline.
What are high carbohydrate foods?
Understanding what are the low carb foods in your diet; it will be easier if you are familiar with high carbs foods. High carb foods are those with added sugar or thickeners that may add unhealthy carbohydrates to your body.
Commercial fruits and fruit juices are giving you artificial sugar and sweeteners, which can spike your blood sugar the moment you consume it. Pre-made condiments and mixes are contributing factors to high carb food sources. Then you can add alcoholic beverages and sodas, which are made up of sugar and carbohydrates.
How to get carbs nutrients without gaining weight?
For starters, you will be confused about what are low carb foods you need to consider as healthy carb sources. So here are some tips on how to get healthy carb nutrients without affecting your weight.
- Starting the day right is the key. Make your breakfast with good carbs like whole grains, cereals or oatmeal. Breakfast with good sources of carbohydrates will start your day with enough energy. Let us not forget the fiber contents for your breakfast.
- Not a fan of rice? Then you can choose whole-grain bread. You can also have pasta made of non-starchy noodles. You can still enjoy bread and pasta as long as it comes in the form of low carb foods and non-starchy noodles.
- We understand your thirst so it will be more refreshing to eat fruits than fruit juices. It contains more fiber and less sugar.
- Potatoes or beans? To break the habit of eating potatoes is hard to do. It is customary that replacements for carbohydrates are potatoes. But it will not harm you if you choose beans. Beans can give you an excellent source of carbohydrates that can be digested slowly.
The art of choosing low carb foods
Carbohydrates have many forms. There are good and bad carbohydrates like cholesterol. Good carbohydrates are those with little or moderate in calories but high in nutrients. Choose high in natural fiber but low in sodium and refined sugar. Keep away refined grains but proper sources of saturated fat. In this way, you can have a low carb food without restraining your will to eat carbohydrates foods.