Reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein can accelerate fat loss by controlling your insulin and blood sugar more effectively. Low carb dieting has gained immense popularity the last decade to become one of the most trendy weight loss techniques. However, before attempting this diet, it’s important that you recognize the healthy way to approach a diet that is low in carbohydrates. Listed below are the top five mistakes with a low carb diet.
1. Not eating enough vegetables.
If you don’t feel well on a low carb diet, make sure you’re still eating vegetables. As you can see from our carbohydrates in vegetables chart, most vegetables are low in carbs. Low-carb vegetables include sprouts (beans and alfalfa), lettuce, spinach, kale and bok choy. Few vegetables stand out as being high in carbs. Sweet potatoes and sweet corn are two exceptions. But it’s hard to go wrong eating vegetables on a low-carb diet. They are the foundation of a successful low carb diet. So load up!
2. Not eating enough fiber.
Fiber is a carbohydrate so a common problem on a low-carb diet is failing to consume a sufficient amount of fiber. Fiber is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. There is also evidence that fiber helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Carbohydrates from fiber are traditionally excluded from counting towards a low carb diet. This is because fiber doesn’t raise glucose levels in the blood which is the target avoidance of a low-carb diet. So what foods are high in fiber but low in other carbs? Here are some such low-carb diet friendly foods:
- Flax seeds!!!
- Mustard greens
- Bran cereals
3. Eating too many calories.
While the focus on a low-carb diet is carbs, not calories, it doesn’t mean you have a free pass on watching calorie intake. A common pitfall of low carb dieting is over-eating on foods high in fat but low in carbs. While these foods technically do not violate the parameters of a low carb diet, they can sabotage your weight-loss goals if consumed in excess. Remember, each gram of fat contains nine calories while a gram of carbohydrates or protein contain only four. Since most calories on a low-carb diet come from solely fat and protein, one must caution against overeating fat and ingesting too many calories. Let your common sense be your guide. Stop eating when you are full. Here are some foods low in carbohydrates but high in fat and calories and thus should be eaten in moderation:
- Meat (specifically pork products like sausage)
4. Not exercising.
It is a common mistake to think that exercise is not an element of a low carb diet. But Robert Atkins, the marketing guru behind the low carb dieting fad, viewed exercise as a non-negotiable aspect needed for success on the diet. Aside from the benefits of exercise that are so good for us, a regular fitness routine has also been shown to increase the likelihood that we will keep our weight off. Try to think of exercise as buying an insurance policy that your low-carb dieting efforts will create the real, lasting change you want for your body.
5. Giving up too easily.
Initially, a low carb diet can be very challenging. It means waving goodbye to pasta, potato chips, bread, sports drinks, desserts, rice, waffles, pancakes and other foods we are so fond of. This is not an easy adjustment to make overnight. Understandably, many low carb dieters struggle to adapt to their new food rules. There is also an experience known as “carb crash” that can happen in the first week of a low-carb diet as your body adjusts to its new energy source. Carb crash can be marked by irritability, fatigue, the shakes, and a general feeling of lousiness. Lesser disciplined dieters might decide, “well, this isn’t for me,” during this phase and give up before they’ve barely started. Power through the first week of a low-carb diet by anticipating these woes and having a plan in place for how to deal with them.
Remember, anything worth having is not always easy to get. A fit and lean body is no exception. Low-carb dieting may not always be easy, but it is effective. Stick with it and appreciate how the sacrifices you are making are an investment in looking and feeling better. All of the donuts in the world can’t stack up to that reward.