Low Carb Diet? Is This the Right Diet For Me?
SHIFTING TO A LOW CARB DIET
While you are not literally what you eat, it can't be denied that what you eat does constitute your physical body and have significant effects on your well-being. This is why there are recommended dietary structures with similarly recommended daily nutritional intake amounts, and why specialized and specifically-structured diets and eating plans have been developed to give people an intelligently-considered food plan that makes the most of their consumption. One of these is the Low Carb, High Fat diet.
WHAT IS A LOW CARB HIGH FAT DIET?
This particular diet is exactly as it says on the tin -- a diet that leans on above-ground vegetables, natural fats (like butter), meat, and fish, while largely eschewing (instead of chewing) sugary, starchy foods. This is done in order to stabilize blood sugar levels and trim your insulin levels (since insulin helps the body store fat). This means, however, that those taking high blood pressure medication or medication for type 2 diabetes can't take this diet. Regardless of which category you're in, however, always check with your doctor before starting a new diet.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Let's be upfront about it: there are certainly going to be some side effects, which is to be expected when you change your intake patterns. This isn't that dramatic a shift, but you are nevertheless scaling back on one type of nutrient, which your body will notice (that is after all how it works). You may thus experience withdrawal symptoms as your body starts to crave the missing carbs -- your boy will signal this to you through headaches, dizziness, irritability, and for some people even heart palpitations. This is common, though, to the point of being collectively nicknamed "induction flu". Unless these are experienced in particular severity or last for longer than the usual period of a week (the amount of time your body will take to adjust), these are fine as your body is just reacting to the drop in carbohydrate intake.
Why do these happen? Your formerly-carbohydrate-rich diet caused your body to retain a considerable amount of water, so dropping the former causes your body to stop retaining the latter. Your body will adapt, functioning without the retained water and burning more fat. The level of sugar in your blood will also stabilize in time, and your body will eventually stop feeling these side effects.
You can make it easier on yourself by keeping your fluid intake high to offset the drop in retained water. Your body's increased hydration needs can be met with some intake of fluid and a slight, temporary uptick in salt intake: do this through including broth or bouillon with every meal. You can phase this out over time as your body adjusts to the diet.
WHAT CAN I EAT UNDER THIS DIET?
The name of the diet spells it out, with one type of nutrient being cut down or avoided. The rest of the nutrient board is available to you, however, and can more than suffice.
Prioritize the following foods.
Whatever meat you eat will likely be almost entirely free of carbohydrates, as meat is almost entirely protein and fat. Unlike fish, the fat in meat isn't especially good for you but will be helpful in imparting flavor. The low-carb high-fat diet allows you to follow your comfort level on that.
The fat in fish is generally good for you, as the omega-3 fatty acids provide a wide range of benefits including boosting heart health and fighting inflammation. Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines are good choices and can be prepared a number of ways as well.
These are good sources of protein, and versatile enough to be good eats in any number of preparations. Fried, poached, boiled -- you have a ton of options. Organic is a plus but not a must.
While this cuts out things like potatoes and other tasty options, you've got quite the plant pantry available still: asparagus, brussels sprouts, cucumber (and thus pickles), avocado, lettuce, asparagus, red/green/yellow peppers, green beans, cauliflower, and more. Note that some vegetables bring carbs to the party, so keep the intake of those lower than the others.
WHAT SHOULD I SKIP?
As the name of the diet suggests only carbohydrate-rich foods are really affected by the intake shift.
This sounds like a no-brainer, and it is, to a certain extent. Sugar is carbohydrates plain and simple, but there are many foods that are heavily sugar-based and sugar-loaded that will also have to go. This includes most dessert, breakfast cereals, juices, sodas, and candy. A little sugar goes a long way, especially in terms of getting you hooked!
Whole grains, bread, and pasta are under this category and are generally cut out. You can make an exception for beans and root vegetables since those bring minerals and other healthy bits in addition to the cabs they carry unless you're absolutely keeping a low carb count.
These aren't called "nature's candy" for fun. These are quite carbohydrate-rich, in addition to having various vitamins; the latter is your real reason for eating fruits, but the former means you'll mostly have to limit your intake to small amounts of berries.
Beer is made through the feeding of yeast with various sugars and hops, and so beer is basically liquid bread. That means it's out of the question under the terms of this diet. Sorry!