Table of contents
- What is a low carb diet?
- How does the low carb diet work?
- Pros and cons of the low carb diet
- What are the benefits of a low carb diet?
- Lose weight with low carb
- Disadvantages of the low carb diet
- Your low carb meal plan
- Which foods are allowed with low carb?
- These foods are allowed on the low-carb diet
- You should avoid these foods on the low-carb diet
- The top 10 low carb diet rules
- Frequently asked questions about the low carb diet
What is a low carb diet?
The concept of the low-carb diet is relatively easy and quick to explain. Low Carb is the English abbreviation for "Low Carbohydrates" and means nothing less than "low carbs“. Anyone who decides on a low-carb diet eats a low-carbohydrate diet and relies primarily on other energy sources such as, for exampleprotein.
Photo: Fertnig / iStock
How does the low carb diet work?
With the low-carb diet, you eat foodas few carbohydrates as possible, i.e. carbs. The carbohydrate content should be around 50 g to 150 g daily.
Photo: Christine Dawczynski
von Dr.Christine Dawczynski
Photo: Christine Dawczynski
"Regardless of whether a lot or little carbohydrates are eaten, an adequate supply of all essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, certain polyunsaturated fatty acids) must be ensured, and there should be as few foods as possible with readily available, simple carbohydrates such as simple sugars and refined starch (white flour), but above allhigh-fiber foods with complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, and whole grains) are consumed."
Head of the study center and the junior research group Nutritional Concepts at the Institute for Nutritional Sciences in Jena
To the expert interview
In a "normal" diet, carbohydrates are usually the main source of energy for the body. Since this source of energy is not available on a low-carb diet, the body has to be provided with energy from other sources. This is what fats and proteins do.
If the body only gets a few carbohydrates over a long period of time, themetabolism to changeand use energy from other food sources. The energy is then no longer obtained from carbohydrates, but from fat. This process is calledKetosis. The generation of energy from fat works as follows: Normally, the carbohydrates supplied are used to generate energy. So the body gets energy from sugar, which is found in the form of glycogen in the energy stores of the muscles and liver.
TheGlycogenthat the body does not use for vital processes or during sporting activity,is stored as fat. However, if you feed the body fewer carbohydrates, the glycogen stores are empty quite quickly. The body then picks upfat sourcesback toprovide energy. Perfect, because that's exactly how we lose weight and annoying fat deposits gradually disappear.
Onetime limitare there for the low-carb diet, by the waynot. Who can handle it well andhas no defects or side effects, who can assume that the body can do without carbohydrates or cope well with the lower intake. If you don't feel good about it, you should increase your carbohydrate intake again.
Pros and cons of the low carb diet
That all sounds promising and like a quick diet success. But as so often, everything has its advantages and disadvantages - including the low-carb diet. If you decide to switch your diet to low carb, you shouldinform beforehandand even consult with your doctor. Becausenot for everyoneis the low intake of carbohydratessuitable. You can find out the advantages and disadvantages of the low-carb diet here.
What are the benefits of a low carb diet?
Probably the biggestAdvantageis that you are on the low carb dietsee results very quickly. In other words: Your efforts will be rewarded quickly and you will be additionally motivated to stick with it and keep going. In the beginning you lose mainly water, but that also helps to lose weight and a defined figure.
Those who are on a low-carb dietnot only lose weight, but also hisfood cravings. These are mainly triggered by carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make insulin levels rise relatively quickly - but then they drop rapidly and then lead to cravings. Gets the body mostlyprotein and fat, he staysBlood sugar level quite lowand that constantly. This avoids food cravings.
Thelow insulin levelsIn addition to avoiding cravings, it has another very interesting advantage: If fewer carbohydrates are consumed, less insulin, i.e. blood sugar, is released and with it theFat breakdown in the body is not disturbed. Because as long as the hormone insulin is present in the blood, no fat can be broken down in the cellsHormone inhibits breakdownand even ensures that thebody builds fat.
Did you also know that a diet low in carbohydrates reduces the level of tryglycerides, i.e. the fat molecules in the blood? This leads to the fact that the blood pressure stabilizes and with it thatrisk of a heart attack is reduced.
Another advantage is that you will often cook at home yourself due to the change in diet. Fresh and little industrially processed food should be served here. Because there is a lot of sugar and starch in heavily processed products - this must be avoided in the low-carb diet. Anyone who cooks fresh then also clearly takesmore vitamins, fiber and mineralsto yourself – healthy is that simple!
Those who opt for the low-carb diet usually want to lose weight or eat healthier. This is perhaps the most important benefit of the low-carb diet. Because low carb onlots of proteinputs in the nutrition plan, you arefull for much longer. Protein is the substance in the body that is digested the slowest. Those who eat a lot of protein are full longer than those who rely on insulin-boosting carbohydrates. The result: you eat less and save calories.
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Lose weight with low carb
thanks to thelong-lasting feeling of satiety and the reduced calorie intakeYou can lose weight with the low-carb diet. Fat loss is boosted thanks to the low insulin release and you lose water retention quickly. This not only changes the number on the scale, but also your appearance. but don't forgetadditionallyfor changing your diet tooTo do sport. This is the only way to lose fat while still staying healthy and strong.
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Disadvantages of the low carb diet
What seems great at the beginning, but eventually comes back to you like a boomerang: the water that is excreted at the beginning initially makes for less weight and a slimmer line. But it comes back as soon as more carbohydrates are eaten again. This is a small disadvantage, but also a natural effect.
ADisadvantagethe low carb diet is also thatlots of animal fats and proteinssuch as meat or eggs. According to researchers, this not only increases the risk of death, butalso harms the environment and animal welfare. If you want to go on a low-carb diet, you should find out how you can consume proteins and fats from non-animal sources.
If the carbohydrate content is only 10 to 20% of the "normal" diet, the following usually occurside effectson:
- bad breath
- Heavy stress on the liver due to high-fat food
- Uric acid production is increased
- Digestive problems, such as constipation
There are people who can do without carbohydrates very well and whose body can cope well with the low-carb diet. Anyone who notices that the body is reacting negatively to the withdrawal should consult a doctor and discuss a nutrition plan with him.
Your low carb meal plan
Nothing can go wrong with this low carb meal plan. We'll tell you exactly what your low-carb day can look like - and above all, damn delicious!
Low carb diet: sample day
Your low-carb day could look like this:
Low carb breakfast
It doesn't always have to be muesli. You can eat these alternatives with your low-carb breakfast.
- Chia Pudding: Refined with almond butter and berries
- Protein shake: best mixed with little sugar and water or almond milk
- Scrambled eggs: With bacon, avocado or vegetables. You can also treat yourself to a slice of delicious low-carb bread.
Low carb lunch
Pasta and Co. are damn delicious - but your low-carb lunch has something to offer too. These are the best low-carb lunch alternatives:
- Mushroom Pan: Mushrooms with creamy sauce and cauliflower or broccoli
- Rump steak: With vegetables such as peppers, spinach or carrots
- Pasta: Konjac or zucchini noodles with cream cheese sauce, shrimp or chicken breast
- Colorful salad with spring onions, feta, cucumber, pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs
Foto: Stockphoto24 / istock
Low carb dinner
Do you love a snack in the evening? Unfortunately, that's difficult with low carb - but don't worry, we've put together delicious low-carb alternatives for you here:
- Low-Carb Bread: Protein bread with grainy cream cheese and vegetables
- Soup: Pumpkin soup with coconut milk
- Frittata: Eggs with spinach, vegetables and mushrooms
You love fruit and sweets as snacks in between? You should avoid that for now. If it has to be fruit then you canFruit varieties with little fructose, i.e. grab a little fructose. These include, for example, kiwis, berries or rhubarb. Avocados are also allowed. Protein shakes (with little sugar), nuts or seeds are also great snacks. Vegetable sticks are also a delicious snack.
You can always go with all your meals and snacksDrink water and unsweetened tea. Diet drinks are allowed from time to time, but should not be drunk every day as they are not really healthy. Protein shakes can also help meet protein needs throughout the day. For the sake of the environment, it is best to grab shakes that are mixed with water or plant-based milk.
Which foods are allowed with low carb?
So that you know exactly which foods you can use to put together your dishes, we have listed for you which foods are permitted and which you should avoid on a low-carb diet. It is important to know that a certain amount of carbohydrates can be integrated into your diet without any problems.If you want to lose weight, you shouldn't consume more than 50 and 100 g of carbohydrates per day. The motto here is: Always check and calculate the nutritional values!
These foods are allowed on the low-carb diet
- Dairy products
- Fruit with little fructose, i.e. fruit sugar (e.g. kiwis or berries)
- Low-carb flour (e.g. almond flour, soy flour or lupine flour)
- Noodle alternatives (e.g. konjac noodles or rice noodles)
- coffee (unsweetened)
- Tea (swan's sleep)
Photo: grandriver / iStock
You should avoid these foods on the low-carb diet
- potato dishes
- Fruit with a lot of fructose (e.g. peaches, grapes or apples)
- ready meals
- Sugary sauces and dressings
- fruit juices
alcohol in the diet
Alcohol contains a lot of sugar and calories. Rum, vodka, gin and whiskey contain 0 g carbohydrates per 44 ml - but only if you enjoy them pure. But of course they still have a lot of calories and alcohol is simply not healthy and unsuitable for a diet.
The top 10 low carb diet rules
If you follow these 10 rules, your low-carb diet will definitely be a success:
- High protein mealsare a must
- Provide your body with healthy foods and pay attention to oneadequate mineral and fiber intake
- Refrain from alcohol
- Sweets and pastries should be taboo
- Provide your body withhealthy fatssuch as B. Omega-3 fatty acids
- Drink at least2 liters of wateror unsweetened tea per day
- High glycemic index carbohydrates such as pasta should be avoided
- Low glycemic index carbohydrates likewhole grain productscan be eaten in small amounts
- Avoid ready mealsand fried foods, as that's where unhealthy trans fats lurk
- Cook fresh at homeand take a good look at what's on your plate
In addition to these tips and information, it is particularly important that youfeel good and do something good for your body. Because in the end, it's not just the weight, the number on the scale or the size of your clothes that matters, but your health and well-being.
Sport can support your body with a prospective weight reduction. Exercise not only boosts your metabolism, but also strengthens your immune system and is good for your cardiovascular system. Did you also know that happy hormones are released during physical activity? Sport in combination with a healthy diet is a real guarantee of success!
Frequently asked questions about the low carb diet
What does low carb diet mean?
"Low Carb" means "few carbohydrates". This diet relies on energy sources that do not consist primarily of carbohydrates, as is generally the case, but rather energy from mainly protein and fat.
How does the low carb diet work?
The low-carb diet relies on a reduced carbohydrate intake. The carbohydrate content is around 50 g to 150 g daily. The metabolism has to change in order to be able to fall back on energy from fats and proteins. This process is called ketosis.
How healthy is the low carb diet?
Thanks to a reduced calorie intake and a long-lasting feeling of satiety, weight gain is achieved quickly. However, attention should be paid to the quality of the fats and proteins supplied. With a very low carbohydrate content, however, side effects such as headaches and fatigue can also occur. Therefore, a low-carb diet plan should be discussed with the doctor. It is very individual how a renunciation of carbohydrates is tolerated.
How Long Should You Be on a Low Carb Diet?
There is no time limit for the low-carb diet. However, a long-term change in diet should be discussed with the doctor. If you don't have any deficiency symptoms, you can assume that the body can cope well with the lower carbohydrate intake. If you don't feel good about it, you should increase your carbohydrate intake again.
How many carbohydrates are allowed on a low-carb diet per day?
Depending on the low-carb form, the carbohydrate content is between 50 g and 150 g per day.
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- Spectrum (2001): "Compact lexicon of biology - ketone bodies", in https://www.pektrum.de/lexikon/biologie-kompakt/ketonkoerper/6343, accessed on August 20, 2020.
- Schmitz, K.(2017): "What does science say about the diet trend", in https://www.pektrum.de/news/das-machen-die-wissenschaft-zur-low-carb-diaet/1438814, accessed on 08/20/2020.