To maintain a healthy diet while going low-carb, it's important to ensure you're getting a healthy amount of all the macro nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs).
We spoke to dietitian Jentty Ngobeni about how one can go about sustaining a low-carb diet.
Ngobeni said a low-carb diet restricts carbohydrates, which are primarily found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. That a low-carb diet means that you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat.
Below are Ngobeni’s tips on how to sustain a low-carb diet.
Eliminate sugar sweetened drinks
Sugar sweetened beverages such as soft and sports drinks are very unhealthy. Reason being they are high in added sugar, which is further linked to an increased resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity when consumed in excess.
Cut back on starch
Bread is a staple food in many diets, and in most instances, it is quite high in carbs and generally low in fibre. This is especially true for white bread made from refined grains, which may negatively impact health and weight. Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, potato chips, porridge, muesli etc.
Choose low carbs snacks
Carbs can add up quickly in snack foods such as chips and crackers and these types of foods are also not very satisfying. Eating a low carb snack that contains protein is the best strategy when hunger strikes between meals. Some of the healthy snacks which contain some proteins include almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cheese, and macadamia nuts.
Eat vegetables instead of potatoes or bread at restaurants
Eating out can be challenging during the initial stage of a low carb diet. Reason being even if one orders the meat or fish with no breading or gravy, you will sometimes receive a starch on the side. Most of the starch might be potatoes, pasta, rice or pap. All kinds of cabbage, asparagus, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes can be eaten which can lead to sustainability of low carb diet.
Replace milk with almonds or coconut milk
Milk is nutritious, but it’s high in carbs because it contains a type of sugar called lactose. A 250 ml glass of full fat or low fat contains about 12 to 15 grams of carbs. Adding a small amount of milk in your coffee or tea is fine, but drinking a glass of milk may end up contributing a lot of carbs.
Eat Healthy high protein foods
Eating a good protein source at every meal can make it easier to cut back on carbs, and it’s particularly important if you’re trying to lose weight. Protein triggers the release of the fullness hormone, reduces hunger, helps fight food cravings and protect muscle mass during weight loss. As a result, make sure to include at least one serving from the list of high protein, low carb foods at each meal such as beef, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, cheese, yoghurt etc.
Prepare foods with healthy fats
Fat replaces some carbs and typically makes up over 50% of energy on a low carb diet. Two of the healthiest choices are virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.