Low carb

Following a low carb diet

What does low carb mean?

There are numerous diets that are described as being low carb. Essentially, they all suggest the same thing – namely, that the amount of high carbohydrate foods that go into a conventional diet are reduced. In practical terms, this means cutting down on starchy foods like bread, pasta or potatoes. However, it will also often mean that simpler carbohydrates in sugars are reduced. Conversely, foods which have a low carb content can be eaten in greater quantities to make up the same – or close – calorie intake of the individual concerned. Some of these diets place a heavy emphasis on upping the amount of protein that is consumed while others focus on higher amounts of fibrous vegetables. Scientific studies have found that following a low carb diet will help with weight loss, but they have few health benefits to offer other than that.

 Will low carb consumption help to lower cholesterol?

The evidence with low carb diets and cholesterol levels is mixed. Some studies have shown that very low carbohydrate intake will assist with lowering LDL cholesterol, but the results of such research are by no means conclusive. Diets which place an emphasis on reducing carbohydrate intake and upping protein correspondingly probably have the least helpful effect in this regard since fatty intake is usually associated with increased levels of cholesterol. That said, overall weight loss can help as part of a more healthy dietary regime.

What low carb foods are good to eat?

There are plenty of low carb foods which are highly nutritious and worth eating whether or not you are trying to lower the amount of carbohydrates you usually consume. Poultry, unbattered fish, shellfish, eggs, nuts and seeds all contain few carbohydrates. Spinach, kale, cabbage, lamb's lettuce, chard and collards are all very healthy foods that you can eat on a low carb diet. Coconut oil, olive oil and rapeseed oil can all be consumed, too. Some fresh fruit is also low in carbohydrates. Apples, blueberries and strawberries are all fine options.

What low carb drinks are there?

Drinking water is the best way of observing a low carb diet from the point of view of fluid intake. Since milk contains carbohydrates, it is best to avoid milkshakes which will also usually contain some sugar, too. When drinking tea or coffee, it is advisable to avoid sweetening them with sugar or honey and to consume it without milk. Fruit juices and smoothies contain similar amounts of sugar as colas, so refrain from those if you want your carbohydrate intake to reduce. Alcoholic drinks - especially sweet ones, like cider – should be avoided, as well.

Can a low carb diet cause depression?

There is no causal link between a low carb diet and depression. Your body can crave carbs when it is deprived of them, which may lead to stress, but no evidence links severe mental health disorders to this sort of diet.

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