Low carb for beginners: 11 tips for a successful start

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Low carb is one of the diets that is often associated with rapid weight loss. For beginners, it can be challenging to follow all the rules that this diet suggests. What needs to be taken into account if you want to eat this way? What can be eaten and what not? Our tips will help you get started.

What is low carb ?

Low carb¬†is a¬†form of nutrition¬†in which the intake of carbohydrates (or ‚Äúcarbs‚ÄĚ for¬†short¬†)¬†is¬†reduced. The idea behind this is the following: The body first accesses carbohydrate stores to generate energy and only uses the fat reserves when these stores are empty. In addition, carbohydrates – especially simple sugars – lead to the release of the hormone insulin and put a strain on blood sugar metabolism. With¬†low carb,¬†fewer carbohydrates are supplied to you from the start. This means that fats are used more quickly for energy production and the blood sugar metabolism is put under less strain. This can help you¬†lose weight.

The German Society for Nutrition recommends a carbohydrate content of over 50 percent for a balanced diet. With low carb , on the other hand, the proportion is usually only a maximum of 30 percent. Instead, more protein and healthy fats are eaten. By the way, there are different forms of low-carbohydrate diets. The Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet  and the Paleo diet  are also included. There are also different assessments of what risks the different variants of the low-carb diet  pose.

Particularly critical were e.g. B. Low carb diets  are assessed, which replace carbohydrates predominantly with animal foods, such as meat.

How do I start low carb ?

Tip 1: Start by replacing one meal per day

  • Don’t start too ambitiously and limit yourself to one meal a day.
  • Basically, it is recommended, especially for¬†low-carb¬†beginners, not to be too economical with carbohydrates in the morning. The body needs energy for the day.
  • When it comes to a warm main meal, you can reduce carbohydrates, for example, by eating less pasta and more vegetables or side dishes.

Tip 2: For a healthy breakfast

A low-carb muesli made from nuts, seeds, seasonal fruit and milk, yoghurt or plant-based milk provides you with everything you need.

Tip 3: For a healthy lunch or dinner

Soups, omelettes, oven-baked vegetables or vegetable meatballs. A tip for pasta fans: There are delicious alternatives, for example pea, vegetable or lentil pasta. Just try what you like.

Tip 4: The snack tip

If you feel hungry every now and then, a nut and seed mixture is a good recommendation.

What does low carb diet mean? There is currently no

clear definition of low carb diets. The daily carbohydrate intake is usually 50 to 150 grams, with the Atkins diet it is an average of 20 to 60 grams, and with the ketogenic diet it is sometimes only 50 grams . In general, you should use little simple sugars such as sugar and white flour and prefer whole grain products, as they consist of more complex carbohydrates.

These tips also make it easier for low-carb beginners to get started

Tip 5: Drink a lot

You should drink at least 1.5 to two liters throughout the day. Calorie-free drinks such as still water and unsweetened tea are particularly recommended. You should eliminate soft drinks and alcohol from your diet with this diet.

Tip 6: Avoid finished products

They contain many unfavorable substances, including sugar

Tip 7: Eat regularly and listen to your stomach

  • Don’t skip a meal: two to three are recommended. Try to eat snacks infrequently and feel full: only eat when you are really hungry and stop when you are full.
  • Also pay attention to variety: If you eat a balanced and varied diet, you will provide your body with all the important nutrients.

Tip 8: Do something good for yourself

During this time of adjustment, relax consciously and get enough sleep.

Tip 9: Find fellow campaigners

Maybe your best friend or partner would like to join in? Together it will be easier.

Tip 10: Low carb foods are not necessary

For example, in supermarkets you can buy protein bread and other products labeled ‚Äú¬†low carb¬†‚ÄĚ. These products often not only contain more protein, but also more energy overall.

Tip 11: Go for whole grains

If you are new to low carb eating, prefer the whole grain version of bread and pasta. This way, pasta can keep its place on the menu. Just reduce the portion size and choose more vegetables or protein sources.

Start with low carb and get full

When it comes to a new diet, most people initially fear that they will have to do without and overcome themselves. Changing your diet often opens up completely new perspectives and new tastes. So what can you eat when it says ‚Äúreduce carbs‚ÄĚ? And what does this mean exactly?

Reduce carbohydrates

Eating and drinking fewer carbohydrates is the focus of the¬†low-carb¬†diet. How much is ‚Äúless‚ÄĚ? A good rule of thumb for this diet is a maximum of 150 grams of carbohydrates per day. Even though all carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules, the type of carbohydrate is crucial. A distinction is made between

  • Simple sugars (monosaccharides)
  • Disaccharides and
  • Multiple sugars (oligosaccharides)

Simple sugars are called that because they only consist of one molecule (mainly glucose or fructose). The body can utilize them quickly. They are found in glucose and fruit.
Disaccharides consist of two simple sugars. Example: Table sugar is made up of glucose and fructose.

Monosugars and disaccharides are also known as short-chain or simple carbohydrates. They are found in fruit, dairy products, sweets, pastries and table sugar. They fill you up quickly and provide energy shortly after eating – but only for a short time.

Prefer complex carbohydrates

Multiple sugars are long chains made up of many sugar molecules. They are also called long-chain or complex carbohydrates. Before the body can use them, it has to break them down. It takes longer to feel full and blood sugar levels rise more slowly. However, the saturation lasts longer. Multiple sugars include starch and fiber.

Long-chain carbohydrates can be found, for example, in 

  • whole grain products,¬†
  • legumes,¬†
  • Vegetables,¬†
  • Nuts (they contain few carbohydrates, with the exception of cashew nuts) and¬†
  • Oatmeal.¬†

Vegetables that are particularly low in carbohydrates include: 

  • Cauliflower,¬†
  • Broccoli,¬†
  • cucumbers,¬†
  • Spinach,¬†
  • Asparagus,¬†
  • Zucchini,¬†
  • Avocados and¬†
  • Salad.¬†

Mushrooms are also low in carbohydrates and are suitable low carb foods . However, parsnips, sweet potatoes and sweet corn are not recommended for a low-carb diet Рthey are quite rich in carbohydrates.

Eat fewer simple carbohydrates

Foods made from complex carbohydrates are recommended for any diet, as they usually provide your body with important fiber, minerals, secondary plant substances and vitamins. You can safely omit or greatly reduce simple carbohydrates. These include white flour products, sweets, light pasta, bread and table sugar, but also soft drinks and other drinks rich in sugar.

Whole grain products are the better choice for this diet. Fruit in small quantities is okay Рalthough it is a simple carbohydrate, it is valuable because of its vitamin content. You should reduce or omit dried fruit for low carb because it contains more sugar.

By the way, you don’t have to go without cakes or pastries¬†even if you follow a¬†low-carb¬†diet. Use almond or coconut flour for this. You can replace the sugar with fruit (e.g. apples) or alternatives such as xylitol.e.g. B.¬†apples) or alternatives such as xylitol.

Harness the power of proteins

They play a main role in the low-carb diet. Proteins or proteins saturate you without affecting your blood sugar level. They are important, among other things, for cell structure, the immune system and muscle building. The body cannot produce some protein components itself, so they are essential and must be consumed with food.

Fish, meat, eggs and dairy products in particular contain plenty of protein. 

People who live vegetarian or vegan lives can also get enough of it, because legumes (e.g. peas, beans, lentils), for example, are rich in proteins. Although this is not utilized as well from plants as from animal products, it can be improved through the right combination of plant protein sources (e.g. beans and corn). When it comes to yogurt, you can pay attention to unsweetened varieties.e.g. B. Peas, beans, lentils) are rich in proteins. Although this is not utilized as well from plants as from animal products, it can be improved through the right combination of plant protein sources ( e.g. beans and corn). When it comes to yogurt, you can pay attention to unsweetened varieties.

The proportion of proteins can¬†be 30 percent with a¬†low-carb¬†diet. However, it shouldn’t be more than that because it could put strain on the kidneys. This means: 1.5 to two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight should not be exceeded.

Don’t be afraid of fat

Do you want to lose weight with¬†low carb¬†and think that losing weight also means reducing fat? That doesn’t apply here. This diet is actually quite high in fat. With¬†low carb,¬†around 30 to 35 percent of the food you eat every day should¬†consist of fats. However, the focus is on¬†healthy fats¬†.

Foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are ideal. These include cold-pressed vegetable oils (e.g. linseed, rapeseed, walnut oil), fish, nuts and avocados. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very important. They occur, for example, in rapeseed and olive oil. Saturated fatty acids, which are found in butter, meat and sausage, for example, should only be used sparingly.e.g. B. linseed, rapeseed, walnut oil), fish, nuts and avocados. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very important. They occur, for example, in rapeseed and olive oil. Saturated fatty acids, which are found in butter, meat and sausage, for example, should only be used sparingly.

Drink a lot

Water should be your constant companion when you start a low carb diet. It helps combat feelings of hunger, contains no calories, and can even help your body burn calories. It should be at least 1.5 to two liters. If you lack flavor, you can add some lemon juice. Unsweetened herbal teas are also suitable as healthy low-carb drinks .

Fruit juice drinks, on the other hand, are not recommended. However, you can occasionally use vegetable juice. Carrot juice, for example, contains few carbohydrates. However, you should avoid alcoholic drinks if possible. Firstly, some varieties also contain carbohydrates and secondly, alcohol is quite high in calories.

Conclusion for a successful start as a low carb beginner

If you gradually introduce the low-carb diet and start, for example, with one meal per day, it will be easier for you to get started. For example, you can reduce carbohydrates at dinner. Important: Low carb does not mean that you completely avoid carbohydrates. 

Simple carbohydrates in particular should be avoided, but you can use the complex ones – reduced, of course – so that your body receives enough fiber and nutrients. For pasta dishes, simply reduce the amount of pasta and use more vegetables. Also pay attention to a higher intake of proteins and use healthy fats.

Last but not least: don’t expect miracles. In principle,¬†low carb¬†is suitable for losing weight, but it takes time. Moderate¬†exercise¬†helps with this. In any case, it is important that you feel comfortable with your diet.

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