However for many, it can serve as a great approach for cleaning up poor dietary habits that one might be having trouble trying to shake. Many people report being able to control their appetite once they eliminate or reduce foods that promote sharp spikes and falls in their blood sugar. When your blood sugar bounces up and down, so does your appetite. I can't think of a time that I gave up on an attempt to lose weight because I was always full. Lower carb diets simply work...
Though I have to admit, I have been guilty of quite a few of them myself. It's just part of how learning through trial and error works.
Now that you're back, lets recap on part of what you just read: According to the USDA, based on a 2,000 calorie diet, the average person should be getting in approximately 60% of their calories from carbohydrates. I'll do the math for you...
Thats a whopping 300g! When you take, for example, my intake ranging anywhere from 50- 150g per day, yeah it's considered low carb in comparison. So keep in mind, when I say 'low carb', it all depends on what each individual's definition of that is. There is no one size fits all number of carbs for everyone and the balance that works for you is something that only you can figure out.
1. They eat plenty of dietary fat.
Eggs with the yolks cooked in rendered bacon fat? Check! Butter and heavy cream in your coffee? Fill 'er up. Avocados, coconut oil and nuts? You're doing it right. You're not afraid to eat fat. Those who still fear fats, especially while taking on a low carb diet, are going to burn out. Quickly. The body can use two types of food immediately for energy. Those two foods come from carbohydrates and fat. If you take away both of those, then all you're left with is protein. While protein is a tasty and important nutrient, it's a very inefficient source of fuel. Meaning, the body has to do a lot of work to convert it before it can use it. This isn't a bad thing in itself, unless it's the only food you're trying to feed your body by limiting fat along with carbs. Make sure you're eating plenty of fat, otherwise it might be best not to attempt a low carb approach at all.
2. They decrease their carb intake slowly.
This one is as important as increasing your fat and isn't practiced often enough in my opinion. When I first decided to decrease my carbs, I started by dropping to 100g per day. I remember how hard it still hit me when the carb flu set in. Luckily it didn't last more than 3 days and wasn't all that bad... once it was over of course! In my observations, the slower you decrease carbs, the less intense a potential carb flu is going to be and I would say that I can attest to that. Second, some people experience signs and symptoms of a compromised thyroid; extreme fatigue, cold hands and feet, hair loss. While this is still being studied, there is reason to believe that a sudden reduction of carbs may be to blame. At any rate, reduce your carbs slowly, pay attention for any adverse reactions and adjust accordingly.
3.They eventually add carbs back in.
Eventually you can, and should, reintroduce carbs back into your diet. Even the late Dr. Atkins didn't recommend staying in the induction phase of 20 net carbs or less beyond 2 weeks. There were exceptions of course, but the over all goal was to increase carbs by 5g per week (in the forms of starchy tubers, veggies, fruit, etc) until you reached an amount that was appropriate for you and your goals. That initial weight loss is incredibly motivating, but don't get trapped into thinking that remaining at that low of a carb intake for a long period of time is the ultimate solution. The only exception here are those in a ketogenic state, which is much more complex than simply limiting carbohydrates. The goal is to reset your relationship with carbs and reintroduce the healthy ones. Carbohydrates have a place on everyones plate when they are from the proper sources.
4.They avoid low carb products.
Like. The. Plague. Products labeled "low carb", "sugar free" and even "no sugar added" are rarely coming from 100% natural sources. I believe the biggest reason one should avoid low carb alternative products is because it's more often than not just replacing one bad habit with another. Ouch! Yeah, I know. It stung a little when someone called me out on it too. I remember eating so many sugar free candies and regretting it with every upset stomach and horrific gas it gave me, that I believe could truly wake the dead, only to go back for more. Again and again. While "Paleo" by definition isn't carb specific, keeping real food principals in mind is really important here. Instead, now when I want something sweet, I have it. In the form of fruit and Paleo baked goods sweetened with things like maple syrup, honey and molasses. Mother nature gave us some delectable, all natural sweets for us to enjoy on occasion. I don't believe there is anything man-made that can beat what our wonderful earth has to offer.
5.They continue to keep an open mind.
Last but not least, remain open to the idea that we still don't know everything there is to know. While we have come a long way since believing the world to be flat, there is still plenty left to explore, study and learn. Be open to new theories, stay curious and continue to ask questions. Being flexible will allow you to tweak your routine here and there until you find what works for you. Sometimes, the hardest part is admitting when it doesn't.. and yes, I know that one from personal experience as well.
Were there any other healthy habits you can think of that didn't make the list? Lets chat about it below in the comments!