As we all know eating fewer carbs can have impressive health benefits but something we didn’t know… eating a low-carb diet doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is base your diet around real foods that are low in carbs to lose weight and improve your diet.
Now you’re probably wondering what low carb options are available? Well to start, eggs and all types of meat are close to zero carbs although you have to balance that with the fat and cholesterol levels in these foods. It is important not to consume too much red meat on a low carb diet, especially processed meats like salami and ham which are known to cause cancer. Balance your plate with plenty of healthy carbs found in fruit and vegetables.
Seafood is also incredibly nutritious and healthy as they are high B12, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids, all nutrients of which many people don’t get enough. Similar to meat, all types of fish and seafood contain next to no carbs. Options like salmon, trout and sardines have almost zero carbs whilst shellfish has 4-5% of carbs. Other good options of seafood on a low carb diet include shrimp, haddock, lobster, herring, tuna, cod, catfish and halibut.
Most vegetables are low in carbs also, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables have particularly low levels, and the majority of their carbs consist of fiber. Broccoli sits at 7%, Tomatoes 4%, Onions 9%, Brussels sprouts 7%, Cauliflower 5%, Kale 10%, Eggplant 6%, Cucumber 4%, Bell peppers 6%, Asparagus 2%, Green beans 7%, Mushrooms 3%. If you’re stuck on any other of your favourite vegetables simply use an online carb calculator.
When it comes to fruits, most tend to be high in carbs compared to vegetables. Depending on how many carbs you are aiming for, you may want to reduce your fruit intake to 1 – 2 pieces per day. Avocados sit on 8.5%, Olives 6%, Strawberries 8%, Grapefruit 11%, Apricots 11%. Other low-carb fruit options include lemons, kiwis, oranges, mulberries and raspberries.
Nuts and seeds are very popular on low-carb diets, as they tend to be low in carbs, but high in fat, fiber, protein and various micronutrients. Almonds sit at 22%, Walnuts 14%, Peanuts 16%, Chia seeds 44%. Other low carb nut and seed options are hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, pistachios, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Dairy is another excellent low carb option, although you need to ensure you read the label and avoid those with added sugar. Cheese sits at 1.3%, Heavy cream 3%, full fat yoghurt 5%, Greek yoghurt 4%.
Fats and oils are acceptable on a low-carb diet however keep in mind to avoid refined vegetable oils like soybean or corn oil as these are very unhealthy when eaten in excess. Butter has zero carbs, as does extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Other options include avocado oil, lard and tallow.
Eating less carbs can have incredible health benefits along side aiding in mass weight loss and it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we all expect it to be. Most low carb foods are healthy, nutritious and incredibly delicious. If you are stuck on where to start try this low carb meal plan to start improving your health.
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In general, a low-carb diet focuses on proteins, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and some nonstarchy vegetables. A low-carb diet generally excludes or limits most grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. Some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
A daily limit of 0.7 to 2 ounces (20 to 60 grams) of carbohydrates is typical with a low-carb diet. These amounts of carbohydrates provide 80 to 240 calories. Some low-carb diets greatly restrict carbs during the initial phase of the diet and then gradually increase the number of allowed carbs.