The low-down on low carbs

What is it?

Starchy and sugary foods are high in carbohydrates. To follow this diet you will need to cut out things like bread, pasta, rice, maize, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, mealies,  onions, sweets, chocolates, pastries, juice, fizzy drinks, fruit, dairy and anything high in either sugar or starch.

What is allowed?

•    Non-starchy vegetables with a high water content like spinach, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, green peppers etc.

•    Meat, poultry, fish, fat free dairy, eggs.

Health risks

There are varying levels of this diet ranging from the virtually no-carb (like the controversial Dr Atkins diet) to many dietician approved milder versions.

The associated health risks with the more extreme forms include:

•    High cholesterol
•    Damage to kidneys
•    Loss of lean muscle mass
•    Dehydration
•    Ketosis

 BUT:

These health risks are mainly associated with diets that are extremely low in carbs and high in high fat proteins. Research has shown that many health benefits, including a lowering of cholesterol and a decrease in heart problems are associated with low-carb diets IF they are low in fat and if they include low GI carbs such as whole grains, beans and pulses and healthy root vegetables. It is also very important to reintroduce fruit and “forbidden” vegetables as well as low fat dairy so that your diet is as balanced as possible.

So what must I do?

Follow a diet that is relatively high in lean protein (including dairy) and make up the rest with carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables and low GI starches.

What diet methods have you tried? Let us know in the box below.
 
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