How to follow a low carb diet
the smart way
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
If you want to follow a low carb diet, there are better ways than others. There are potential health benefits to a low or lower cab diet such as reduction of weight if obese or overweight and improvements in control in type two diabetes. The key to any successful diet is the ability to sustain it and one way is by giving your body the right type of low carb foods to promote health.
Research has shown that simply by including more healthful foods like vegetables in a meal there is an immediate mood lift. The same mood lift can be seen in seafood due to a matrix of health benefits for both your mind and body. This includes the essential fat called omega-3 fat which is an essential fat your brain needs to function. It promotes many health benefits including lifting your mood. Positive mental feedback from the foods you are eating is one factor which can promote ongoing success and adherence to a lower-carb diet.
The opposite could be said for a low carb diet which consists of more highly processed foods like bacon, sausages, and salami. These foods have a negative effect on your health and there are no safe levels of consumption to protect you from cancers like colorectal cancer.
Here are some easy swaps to create a healthier low carb diet:
Swap Coconut oil for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter and increases your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Extra virgin olive oil has the opposite effect and improves the health of your heart by increasing your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and reducing your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Swap Bacon for Seafood
Swap saturated fat, excess salt and cancer forming nitrates found in bacon for heart-healthy omega-3 fat found in Safcol Seafood. Try Safcol Premium Salmon Smoked 95g on toast in the morning instead of bacon. The protein content in smoked salmon at 13.6g is much better than bacon with 5.6g in two rashers of streaky bacon. More protein will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer as well as help you to maintain your lean muscle mass.
Cream for Avocado
Swap another highly saturated food for a healthy gut loving fruit. Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fat which promotes the health of your heart. Also, vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant and supports the health of your skin. Avocados are also a good source of fibre with ½ an avocado giving you 6.7g to support a healthy gut. Your gut is linked to your brain through your gut-brain axis. If your gut is unhappy so are you.
Gold star low carb foods to include in your day and week are:
- Eggs: You can enjoy up to three eggs which include the yolk every day unless you have been diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease. With these conditions, it is recommended you have no more than 6 eggs over a whole week. 2 eggs is a serve of lean meat alternative.
- Nuts: Lower carbohydrate nuts are macadamias, almonds, cashews, and walnuts. 30g a day is a heart and body-loving habit to create for yourself.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. These are full of fibre, unsaturated fats and antioxidants to keep your body feeling its best. A serve of a lean meat alternative is the same as nuts at 30g.
- Prebiotic foods which feed the good bacteria in your gut. Two serves are recommended each day. Try kimchi, unsweetened Greek yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, natto and tempeh which are all low carb.
- Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan and swiss. 40g of hard cheese counts as one dairy serving.
- Non-starchy vegetables.
- Low carbohydrate fruit like blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, lemon, lime, olives, raspberries, coconut, and strawberries.
Take home message
Most diets out there can have a healthier version and a not so healthy alternative. Opt for the type which will leave your body feeling healthy and help you to maintain your diet and health for the long term.