Low Carbs Getting You Down

I've been asked many questions about low carb diets. Do I recommend them? How much carb is low carb? Will it help me?

There are many factors to consider such as: what you currently eat, and your medical history, lifestyle, nutrition knowledge and food likes or dislikes. I would normally need to consult with a client one-on-one to recommend a specific amount of carbohydrate, but it is common that I recommend people reduce their intake.

It might sound obvious, but to reduce carbs you need to know what foods contain them. Breads, cereals, pasta and rice. Simple right? ...well there is also potatoes, legumes, and anything made with flour like crackers, cake and pastries....then there are the dairy products that contain lactose like milk & yoghurt.....oh and anything sweet like honey, most fruits, lollies, chocolate, soft drink and ice-cream. The list is long, and it can take time to find out where all the carbs are.

In my experience with individual clients, I find that a lower carb style of eating suits some people, but not all. The clincher is usually food likes and dislikes. Due to the large variety of foods which are avoided, low carb eating can end up feeling like a diet which doesn't end well for most people. It seems most effective when fruit and sweets are not high on their list of must have foods. 

Assuming low carb is your preference, you need to be sure that you are replacing carbohydrate with healthy fats and the right amount of protein, not just avoiding carbs. By replacing the carbs with fats you avoid double dipping - eating too much fat and carbohydrate together. Things like pizza, cake, creamy pasta and ice-cream are examples of high fat, high carb meals that are easy to over consume.  On the other hand, creating a lower carb meal with adequate fat and protein can help to prevent overeating. With lower carb meals it is generally easier to eat until you are satisfied, not until you are stuffed.

If your body gets the right balance of nutrition, you are more likely to feel satisfied on less, which has the advantage of keeping health problems at bay and maintaining a healthy weight.