Low-carb dieting: New Year round-up
Happy New Year! Partying is over now, and it’s time to go back to clean eating and exercising. As expected, I am seeing a spike in visitors to this blog, looking for advice with their New Year resolutions to lose weight.
This is a brief round-up of materials for beginners on this website, especially for these newcomers, and for any returning visitors who are restarting their low-carb diet this January.
Below is a list of questions I usually get asked by low-carb beginners.
Will a low-carb diet help me lose weight?
Yes. If you stick with the guidelines of your chosen low-carb diet, you will lose weight (unless you suffer from any medical conditions that may affect your metabolism – in which case you need to discuss any diet plans with your doctor). Find out why cutting down on carbs leads to weight loss.
Are low-carb diets better than other types of diet?
Low-carb diets have several advantages over low-fat or calorie-restricted diets. One major advantage is the absence of hunger, which makes it much easier to stick with this type of diet. Read my post about why I choose a low-carb lifestyle.
Are low-carb diets dangerous?
No! This is just a myth perpetuated by the media. There is no scientific evidence to prove this opinion. Most people actually experience improvements to their health as a result of a low-carb diet, including better digestion, lower cholesterol levels and more energy. Read more about low-carb diet myths. Have a look also at this round-up of the latest studies to refute common misconceptions about low-carb dieting.
Does low-carb mean eating nothing except meat and eggs?
No – this is another myth. Most low-carb diets (except the initial stage of Dukan which lasts several days) include salad vegetables even during the most restrictive stages of the diet. You might end up eating more vegetables than before!
Are there any downsides to low-carb diets?
You might end up spending more money on food, as proteins and fresh vegetables tend to be more expensive that cheap refined carbs such as pasta and bread. However, it is still possible to do low-carb on a budget, you will just need to be more selective.
Most low-carb diets include a lot of animal proteins and fats, and so would be difficult for vegetarians. However, there are some plans designed specifically with this in mind: The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet.
As with anything else in life, it is important to be sensible. Don’t just go completely cold-turkey and try to cut out all carbs – do some research, pick an established diet plan like Atkins or Dukan, and stick with their guidelines to ensure your weight loss is safe and sensible.
If you have any medical conditions, always discuss any changes in your diet with your doctor first.
Which diet should I choose?
There are many low-carb diet plans – you need to find one that would suit your lifestyle. Have a look through this overview of the most popular low-carb diets. Please also see my recent post on points to consider when choosing low-carb diet.
Is it going to be really difficult to choose the right foods?
No – it is not difficult at all. Low-carb food can be incredibly satisfying and varied. Read our guide to choosing low-carb foods. You will need to educate yourself about carbohydrate content of common foods, and find a carb counter (as a book, app or an online database) to use initially.
But what about foods that are usually high in carbs – like breakfast, desserts and bread?
Breakfast is just another meal – there is no law saying that it must be high in carbs. Have a look at our guide to low-carb breakfast foods.
There are many low-carb substitutes for these foods that are traditionally high in carbs. For example, there are plenty of recipes that use nut-based flours and sugar-free sweeteners to create breads and desserts. Check out this book on low-carb baking.
Will I crave carbs?
I won’t lie to you – yes, it is likely that you will crave sugar and other carbs initially. However, if you stick with it, eventually your body gets used to it and you stop caring about carbs at all. This is one of those situations where it needs to get worse before it can get better. Read this post on coping with sugar cravings.
Do I have to exercise as well?
Although it is possible to lose weight without exercising, it is definitely a good idea to do so. Exercise will speed up your weight loss, not to mention a range of other health benefits. Read our guide on how to start exercising.
How can I stay motivated?
Do I need to take supplements?
It is possible to get all the required nutrients from food alone when on a low-carb diet, however, supplements can help to support and optimise your diet. Diet plans usually come with recommendations on this subject, so check your chosen diet manual on this. Please also read our guide to low-carb diet supplements and have a look in our online shop for targeted low-carb diet supplements.
Ready to give low-carb a try?
Have a look also at this list of all resources for low-carb beginners.
If there are any other questions you have, please post them as a comment below, and I will get the answers added to this page.