If you’re weighing your weight loss options, here’s what you should know when it comes to cutting carbs in your diet.
Q: I’m desperate to lose some weight, and I hear a low carb diet can be a quick way to do it. Is a low carb diet a good choice for weight loss?
A: Low carb diets have become the celebrity of the weight loss world. These restrictive weight loss plans are often in the news and have become a popular mainstream choice. Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of a low carb diet these days? Studies come and go comparing low carb diets to other popular weight loss diets (including the most recent study comparing low carb and low fat diets), keeping these diets at the forefront of health news. While some studies have indicated isolated potential benefits, if you’re weighing your weight loss options, here’s what you should know when it comes to cutting carbs in your diet:
- Cut the RIGHT carbs, not all carbs. Focus on reducing simple carbohydrates such as refined bread and pasta and sweets instead of all carbohydrates. By eliminating all carbohydrate-rich foods from your diet, you are also eliminating good sources of fiber (proven to be beneficial for weight loss and management), found in whole grains, fruits, beans and legumes, as well as important nutrients.
- Everything in moderation, even carbs. Carbohydrates are vital for the body to create energy. If you think the 3pm slump is tough to get through now, just wait until you starve your body of carbohydrates! While some limited research has indicated that a lower carbohydrate diet (<35% calories from carbohydrates) can result in greater weight and fat loss than reducing just fat and calories, this does not mean eliminating carbohydrates completely from your diet.
- Focus on the big picture. A healthy diet is about more than just one component. Make your goal to eat nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and whole grains in smaller portions while also getting the recommended amount of activity each day. This strategy can naturally help you stick to recommended calorie goals while boosting your nutrition, health and energy.
- Look at the long term. A restrictive diet such as a low carb plan can be a popular choice for weight loss because of relatively quick results. The question to ask is how sustainable the plan is for you and your lifestyle. No one wants to work for weight loss just to watch the scale creep back up after ending a diet. Talk about frustrating! On the other hand, incorporating small healthful lifestyle changes can result in long-term success and renewed self-confidence.
With these thoughts in mind, if you are trying to limit your carbohydrate intake as part of a low carb diet for weight loss or other health reasons such as diabetes, a dietitian can help guide you on creating and maintaining a healthy eating plan. Finding the best choices for you requires personalization. When eating out, opt for dietitian-recommended choices with available nutrition information like these to help you make the best choice for your healthy lifestyle:
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How Dietitians Order a Skinny Taco If you are trying to limit your carbohydrate intake as part of a low carb diet for weight loss or other health reasons, a dietitian can help guide you on creating and maintaining a healthy eating plan.