One of the questions I see being asked quite a lot in some of the online health groups is how to cut out carbs. Many health experts are telling us that quitting carbohydrates is beneficial to our health and probably the best way to lose weight
It is for this reason that low carb diets like the keto diet have become very popular in the past few years. But, there’s no doubt that cutting carbs out of our diets can be quite a challenge.
Not everyone can adapt to the ketogenic lifestyle. This diet is very restrictive as it will ideally require you to eat less than 20 grams net carbs to lose weight quickly. If you’re used to eating carbs most of your life, this can be very hard to achieve.
Related reading: 5 Good Keto Diet Tips To Follow Even If You’re Not On Keto
The good news is, you do not need to follow the strict ketogenic diet to benefit from a low carb diet. Just minimize your consumption of carbs and focus on eating high-quality protein and fats. Here’s how to cut out carbs without going full keto.
What Is a Low Carb Diet?
A low carb diet is a type of diet that restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, mainly from bread, grains, and sweetened drinks. The amount of carbs that you’re allowed to consume for a low carb diet varies.
Usually, this can range from 100 net grams to 20 net grams per day. To give you an idea, a small piece of fruit contains about 15 grams of carbs, while a banana can have up to 30 grams of carbs. A Western diet can easily contain 250 grams of carbs or more in a day
On a keto diet, the goal is to eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day to put the body in a state of ketosis. At this state, your body will start burning stored fats for energy, and that’s when you start losing weight.
Related reading: Does a Low Carb Diet Work for Weight Loss?
But, if you find the keto diet very difficult to follow, you can start by limiting your carb consumption to 150 net grams – 100 net grams per day.
When following a low carb diet, you must increase your intake of healthy fats, protein, and low carb vegetables in favor of carbs. That way, you will not feel deprived.
Also, by restricting your carb consumption, you will be able to eliminate many high-calorie foods from your diet. This is what promotes weight loss. According to Albert Matheny of SoHo Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition,
“When you cut carbs, you’re giving up the foods you might be overindulging in, which saves you tons of calories.”
Aside from weight loss, a low-carb diet has also been linked to several health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. It has been found to help improve blood sugar control and minimize the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Related reading: Is the Keto Diet Good for Diabetes?
How To Cut Out Carbs — The Basics
If you want to know how to cut out carbs without going full keto, here are the basics of the low-carb diet that you need to know. Take note that following a low carb diet is all about making the right food choices.
But, your food choices will also depend on some factors, such as how healthy you are, the amount of exercises that you do, and the amount of weight that you want to lose. Here’s a general guideline to help you get started.
Related reading: Best Carbs To Eat For Weight Loss
What To Eat
- Meat – lean meats, such as chicken breast, sirloin, pork, and beef. If possible, choose grass-fed and organic.
- Fish – wild caught salmon, canned light tuna, cod, trout, and other low mercury fish.
You can check your intake of mercury in fish in this calculator.
- Vegetables – leafy greens including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, cabbage, etc.
- Fruits – low sugar fruits including apples, lemons, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, and avocado
- Nuts and seeds – almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.
- High-fat dairy – grass-fed butter, cheese, yogurt, and heavy cream preferably organic
- Eggs – choose pastured/organic eggs
- Fats and oils – olive oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, tallow, and purified fish oil
- Remember, although you’re allowed to eat all the foods stated above, you need to eat them in moderation. Be careful with nuts and cheeses, as it’s so easy to overeat them. Also, avoid eating more than one piece of fruit in a day.
What To Avoid
- Sweetened beverages – fruit juices, soft drinks, and many other drinks that are loaded with sugar.
- Refined grains – barley, rye, wheat, rice, cereal, pasta, and bread.
- Trans fats – avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils
- Highly processed foods – if the food looks like it’s made in a factory, avoid eating it.
- Starchy vegetables – focus on eating leafy greens and minimize starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes
When shopping at a supermarket, always refer to the label to find out the ingredients used for a particular product. If a food product is high in carbs, then it’s best to avoid it.
Tips to Reduce Your Carb Intake
Now that you know what foods to eat and avoid, here are more tips on how to cut out carbs from your diet.
• Stop drinking fruit juices. Even though they claim to have plenty of nutrients, these sweetened beverages are loaded with carbs.
• Always choose low carb foods when snacking. Snacks may have fewer calories than a full meal, but foods like pretzels, crackers, and chips have lots of carbs in them. When you’re feeling hungry in between meals, go for low-carb snacks such as nuts and cheeses.
• Use sugar-free sweeteners in favor of sugar but avoid artificial sweeteners which can increase hunger and cravings. If you’re used to adding sugar to your coffee or tea, try using low carb sweeteners like Stevia, Erythritol, and Xylitol.
• Use almond flour or coconut flour for baking. Almond four is packed with nutrients and is very low in carbs.
• When eating out, order meat or fish-based dishes for your main course. Replace the rice or potatoes with steamed low carb vegetables. Avoid sugary drinks. Ask for some good quality bottled mineral water instead.
Giving up carbs can be difficult for most people. Hopefully, you’ve learned some tips from this article on how to cut out carbs without going full keto. The low-carb diet is basically an eating plan that restricts your consumption of carbs, especially those found in processed foods, sugary foods, bread, and pasta.
Eating lots of high-quality fats, protein, and leafy greens is the secret to preventing hunger on a low carb diet. It can be hard at first, but once your body gets used to eating low carb, it will be easy to stick to the diet.
And once you’re comfortable with limiting your carbs, you can give the keto diet a try, especially if you want quick weight loss, improve your blood sugar level and get many other health benefits from it.