Want to lose weight? Avoid these foods.

Are you lacking the practical knowledge of the foods that are sabotaging your weight loss efforts? If you are serious about shedding the flab without feeling deprived or hungry or if you are tired of feeling tired all the time then this is the post to read to get you motivated and started on the path to better health.

help on scaleFirst, let me  summarise the researched and documented  benefits of going low carb:

  • Weight loss (for most people it is far more effective than a high carb/low-fat approach)
  • Cravings for sweets practically disappear
  • Control over compulsive or emotional eating
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Less dental plaque and improved gum health
  • Improved triglycerides
  • Reduced blood glucose and insulin levels

Carbohydrates 101

The carbohydrates we eat (whether it is a slice of whole-grain bread, a chocolate bar or piece of fruit)  are broken down  into simple sugars by your body and are absorbed into the bloodstream. As your blood sugar levels rise , the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Now, the key to weight loss is controlling the amount of insulin in your blood. The more insulin, the more fat that will be stored in your cells.

In a nutshell – the more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugar goes and the more insulin there is going to be floating around depositing fat into your cells.

Each of us has a different level of carbohydrate tolerance. Some people can eat carbs and sugar all day long with no negative effects. Others, like diabetics, who have poor glucose and insulin control mechanisms, need to avoid sugar  and high carbohydrate foods at all costs. Then there are people like me (and maybe you) who fall somewhere in-between.

If you are overweight – the chances are you are carb intolerant (resistant)  and struggle to metabolize carbohydrates. Please don’t think that you can just follow a low carb diet until you have lost your extra weight and then start eating “normally” again. You need a mindset change and a new “normal”. Low carb eating needs to become your way of life otherwise within a few weeks or months you will put back all the weight you have lost.

For those of us with Carbohydrate Resistance, our metabolism is the problem
and if we want to do the best for our bodies, then we have to change forever the
nature of the foods that we eat.”
Professor Tim Noakes

Here is a list of foods that I avoid to maintain a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss purposes as well as to control my blood sugar.  If you are very active or not terribly overweight then you wouldn’t have to be as restrictive.

High carb foods I avoid eating:

  • sugar
  • breakfast cereals
  • bread
  • crackers
  • pasta
  • pizza
  • rice
  • couscous
  • quinoa
  • beans
  • cakes, biscuits, pastries, rusks etc
  • desserts containing sugar, e.g ice-cream
  • sweets
  • white and milk chocolate
  • sweetened and low-fat dairy products, e.g  fruit yoghurt
  • most fruits (I stick to berries which are low in sugar)
  • fruit juice
  • starchy vegetables, e..g  butternut, carrots, mielies (corn) and potatoes
  • peanuts and cashew nuts as they are high in carbs

So what do I eat?
Well quite a lot actually!

  • full fat dairy products, e.g. milk, Greek yoghurt, cheese and cream
  • berries and the occasional apple
  • animal protein, e.g., eggs, meat, chicken, fish, pork, lamb
  • low carb veggies, e..g, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, peppers, spinach, gem squash, broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes, eggplant, cabbage, brussel sprouts, pak choy, green beans, mushrooms etc.
  • fresh herbs
  • avocados
  • olives
  • healthy fats, e.g olive oil, coconut oil, butter
  • nuts, e.g., macadamia and almonds which are low in carbs
  • dark chocolate in moderation (70% plus)
  • stevia or xylitol

How do I measure my daily carbs?

You need to experiment and find your “magic carb number” that will help you to achieve your health goals and lose weight. I have discovered a wonderful website called www.MyFitnessPal.com. It is an on-line food diary and it allows me to track what I have eaten that day and then it tells me how many grams of carbs, fat and protein I have consumed. It has taken all the guess-work out of it for me. “Estimating” was getting me nowhere and I was actually eating way more carbs than I thought!  Hence why I wasn’t losing weight. Below I have shared my own personal goals but please remember these are MY goals and you need to figure out what will work best for YOU).

  • Carbs  – 30 to 50 grams per day (10%)
  • Protein – 70 to 90 grams per day (20%)
  • Fat  – 90 to 110 grams per day  – Yip, most of my calories are from fat – shock, horror, gasp! (70%)

If your initial chosen level of carbs doesn’t result in weight loss, then keep reducing the carbs and upping the fat until the weight starts to come off. Don’t increase the protein amount as too much protein will also be broken down into glucose in the body and can spike your insulin.

I hope you have found this post helpful in terms of what foods to avoid and how to get started on a low carb eating plan. All you need is information, a real desire to change and discipline. I can honestly tell you – it is going to be easier than you think.

For further reading, check out Prof Tim Noakes article on Carbohydrates.

I also found the book The New Atkins Diet for the New You by Dr Westman, Dr Phinney and Dr Volek particularly useful.

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About Nicky Perks

Passionately sharing information about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb lifestyle that will rock your world! I am on my own journey to good health and a slim body. My goal? To enjoy the ride as life on this beautiful planet is just too short to do it any other way.

Posted on April 23, 2013, in Primal 101 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Good article, need to try and cut out some of those carbs. How bad is sushi ?

    • Good question about the sushi. I went to look on MyFitnessPal.com. It seems like sushi is quite high in carbs. Probably due to the sticky rice (which has some sugar in it). So 8 California rolls has about 55 grams of carbs; 6 spicy tuna rolls = 26 grams of carbs; 8 rainbow rolls = 67 grams and 6 salmon maki rolls – 19 grams of carbs.

      I love sushi but keep it as a special treat and it is probably best to stick with Sashimi and keep the rice to a minimum.

  2. Hi Nicky

    Great to find another Primal Disciple! This lifestyle has revolutionized my life completely. I’ve lost 20 kilos, gone from pre-diabetic to normal, reduced my blood pressure medication by half, reduced my bad cholesterol and triglycerides whilst increasing my good cholesterol, and have never felt better. I still take statin drugs for my hypercholesterolaemia but may find the courage one day to ditch these. This is the only “diet” that I have been able to sustain my weight loss. Keep up the good work of getting this revolutionary message out there!
    Grant

    • Hi Grant,
      Well done. That is such awesome news. It is always fantastic when I hear about other people who believe in this way of eating. Share my blog address please and let’s get this message out there together.

  3. I’m not seeing much about onions and am wondering if these are ok.

  4. Hi Nicky,
    I hope this page is still active…
    Weird question but I noticed you said that you eat gem squash.It is my favourite and I consider it to be a low cab veg but like you I like to keep track of my daily intake of fitday. The problem is I can’t find any information about the carb count or even the calories in a gem squash. Can you help?

  5. How many grams of Xylitol is permitted per day?
    Thanks

    • Hi Ester, xylitol isn’t absorbed by the body so one doesn’t have to factor in the carb grams from xylitol. Some people get an upset tummy when they have too much xylitol. Ideally one wants to wean off all sweet tastes so as to train your body not to expect the sweetness. So my advice is to not have too much xylitol. A couple of teaspoons a day in tea/coffee should be fine.

  6. Hi, when you count the protein grams do you weigh the meat
    cooked or uncooked?

    • I think it is usually a cooked weight. Easier to work out when dishing out your food to weigh it then. Usually I just “eye ball” it though and try and ensure that my protein portion is roughly the size and thickness of my palm (no fingers). I am over weighing my food. Reminds me too much of my Weigh-Less days.

  7. Don, t understand what primal 101 is

  8. So informative!!! Thanks a WHOLE lot!!!!!

  1. Pingback: Want to lose weight? Avoid these foods. | jaribudragon

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