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.
First, 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
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:
- breakfast cereals
- cakes, biscuits, pastries, rusks etc
- desserts containing sugar, e.g ice-cream
- 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
- 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.