Low Carb 101
Let’s learn all about a low carb lifestyle (ie a Health with Bec life!) and how it helps to boost weight loss whilst considering a calorie deficit.
Firstly, before you read any further, if you follow a balanced diet / lifestyle that is low in sugar and processed foods and rich in wholegrains and higher carbohydrate vegetables and you can maintain your weight easily, have a well functioning gut and great energy levels - you don’t need to read any further!
This is for women who have already tried the typical “balanced” low fat, reduced calorie way of eating to lose weight with little success and are sick of the YOYO dieting game!!!
What is a low carb diet or way of life? What can you eat?
You’ll notice that all of my recipes are low carb, as are my eBook meal plans! So, Why?
This is your page to explain all! I follow a low carb lifestyle myself.
Firstly, please have a read of this article - I answer lots of common questions about low carb and keto diets and what foods are allowed.
Here is another really great link to help you learn about which foods are low carb foods too:
Also, my meal plan eBooks take all the guesswork out for you and put low carb foods into a calorie controlled plan to help you lose weight without the hunger in 3 weeks. You learn how to eat in this way for life.
Why do I follow and recommend a lower carb approach for weight loss and maintenance?
To lose weight, you need to form a calorie deficit.
Calculate your Estimated Energy Expenditure here to reveal how many calories (roughly) you should eat per day to reach your goals.
Forming this calorie deficit is old school, common, scientifically proven advice that I’m sure you have all heard before. Now, even though this is true,
it is also SO important to think about WHERE these calories are coming from. Why?
We want to maximise nutrient density (ie maximise the amount of nutrients you’re ingesting) so that you don’t become deficient in any certain vitamin or mineral as you’re reducing your food intake!
We want to choose to eat foods that are going to keep us full and keep our blood sugars stable. It becomes impossible to keep the weight off and actually stick to a “diet” if you have ups and downs in your energy (from unstable blood sugars) and feel hungry all the time - trust me, I’ve been there.
There are 4 macronutrients (molecules that create energy in the body - ie calories): protein, fat, carbohydrates and alcohol.
My approach to weight loss to minimise hunger, keep blood sugars stable and maximise nutrient intake (like above) is to eat a diet that is low in carbohydrates (anywhere below 100g / day), moderate in protein (roughly your body weight x 1.5) and high in fat. Oh, and of course I make room for alcohol - but I keep it to a minimum and always allow for the calories!
This video explains macronutrients really well and why its NOT just about calorie restriction to lose weight:
Most calorie reduced diets simply restrict fat as it is the most calorific macronutrient, however, guess what? It is also one of the most satiating, so without it YOU’LL ALWAYS FEEL HUNGRY. When you increase your healthy fats (and reduce some of the calories from carbohydrates instead) you’ll notice your hunger reduce immensely. I also maximise nutrient density by only including nutrient dense vegetables (that is your source of carbohydrates).
How many carbs / day is considered low carb and how many should YOU eat?
Anywhere from 20-100g (net) carbs / day is considered a low carb diet. How low you go depends on how your own body feels and responds. By simply cutting out the obvious carbs like refined sugars, bread, pasta, rice, crackers and chips - you’ll easily fall below the 100g mark. Then, to get lower we would remove root vegetables and limit fruit intake.
After working with 500+ women, I believe that MOST women feel benefits when (net) carbs sit at between 30-50 g/ day on average. This is why both of my meal plan ebooks are set at this amount. I also consider sustainability and general life enjoyment when I set this amount.
This link below is great to help explain this question further:
But don’t just trust me! Listen to some well renowned Doctors too…
What are the benefits of a low carb diet?
Carbohydrates, whether they’re complex (such as whole grains) or simple (such as sugar), are made up of the same thing – glucose molecules. So, no matter what type of carbohydrate you eat, it will break down into single molecules of glucose that are then absorbed into your blood.
When you eat any carbohydrate (including potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, crackers, cakes, sugar, biscuits, beans and honey), the glucose that enters your blood raises your blood sugar, causing the hormone insulin to be released.
Insulin is the driver of hunger and fat storage. When insulin is low, your bodies can burn fat. When it is high – your bodies can’t. Rapid spikes and high’s and lows in insulin also causes poor energy and moods and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
When you consume a low-carb diet, blood sugars stay low and steady and insulin stays low.
So, many people experience:
A reduced appetite
Less sugar and carb cravings cravings
Steady energy (goodbye 3.00pm slump)
Boosted fat burning
Please read this article! It outlines the benefits after analysing many scientific studies.