Monday, December 30, 2019

Cutting Carbs The Easy Way

Ever since the middle of the 19th century, people have been cutting carbohydrate-containing foods from their diets in an attempt to eat healthier and lose weight. Initially, practitioners of “low carb” diets didn’t know why it helped them shed the pounds - it just did. People who ate nothing but meat, animal fats, and oils found themselves losing vast amounts of weight that didn’t shift on their regular diets. 

Over time, science began to catch up. Researchers discovered that people who go on low carb diets fundamentally change the way that their bodies use energy. Instead of deriving power from glucose, people on low carb diets burn a new kind of fuel called a ketone. 

What's more, many see improvements in biomarkers like blood sugar levels, suggesting that going low carb can have profound benefits for people at risk of metabolic syndrome. Some people just can’t tolerate sugar as well as others and, therefore, need to cut down their reliance on it as a fuel source by as much as possible. 

Cutting carbs, however, can be a challenge. Sure, you can give up white bread, bagels, and pastries, but can you really give up carbs altogether? 

No doubt starting a low carb diet is a challenge, but you’d be surprised just how many carbohydrates you can cut out of your diet by making simple, affordable changes. 

Stop Drinking Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Sugar-sweetened beverages are a scourge of the modern world, introduced incredibly recently in the grand scheme of human history. Before the advent of the sugar trade and the practice of placing a spoonful of the stuff in tea, people rarely consumed it in drinks at all. 

By the 20th century, sugar had found its way into carbonated beverages and soon became a staple. Sugary drinks, however, are chock full of carbs and appear to be uniquely bad for human sugar metabolism. At no point in history have people been consuming so much sugar without the added fiber and nutrients that you find in regular food. Cutting out this stuff, therefore, should be your priority. 

Snack On Low-Carb Foods

When hunger strikes, you want something that will take away the discomfort and enable you to plow on with whatever you’re doing. Working while your stomach is grumbling is not a pleasant experience.

The problem with hunger between meals is that it causes most people to snack on high-carb foods, like crackers, pretzels, and corn chips. These foods, however, are probably the least filling of all, entering and then leaving the stomach in a matter of minutes - insufficient time for the stomach to signal to your brain that it is satisfied, inducing you to eat more. 

There are, however, a range of low-carb snack foods that science shows helps to make you feel more sated. Plus, they’re delicious too. They include: 

  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios

Notice anything about this list? It’s nuts! 

It turns out that nuts have among the highest satiety rating of any food. People who regularly consume nuts tend to eat less food overall in the day, simply because nuts make them feel so full. 

You need to be careful with nuts, though, and not just because some people are allergic. Some nuts come packed with lots of salt and sugary-containing glazes. Pick whole raw or roasted nuts and avoid anything that adds extra flavor or spices. The chances are that these products are not good for your health. 

Eat Meat For Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the most carb-heavy meals of the day. Most people reach for some kind of cereal derived from grains like rice, wheat, or oats. It’s not difficult to get 50 grams of carbs or more, just from a regular bowl of cereal. 

Many people, especially those on the carnivore diet, get rid of all carbs for breakfast. Instead, they focus their meals around meat and animal fat, neither of which contain any significant level of carbs whatsoever. 

Eating meat for breakfast might seem like a strange practice, but when you think about it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. The practice of eating a bowl of cereal in the morning with added milk is relatively new. It’s only something that humans introduced in the last one hundred years or so. Before that, the majority of people on Earth just ate their regular evening meals for breakfast. What was the point of changing the diet? 

Eat More Veggies And Skip The Potatoes

Veggies like kale, cauliflower, marrow, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and radishes are all incredibly low in carbohydrates. While strictly speaking, they are carbohydrate foods, the amount of actual sugar that they contain is negligible compared to, say, white potatoes or rice. 

Thus, if you find yourself in a steakhouse with friends, order the steak and tell the waiter to hold the potatoes. Get an extra side of veggies instead. Brightly colored vegetables contain large amounts of fiber and nutrients, which may be beneficial for some people. 

Choose Low-Carb Dairy Foods

While you can get all of the calcium you need from other sources, many people find it challenging to eliminate dairy from their diets. If you’re somebody who struggles to keep tabs on the amount of dairy that you eat, then don’t worry: there are plenty of low-carb dairy options out there. 

Plain Greek yogurt, for instance, contains just four grams of carbs per serving. Cheeses like brie, mozzarella, and cheddar contain just a gram of carbs per serving. Cottage cheese is down at 3 grams. 

Fill Up On High-Protein Foods

Some evidence suggests that protein is more filling than refined carbohydrates, such as sugar. Many people, therefore, prefer to fill up on healthy, high-protein foods. 

The list of healthy, high-protein foods is long indeed. Potential sources of calories include nuts, meat, poultry, fish, cheese, cottage cheese, and whey protein powder. 

Nobody said that cutting out carbohydrates entirely was easy, but there are lots of things that you can do to cut down. What’s more, many of these strategies don’t get in the way of socializing. 

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