Low-Carb Diet For Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet or low-carb diet, causes the individual to lose weight whilst improving their metabolism.
Low-Carb Diet For Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

Last update: 06 March, 2021

The low-carb diet is a diet trend based on reducing carbohydrates in order to prioritize proteins and fats. This trend has gained popularity over the last few years because of the scientific evidence that supports it.

In many cases, this diet reduces body fat and weight. However, what makes it even more interesting is the effect it has on our metabolism. In this article, we’ll tell you what this diet plan consists of and give you some guidelines for how to follow it.

An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that a low-carb diet causes a loss of weight and improves overall health. In addition to that, almost everyone knows someone who has tried it and seen results. Let’s take a more detailed look at how it works, and who should avoid it.

What’s a low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet gives more priority to fats and proteins. It’s also known as the keto diet.

For decades, specialists have told us that fat is harmful to our health. Meanwhile, low-fat “diet” products, often packed with sugar, have flooded supermarket shelves. This was a big mistake that coincided with the beginning of the obesity crisis.

How does the keto diet work?

By avoiding sugar and starch, the level of glucose in our blood stabilizes and our insulin levels drop. This increases the amount of fat we burn and can also help you to feel full, and as a result, you reduce the amount of food you eat and lose weight.

Advice for following this diet

Meat, fish, and eggs on a table.
In a low-carb diet, other nutrients groups like proteins and fats take precedence. For that reason, it’s also known as the ketogenic diet.

1. Don’t go hungry

One of the biggest advantages of a diet low in carbohydrates is that it regulates your glucose level, spreading out feeling hungry. Protein foods induce a better level of feeling full than foods rich in sugars, according to a study published in 2015.

Eat when you’re hungry, and eat well, until you can say “I’m satisfied and at ease”. If at any moment you’ve finished eating and you’re still a little hungry, eat a handful of nuts or a bit of avocado and you’ll see that you’re not hungry nor will you have any cravings for the rest of the morning.

2. Don’t sleep with the enemy 

Avoid bringing any of the ‘not-recommended’ carbs into your house and only buy what’s necessary to follow a low-carb diet. Also, you can color your fridge and cupboards with fresh fruits, leafy greens, and unprocessed meats.

3. Keep refreshed and hydrated

Water is fundamental for our bodies, and keeping hydrated has endless benefits. Alternatively, you can add a bit of flavor with fruit peel, berries, or herbs.

4. Eat eggs

Throughout the diet, you may think there aren’t many options for breakfast, but on the contrary! You can find many ways to eat eggs: poached, cooked, fried, scrambled with bacon, scrambled with vegetables, or as a French omelet.

Additionally, if you find yourself hungry halfway through the morning and you can’t stand it (which is likely to happen at the beginning), you can boil an egg; it’s easy to transport and is satisfying.

Another interesting aspect to highlight is that eating eggs doesn’t affect cholesterol levels, as a study published in Nutrients magazine confirms.

Boiled eggs and pepper.
Eggs are one of the best foods for a low-carb diet. They’re satisfying and there are so many ways to prepare them!

5. Don’t be scared of fats

Human beings have consumed fats throughout history, for hundreds of thousands of years, because they’re fundamental for survival and are the macronutrient that contains the most energy per gram.

You may also be interested in: Improving Mood by Adding Fiber into the Diet

What to eat when following a low-carb diet

In this diet, it’s important to know what your allies are in order to be able to eat fats and proteins from healthy sources. These don’t just help to reduce body fat but also help you avoid hunger or drops in your energy levels.

Recommendations for animal products

However, all of these are better if they’re raised free-range and grass-fed as this avoids added chemicals like conservatives.

  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Bluefish
  • Beef or veal
  • Whitefish

Recommendations of vegetable-based products

  • Olive oil
  • Seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame)
  • Fruits with a high-fat content (coconut)
  • Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
  • Fruits with a low glycemic index (cranberries, raspberries)
  • Vegetables of all colors (always include spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower)

Recommendations for drinks

  • Tea
  • Water
  • Coffee
A woman drinking water.
Just like with any diet, hydration is fundamental. For this reason, it’s important to drink an abundance of water and healthy drinks like tea.

Who shouldn’t follow a strict low-carb diet?

The majority of people can start following the low-carb diet immediately without any kind of risk. However, in the following three cases, it’s possible you may need to slightly adapt the diet and consult a medical professional if:

  • You take medication for diabetes
  • You take medication for hypertension
  • You’re currently breastfeeding or pregnant

Speak to your doctor or another health care professional about your wish to start a low-carb diet. Discuss your medical history and the risks and benefits that this diet may have for you.

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  • Shai R., Scwarzfuchs D., Henkin Y., Shahar DR., et al., Weight loss with a low carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low fat diet. N Eng J Med, 2008.
  • Cuenca Sánchez M., Navas Carrillo D., Orenes Piñero E., Controversies surrounding high protein diet intake: satiating effect and kidney and bone health. Adv Nutr, 2015. 6: 260-6.
  • Blesso CN., Fernandez ML., Dietary cholesterol, serum lipids, and heart disease: are eggs working for or against you? Nutrients, 2018.