“Carbohydrate Shaming” started to trend when the food industry started to focus on protein and fats (and the Keto diet gained popularity). Due to this trend, most men and women went on a zero-carb or low-carb diet.
Before we jump into the details of the no-carb, low-carb diet, lets briefly look at the function of carbohydrates.
Function of Carbohydrates
One of the primary functions of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy and your brain with fuel. When carbs are digested, they’re turned into glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for your body.
FUN FACT. DID YOU KNOW?
While the glucose from carbs is essential for everything in your body to function, it’s particularly important for brain function. Your brain uses 20 percent of your body’s energy. That’s more than any other organ!
What is a no-carb or low-carb diet?
A no–carb or low-carb diet eliminates or minimizes almost all carbs and encourages high intakes of fat and protein. It may boost weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control. Yet it is unnecessary to cut all carbs to experience these benefits, as this diet may reduce energy levels and increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies.
When you don’t eat carbs, your liver can produce glucose out of protein and byproducts of fat metabolism. Therefore, because of ketosis and gluconeogenesis, you don’t need dietary carbs — at least not for fueling your brain.
SUMMARY — on a low-carb diet, a part of your brain can use ketones for fuel.
What is an effective low-carb or no-carb diet?
An effective low-carb or no-carb diet needs to be high on quality protein and healthy fats. Quality protein includes nuts, legumes, lentils, plant based meats (see products from Beyond Burger), eggs, fish like salmon, tuna, whitefish, halibut, quinoa, soy, and dairy products. Quality healthy fats include avocados and avocado oil, nuts, nut and seed butters, flax seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds, olives and cold-pressed olive oil, coconuts and unrefined coconut oil.
Disadvantages of low-carb diet
Diets low in carbohydrates can cause muscle weakness, confusion, dizziness, tiredness, and dehydration-making physical activity less enjoyable. Individuals who participate in endurance activities (activities lasting more than one hour) should not consume low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets.
As a nutritionist, I am strictly against the “elimination diet” unless you have allergies or known conditions for certain food groups.
A well-balanced complete meal should follow the MyPlate Guidelines:
It is extremely important to follow these guidelines for all meals albeit the portion and type of choices will and should differ by the time of the day and your food eating practices (vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, pescatarian, non-vegetarian etc).
A FUN, EASY, WELL-BALANCED RECIPE
Here is a simple Beyond Burger plant-based recipe that is complete with all the food groups and aids to a balanced meal. (below)
For more well-balanced complete and easy recipes, subscribe to my YouTube channel.