What does low-carb actually mean? In this blog post, we show you everything you need to know about a low-carb diet and list the permitted and prohibited foods in this type of diet.
What does low carb actually mean?
Low-carb involves a diet with few carbohydrates. The abbreviation "carb" comes from the English language and stands for carbohydrates. Instead of carbohydrates, the body should obtain its energy mainly from fats.As a rule, the carbohydrate proportion in the daily diet should be around50-55%. With a calorie intake of 2000 kcal, this would be around 250 g of carbohydrates.
There are now many different low-carb variants with a different carbohydrate content. The proportion of carbohydrates varies between 20-150 g. One of the best-known diets based on the low-carb principle is the Atkins diet. Here, the carbohydrate intake is only 40-60 g on a permanent basis. In comparison: 30 g of oatmeal already contains almost 20 g of carbohydrates.
Particularly people who want to lose weight or athletes respond to a low-carb diet.
The low-carb diet
If you omit carbohydrates from your diet, you consume more protein and fat. Many low-carb diets therefore have a high proportion of animal products such as meat, fish or dairy products.
Since the body mainly relies on carbohydrates to generate energy, the energy in a low-carb diet is mainly obtained from fats.
However, it should be noted that carbohydrates are important in the daily diet, as the brain in particular is dependent on a certain amount of carbohydrates per day. It is important to differentiate between "healthy" and "bad" carbohydrates:
"Bad" carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates) cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly after eating. A hormone, insulin, is responsible for transporting the sugar in the blood to the individual organs and cells. The higher the insulin level rises in the blood, the more fat is stored, which promotes the development of various diseases such as obesity. Frequent consumption of simple carbohydrates can also lead to extreme blood sugar fluctuations. This can therefore promote diseases such as diabetes.
"Bad" carbohydrates include white flour and products made from it, sugar and sweetened products, sugary soft drinks and sugary sweets of all kinds.
"Healthy" carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) only lead to a slow rise in blood sugar and therefore no fluctuations in blood sugar levels.These include vegetables, fruit and pulses. Wholemeal products or pseudocereals also have a positive effect on health, as they are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins.If you want to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your daily diet, you should pay attention to healthy fats, as these are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, plant-based sources of protein should be used, as animal sources contain a lot of cholesterol and inflammatory substances.
Permitted foods during a low-carb diet:
- Vegetables of any kind
- Lentil fruits
- Low-sugar fruit such as berries
- Nuts and puree made from them
- Konjac noodles
- Soy products such as tofu or soy yogurt
- Plant-based milk
- Vegetable egg white powder (against hunger attacks)
Foods not allowed during a low-carb diet:
- White flour and products made from it, such as pasta, bread or rolls
- Sugar or sweetened products such as cereals, cakes, cookies, chocolate, sweets
- Sweetened drinks such as soft drinks
- Fruit from the can
- Highly processed products such as ready meals
Healthy sources of carbohydrates:
- Whole grain products such as whole grain pasta, rice or bread
- Oat flakes
However, the same applies here: If you consume too many calories (i.e. eat more than your calorie requirement), you will not lose weight even with low carb. You should therefore keep an eye on your calories and exercise.
Who is a low-carb diet suitable for?
Any healthy person can follow a low-carb diet. However, people with gout or kidney problems should avoid a low-carb diet.
It is important that healthy carbohydrates are also part of the daily diet.
P.S.: On our homepage you will find some low-carb recipes that you can prepare quickly and easily. Here go to our recipes.