4 Assumptions About Low Carb Eating
Low-carbohydrate food and eating plans have been popular for a few years now. Low carb is praised by nutritionists, celebrated by celebrities, and is generally considered to be beneficial for both health and weight loss.
Yet despite this, low-carb has something of a bad reputation, and has attracted more than a few detractors as its popularity has spread. Naysayers suggest that, contrary to the evidence that low-carb eating can be beneficial, carbohydrates are essential and seeking to eliminate them from your diet could even be harmful. Others suggest that low-carb diets are too restrictive and tough to stick to, and that low-carb eating dooms people to failure due to how unpleasant it can be to follow.
So which is the reality? Is low-carb good, bad, or something in between?
It’s time to clear up these misconceptions about what life is actually like for those who choose to eat low-carb. Whether you’re wondering if you should try low-carb, or just like knowing the facts behind various eating habits, read on for insight into the truth behind the common misconceptions people have about low-carb eating…
Not eating carbs is dangerous
First and foremost, most people following a low-carb diet do eat carbs– they are just very careful about the quantity they eat. A low-carb diet is generally considered to be anything under 75g of net carbs per day. Those who are seeking to enter ketosis — where your body uses fat for energy rather than carbohydrates — will usually limit to 20g, but even this is some carbs.
Secondly, the recommendation that carbohydrates are essential for health is incredibly dubious. Many people have picked apart the science of this recommendation, and it’s also important to think about all the people who eat low-carb and are healthier and happier because of it. Additionally, low-carb is specifically recommended for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. This is medical advice that contradicts the idea that carbs are essential for human health.
Carbohydrates can be beneficial, which is why those following low-carb eating plans don’t abandon them altogether. The main issue for low-carb eaters is that they don’t feel that the recommended carb intake (around 130g) is necessary– a decision that seems to work out well for many people who experiment with low-carb eating.
People on low-carb diets eat a lot of protein
This misconception comes from the first low-carb diet that made an impact on public consciousness: the Atkins Diet. Atkins was all the rage in the early 2000, preaching a philosophy of protein was all the body needed. Cut carbs, eat protein, lose weight, feel great.
To be fair, Atkins worked well for a lot of people, but it did have its downsides. Too much protein isn’t good for you, and many Atkins dieters found they suffered complications such as kidney stones. As a result, the reputation of Atkins was trashed, taking other low-carb options with them.
So, let’s separate the facts: low-carb diets are not high in protein. In fact, the most common low-carb diet — the ketogenic diet — is described as: low carb, high fat, moderate protein. Low-carb eaters are encouraged to eat beneficial fats for satiety, while ensuring a sensible protein intake based on their body’s personal needs. So while someone eating low-carb will likely eat a fair amount of protein, their diet is not high in protein like Atkins used to suggest.
Low-carb diets are restrictive
Of course, this one is partially true: yes, low-carb diets are restrictive… they restrict carbs. However, every eating plan on this earth is restrictive in some way; even the conventional “balanced diet” restricts certain foods and quantities of food.
Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, there are thousands of recipes online that can be experimented with to great delight. There are recipes for low-carb beef stroganoff or jerk chicken, or perhaps a low-carb ice cream from this recipe is more your thing? The wealth of low-carb recipes is incredible, so there’s no need for anyone eating low-carb to feel they are missing out on the more delicious things in life.
Low-carb limits your fruit and vegetables
Admittedly, some vegetables — such as potatoes and other root vegetables — are very high in carbs. Most people trying to follow a low-carb diet will avoid these vegetables, so this misconception is partially based in fact.
However, there are plenty of vegetables that are incredibly low in carbohydrates. Asparagus, for example, has just 3.9g of carbs in 100g– more than suitable for those looking to eat less than 20g of carbs per day. Other popular low-carb vegetables include green beans, spinach, and broccoli– essentially, green leafy vegetables.
So while its true that people eating low-carb will avoid some vegetables, there are still plenty of options to ensure they get their five per day.
As for fruit, that’s trickier. Fruit contains fructose, a sugar, which is a form of carbohydrate. This means that many fruits are incompatible with the low-carb way of eating; for example, one banana contains 23g net carbs, which is far too much for those looking to achieve ketosis.
However, just like veg, there are some low-carb fruit options. Berries and avocados are popular choices for those eating low-carb, while watermelon contains just 7g of carbs per 100g, making it a great choice for the occasional treat.
So yes, there are fruit and vegetables that are limited with a low-carb diet. However, there are plenty of other options that ensure those who eat low-carb are still able to get all of the vital vitamins and nutrients that their body requires.
All the evidence suggests that low-carb eating can be beneficial for weight loss and overall health. If you’re tempted to try low-carb, it’s important to explore your meal options and discuss your decision with your doctor. Low-carb is a big change, and it’s best to do it as safely as possible, so ensure you do plenty of research and talk with medical professionals who can guide you through the process.