What is a Low Carb Diet?
So, what is a low carb diet? A low carb diet is a diet in which you reduce the number of carbohydrates (carbs) that you eat. Carbs are converted to glucose to use for energy in the body. In a healthy person, any excess glucose is converted and stored in the body to use later. It is either converted to glycogen for storage in the liver or muscle cells or it is converted to fat for storage in our fat cells.
Ultimately, the goal of a low carb diet is to prevent excess fat storage from occurring as a result of excess carb consumption. In this way, you allow the body to slowly, yet progressively adjust to tapping into your fat reserves for needed glucose energy. This process is called lipolysis. When the body breaks down fat that it needs to supply the body with energy, weight loss will occur. Therefore, a balanced and healthy low carb diet does not force your body into ketosis like a strict low carb keto diet.
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Different Low Carb Diet Levels
There are different kinds of low carb diet plans. A person on a traditional 2,000-calorie diet will typically eat between 200 and 300 grams of carbs per day. So, a person on a low carb diet will eventually consume much less. However, you must determine your daily calorie needs first! You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day.
Since there are different degrees of being on a low carb diet, let’s mention a few. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet requirement, a liberal low carb diet plan allows 150 grams of carbs per day. While a basic low carb diet permits up to 125 grams of carbs per day. Then there is a strict low carb diet that only permits around 50 grams of carbs per day.
The strict low carb diet is popularly known as the “keto diet” or ketogenic diet. This strict low carb keto diet requires an extreme adjustment to your eating habits. Therefore, the strict low carb keto diet should be implemented under the care of a physician as needed.
Macronutrient Calorie Percentages – Carbohydrates/Proteins/Fats
Strict Low Carb (Ketogenic)
Liberal Low Carb
Disclaimer: Do not make any extreme changes to your diet without consulting a physician. Read – How to Start a Low Carb Diet.
So, let’s say that a person requires 2,000-calories per day. This person decides to go on a basic low carb (25/45/30) diet plan. Based on their calorie requirements and macronutrient percentages, this person will need to eat 125 grams of carbohydrates, 225 grams of protein, and 67 grams of fat per day.
Macronutrient Calculator (based on your daily calorie needs)
A carbohydrate is one of three main macronutrients that we need in our diet including proteins and fats. So, while a low carb diet is low in carbohydrates, sugars, starches, and certain fibers, it must be higher in other macronutrients. As your body adjusts to being on a low carb diet, you will discover that you are satisfied with less food. Therefore, individuals that slowly progress to a strict low carb diet for the health benefits may endeavor to eat more protein and fat (calories) to maintain their preferred weight.
— Carbohydrates —
To better explain how a low carb diet works, you will need to know what a carb is and what it does. A carbohydrate is an energy-rich chain of carbon molecules. However, carbon is the basic building block of everything including proteins and fats. Therefore, when you hear the phrase, low carb diet or low carbohydrate diet it simply means a diet consisting of fewer carbohydrates in relation to proteins and fats.
Carbohydrates make us feel good initially because they provide us with a huge surge of energy. However, a few carbs provide more energy than many people realize. And as a result, it is very easy to eat more carbohydrates than our body really needs. Then, once we eat more carbs than our body can use for energy, we get sluggish as the body works hard to convert and store all the excess potential energy (carbs) into fat for storage and later use. So, to go back to answering the question, what is a low carb diet? Let’s review…
— How It Works —
1. Eat less carbohydrates, store less fat.
2. Allow the body to use stored fat for energy.
4. Less fat equals a leaner body.
5. You can feel lighter and healthier.
The list above is the essence of how a low carb diet works. This is how to diet, lose weight and keep it off! Once you start a low carb diet plan, you will learn how to eat low carb meals. In this way, you will know what you can eat to feel full, have plenty of energy, and still lose weight. After starting a low carb diet, you will discover that a low carb diet plan for weight loss is very effective.
After achieving the health benefits of being on a low carb diet, some people switch to a low carb, high fat diet plan. Incorporating more healthy fats in your diet may sound like a bit of a paradox, but it is done to help maintain some weight with a low carb diet lifestyle. Alternatively, a low carb, high protein diet is another option to help you maintain some weight.
This concludes the answer to, what is a low carb diet?