If you want to lose weight there are many ways to try it: different types of diets, where you have to lead hunger and take supplements. Expensive powders and meal replacements are needed to lose some pounds with difficulty. Losing weight is hard work, you would think. But it really can be easier. Namely with the low carbohydrate diet.
The low-carbohydrate diet is not really a diet, but a different diet. You start eating less carbohydrates and provide your body with other energy sources. You will find that you can still lose weight with a full feeling. In this article you can read all about it.
What is the low carbohydrate diet?
Most people, especially in the West, eat on average between 200 to 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. These are generally also the fast carbohydrates: from pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. During the low-carbohydrate diet the majority of the (fast) carbohydrates will be removed from your meals, then you will eat between 50 and 150 grams of carbohydrates. This will ensure that you can lose weight quickly, without the use of expensive meal replacements and without hunger.
Your body can use carbohydrates, fat and protein as fuel
Your body has the ability to use three types of fuel to extract energy. These are the carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We are all most familiar with the carbohydrates. These are presented by most nutrition scientists and publications on nutrition as the best energy source. But there is more behind carbohydrates than you would think at first glance. They can provide energy, but also ensure that you easily get overweight.
However, the majority of people believe that fat makes you fat and that carbohydrates are a healthy source of energy. There is really clear evidence that overeating carbohydrates leads to the production of belly fat. In the example below you can read how this happens.
What happens when you eat carbohydrates
After a meal with carbohydrates (pasta with vegetables, cauliflower with potatoes, etc.) your body starts to digest the food. The carbohydrates from the potato or pasta is converted into glucose. This is the energy for your body and it is absorbed into the blood. Glucose in blood sugar and your body will always try to keep blood sugar levels in balance. To do this, it makes insulin.
This lowers the level of blood sugar. A few hours after the meal, it has fallen and this causes another feeling of hunger: the well-known sugar dip. You will get hungry again and look for a snack or snack. And most of the time this is something with carbohydrates. This way you see that carbohydrates cause a vicious circle. One that affects the majority of Dutch people.
If you eat carbohydrates you will notice that you have to eat something every 2 to 3 hours. If you don’t do that, you feel light in your head or you get irritated. Carbohydrates give you energy quickly, that’s true. But they also cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, cause obesity and hinder fat burning.
That can really be different! And that is low in carbohydrate!
Low-carbohydrate diet: fats and proteins as an energy source
In the low-carb diet, the amount of carbohydrates in your diet is reduced to 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates. With this you can easily lose low carbohydrate.
This means that your body must switch to another energy source: namely fats and proteins. This ensures that you will no longer suffer from that annoying sugar dip. Proteins and fats do not cause large fluctuations in blood sugar. So you will also have a much less appetizing appetite and grab snacks.
But doesn’t fat make me fat?
Fats and proteins fill your stomach for a long time. They digest much slower and therefore keep you feeling full. So they also provide you with energy for longer. Many people wonder if they will not get fat by eating more fats. As described above, carbohydrates cause eating outside and carbohydrates are easily converted to fat. During the low-carbohydrate diet, fat burning is stimulated, especially from the dangerous belly fat that accumulates around the organs.
A low carbohydrate diet therefore has many benefits. View the differences between carbohydrates as an energy source and proteins and fats.
Fats / proteins
Every 2 to 3 hours
No tasty appetite in between
Risk of being overweight
Lose weight possible
Influence on blood sugar levels
Large, many fluctuations
Lots of energy, burned out quickly
Provide long-term energy
Not only do you lose weight easily with the low-carbohydrate diet while you can still continue to eat well, you will also be able to keep it on weight easily. It is a diet that you can follow throughout your life. That is because it is not really a diet, but a different way of eating. You get all the important, healthy nutrients you need.
What can you eat with the low carb diet?
Your diet during the low carbohydrate diet consists for the most part of unprocessed products. The intention is that you prepare most meals yourself, without using ready-made spice mixes, sauces, jars and bags. You can eat all vegetables, nuts, meat, fish and dairy.
- Vegetables: snow peas, carrots, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, etc. You can eat as much of this on a day as you want.
- Meat and fish or meat substitutes: a portion every day.
- Yogurt, cheese, dairy: natural and as unprocessed as possible, preferably not lean but rather full fat.
- Eggs: a maximum of two per day
- Nuts, seeds, seeds: a healthy snack full of energy. Note, not too much, a hand is often enough.
For drinking it is best to drink only water and (green) tea. Limit coffee to two cups per day.
As you can see, with these ingredients you have enough to make delicious meals. You will no longer be able to grab a ready-made meal from the freezer or use sauces from a jar. But homemade sauces are much healthier and tastier.
How many and which carbohydrates?
A low carbohydrate diet does not mean that you will no longer eat carbohydrates at all! That is not healthy.
You eat less carbohydrates and make sure that what you get is nutritious. Too few carbohydrates will help you no more than too much. The right amount of carbohydrates provides your body with energy and nutrients. But then it is important to know which carbohydrates are good for you and which are not.
- Fast or simple carbohydrates: these do not feed our body, they are absorbed quickly and provide energy for a short time. You can find them in sweets, chocolate, cakes, white bread, pasta and white rice.
- Slow or complex carbohydrates: These are nutritious and provide fiber for good bowel movements. They release their energy slowly, so that you have energy for longer. You are well-fed and they help you lose weight. Complex carbohydrates include oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, beans and legumes.
The amount of carbohydrates you eat determines how quickly you can lose weight. You achieve a good result by eating between 50 and 70 grams of carbohydrates.
Scraping all carbohydrates is not good for you
It is not that losing weight goes faster if you omit all carbohydrates. You could do this for a few days, but it is not good for you to do it for a long time. Eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day is called a ketogenic diet. If you want to do this, we recommend that you do this under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian. This is because there are risks associated with the ketogenic diet:
- Dizziness and headache
- Bad breath
- reduced resistance
The removal of all carbohydrates from your diet, in the long run promotes the yo-yo effect. Eventually you will want to eat some carbohydrates again and then your body reacts by immediately storing these sugars as fat. Then you are actually further away from home than for the diet. It is better to limit your carbohydrate intake, as described below.
50 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per day
By keeping this amount of carbohydrates a day, you can lose weight fast healthy . Your body still gets all the nutrients you need, but it will burn fat. And that while you will not be hungry. You can lose 2 to 3 pounds in the first week and between 1 and 2 pounds a week in the following weeks. The weight loss will continue.
Your body may need time to get used to eating low carbohydrates. It must learn to use a different fuel and that may take some getting used to. Some people get a headache or feel tired. This will pass within a few days, so if you manage to keep up, you will find that things will get better soon.
70 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day
With this amount of carbohydrates you also lose weight, only this is a bit quieter. You can eat this way if with fewer carbohydrates you got too much trouble with the complaints mentioned earlier. You then give your body a little more time to get used to the new diet. If you exercise a lot you can also use more carbohydrates.
100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates per day
If you are at the weight you wanted, you can move on to this amount of carbohydrates in a day. You keep that on weight or lose weight very slowly. Fanatical athletes or people who do heavy physical work can benefit from this amount of carbohydrates to lose weight.
Shopping and eating low carbohydrates
For the meals within a low carbohydrate diet you use mostly pure, fresh ingredients. When you walk into the supermarket, you will notice that more than 70% of the products on the shelves have been processed in one way or another. They are full of sugars, fast carbohydrates, unhealthy additives and different colors and flavorings.
So you have to pay attention to what you buy. You can’t just throw everything from your shopping list into your cart. It is important to look at the labels to see what’s inside. Only if you buy pure vegetables, meat, fish and fruit this is not necessary.
Pay attention to processed products
The more ingredients a product has, the more it is processed. You can easily see that in peanut butter, for example. Unprocessed peanut butter contains only ground peanuts. Peanut butter from a famous brand contains much more than that: salt, dextrose (sugar) and added cheap oils (soy and palm oil). These are often unnecessary ingredients that add nothing to your health. They are rather unhealthy.
So keep an eye on the ingredient list. Be especially careful with ingredients that you do not know or understand. These are often chemical substances, such as colors, fragrances, flavors or sweeteners. All substances that end in -ose or syrup are added sweeteners. Avoid products that contain this, because they bring your blood sugar level out of balance.
The nutrition table tells you everything about a product
In the nutrition table you can read how many fats, proteins and carbohydrates a product contains. Under the cup of carbohydrates is how many sugars it contains. This should be as low as possible. Just try to buy as few products from jars and packaging as possible. What you need for a healthy low-carbohydrate diet is pure and unpackaged (except meat and fish). Use fresh and dried herbs, tomatoes and spices to make tasty sauces and spice mixes.
Make a shopping list before you leave home. Do not take quick snacks or snacks with you when shopping. It is useful to come up with as many healthy alternatives as possible and to make a stock of this. You cannot eat what you do not buy. It makes it easier to stick to your diet.
What are low-carbohydrate products?
Within the low-carbohydrate diet you will provide your body with a different fuel. Instead of carbohydrates you will eat more proteins and fats. To achieve that, you will therefore mainly have to use low-carb products.
You can find carbohydrates in all grain products (so bread, pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, cookies, etc.), but also in potatoes, rice and sweets. You will not eat this more or at least much less. Instead, choose products that contain no or fewer carbohydrates.
Products that are low in carbohydrates:
A low-carbohydrate product has the following characteristics:
Fills well: It is rich in fibers, proteins or fats. These digest slowly in the stomach, which makes you feel saturated for a long time. You get less hungry after eating and that is the reason that a low carbohydrate diet can help you lose weight. You can eat delicious food during this diet, survive all day long and still lose weight.
B evat valuable nutrients: Low carbohydrate products are rich in healthy nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. These are macronutrients, which are essential to feel healthy and fit. With a large number of diets you are no longer allowed to eat many products, so that shortages can easily arise. In the low-carbohydrate diet you only eat healthy products that feed the body well.
Has been processed as little as possible: Virtually most of the products you eat are purely natural. The intention is that you prepare all the ingredients for your meal yourself. Meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheese, that’s how you make your food. No pre-packaged products are needed, no boxes, sachets or ready-made meals. This ensures that everything you eat is healthy and that you do not receive any chemical additives.
Low carbohydrate product lists
Curious about what you can eat in the low-carbohydrate diet? Below you will find product lists of all product categories:
Vegetables do contain carbohydrates, one type more than the other. Potatoes for example contain on average 17 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, and cauliflower only 2 grams. In the list below you see the vegetable that is the best choice for preparing your low-carb meals. These are low in carbohydrates.
Fruit contains a lot of vitamins, fibers and minerals and is therefore good for your health. However, it is wise to consider that fruit contains a lot of fruit sugar (and therefore carbohydrates). It is therefore best to consciously handle eating fruit. Do not eat fruit more than once or twice a day and choose the types that contain as little fruit sugar as possible. These are the types below:
Meat, fish and poultry
Animal products occupy an important place because they provide high-quality proteins. You cannot get these from vegetable products in large quantities. So eat meat, poultry or fish regularly, but opt for unprocessed products, preferably organic.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts, seeds and seeds should play an important role in your low-carbohydrate diet. They provide you with healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in balanced proportions), proteins and fibers. They fill well and are therefore a healthy snack. Add nuts and seeds to yogurt or sprinkle them over your hot meal or a salad.
Dairy and eggs
Dairy products and eggs fit well in a low-carbohydrate diet. They are important suppliers of proteins. Eggs are very healthy, they are rich in various vitamins and minerals. Both eggs and dairy fill well and are therefore a great snack. Because you do not have to worry about calories and whether fats are good for you within this diet, you opt for full-fat cheese and dairy. Yogurt, cottage cheese or milk can come from cows, sheep or goats.
Legumes contain a relatively high amount of carbohydrates. If you use them in moderation, they also fit into the low-carbohydrate diet. They provide your body with a lot of fiber and protein. Broad beans contain the least carbohydrates.
Using a good oil for frying and roasting and for over salads is important. The oil should be as natural as possible and contain a good combination of fats. Olive oil and coconut oil are a good basis for cooking.
Do you want to sweeten homemade cakes, your breakfast with yogurt or your tea? Then try to use as many natural sweeteners as possible. These are carbohydrates, but at least they are natural ingredients that your body recognizes. Artificial sweeteners contain no nutrients and confuse your body.
They taste sweet and that gives your body the expectation that sugar will also come in. If this does not happen, your body will continue to feel hungry and long for something sugary. This makes it difficult for you to stay away from the sweet treats and even to lose weight.
Herbs and spices
Don’t forget to use herbs and spices, great to give your meals more flavor. If you put them through vegetables, meat or salads, you are not dependent on packages or bags. You can combine herbs with each other for even more options. Herbs and spices can be used fresh or dried.
Tips to easily eat low carbohydrate
Many people think that it is difficult to follow a low-carb diet. It would be more complicated to cook, difficult to combine with a family or partner who doesn’t eat that way, and cost a lot of time. They also believe that they would miss certain products too much, such as bread, pasta or pizza.
But with these tips you will not be bothered by the above objections. Of course, it will vary per person if you are going to miss bread, but I can guarantee that you can eat so many goodies during this diet that you will not want a sandwich. If it were, not many people would enjoy the low-carbohydrate diet with pleasure and ease.
Tip 1: Eat when you are hungry
You don’t have to be hungry during this diet. It is rather the case that you eat precisely when you are hungry. So you eat according to your needs, instead of at a certain time. It is important that you learn to tune into your body. You will notice that you will feel good when you have eaten enough.
The low-carbohydrate diet is rich in proteins. Proteins help you feel well-filled and help regulate your sense of hunger. This allows you to feel better when you are hungry, but also when you are full. So do not eat too fast so that you can feel the signals from your body. This is a very valuable weight loss aid.
If you’ve eaten enough, just keep the rest of your meal in the fridge. Then you also have a healthy snack for when you get hungry again.
Tip 2: Do not eat before you go to sleep
For your digestion it is best if you eat nothing 3 hours before you go to sleep. Your stomach will then have the time to properly digest your last meal. This prevents you from arriving. It also helps your hormone balance, so that it comes back into balance during sleep. You can of course drink in the evening. Choose water or fruit juices. It is good for your body to go to sleep with a slight feeling of hunger.
Tip 3: Opt for healthy snacks
During this diet you do not need very many snacks. Because you are not very hungry between meals. If you still want to eat something, choose healthy low-carb snacks : fruit, a handful of nuts, cucumber, carrots or homemade cookies. Yogurt is also very healthy to take in between. Make sure you always have something with you, also on the road.
Tip 4: Plan your meals
Cooking recipes for low-carb meals is not difficult. It is planning that it takes a little more time. If you do not eat sandwiches in the afternoon, but salads or hot meals, this requires more preparation, both for thinking about what you eat and preparing meals. But if you take some time for this, plan well and cook for more days at the same time, this is not complicated.
Don’t make it too difficult for yourself. Many people find lunch particularly difficult because they are at work and do not want to be complicated. Choose simple meals: a scrambled egg is made quickly and can easily be taken with you. Salads take a little more time, but can be made for several days at the same time. Certainly if you consider what you are going to eat at the beginning of the week, you will relieve yourself of a lot of work.
You will have to get used to it, but it will only take a week or two. Then you get the hang of it, you have found your favorite recipes and planning also takes hardly more time. And once you notice how wonderful you feel about this and how easily you fall off, then you really have to pay for it.
Tip 5: Let your housemates enjoy or adjust meals
Often we don’t take much time to cook healthily, but if you eat differently than the rest of the family, it becomes very complicated. Is this necessary?
No, the low carbohydrate diet is easy to adapt to the other eaters, or you can let them eat it with you. For example, if you just eat vegetables and potatoes, you omit the potatoes for yourself and serve up more vegetables.
If your housemates eat pasta, vegetables and minced meat or something similar, then you replace the pasta with zucchini strings that you can make with a spiral cutter . In general, you can take care of it yourself very well by preparing more vegetables, so that you don’t have to take pasta, potatoes or rice. The meals are very complete, so your table companions can also occasionally eat with you.
Tip 6: Pay attention to fruit
Fruit is healthy, it contains fiber and vitamins that help your body stay healthy. But fruit also contains fructose (fruit sugar), so it is not wise to eat several pieces of fruit every day. One or two portions is sufficient. Also look at the amount of fructose in fruit.
- Fruit with a high fructose content: bananas, pineapple, pear, grapes and apples
- Fruit with a low fructose content: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches
The best thing to do is to take fruit from the last category.
Tip 7: Take the time to get used to it
It can take time to switch to the low-carbohydrate diet. You will have to get used to it, both physically and mentally. As mentioned earlier, you may experience some headache or fatigue if your body starts using fats and proteins as an energy source. Most people feel this especially in the first week. After that it gets better soon.
Also mentally it requires some adjustment. You have been eating according to the same pattern for a long time. You are used to the famous sandwiches, fries, macaroni and spaghetti. If you have to think of meals, cauliflower with potatoes is the first thing you think of. Now you will have to dive into the recipes to plan your meals for next week.
This takes some effort first, but remember that this will become easier and easier. You get used to this too and can quickly come up with tasty meals by heart. So give yourself at least two weeks to adjust and then see if you want to continue. Then don’t forget to stand on the scales first and see what you have already achieved.
Low carbohydrate recipes
Low carbohydrate food is certainly not difficult. Below you will find a number of delicious low-carb breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes! Would you like to lose some weight with a ready-made free low-carb diet plan?
Low-carb breakfast recipes
Start the day well with a low-carb breakfast. Below you will find a number of delicious breakfast recipes with low carbohydrates. Boiled eggs with avocado
Boil 2 eggs the way you like them and eat them with (half) avocado. Avocados contain many healthy fats.
Yogurt with fruit and nuts
A container of Greek yogurt (or cottage cheese) with for example 60 grams of blueberries and 25 grams of cashew nuts.
Fried egg with bacon
Bake 2 eggs with a few slices of bacon.
Oatmeal pancakes with strawberries
Recipe for 2 or 3 pancakes
- 50 grams of oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 50 ml of milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- A few strawberries
- Unsalted cashews or walnuts
- Olive oil
This is how you make it:
Make a batter from the oatmeal, milk, cinnamon and egg. Bake the pancakes in the olive oil. Serve a pancake with a few strawberry slices, nuts and some cinnamon.
Recipe for a nice smoothie.
- 1 cucumber
- 1 banana
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 winter carrot
- 175 ml of water
This is how you make it:
Put the cut banana, carrot, zucchini and cucumber in a blender and add the water. Mix everything into a smoothie and add more water if you find it too thick.
Tasty lunch recipes with low carbohydrates
A low-carbohydrate lunch requires a bit more work than a sandwich but is much tastier!
- 2 eggs
- Avocado half
- Half cucumber
- 70 grams of carrots
- 50 grams of field salad or arugula
- Half an apple
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
- Capers to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
This is how you make it:
Boil the eggs. Cut the avocado, cucumber and apple into pieces, grate the carrot. Stir the lemon juice and olive oil together. Put the lettuce, avocado, cucumber, apple, carrot and capers in a bowl and mix everything well. Add the dressing. When the eggs are ready, peel them and cut into a few pieces. Garnish the salad with sesame seeds and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Broccoli soup with salmon
- 1 zucchini
- 1 broccoli sprout
- 1 stock cube
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 300 grams of smoked salmon
- Pepper and salt
This is how you make it:
Fry the onion and garlic in oil. Put a soup pan on the heat and add the vegetables and coconut milk, together with the fried onion and garlic. Then add water until the vegetables are just not completely submerged. Cook for 30 minutes.
When the soup is ready, pour everything into a blender and mix into a smooth soup. Garnish with shredded salmon.
Tip: keep your soup, then freeze it. Do this without adding the salmon.
Kiwi kale smoothie
- 1 kiwi
- Avocado half
- 50 grams of kale
- 1 date
- 100 ml of water
- 100 ml coconut milk
Mix the ingredients together in a blender.
Beet salad with lentils
- 2 boiled beets
- 150 grams of lentils
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- small bag of arugula
- 2 slices of soft goat cheese
- Hand of walnuts
- Salt to taste
Cut the beetroot into pieces and put them in a salad bowl. Rinse the lentils and add to the beetroot together with the arugula. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and add the crumbled goat cheese and walnuts. Sprinkle with some salt.
Low-carb dinner recipes
Below you will find a number of recipes for delicious dinner recipes with few carbohydrates. Hopefully there is something for you in between!
Spring Rolls with chicken
For 2 portions
- 8 rice sheets
- 1 bag of lettuce
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 large carrot
- 2 pre-cooked beets
- 1 smoked chicken fillet
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of nut paste
This is how you make it:
Cut the bell pepper, the chicken fillet and the beetroot into pieces. Grate the carrot. Mix them in a bowl. Make a dressing by mixing the nut paste with the soy sauce. Follow the instructions on the rice sheets. Soak them in warm water and place them on a damp tea towel. Cover each sheet with a spoon of dressing.
Place the vegetables and chicken in the center of the rice sheet. Fold a piece of the bottom of the sheet inwards and the sides over the vegetables, so that you get a nice package. Do the same with the other rice sheets.
Curry cauliflower with cucumber
Recipe for 4 people
- 1 Cauliflower
- 400 grams of chestnut mushrooms
- 1 cucumber
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons yogurt
- 2 teaspoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- bowl of hummus
- Parsley to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 chicken fillets
This is how you make it:
Slice the cucumber and scoop the wine vinegar over it. Mix the yogurt with the tahini and lemon juice. Cut the cauliflower into pieces and put it on with some water. Add two teaspoons of curry powder and cook until done. Cut the mushrooms into pieces and fry them in some olive oil in a frying pan. If they are soft, add the parsley. Meanwhile fry the chicken fillets until they are done.
Serve the cauliflower with the fried mushrooms and the cucumber. Spoon the yogurt dressing over it. The hummus tastes nice and loose, but also over the cauliflower.
For 1 portion
- 150 mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper
- 200 grams of tomato cubes
- Hand spinach
- 1 egg
- 1 onion
- 200 grams of minced meat
- 1 clove of garlic
- Spices such as curry powder, cumin powder, paprika powder
- Pepper and salt
Cut the vegetables into pieces. Chop the onion and heat oil in a wok. Squeeze the garlic over the pan. Add the spices and fry until they smell nice. Add the minced meat and fry in a few minutes. Put the vegetables in the wok and stir-fry until everything is cooked. Add the tomato cubes and heat well. You can place the egg in a well on top of the wok vegetables and let it set, or boil separately.
You can easily eat this dish, but if you eat with others who do not eat low carbohydrate, cook pasta with this dish.