Whether you are trying to lose weight, eat fewer carbs for health benefits, or want to break free of your sugar addiction, lowering carbohydrates successfully requires a complex approach. Ideally, you will get clear about what carbs are, where they come from, and what your personal carbohydrate intake is. According to your finding and realizations, you might want to consider simple lifestyle changes and adjustments to your diet plan.
The most important step for many individuals is to examine their notions about carbohydrates. Often, people don’t realize how many carbohydrates they eat. They become genuinely surprised when a doctor or nutritionist presents them with carbs overconsumption as the culprit of a weight gain or health issues. A suggestion to limit carbs puzzles many individuals due to lack of a basic understanding about macronutrients. Knowing what carbs are, what forms they come in, and where to look for them could lead to a major realization of how overconsumption of carbs happens.
First, you need to realize that carbohydrate sources extend beyond traditional carbohydrate foods, such as pastas, breads, pizzas, grains, or sweets. You can find carb in the most unsuspected places. You will be amazed how many carbs are packed in your protein bar or shake. Many canned foods, like sweet peas or corn, already high in their natural carbohydrates, come with added sugar. As innocent as they may seem, some vegetables and dairy products are high in carbs as well. Even your bacon and other cured meats often contain added sugars. To catch all hidden carbs, you must scrutinize every food label and learn about carb content of various foods.
You might want to change your mindset about sugar and naturally sweet foods. White sugar is a simple carbohydrate, and so are the sugars from natural sources. Though honey, maple syrup, dried and fresh fruit, and fruit juices offer nutritional benefits, they are high in sugar, and their carbohydrate load still counts.
To transition to a low-carb diet with ease, consider some lifestyle changes. Though often overlooked, your lifestyle could be a defining factor in your success. It could either support your efforts to cut carbs or create unnecessary obstacles. Make your lifestyle more conducive to changes in your diet by incorporating some of the following suggestions.
Do you sleep enough? It has been proven that people who get a sufficient night sleep experience fewer cravings throughout the day and consume fewer calories. Without enough sleep, your body’s hormonal system gets disrupted ― you don’t produce enough of the hormone leptin that controls your hunger and satiation. This leads to excessive hunger and overeating.
To control your carbs, try cooking for yourself more often. You will know exactly what goes into your dishes. At least, learn how to make your own salad dressings and sauces. Commercial versions of these seemingly insignificant sources of hidden carbs could turn your most healthful salad into a carb-packed meal. Take advantage of a nutrition tracker, like our Lifesum weight tracker, to calculate your carbs throughout the day. Our tracker is easy to set up and use, have huge databases of foods and ingredients, and give you tips and tricks for reaching your goals.
Eat a high-protein breakfast and include an adequate amount of protein and healthy fat with every meal. This strategy will help you feel more satiated and fuller longer and will curb your carb cravings during the day. You will avoid midday energy crashes and temptations to snack on something sweet.
Certain categories of foods, due to their extremely high carbohydrate content and low nutrition profile, are best avoided or limited as much as possible. Those are sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices, breads and pastas, desserts, and white sugar in hot beverages. Sometimes, just one serving of these foods will be enough to satisfy your daily carbohydrate requirement, thus, jeopardizing your goal of cutting carbs. For example, one serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 28 grams of carbs, 24 of which come from sugar. This is equivalent to 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Make sure to read labels and take caution with all high-carb foods. Say no to bread baskets at restaurants. Quench your thirst with water rather than soda. At the very least, ask for a can of soda instead of unlimited soda refills. When shopping for cured meats or canned items, look for the ones with no added sugar. Get your caffeine fix with a creamy breve latte or a cold brew with sweet cream instead of a Frappuccino loaded with 50-60 grams of sugar.
Examine your diet for possible easy substitutions. Making a small switch could make all the difference in your carbohydrate intake. Often, these substitutions eliminate unnecessary carbs without compromising the taste or texture of a dish.
Cutting carbs could be easy and fun when you have a plan. On your journey to a low- or no-carb diet, you might discover your new favorite foods and combinations, get leaner and healthier, become a great cook, and learn how to leverage your creativity to engage your family in a healthy lifestyle.
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