- Diet & Weight Loss
HIgh Carb, Low Carb, Lose Weight Fast
Don't Ditch All The Carbs!
As soon as people talk about dieting the first thing they usually think about is reducing 'carbs'. Undoubtedly an excessive intake of Carbohydrates - especially refined or processed carbs can lead to weight gain. But by trying to cut them out all together we risk unhelpful changes to the metabolism and a slower rate of weight loss. In fact a study at Manchester University found that intermittent carb reduction was the most effective way to shed those unwanted pounds and it was healthier too.
Intermittent fasting had been previously shown to have beneficial health effects, though scientists still debate this, but the Manchester study showed that diets which restricted carbohydrate intake for just a few days a week were more effective in reducing weight, body fat and insulin resistance more than other diet patterns in the study. To read more follow the link http://www.naturalnews.com/034655_intermittent_fasting_low-carb_diet.html
So the idea of this diet is to have a few days of the week where carb intake is restricted and a few days that are 'high carb'.
Vegtables are a great source of nutrients
By continuing to eat some Carbohydrates you can enjoy feeling fairly full which of course means you will be much more motivated to continue with the diet. I have tried this kind of diet myself and I must say it feels more like healthy, sensible eating than an actual diet.
But other advantages include ensuring lower levels of insulin. Why is this important you may wonder? Well this is what regulates blood sugar, this is important because it controls food cravings, low blood sugar makes us feel dramatically hungry so we crave foods and if we are not careful tuck into whatever is to hand, often sweet or processed foods which are not very good for us. But insulin also regulates the appetite hormones and has an impact on some of the thyroid hormones which in turn effect the metabolism.
What is the pattern
Many of the intermittent carb diets suggest a couple of days of Low Carb eating followed by a day where more carbohydrates are eaten. Some also suggest a fast day but that is down to personal preference, the amount of weight you wish to lose and the speed at which you want to lose weight.
I would suggest 4 days of Low Carb eating, 2 days of High Carb eating - but alternated so 2 Low Carb then 1 high Carb - repeated and the last day could depend on your own preferences, a fast day if you are trying to lose weight fairly quickly, another low carb day or even another high carb if you know for example that you will be exercising.
Beans a great source of protein
Low Carbohydrate Days
The really good news is that even on these days you still can eat some carbohydrates but these will usually be from vegetables or fruit rather than from bread, potatoes or pasta for example.
It is also important to make sure that you eat lean protein and some fats (good fats) which will help you feel full. By good fats I mean things like yoghurt or feta cheese, yes they contain some fat but I would personally always prefer to have a small portion of 'full fat' yoghurt rather than be reduced fat products. For me eating is always part of a lifestyle that needs to be sustainable for you if it is to have long term weight benefits.
So on Low Carbohydrate days think about fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, or egg scrambled with mushroom, a salad for lunch with maybe some Feta cheese or mackerel and some lean meat or fish for the evening meal served with green vegetables. It is fine to have some beans or pulses on a low carb day but limit these to one meal in the day.
Meal Ideas - Low Carb
Strawberries with Yoghurt
Salad(Lettuce toms onion Cucmber) with Tuna
Steak with steamed Kale
Cottage Cheese with Pineapple
Chick pea and egg salad
Roast courgette, and leek and Tomatoes with Salmon
2 Eggs Poached with grilled Tomatoes
Chicken or Turkey Salad
Tuna and Mushroom Omelette served with Sala
2 Eggs Scrambled with Mushrooms
Cottage chesse with crudites of carrot, pepper and cucumber
Prawn Stir fry with carrots, leek and cougette
Fruit Smoothie made with fruit, juice and Yoghurt
2 Egg omelette with feta cheese
Spinach and borlotti bean curry
Baked Beans with poached Egg
Soup ( made without cream or potatoes)
Beef and Broccoli stir fry
Chick Pea and Egg Salad
High Carbohydrate Days
On these days it is still important that lean protein, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten but you can add in some complex whole grain carbohydrates.
So breakfast may be some beans on rye bread, or porridge with fruit., a Tuna or chicken whole meal pitta for lunch and maybe stir fried vegetables and fish or meat with brown rice for dinner.
These are only examples and of course everything can be tailored to suit your own tastes there are some more meal ideas in the table below.
Meal Ideas - High Carb
Porridge with fruit
Tuna and Bean salad
Chilli on small baked potato
Beans on Wholegrain toast
Hummus with crudites
Stir fry with brown rice
Bacon on wholewheat bread
Soup served with small roll
Poached eggs on toast
Open salad sandwich with ham
Bean hot pot
Muesli with milk or yoghurt
Salmon and new potato salad
Fish with vegetables and rice
Snacks and Treats
On both Low Carb and High Carb days it is important to make sure you have at least a couple of snacks each day this makes sure you don't get too hungry and then reach for something like a bag of crisps or a doughnut.
The kind of snacks to think about are a small handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, some crudités, and on the high carb days the snack could be something like humus with Ryvita or a smoothie made with a banana.
Weight loss really isn't rocket science, after all we probably all know what sensible eating looks like. But it is important to have a couple of treats as well - just make sure that the treats don't become complete blow outs - or if they do just get back on it the following day.
- It is fine to eat fairly unlimited amounts of green vegetables, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, or Kale so fill up your plate with these.
- Protein portions (fish meat etc) should fit in the palm of your hand.
- Remember that protein can be obtained from beans and pulses as well.
- On high carb days the idea is to have a SMALL amount of carbohydrate with each meal so generally a small roll or potato, one slice of bread and 50g portion of rice as a guide.
- These menu ideas are simply a guide - feel free to adapt and experiment using the general guidelines
Things to Avoid
Try as far as possible to steer clear of processed carbohydrates, choose brown rice over white and whole wheat pasta - make sure you eat plenty of green vegetables, and other coloured vegetables, but keep potatoes only for high carb days and maybe consider a sweet potato instead just to add variety. Make sure you include some fruit, it does contain sugars but also lots of nutrients.
Avoid alcohol if you are trying to lose weight and if you choose to drink at a social engagement for example, choose maybe a gin and tonic rather than wine or beer.
Biscuits and cakes are also best avoided, a few squares of chocolate, or a small portion of unsalted popcorn would be better.
Try to avoid using salt as this can lead to water retention but make sure foods are flavoursome by using other herbs. Also avoid manufactured salad dressings and try using some wine or balsamic vinegar as a dressing for salads.