Low carb diet: what to eat and what to avoid

low carb diet foods

Technically, carbohydrates can be defined as a group of organic compounds found in the food and living tissues of animals and plants. These compounds, also known as carbohydrates, are the main source of energy for the body and can be divided into two main categories - simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates have a basic molecular structure, usually one or two parts. They are easily absorbed into the body when taken orally and release sudden bursts of energy, followed by the same sudden drop in levels when sugars are consumed.

A good source of simple sugars are refined and processed carbohydrates, which are designed to be absorbed faster into the blood. They provide energy faster than natural sugars, which have a lower glycemic index.

However, many of these refined sugars are only used as flavor enhancers in processed foods and have little or no nutritional value. That is why they are called empty calories.

Simple carbohydrates are also found in natural sources such as fruits, honey and dairy products.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have a more complex molecular structure of three or more parts. It takes them longer to break down into glucose for energy. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates also contain fiber, minerals and other nutrients.

Because complex carbohydrates are broken down slowly, energy lasts longer than simple carbohydrates provide. Sources include whole grains and products such as cereals, oats, rice and pasta. They are also found in potatoes, lentils, beans and peas.

When ingested, carbohydrates are digested and broken down into glucose, which is a simpler and more digestible form. It is then transported through the blood to the organs and muscles of the body, which break it down for energy. Such organs include the heart, kidneys, brain and lungs.

Why you should or should not eliminate carbohydrates

Diet has become a widely discussed topic around the world, and any such discussion usually focuses on one thing - carbohydrates. For years, nutritionists have been torn between advising their patients to avoid carbohydrates altogether or to eat only the good ones. The result is a variety of diets available to everyone, including the famous Keto and Atkins diets.

To really understand whether to exclude carbohydrates or not, we will look at the benefits and dangers of consuming carbohydrates.


The most important function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide energy. They are the main source of the body.

Most natural dietary sources of carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, also contain significant amounts of fiber, which not only promotes good gut health, but also reduces the likelihood of other health problems, such as cholesterol buildup.

In addition, when fats and fatty foods are replaced with carbohydrates such as whole grains, they can help reduce fat intake, allowing you to maintain a healthy weight. Helps fight obesity and other health problems related to overweight.


The main disadvantage of carbohydrate intake is weight gain. As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is further broken down to produce energy. Excess glucose then accumulates in the organs and muscles in the form of fat, which causes weight gain. It is the basis of many diets to reduce carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are also dangerous for people with blood sugar problems such as diabetes. When absorbed, they increase the amount of sugar in the blood and people with these conditions may not be able to control their levels well.

There is even a risk of sugar addiction. The effects may be somewhat similar to those of ordinary street drugs.

For those who are concerned about their weight and blood sugar levels, the best alternative to maintaining good health may be to stop eating carbohydrates and replace them with more essential energy sources, such as protein.

Foods to avoid when eating a low carb diet

Bread and cereals

Bread is widely consumed all over the world. It is difficult to find a household that does not use bread production. Refined or made from whole grains, bread is mostly carbohydrates. One slice of plain white bread can contain up to 14 g of carbohydrates, while a slice of wholemeal bread can contain up to 17 g. This definitely makes it a poor choice for a low-carbohydrate diet.

skipping bread on a low-carb diet

some fruits

This may sound rather ironic, given that some of the healthiest people in the world swear by them. Fruits are a good source of vitamins and fiber, and their health benefits are far-reaching. Some studies even show that they can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

However, some fruits are high in carbohydrates. These include bananas, apples, grapes and mangoes. The sweeter the fruit, the more sugar it contains.

Vegetables with a lot of starch

Vegetables are also an important component of many diets, as they prefer high amounts of vitamins, as well as high levels of fiber, which not only help digestion, but also help weight loss and help control blood sugar levels.

However, some vegetables are high in starch, which makes them more digestible carbohydrates than fiber. These include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets.

vegetables for a low-carbohydrate diet


Pasta, like bread, is a staple food for many people on the planet. It is not only cheap, but also easy to prepare and can be served with various other dishes. However, many people who are concerned about their weight have decided to reduce the paste or avoid it altogether due to the huge amount of carbohydrates it contains. Whether whole grain or processed, this is a bad choice for those who want to cut down on carbs. A healthy alternative would be shirataki noodles or spiral vegetables.

Dry breakfast

The ideal breakfast for at least half of the adults and children in the country would be a full bowl of sugary cereals. Although the excuse would be that cereals (especially whole grains) provide the body with much-needed fiber, it is important to note that they contain much more sugar than fiber. For example, half a cup of oatmeal contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and only 4 grams of fiber.

Low carb foods

The main goal of many low carb diets is to lose weight and improve overall health. The goal is to replace carbohydrates with other energy sources, usually protein and healthy fats. The basic principle is that if the body receives a minimum amount of carbohydrates, it will not store them as fat. Here are some foods you should include in your low carb diet for best results:

  • Lean meat protein - Refers to lean meat such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb and others.
  • Fish
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach
  • Dairy products high in fat, such as cheese and butter
  • Nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds and walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and berries low in carbohydrates
low carb chicken breast with vegetables

Popular low-carb diets

Atkins diet

Atkin's diet focuses on weight loss and aims to consume high-protein proteins and fats. The idea was spread by Dr. Robert Atkins, who wrote a book about it in 1972.

Atkins' diet was initially considered unhealthy and was not even encouraged by many other nutritionists due to the large amount of saturated fat that her followers would consume. However, over time, it gained worldwide popularity and numerous studies confirm this. It is very useful for people who want to lose weight or lower their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

The Atkins diet consists of four phases:

  1. Induction phase: involves consuming less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for at least two weeks. It serves to start the weight loss process, and also involves the intake of large amounts of protein and fat.
  2. Current weight loss: This focuses on balancing weight loss and returning it to a steady pace. This includes slowly including small amounts of carbohydrates in the diet.
  3. Pre-maintenance: This is when a person is close to their weight goals and needs to slow down the weight loss process. This involves slowly adding carbohydrates back to the diet until weight loss begins to slow.
  4. Support. This phase involves a lot of balance when a person eats as many carbohydrates as possible without gaining weight.

LCHF diet

Mainly focused on weight loss, the LCHF diet is based on the concept of a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It is also practiced for a number of other health reasons, such as reducing the risk and consequences of type 2 diabetes, heart problems and Alzheimer's disease.

The LCHF diet, also known as the Bunting Plan (named after William Bunting, who played a critical role in promoting it), includes eating whole and unprocessed fats and moderate amounts of protein with minimal carbohydrate intake. Other diets such as ketogenic and Atkins are also based on this rule, making them small variations on the LCHF diet.

There are no standard diet plans for this diet, as it must be tailored to individual needs. It is advisable to avoid any foods rich in carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, as well as other sweet and starchy foods.

protein foods for a low carb diet

The risks of a low carb diet

While low-carb diets are ideal for weight loss (and other claimed health benefits), there are some significant risks that should not be overlooked by anyone who wants to start with them.

Eating little or no carbohydrates increases the chances of dying young, especially in adulthood. This has been proven by numerous meta-analyzed studies from around the world.

These diets can also significantly increase mortality, as evidenced by numerous studies in which those affected receive at least 50 percent of their energy from high-carbohydrate foods.

Let's summarize

Carbohydrates can be the main source of energy for the body, but they can also be blamed for problems such as weight gain and other health problems that result from consuming too many of them.

Therefore, experts have invented low-carbohydrate diets that seek to replace them with fats and proteins as energy sources. Diets like Atkins and LCHF work the same way: eat fewer carbs and more protein and fat. Different diet plans and different phases are usually the only differences between these diets. For example, low-carb and keto diet. They are associated with some risks, such as the risk of premature death.

Therefore, it would be wise to fully understand your individual needs and consult a doctor before starting a low-carb diet.