If you have diabetes or prediabetes, or if you just need to lose weight, a low-carb diet is a good choice. According to Dominique Fradin Read, a low-carb diet is best for insulin resistance and inflammation. The following tips can help you to start and stick to a low-carb diet.
1. Eliminate Sweet Drinks
Don’t drink anything that is sweetened with sugar. These drinks contain carbs that you definitely don’t need. This includes soda or sweet iced tea drinks. You should also stay away from fruit juices. They may not contain added sugar, but they still contain too many carbs.
Instead of drinks with added sugar, drink unsweetened iced tea or seltzer. Seltzer comes in many flavors, and you can add a slice of lemon or lime to add more flavor. If you simply can’t stand unsweetened tea, you may add a little stevia.
2. Be Careful with Bread
Most bread is just too high in carbs to be on your diet. However, you can find low-carb bread and low-carb tortillas. These can be eaten in moderation. Remember, you can subtract the grams of fiber on the label from the grams of carbs. So, if it says a slice of bread has 7 carbs, but it has 3 carbs of fiber, then you can count this as 4 grams of carbs per slice.
3. Make Smart Swaps
If your dinner does not seem complete without some potatoes, rice or pasta, you will need to learn to substitute something else for these high-carb foods. Swap in a salad with low-carb dressing, or add another vegetable to your dinner. When choosing vegetables, stick with the ones that are low in starch. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, corn and lima beans are higher in starch than other vegetables, so avoid them.
4. Don’t Eat Too Many Fruits
Fruits may be healthy, but most of them are high in carbs. You don’t need to eliminate fruits completely, but watch your portion sizes. Eat a small apple instead of a large one. You can eat apples, blueberries and strawberries in small quantities, but stay away from high-carb fruits such as grapes. Don’t eat dried fruits. It is too easy to overindulge because they are so small.
5. Read Food Labels
If you start reading food labels, you will be surprised at how many carbs are in your favorite foods. If you are only allowed 50 grams of carbs per day, you could eat that many in one meal if you are not careful. By reading labels, you will soon learn what foods to avoid. You can also find carb counts for common foods online in case your food does not have a label or you are eating out.
6. Have Low-Carb Snacks on Hand
Keep plenty of low-carb snacks around for those times when you are hungry between meals. Instead of reaching for a cookie, try some nuts, cheese, a hard-boiled egg, baby carrots or unsweetened yogurt.
A low-carb diet is not too bad once you get used to it. At least you don’t have to count calories. You do need to watch your carbs, but that should not be too hard if you incorporate these ideas into your diet plan.
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