What Are the Best Low-carb Foods for Training?
Exercise and physical fitness programs work better when your diet complements your workout regimen. Nutritionists suggest that a low-carbohydrate diet can improve your overall health and physical fitness. If you exercise regularly but don't lose fat, maybe your eating habits are getting in your way.
Is a Diet Low in Carbohydrates Right for Me?
The ideal diet for you depends on your body composition, lifestyle, weight loss goals, and any health conditions you might have or may develop in the future. However, a few general rules work for just about anybody.
You should reduce the processed sugars in your food. Processed sugars are simple sugars that break down easily, while complex carbs are larger chains of sugar molecules.
Complex carbs are better for you than refined sugars because they contain starch. The body takes more time to digest starch than sugar, so complex carbs don't produce as much of a spike in blood sugar after you eat them.
Many nutritionists recommend avoiding high-carb and high-fat diets. If you don't burn many calories per day, a low-carb, low-fat diet might be better. However, if you are training and building muscle, you need a source of energy.
Some diets, such as the Atkins diet, limit carb intake but allow you to have some fatty foods. Finding the time and money to eat healthy nowadays can be a challenge. Affordable, convenient meals low in carbohydrates help you get the most out of your exercise routine.
We intended this article to inform you about the typical benefits of a low-carb diet. You should not consider this article to be medical advice. Consult your doctor if you change your eating habits or your exercise routine.
What Is a Low-carb Diet?
The amount of carbs a person eats depends on factors such as their total caloric intake, food preferences, and cultural factors. Many people eat over 200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Wheat, corn, rice, and other high-carb staples are widespread and common.
Low-carb dieting reduces carbohydrate intake to under 100 grams of carbs per day. Some diets, such as ketogenic diets, keep the number of carbs per day under 40 or 50 grams. These levels are manageable and can even offer a multitude of health benefits.
Benefits of a Low-carb Diet for Training
Some of the benefits of reducing your carbohydrate intake might surprise you. For instance, some experts suggest that low-carb diets might be helpful for people who suffer from kidney disease. Other benefits include:
Reducing Unwanted Fat
If you are trying to get rid of some extra belly or thigh fat, a low-carb diet could be just as effective as a low-fat diet. Both approaches force the body to find alternative sources of energy.
When energy stores run low, the body naturally burns stored carbs or stored fat for energy. Over time, a low-carb diet can help you achieve fat-loss goals, reduce your waistline, and reveal a new, leaner you.
A low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet, typically has a higher percentage of protein, a core component of muscle tissue. If your body has protein available after exercise, it will generate muscle growth and improve your strength and stamina.
Maintaining Cardiovascular Health
High-fat and high-carb diets often lead to high triglyceride and "bad" cholesterol levels. They can cause deposits that build up on the walls of your arteries until they no longer carry blood effectively and produce dangerous blood clots.
As you get older, high cholesterol and triglycerides can increase your heart attack and stroke risk. High levels of triglycerides can also cause pancreatitis and type 2 diabetes. Lowering your carb and fat intake is a great way to maintain good health while also losing weight.
Processed sugars can trigger inflammatory processes in the brain and the body. Inflammation can lead to joint pain, muscle pain, and the risk of cognitive impairment. Low-carb diets inhibit inflammation and make your daily exercise routine a bit easier.
Types of Low-carb Diets
Different low-carb diets reflect different philosophies and often have different goals. For example, are you looking primarily to lose weight, or are you interested in building muscle mass and promoting cardiovascular health?
Whatever diet you choose, remember that the purpose of the food you eat is to sustain and nourish your body. Choose foods with high nutritional value.
If your diet does not provide you with enough of an essential nutrient, look for low-carb foods that have that nutrient and consider buying a dietary supplement.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet is one of the original low-carb diets. While not necessarily a high-fat diet, Atkins does not restrict how much fat you can eat, as long as you keep carbs low.
The Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic diets are low-carb, high-protein diets that promote the production of ketones. Ketones are energy sources we can draw upon when our oxygen supply is low, such as during heavy exercise.
The ketogenic diet promotes health and physical fitness because a high level of ketones in the bloodstream (ketosis) can combat the buildup of lactic acid (lactic acidosis), a condition that can make your muscles ache.
If you take any medication that can increase the acidity of your bloodstream or the level of ketones, be careful and talk to your doctor before starting a ketogenic diet.
The Paleo Diet
Dr. Loren Cordain conceived the paleo diet as a way to replicate the eating habits of our ancient ancestors before the development of agriculture.
Our species evolved to promote survival in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Many ailments of the modern era arose because we changed our eating habits over the centuries but our digestive systems did not keep up. The paleo diet aims to harness our evolutionary past to achieve health benefits and avoid the adverse effects of grains and sugars.
Great Foods for Low-carbohydrate Diets
It might seem challenging to enjoy eating while limiting yourself to 50 or 100 grams of carbs per day. However, you'll find many delicious options that won't push your carb intake sky high.
Don't accept claims that any food is low-carb, keto, or paleo at face value. Sometimes the label is just a marketing tactic. Always read the number of carbs per serving on the label before buying any food items.
Meat and Fish
Lean cuts of red meat are low-carb and high-protein foods. Some diets are low in red meat content. Others, like the paleo and ketogenic diets, make red meat a central feature of meals. Here are a few ideas:
- Bison and beef are popular meat choices that suit paleo and ketogenic diets.
- Pork tenderloin has no carbs, and pork chops have only two grams of carbs per serving.
- Many socially-conscious dieters seek out free-range animals from farms that do not use growth hormones or excessive amounts of antibiotics.
- Consider adding meats to a vegetable stir fry to gain the nutritional benefits of fibre and proteins while keeping carbs low.
Even if you follow a low-carb diet, you still need some fats in your diet. Fish is an excellent source of protein that contains several types of healthy fats and fatty acids. Catfish and salmon are prime examples of fish with low carb content.
Cooking fish with olive oil is doubly healthy because it promotes mental and cardiovascular health. To keep carbs low, don't batter your fish. Batter contains carbs, adding to the number of carbs per serving in the fish.
Include dairy products in your diet. Butter is a high-fat, low-carb food ideal for cooking and baking. Cottage cheese is a popular food choice that goes well with vegetables.
Greek yoghurt and yoghurt with probiotics are good for promoting digestive health. Check the carbs per serving on the yoghurt label, though, because some brands add processed sugar. Look for yoghurt that has less than ten grams of carbs per serving.
Eggs have been a core food for bodybuilders for over a century. The high-protein content is well-suited for building muscle mass. The number of carbs per egg depends on its size, but typically you can count on less than half a gram of carbs per egg.
Beans contain some fat, but are high in protein and an essential element of many cooking traditions. The variety of beans and products like peanut butter that come from legumes offer many ways to incorporate legumes into your low-carb diet.
Some vegetables, like potatoes, are starchy and high in carbohydrates. Leafy vegetables have high levels of fibre and a low number of carbs per serving.
Coffee and Tea
Many people avoid high-carb foods but undercut their efforts at weight loss by drinking soda, alcoholic beverages, and other high-carb drinks.
Unsweetened iced tea, green tea, and other low-carb drinks are a healthy way to cool off and refresh yourself after activities. Black coffee can be a healthy pick-me-up in the morning or during the day. Without milk or sugar, coffee and tea have virtually no carbs per serving.
Don't Forget To Hydrate
Maintaining a proper water intake is an effective way to stave off cravings for unhealthy foods, flush out your body's impurities, and promote overall health. Remember to drink more water if you exercise more or spend a lot of time under the hot sun.
Tips for Decreasing Your Carb Intake
It can be hard to stick to a target number of carbs per day, especially if you enjoy higher-carb diets. These simple tips will help you make healthy low-carb choices, boost your protein intake, and lose weight.
- Find low-carb foods that match your food preferences and remind you of your comfort foods
- Log your intake of carbs per day using an online app so that you can track your progress
- Give yourself a non-food reward every time you stick to your target number of carbs per day
- Avoid the hassle of meal prep by buying prepackaged low-carb meals
- Find a community of people who are on the same type of low-carb diet to share low-carb food ideas and recipes
Keep Carbs Low and Eat Healthy With Wholistically Healthy Meals
Low-carb diets don't have to be a chore if you have access to prepared low-carb snacks and meals. Wholistically Healthy of Perth makes it easy to stick to your low-carbohydrate diet and stay within your budget.
We include nutritional information with our menu options online, including the grams of protein, fat, and carbs per serving. Have healthy meals delivered to your home for your ketogenic diets, Atkins diets, paleo diets, and other styles of healthy eating. Call 0450 344 607 for more information and place your first order today.