Low-Carb Diet: 6 Tips for Healthy Low-Carb Eating
Switching to a low-carb diet may help you reach your weight-loss goals, but there are a few things to keep in mind so your food swaps are as healthy as possible. Always be sure to talk with your health care provider before making any changes to your diet.
How to Keep a Low-Carb Diet
- Pick the right carbs. Carbohydrates—your body’s main energy source—fall into 2 types: complex and simple. Simple carbs are sugars found naturally in fruits and milk, but candy and other sweets also count as simple carbs. When you’re making your selections, focus on the complex variety—that includes beans, lentils, and other legumes; whole-grain breads, rice, and pasta; and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, green peas, butternut squash, corn, and pumpkin. One of the best things about complex carbs is their ability to help you eat less because they’re so filling.
- Fill up on lean protein. In a low-carb diet, not all protein sources are created equal. Skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish, eggs, and beans are your best options. On occasion, you can still enjoy beef; just be sure to choose cuts graded “Select” or “Choice.” Like complex carbs, protein takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates, which helps explain why some people feel full longer when they’re on a low-carb diet.
- Read food labels. Checking how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving of the foods you enjoy can help you keep track of your daily totals.
You can also use the information on the nutrition facts label to compare foods.
- Do not leave out fruit and non-starchy vegetables. Fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots may be classified as simple carbs, but that does not mean they do not deserve a place on your dinner plate. You’ll want to enjoy the full spectrum of fruits and you can take in the many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and types of fiber that are important for your overall health.
- Think ahead when planning your meals. It’s easy to fall into a meal rut when you’re trying to lose weight. The low-carb recipes in MerckEngage® can help you dodge dinnertime boredom and hit your health goals. Start by using our healthy recipes finder. (Brands mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.)
- Keep your doctor in the loop. Following a low-carb diet may help many people lose weight. But that does not mean it’s the right choice for everyone. Talk to your health care provider if you have any additional questions or concerns. Keep in mind that no one really knows the long-term health effects of low-carb diets. What we do know is that the healthiest diet is based on eating a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and dairy.