Unless you don’t spend any time on the internet, or watch television, you likely have heard a lot of recent buzz about “low carb”. Low carb (short for carbohydrate) touts a healthier lifestyle, but does it really live up to the hype? Or is this another fad that will soon fade away?
There are many variations of low carb eating that you may have heard of: Atkins, Keto or even Paleo. Contrary to popular belief, however, low carb eating doesn’t need to come with a label, and you don’t have to follow a particular diet. There are, however, several health benefits associated with lowering your carb intake.
For starters, you will lose weight. Period. There’s no catch to this. Carbs make the body retain a lot of water, so if you follow a restricted carb intake, the first one or two weeks you can expect to see a drop. This does help many give it more of a shot than they might have with other diets. Those who have more weight to lose will see these weight drops longer than someone else who may only be trying to shed 10 pounds.
The next big thing about low carb, which will keep you hanging in even after the initial weight drops aren’t happening? You won’t feel hungry. Hunger tends to be the worst side effect when it comes to dieting. Studies have consistently shown that eating a diet that focuses more on protein and fat (healthy fats) helps people feel satisfied longer, avoids those spikes in blood sugar which can bring on unhealthy cravings, and because of this, participants consistently eat fewer calories. This results in… you guessed it… weight loss.
The whole point of any weight loss plan is to lose extra fat. For many people that are overweight, this fat will accumulate in the mid-section, around vital organs. When this happens, it’s called visceral fat… and visceral fat is the fat that wreaks a lot of havoc on your health. Too much of this increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Still another health benefit of going low carb is lowering your Triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are basically fat molecules that travel around in your blood stream. The goal is to deplete these during the period overnight that you don’t eat and while you’re sleeping. Having a higher triglyceride level in the morning is indicative of an increase in heart disease risk. (Incidentally, this is why late snacking is a bad idea, and also why poor sleep habits can be bad for your health).
That’s a lot of “less” and “lower” talk… let’s talk about what it helps INCREASE… your HDL levels! HDL is the good cholesterol. For a period of time, the court of public opinion believed that eating any kind fat increased your risk of bad cholesterol; studies consistently show no proof of this. Eating good fats increase your good cholesterol levels, and over time can help lower your bad cholesterol levels as well. A few sources of good fats include nuts, avocados, cheese, dark chocolate (WOOT!), whole eggs, and extra virgin olive oil.
At the end of the day, the key is to be consistent, and to keep in mind that it isn’t what you do once in a while, but most of the time, that is going to help determine your success. Personally, I can say that I have been following low carb for a month now, and while I’m not seeing huge drops in weight (because I was at the end of the spectrum for someone who had less than 10 pounds to lose) I can honestly say this is the first time in over two years where I don’t feel like I’m on a diet. I feel like I’m just eating normally. And that feeling is completely worth it to me!
Any “low carbers” out there? We’d love to hear from you and love to hear your favourite recipes! I’m including one of my favourite recipes below, and at 3 net carbs per muffin this has become a staple in my house!
Keto Chocolate Chip Muffins
Prep 15 mins Cook 20 mins Makes 8 muffins Source Healthyrecipesblogs.com
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon stevia glycerite (equals 1/2 cup sugar)
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (8 oz)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (make sure it's fresh)
- 1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips (2 oz), divided
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 foil liners and grease the liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and stevia.
Mix in the almond flour, whisking until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
Mix in the sea salt and the baking soda. Then fold the chocolate chips in, reserving about ½ oz of them to scatter on top of the muffins.
Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the muffin liners. Scatter the reserved chocolate chips on top.
Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then serve.