How to Start a Low Carb Diet

Maybe you’re trying to lose weight or even manage your blood sugar. For whatever reason, you’ve decided to go low carb. Where do you begin? Get rid of the high carb foods.
Some foods are much higher in carbs, and much harder on your blood sugar, than others. These foods will need to go, and you’ll replace them with lower carb versions.Sugar, honey, syrup, etc. These are absolute no-no’s on a low carb diet. You’ll need to substitute sweeteners like splenda, sugar alcohols, sugar free syrups, etc.

White flour and foods made with it. Think those sugar-free cookies are okay? Think again. They are still probably loaded in carbs because they’re made with white flour. Same goes for cake mixes, breads, etc. Substitute foods made with whole grain flours.White flour pasta. This one deserves its own category. Whole grain pasta has less impact on your blood sugar and tastes good too.Potatoes. The starch in potatoes is bad for your blood sugar. Same goes for sweet potatoes. Try using other vegetables instead of potatoes.
After replacing the major culprits, you still have some work to do. Some foods that are perfectly acceptable will impact your blood sugar more than others. You’ll need to read labels and experiment, and track what you eat and what effect it has.

Reading Labels

Check the serving size first. A food may look low carb because the nutrition information is calculated for an absurdly small serving size.Calculate the net carbs. Total carbs MINUS fiber content MINUS sugar alcohol content. For example, let’s say a slice of bread has 15 grams carbs and 5 grams fiber. Net carbs would be 10 grams.Know the glycemic impact of the food. Equal amounts of carbs from different kinds of foods can have different effects on your blood sugar. Use a site like this to choose foods lower on the glycemic scale.

Track and Test
Keep track of what you eat and when. I know it can be inconvenient, but it’s not something you’ll have to do forever. Your goal is to learn what foods you tolerate well and which ones have too much of a negative impact on your blood sugar. Often it’s not even the individual foods but the blood sugar impact of the entire meal that you have to be concerned about.

Test your blood sugar before each meal and two hours after.

Note what you ate, how much, and how your blood sugar did after the meal.

Over time, you’ll learn which foods you tolerate best.Mix high carb foods into your low carb meals
If you want something relatively high carb, you may be better off eating it with a meal than alone. The protein and fat of the meal can mitigate the effect of carbs.
Here’s an example, my husband is able to tolerate potato salad pretty well, even though he’s diabetic. That’s probably because the potatoes (high carb) are mixed with eggs and mayonnaise. The protein and fat slows his digestion, and slows the effects the carbs have on his blood sugar. If he ate the same amount of potatoes as french fries or as a baked potato, he’d likely see a different effect.

Do your research
Read about nutrition and low carb diets. Talk to your doctor about the diet you’re following. Take your food journal to a nutritionist. Changing to a low carb lifestyle isn’t going to happen overnight, but you can make changes that will benefit your health.

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