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The Low-Carb Diet for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

The Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

Table of Contents

This low-carb diet for beginners will help you learn about the health benefits of low carbs, different low-carb diet options, and what to eat and what to avoid.

The Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

Some experts say carbs are important for weight loss and health, while others think they cause weight gain and disease. The right answer is probably a bit of both in terms of weight loss and optimal health. The carbohydrates you choose to eat—and how your body processes them—will affect your health.

The term “low-carb” can mean many different things, depending on who you ask. Most low-carb diets limit carb intake to 20–150 grams per day. This is less than the 300–400 grams per day recommended by mainstream nutritional guidelines.

Key Takeaways:

  • Low-carb diets are effective for weight loss and health.
  • Choose quality carbs and limit intake to 20–150g/day.
  • Benefits include improved insulin sensitivity and brain health.
  • Eat meat, veggies, berries, nuts, seeds, oils, and dairy.
  • Avoid processed foods, high-carb foods, alcohol, sugar.
  • Ketogenic diet is stricter with added benefits.
  • Exercise is crucial for fat burning and weight loss.
  • Results vary; initial water weight loss in ketosis.
  • Consider downsides like tolerance and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Tips: increase fiber and healthy fats for digestion and ketosis.

What Is the Low-Carb Diet?

What Is the Low-Carb Diet?

The low-carb diet is a way of eating that’s been shown to be effective for weight loss and overall health. One study discovered that people on a low-carb diet lost twice as much weight as those on a low-fat diet, and another study found that those following the lowest carb diet had lower blood sugar levels. A review of studies on low-carb diets found that they can help improve blood lipid levels, including total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Low carb diets have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, too—both factors that influence risk for heart disease. It can also help the brain by increasing the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which protects neurons from damage linked to Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

Studies show that going low carb can help with gut health, too; one study showed that following a ketogenic diet reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by 47 percent after only two weeks! Research suggests that this nutrition plan can help prevent kidney stones in people with kidney disease.

The Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet

  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. These conditions are linked to high carbohydrate intake.
  • Lowers stroke risk as well as other diseases that affect your blood vessels.

What to Eat on a Low-Carb Diet

Low-carb foods are high in protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients. Here are some of the best low-carb foods to eat:

  • Meat includes beef, poultry, fish, and other sources of protein.
  • Vegetables: leafy greens (kale, spinach), broccoli, and other vegetables
  • Berries like strawberries and blueberries, citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruit, cantaloupe melons, raw tomatoes or tomato sauce, and avocado without sugar.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds can be eaten moderately on a low-carb diet (1 ounce per day). Seeds are also great for snacking on. They contain healthy fats, which help keep you satiated longer between meals.

Low-Carb Food List

Low-Carb Food List

You can eat the following foods on a low-carb diet:

  • Meat, fish, and eggs
  • Cheese, butter, and cream
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Oils include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or MCT (medium-chain triglyceride). These are all healthy fats that are good for you. They help keep you full while helping your body burn fat more efficiently. (MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides). Avoid using conventional vegetable oils such as peanut or corn oil. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation instead of reducing it. Check out our article “The Truth About Fats In Your Diet” for more details about fats in general!
See also
How To Calculate Macros for Muscle Gain or Fat Loss?

Oils do not contain carbs, but some people still worry about overeating fat, so we’ll talk more about this later on when we answer some questions from readers of our blog post!

Choose free-range or grass-fed meat to avoid hormones that can cause inflammation and weight gain. Vegetarians can choose eggs as a protein source, while non-vegetarians should choose lean meats, such as chicken breast, instead of fatty meats like pork chops.

What to Avoid on a Low-Carb Diet

What to Avoid on a Low-Carb Diet

This means that you should avoid processed foods, as well as any foods that are high in carbohydrates. These include:

  • Bread and other baked goods
  • Rice and pasta
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables (corn is also quite starchy)
  • Fruits (except small amounts of berries)

You should also avoid alcohol, sugar, legumes like beans and lentils, dairy products such as cheese or milk—and yes! You will have to give up your beloved buttery coffee creamer too. In addition to these foods I’ve already mentioned above, any foods made with corn syrup are low in carbohydrates but aren’t allowed on this diet plan.

Low Carb Diets and Keto Diets

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. It has many similarities to the Atkins diet but is stricter and more complex.

The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s by nutritionists at the Mayo Clinic to treat epilepsy. It is used mainly to manage refractory childhood epilepsy and other neurological disorders, such as migraine headaches.

Low Carb Diet vs. Keto Diet

Both diets reduce carbohydrate intake significantly, but they differ in how many carbohydrates you can eat daily. A person following a low-carb diet may eat between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. On a keto diet, someone can only have 5% of their daily calories from carbs (less than 20 grams).

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that emphasizes consuming more calories from healthy fats rather than carbohydrates. Originally created in the 1920s to assist individuals with epilepsy, it has become evident that this method has additional benefits such as weight loss and overall health improvement.

The keto diet is a popular way to lose weight and improve wellbeing. It’s a high-fat, low-carb diet that focuses on reducing carbohydrate intake.

Keto diets are based on the idea that eating fewer carbs increases fat burning in the body and reduces hunger pangs during dieting or fasting. High-carb foods cause blood sugar spikes, crashes, fatigue, and weakness.

Low carb diets also reduce insulin levels and help with weight loss because insulin causes fat storage.

Exercising on a Low-Carb Diet

Exercise is an important part of any healthy diet, and it’s especially important on a low-carb diet. By exercising regularly and eating lots of nutrient-dense foods, you’ll feel better than you would if you went on a standard carb-heavy diet that didn’t include exercise. Exercising helps your body burn fat better, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off in the long term.

There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial for people following low-carb diets. Resistance training (such as lifting weights) builds muscle mass and strength, which will help reduce overall body fat levels even if they’re not performing cardio exercises like running or cycling every day. Some people prefer doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts because they’re less time-consuming than traditional aerobic activities such as jogging at a moderate pace for 30 minutes at a time; on average, HIIT workouts take about 20 minutes from start to finish!

See also
Low Fat Diet Foods: The Best Options for Your Weight Loss Goals

How Much Weight Can You Lose?

It is important to note that weight loss can vary greatly depending on your starting point, so results may not be the same for everyone.

If you are overweight or trying to lose weight, you can expect to lose at least 5 pounds in the first week by following a low-carb diet. When your body goes into ketosis, it burns fat instead of carbs. This process leads to the release of excess water weight stored around organs and muscles.

If you are already healthy and want to lose extra fat, it is more realistic to aim to lose one pound per week. It takes time for your body to adapt to burning fat instead of sugar.

Potential Downsides of the Low-Carb Diet

It’s important to note that the low-carb diet isn’t for everyone. Some people have difficulty tolerating it, and others may find it difficult to stick to. Because of this, many people new to the diet look for additional resources and sources of support to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients from their food.

Some people enjoy shopping at health food stores or buying organic produce from farmers’ markets. If you don’t live close to these stores or can’t find fresh produce at affordable prices, shopping at supermarkets is just as simple and convenient. It’s also worth noting that while most foods on a low-carb diet are likely healthier than their carb-heavy counterparts, some people may struggle with how expensive this way of eating can be due to its focus on higher-quality ingredients (e.g., grass-fed beef instead of regular ground beef).

Finally, although there aren’t any specific rules about what types of meals should be eaten during your first month as low carb (aside from avoiding added sugars), many find it helpful if they base each meal around one protein source; start with something like grilled chicken breast followed by steamed broccoli before finishing up with baked salmon topped with lemon juice or salsa verde sauce!

In addition to these potential downsides seen after starting on this plan:

Potential Downsides of the Low-Carb Diet
  • It’s hard to follow long-term. If you remove carbohydrates from your meals completely, you must carefully plan every meal since many foods, including vegetables, contain carbohydrates. And if you’re hungry between meals, you won’t be able to fill up with protein shakes or other snacks because most of them have carbohydrates too. You’ll need to eat regularly throughout the day just like everyone else.
  • It may lead to nutrient deficiencies over time, especially if your body isn’t getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables or enough vitamins from whole grains and legumes (which are high in fiber). You’ll also need to take vitamin supplements if you’re following a very-low-carbohydrate diet plan.
  • You might feel fatigued because your body hasn’t fully adjusted yet; try walking more throughout the day to get some exercise even when tired!
  • If you notice constipation symptoms (elevated heart rate/pulse rate) without taking stimulant drugs such as caffeine before bedtime, consider switching brands.

Tips for Digesting Carbs Better and Reaching Ketosis Faster

Tips for Digesting Carbs Better and Reaching Ketosis Faster
  • Eat more fiber: Eating more fiber-rich foods may help you feel better if you have digestive issues. Studies show that the average American consumes only about 20 grams of fiber per day, which is about half of the recommended amount by the Institute of Medicine. You can get some from whole grains and veggies, but most people don’t eat enough beans to make up for their lack of whole-grain intake.
  • Eat more fat: Fat helps slow digestion and keep your blood sugar levels steady, which means it will help minimize cravings and prevent sharp drops in blood sugar after meals (which we’ll explain below). Low-carb diets recommend getting at least 30% of your daily calories from healthy fats like avocado oil, salmon oil, or coconut oil. If that sounds like too much fat for you, start with 10% and build up over time until you reach 30%. It’s easier than it sounds! Many people feel better eating this way compared to low-fat diets because their energy stays stable throughout the day, instead of fluctuating based on their last meal before bedtime.”
See also
Reducing Your Cancer Risk with Healthy Food Choices

A low-carb diet is an effective way to lose weight and improve health.

A low-carb diet is an effective way to lose weight and improve health. Some studies have shown that low-carb diets can help you lose more weight than other types of diets and improve your health in other ways.

Low-carb diets tend to be high in fat and protein but lower in carbohydrates, significantly refined sugars, and grains. Many people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables regularly. It’s important to make sure you get enough nutrients from these sources when on a low-carb diet.

One study found that participants who followed a Mediterranean diet lost eight pounds over three months compared with four pounds for those following the Atkins Diet; both groups had similar reductions in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.


A low-carb diet may be right for you if you’re serious about losing weight and improving your health. Low-carb diets have been gaining popularity over the past several years. The positive benefits of lower-carb diets have been extensively studied in recent years, indicating that eating fewer carbohydrates may be beneficial for health. Eat fewer carbs, lose more weight, and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Low-Carb Diet for Beginners