You’ve clicked on this article because you’re busy, you want better for yourself, and you’re intrigued by the idea of going low carb to achieve your health, wellness, or aesthetic goals. You’re probably tired of trying to figure out what to eat and when to eat so that you can lose weight or ‘tighten up’ and you may even be at a place where you’re frustrated at the effort you’re putting in and not getting results from. Am I speaking your language? I thought so. In this article we’re going to not only give you a free 7-day low carb meal plan to download and give a try, but we’re also going to chat more about the pros, cons, and our best tips for your low carb lifestyle.
Why Is Going Low Carb Popular
People are going low carb and you’re seeing low carb more and more because eating behaviors here in the United States have drastically changed in the last 50 years. There’s more processed, refined, and empty nutrient foods available now, more than ever. Obesity rates are absurd, few people know how to even cook a meal, and the convenience of grabbing something on the go, pounding it for a quick energy and dopamine high, and going back to their cell phones, jobs, and video games is more common than ever before.
That being said, all this has resulted in fat, unhappy, and overweight people who don’t know what to do or how to go about losing weight or getting back to not being out of breath walking from the bed to the bathroom. Still speaking your language? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you’re not in the extreme realm, but you want to lose, let’s say 10-30 lbs, and you think low carb is the way to go? We get it, diet’s are quick and easy, but are they really the best way to go?
What Is A Low Carb Diet
A low carb is just what it sounds like - a dietary pattern or ‘diet’ way of eating that incorporates a low amount of carbohydrates and maybe higher fat and definitely higher protein than most consume. Low carb is generally regarded in the nutrition world as anything under 100-150g carbohydrates per day. That being said, if you’ve looked into going low carb prior to landing here on this article, you’ve found more than a few pages or books that tell you to ditch carbohydrates all together or to go keto. What does this result in? Confusion.
Americans are eating more carbohydrates than fat in processed foods, mainly in the way of sugars, sweeteners, and processed flours. Low-carb diets have practically replaced the low-fat diets to try to improve the quality of foods that people are eating, more carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, as compared to just pumping up their diet with fats that contribute to things like heart disease. If you’re trying to figure out if a low-carb diet is right for you, keep reading.
A Look At Different Low Carb Diets
To try and alleviate the confusion, let’s go over 5 different ranges of carbohydrate eating/diets to be aware of.
Very Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD)
VLCKD is the basis for other diets, like the ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, or Protein Power diet. This is diet in which carbohydrates are severely restricted from 20-30 grams per day. Another way to look at this, is based on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s less than 10% of your overall calorie intake coming from carbohydrates. This also doesn’t mean that you have to be in ketosis to achieve this, but inducing ketosis is mainly what the carb restriction is for. We may only recommend this approach for those who are following a medical prescription or weight loss/health improvement protocol as prescribed and managed by a physician.
Very Low Carbohydrate Diet:
For the purpose of bridging VLCKD and a low carb diet, we’re going to present what we regard as a very low carbohydrate diet, but not ketogenic. This means the consumption of carbohydrates that falls between 70 - 100g carbohydrates consumed per day. This is an approach that many individuals will take when pursuing ketosis or the ketogenic diet is unrealistic for their lifestyle, but they may be facing low activity levels and want to lose weight or other medical conditions.
Low Carbohydrate Diet:
Low carb diets are in that range of 100 - 150g carbohydrates per day. Believe it or not, this is actually the low side of the low carbohydrate diet threshold as defined by the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI). The DRI is a generic term for a set of nutrient reference values that include the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AI), Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), and Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). [R] This is probably the most common approach for individuals looking to improve their overall quality intake of food (like incorporating many fruits and vegetables) for a holistic approach to their dietary lifestyle.
Moderate Carbohydrate Diet:
This dietary approach incorporates carbohydrates in the 150-225g per day range and is ideal for those who pursue regular physical activity in addition to their daily lifestyle and who are looking to optimize their body composition without sacrificing muscle. Traditionally speaking, this is the most general range of the American diet before fast food and processed foods overtook the grocery stores and the average American’s diet (think the obesity epidemic that emerged in Westernized countries during the 1980s. [R]
High Carbohydrate Diet:
High carbohydrate diets are often followed by individuals who eat more than 225g carbohydrates per day (or greater than 45% of their total daily consumption of calories). This is pursued by two very different types of people — athletes and those who eat an extremely refined and processed diet.
While it is important to note that none of these carbohydrate percentages or gram amounts take into consideration the quality of the carbohydrate, there are ways to make each one successful by minimizing processed and refined foods and focusing on a whole food approach. Activity is also an important consideration when thinking about following a specific carbohydrate diet lifestyle.
Why Low Carb Works
As defined by the low carbohydrate diet above, following low carb (eating more than 100g carbs) and getting your carbohydrates from whole food sources is one of the best ways to achieve not only positive health outcomes but a leaner, more defined physique, to support things in your lifestyle like energy levels, vibrancy, a positive mood, and reduced body fat. A low carb diet works when you focus on learning how to enjoy whole or unprocessed foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, instead of removing them or entire food groups (like dairy, for example).
If you’re tired of getting zapped energy levels from sugar, prone to developing chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or obesity, then going low carb (remember, eating 100-150g carbs per day) is probably the way to go for you.
Low Carb Diet Tips:
- Don’t be afraid of fruit
- Eat leafy green and non-starchy vegetables
- Reduce or remove refined sugars from your life
- Focus on high fiber foods
- Explore with legumes
- Opt for whole grains
- Incorporate lean proteins
- Drink plenty of water
Why Low Carb Doesn’t Work
Low carb might not work for you if your activity level is higher than what your carbohydrate intake can support. Low carb also might not work if you’re used to eating so many carbs, that you’re having withdrawals or issues consuming such a low number of carbohydrates. Low carb can also not be beneficial to those if you’re cutting other food groups or macronutrients, like protein and fat, and overall under consuming calories. Another reason why going low carb (or even lower, like very low carb or VLCD/VLCKD) may not work is because it isn’t sustainable or maintainable after you’ve reached your aesthetic/health goals. If you can’t stick to it long term, what good is it, really?
Low Carb Diet Meal Prep
As promised, in this article you’re able to download a free 7-day low carb meal plan complete with yummy recipes, macros, calories, a grocery list and even a portion guide to give you a real life look at what 100-150g looks like (as we define “low carb”). The best way to go about low carb diet meal prep is to make your food ahead of time in bulk. When it is ready to go in the fridge and your snacks are readily available, there really is no excuse not to follow the plan. We also recommend measuring/weighing your ingredients and food, not because you are restricting, but to know exactly how much and of what you’re eating. When you know this, it is easy to understand if you need more or less of something, rather than taking a guess, or worse off, gaining weight from eye-balling your food.
Low Carb Diet Supplements
As a high quality and high nutrient snack on your low carb diet journey we’re going to recommend drinking 1 scoop of Swolverine’s Whey Protein Isolate with 1 scoop of Swolverine’s Clean Carbs powder mixed with water. You’re not only going to get 26g of protein but 24g of carbohydrates from powdered sweet potato, yam, oat and blueberry powder. You’re going to keep your blood sugar levels balanced, increase energy, and give your body the nutrients it needs to build/recover muscle, reduce body fat, and be fuller for longer between meals.
Another option is, if you don’t want to mix together two different products, is drinking 1 scoop of POST from Swolverine either as a snack or pre-/post-workout. Again, this product is made from real, whole super foods, almost like a smoothie in a cup, ready to fuel your body with high quality nutrients. Remember, just because you’re going low carb doesn’t mean that you get to cut corners with the nutrients in your food or supplement sources.
Low Carb Diet Coaching
Ready to dive into your low carbohydrate lifestyle and learn the ropes once and for all with nutrient packed, delicious foods, and sustainable/maintainable results? We thought so. But trust us when we say — the most efficient way to go about it is to have a coach. Not because you cannot do it on your own, but because doing it with a trusted professional is going to open the doors to so many more possibilities, ways of eating, recipes, low carb meal plans, and more.
Having someone to walk the walk with you will be so much more enjoyable and SO much more efficient then going at this thing alone. Plus, the nutritionists over at The Swole Kitchen (our trusted nutrition coaching professional team) write your meal plans with you on a weekly basis, with a calculated approach, from scratch. That means incorporating your food preferences, taking into account your likes, dislikes, suggestions, and indulgences. I mean, does it really get better than that? After all, they’re the one’s who made the 7-day low carb meal plan that you’re downloading for FREE. So when you’re done following that, why not just schedule a free nutrition consultation with the head coach, to get a better idea of how their customized coaching services can assist you further with your health, aesthetic, and fitness goals?
Low Carb Meal Plan: Takeaway
Going low carb doesn’t have to suck as bad as the internet makes it sound. When you incorporate whole foods like fruits, vegetables, protein and fat, you’re going to be surprise with the density that you can eat, and often times it seems like a lot more food than it should be (which is a good thing)! Make sure to drink lots of water, use your supplements when need be or pre-/post-workout for nutrient replenishment, and honestly, consider a nutritionist as a coach to lead you on the low carb journey.
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