There was a time when low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets were all the rage and it was believed that eating fat caused weight gain. However, research has shown that eating carbs can pack on the pounds more than eating fats. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, here are ten ways you can reduce your carbohydrate intake:
1. Eliminate Sugar-Sweetened Drinks
As we all know, sugar-sweetened beverages are very unhealthy. They’re high in added sugar, which has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity when consumed in excess.
A 12-ounce can of soda contains 38 grams of carbs and a 12-ounce iced tea has 36 grams of carbs. Therefore, if you want to eat fewer carbs, avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks should be one of the first things you do.
If you want to drink something that is refreshing and has a taste, try adding some lime or lemon to some club soda.
2. Cut Back on Bread
Bread is a staple food all over the world. However, it’s also quite high in carbs and generally low in fiber. This is particularly true for white bread made from refined grains, which may negatively impact weight and health.
Even nutritious breads such as rye contain around 15 grams of carbs per slice, with only a couple of these grams being fiber, the only component of carbs that isn’t digested and absorbed.
Although whole grain bread contains minerals and vitamins, there are many other foods that provide the same nutrients with much fewer carbs. These healthy foods include nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
3. Stop Drinking Fruit Juice
Unlike whole fruit, fruit juice contains little to no fiber and is full of sugar.
Although they provide some minerals and vitamins, they’re no better than sugar-sweetened beverages in terms of sugars and carbs. This is true even for 100% fruit juice.
For instance, 12-ounces of 100% apple juice contains 48 grams of carbs, most of which is sugar. Therefore, it’s best to avoid juice completely. Instead, why don’t you try flavoring your water by adding a slice of lemon or orange?
4. Eat Eggs or Other Low-Carb Breakfast Foods
Even small amounts of some breakfast foods are high in carbs. For example, one half-cup of granola cereal contains around 30 grams of digestible carbs, and that’s before you add the milk.
On the other hand, eggs are an ideal breakfast when you’re trying to cut back on the carbs. For starters, an egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs. They’re also a fantastic source of protein, which can help you feel full for hours, meaning you eat fewer calories throughout the day.
What’s more, eggs are extremely versatile and can be prepared in many ways, including hard-boiling for an on-the-go breakfast.
5. Ask for Veggies Instead of Potatoes or Bread at Restaurants
Eating out can be challenging during the initial stages of a low-carb diet. Even if you order meat or fish with no breading or gravy, you’ll normally receive some sort of starch on the side in the form of pasta, potatoes, or rolls.
However, these starches can add 30 grams of carbs to your meal, depending on the portion size, which is usually quite large.
Therefore, you should ask the server to substitute low-carb vegetables in place of the high-carb foods.
6. Replace Milk with Almond or Coconut Milk
Milk is nutritious, but it’s also quite high in carbs since it contains a type of sugar known as lactose.
An 8-ounce glass of full-fat or low-fat milk still contains 12-13 grams of carbs. Adding a splash of milk to your tea or coffee is fine, but if you drink milk by the glassful or in lattes and shakes, it might end up contributing a lot of carbs.
There are a number of milk substitutes available. The most popular ones are almond and coconut milk, but there are also types made from other nuts and hemp. Vitamin D, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals are often added to improve nutritional value.
7. Choose Dairy that is Low in Carbs
Dairy products are delicious and can be healthy since they contain calcium, magnesium, and other important minerals. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fatty acid which has been shown to promote fat loss.
However, some dairy foods are bad choices if you’re on a low-carb diet. For example, fruit-flavored yogurt, frozen yogurt, and pudding are often full of sugar and very high in carbs. On the other hand, Greek yogurt and cheese are much lower in carbs and have been shown to reduce appetite, promote fullness, improve body composition, and reduce heart disease risk.
8. Eat Healthy High-Protein Foods
Eating a good source of protein at every meal can make it a lot easier to cut back on carbs, and it’s especially important if you’re trying to lose weight.
Protein triggers the release of the “fullness hormone” PYY, decreases hunger, helps to fight food cravings and protects muscle mass during weight loss. It also has a much higher thermic value compared to carbs or fats, meaning your body’s metabolic weight increases more when digesting and metabolizing it.
Foods that are high in protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and whey protein powder.
9. Start Reading Food Labels
Reading food labels can provide you with valuable information about the carb content of packaged foods. The key is knowing where to look and whether any calculations need to be done.
If you live outside the US, the fiber in the carbs section will have already been deducted. If you happen to live in the US, you can deduct the grams of fiber from the carbs to get the digestible carb content.
It’s also important to look at how many servings are included in the package, as it’s often more than just one. For example, if a trail mix contains 7 grams of carbs per serving and a total of 4 servings, you’ll end up taking in 28 grams of carbs if you eat the whole bag.
10. Count Carbs with a Nutrition Tracker
A nutrition tracker is a wonderful tool for keeping track of your daily food intake. Most are available as apps for tablets and smartphones, as well as online.
When you enter your food intake for each meal and snack, carbs and other nutrients are automatically calculated. Some of the most popular nutrition programs are FitDay, Cron-o-Meter, SparkPeople, and MyFitnessPal.
These programs calculate your nutrient needs based on your age, weight and other factors, but you can customize your daily carb goal and change it when you like.