With a low-carbohydrate diet, you eat as few carbohydrate-rich products as possible. Carbohydrates are the collective name for starch and sugars, which provide your body with energy.
On a low-carbohydrate diet, you avoid foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Think grains, bread, potatoes, fruit, and sweetened products. Well-known examples of low-carbohydrate diets are the Ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet.
Because you omit grain products and fruit, these diets quickly contain too little fiber.
A milder version of low-carb is a sugar-restricted diet. This usually means that you do not eat (table) sugar and sweetened products, but do eat fruit, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat bread.
Supplement with protein or fat?
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for your body. If you cut carbohydrates from your diet, you must replace them with proteins and/or fats.
Most low-carb diets are high in protein. A high-protein diet emphasizes eating meat, fish, and legumes. The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and limited in protein.
What can you (not) eat?
What you can eat depends on how strictly low-carb you want to eat. You don’t have to follow a special diet for that.
For example, if you just stop drinking sugary drinks and eating sweets, the amount of carbohydrates in your diet will go down enormously. This will help you lose weight.
If you go a step further, you can cut back on potatoes, bread, pasta, or rice. For example, by eating smaller portions.
Do you choose to follow a very strict low-carbohydrate diet? Do not do this for longer than 6 months. In the long run, you cannot do without carbohydrates completely.
Read more about losing weight
- Many people lose weight with the combination of high-protein and low-carbohydrate.
- Sometimes type 2 diabetes patients can get their diabetes under control. Provided that it is properly supervised by a specialized dietitian.
- Avoiding products with a lot of added sugars is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation. They recommend limiting the intake of free sugars.
- Proteins are more satiating than carbohydrates and fats.
- Eating protein helps to maintain muscle mass while losing weight.
- You don’t have to count points or calories.
- It can be difficult to change your eating habits. Think about avoiding bread at breakfast and lunch and avoiding potatoes, rice and pasta at dinner.
- By not eating grain products such as bread, you get little fiber, you can compensate for this by eating a lot of fiber-rich vegetables.
- Because you can eat little grain products and fruit, this diet can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, and other substances in the long term.
- The long-term effects are no different from other diets.
- Carbohydrate-rich products are cheaper than protein-rich products. A protein-rich diet can therefore be more expensive than your normal diet.
- A low-carbohydrate diet quickly contains a lot of fat. Be careful not to get too many saturated fats.
- Eating meat and fish is harmful to the environment. Eating legumes or meat substitutes has a much lower impact on the environment.
Proteins and carbohydrates in food
- Meat and poultry
- meat substitutes
- Kernels, nuts, and seeds
- Unprocessed meat and unprocessed fish
- Cream, butter, oils
- Kernels, nuts, and seeds
- Unsweetened dairy products
- Other grain products such as oats and rye
- Products with a lot of added sugar (pastries and pastries, sweets, milk chocolate)
- Nuts with a coating (drink nuts, Japanese mixes, etc.)
- Sweetened drinks (fruit juices, sugary soft drinks)
- Breaded products