A low-carb diet is low in carbohydrates, like sugary foods, pasta and bread. Instead, you eat real foods including protein, natural fats and vegetables.Studies show that low-carb diets result in weight loss and improved health markers, and just about everyone knows someone who has successfully tried it.
There’s not even any need to count calories or use special products. So why is it still controversial?Learn more about low carb and how to use it for your personal goals here. Choose a section or keep reading below.
Introduction to low carb
A low-carb diet means that you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat. This can also be called a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF) or a keto diet.
For decades we’ve been told that fat is detrimental to our health. Meanwhile low-fat “diet” products, often full of sugar, have flooded supermarket shelves. This has been a major mistake, that coincided with the start of the obesity epidemic.
Studies now show that there’s no reason to fear natural fats. Fat is your friend (here’s why). On a low-carb diet, you instead minimize your intake of sugar and starches. You can eat other delicious foods until you are satisfied – and still lose weight.
How does it work? When you avoid sugar and starches, your blood sugar stabilizes and the levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin drop. This increases fat burning and makes you feel more satiated, reducing food intake and causing weight loss.
- Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground and natural fats (like butter).
- Avoid: Sugar and starchy foods (like bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes).
Eat when you’re hungry, until you’re satisfied. It’s that simple. You do not need to count calories or weigh your food. And just forget about industrially produced low-fat products.
Keto pesto chicken casserole with feta cheese and olives7 g
Who should NOT do a strict low-carb diet?
Most people can safely start any kind of low-carb diet right away. But in the following three situations you may need extra preparation or adaptation:
- Are you on medication for diabetes, e.g. insulin? Learn more
- Are you on medication for high blood pressure? Learn more
- Are you breastfeeding? Learn more
If you’re not in any of these groups, you’re good to go. Great!
2. What to eat on a low-carb diet
In this section you can learn exactly what to eat on low carb, whether you prefer visual guides, detailed food lists, delicious recipes or a simple get started guide.
Let’s start with a quick visual guide to low carb. Here are the basic food groups you can eat all you like of, until you’re satisfied:
All foods above are below 5% carbs. Sticking to these foods will make it relatively easy to stay on a strict low-carb diet, with less than 20 grams of carbs per day.
Try to avoid
Here’s what you should not eat on low carb – foods full of sugar and starch. As you can see, these foods are much higher in carbs.
The numbers are grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), unless otherwise noted.
What to drink
So what do you drink on low carb? Water is perfect, and so is coffee or tea. Ideally, use no sweeteners. A modest amount of milk or cream is OK (but beware of caffe latte!).
The occasional glass of wine is fine too.
Visual low-carb guides
Here are more detailed visual guides to the amount of carbs in common foods. Is a specific food item low or high in carbs? Click to find out:
Recipes and meal plans
You can always find our recipes via the “Recipes” link in the top grey menu. Here are a few popular ones:
Use our premium meal planner tool (free trial) to access tons of weekly meals plans, complete with shopping lists. You can adapt the plans to your liking, skipping any meal, choosing how many people you’re cooking for, and the shopping lists adapt.Here’s an example meal plan:
How low is low carb?
The fewer carbohydrates you eat, the bigger the effects on weight and blood sugar will be. We recommend following the dietary advice as strictly as you can. When you’re happy with your weight and health, you may carefully try eating more liberally (if you want to).
Here are three examples of what a low-carb meal can look like, depending on how many carbs you eat per day:
A strict low-carb diet is often called a ketogenic (or “keto”) diet.