Cutting down on carbs is not that easy when you are on a plant-based diet because avoiding animal foods may increase your cravings for high carb foods. However, that does not mean it is impossible. Reducing carbs in your diet offers various benefits including weight loss.
In this article, we focus on a few tried-and-tested ways to cut down on carbs while on a plant-based diet.
What Are Carbs?
Carbohydrates, also known as carbs is a macronutrient that provides energy to our body. The other two macronutrients that supply energy to us are protein and fat.
Sugars, starches, and fiber are the three classes of carbs. Fiber is a carb that our body cannot digest. Every gram of carb provides us 4 calories, except fiber that does not give us any calories.
Why Do Plant-Based Dieters Overeat Carbs?
People following a plant-based diet are more likely to overeat carbs due to various reasons.
Carb Sources Are Convenient And Cheaper
Most carb foods are quite easy to make and that is one reason why plant-based dieters often tend to eat more carbs. Another factor is the price. Satiating high-carb foods are cheaper than other plant-based snacks like nuts and seeds.
Carbs Are Comforting Foods
When carbohydrate foods, especially the ones that come with no processing are eaten, they trigger the release of serotonin in the brain. The serotonin release makes you feel good instantly. This explains why you are more likely to grab a high-carb snack rather than a vegetable or fruit when you are under stress.
What Is A Low-Carb Diet?
A low carb diet focuses on fewer carbs and more protein and fat. People on a low-carb diet have to limit the following foods:
- sugary drinks
- high-carb fruits
- sugary drinks
How To Reduce The Amount Of Carbs In Your Plant-Based Diet?
Here are some of the tips you can try to reduce carb consumption while on a plant-based diet.
Include More Fiber-Rich Foods In Your Diet
Choosing high fiber foods helps reduce the amount of carbs absorbed by your body. The typical high-carb foods potato, rice, pasta, and grains that come into your mind when you hear of carbs aren’t the only sources of carbs. Plant foods like broccoli, carrots, beets, and artichokes are good sources of carbs and they are satiating too.
Net carbs is an important parameter that has to be considered when planning your low carb diet. For calculating the net carbs in your meal, subtract the amount of fiber in the meal from the total carbs in it. The result you get is the amount of carb that will be stored as fat if you don’t use them.
If you have to calculate the net carbs in processed foods, subtract the amount of fiber and a portion of sugar alcohol in the foods from its total amount of carbs.
Cut Down A Portion Of Carbs In Your Foods Throughout The Day
If you choose to stop eating carbs overnight, it is going to be very difficult for your body to adjust to the abrupt change. Make it slow. Try cutting the carb consumption into half and fill the void with vegetables and fruits.
Plan your meals throughout the day in such a way that they have lesser carbs than the meals you took earlier.
Stick To A Daily Carb Limit You Have Set For Yourself
If you plan to reduce your carb consumption, calculate how much carbs you were taking previously to assess the amount of carbs you should avoid from your diet now. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 225 to 325 grams is the amount of carbs one has to take every day. That would account to 45-65 percent of one’s diet.
However, not all would need to stick to the 325 grams limit as that would be a lot to them. If you want to lose weight, try eating 225 grams of carbs every day.
Low Carb Diet And Vegans
Vegans who are planning to cut down on carbs in their diet can add more of these plant foods to their diet:
- Other greens
What Are The Benefits Of Low Carb Diets?
Low carb diets offer us various benefits. Some of them are:
Faster Weight Loss
Following a low-carb diet helps you lose more weight in lesser time. As low carb diets get rid of excess water from our body, it brings down insulin levels and promotes faster weight loss.
Increase In The Levels Of ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol
A low carb diet increases the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in our body that helps lower the risk of heart disease.
With proper planning, you can easily bring down your carb consumption and reap the benefits of a low-carb diet.