Cutting back on carbs can have significant benefits. When dieters give up on carbs… they start burning fat right away. Why? Reducing calorie-dense carbohydrates and eating foods high in fat reduces the number of calories consumed. As we reveal in the Body Reboot book, a body is then forced to burn fat for energy instead of using sugars it takes from carbs. Many studies have shown that going on a low carb diet, and more specifically the ketogenic diet can help people lose weight and control health conditions such as diabetes.
Think about all of the carbs you’re eating in the first place
Sure there are many ways to cut back on carbs food wise, which we get into more below. However, before considering some of the food “tricks” you can implement to eat fewer carbs, Byrdie recommends you take the time to think about the carbs you’re eating first. Being mindful of why carbs cause cravings and why it’s vital to cut back on them can help you rationalize things when you feel tempted.
Not all carbs are created equal, and adjusting your diet could be as simple as cutting back on refined, or “white,” carbs. “These 'empty' carbs are ultimately void of nutrition and cause blood sugar spikes,” says nutritionist Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, of Real Nutrition. “Some examples of these things include soda, candy, muffins, bagels, and french fries.”
Those blood sugar spikes are actually what cause those pesky cravings in the first place. Scientists have found that a little while after a carb-heavy meal, our insulin levels tend to plummet—which leads to intense cravings for more carbs. (Incidentally, this is the same area of our brain that is associated with addictive behavior.)
Commit to cutting out bread
Bread is hard to let go of, but Style Caster recommends giving it up because it has so many carbs and refined sugars. Committing to cut it out will help you cut back on carbs tremendously. Commit to not eating them and enjoy the benefits of losing weight.
Obvious, but incredibly effective when it comes to losing weight. Bread—even most mass-market whole wheat varieties—are packed with carbohydrates and refined sugars, so if you’re looking to slim down by cutting carbs, commit to cutting it out. This means abstaining from the bread basket at restaurants, foregoing sandwiches at breakfast and lunch, and not snacking on things like crackers.
The good news is that with a few simple swaps, you’ll notice that eliminating bread will keep you fuller longer. If you eat a turkey and cheese sandwich on a crusty roll every day for lunch, try putting the protein over a bed of kale, lettuce, spinach, or any other green veggie you like instead. From there, add a splash of olive oil and some fresh pepper for flavor.
Breakfast can be a little more difficult, so try to pre-plan as best you can by making protein-heavy foods like hard-boiled eggs the night before, low-carb shakes, or, in a pinch, grabbing a Fage 0% yogurt, which has a somewhat inoffensive 7 carbs per container).
Stop drinking fruit juice
Healthline says that fruit juice has a ton of sugar and that drinking it can lead to weight gain. Instead of drinking fruit juice add a slice of lemon to your water or drink sparkling water that doesn’t have any added sugars.
Unlike whole fruit, fruit juice contains little to no fiber and is full of sugar.
Although it provides some vitamins and minerals, it's no better than sugar-sweetened beverages in terms of sugar and carbs. This is true even for 100% fruit juice.
For instance, 12 oz (354 ml) of 100% apple juice contains 48 grams of carbs, most of which is sugar.
It's best to avoid juice completely. Instead, try flavoring your water by adding a slice of orange or lemon.
Fruit juice contains as many carbs as sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead of drinking juice, add a small amount of fruit to water
Just check out what The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology study from 2014 says about fruit juices below. It’s really an eye-opener.
The evidence for a role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in the development of obesity and associated comorbidities, although not fully resolved, is becoming increasingly convincing, with supporting data from both prospective cohort studies and randomised trials. The obesogenic effect of SSBs seems to be simply a consequence of the excess calories provided by their consumption, rather than of any specific adverse effects of fructose-containing sugars that they contain, with no clear evidence that excess energy intake from SSBs is any more harmful than is excess energy intake from any other source. However, liquids have a smaller satiating effect than do solid foods, and consequently excess calories consumed in liquid form are not fully compensated for by reduction of intake of other foods. Although more evidence is needed to fully elucidate the probable effect size on obesity of reduction of SSB intake at a population level, evidence exists that non-alcoholic beverages contribute a substantial proportion of daily sugar intake (about a quarter of sugar intake in the UK), are consumed separately from other dietary components, are of little nutritional benefit, and that alternatives in the form of low-sugar drinks and water are readily available. Thus, to target their reduction represents low-hanging fruit in terms of public health nutritional policy, and debate is ongoing regarding the potential advantages and disadvantages of an increase in taxation on SSBs as a mechanism to reduce intake.
A site called Byrdie says you might like LaCroix, which is flavored water (like we mentioned above)! Plus, drinking water can help curve cravings. Instead of reaching for your nearest snack consider drinking water instead. Many times your body just needs some water and not food.
The LaCroix trend train? Climb aboard. “If you are used to drinking soda, swap to a flavorful sparkling water or drink something similar to Bai 5 ($2), which is naturally sweetened,” says Shapiro.
Another bonus: Drinking water can help suppress those cravings. “Stay hydrated, as the hypothalamus in our brain tends to confuse thirst and hunger,” says Bella.
Replace milk with almond or coconut milk
Healthline recommends replacing milk (that happens to be high in carbs) with almond or coconut milk. Grocery stores have unsweetened almond and coconut milk which has little to no carbs.
Milk is nutritious, but it's also fairly high in carbs because it contains a type of sugar called lactose.
An 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of full-fat or low-fat milk contains 12–13 grams of carbs.
Adding a splash of milk to your coffee or tea is fine.
But if you drink milk by the glassful or in lattes or shakes, it may end up contributing a lot of carbs.
There are several milk substitutes available. The most popular are coconut and almond 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.
These beverages are mainly water, and the carb content is usually very low. Most have 2 grams of digestible carbs or less per serving.
However, some contain sugar, so be sure to check the ingredient list and nutrition label to make sure you're getting an unsweetened, low-carb beverage.
Swap some fruit for veggies
We’re not saying fruit is bad, as Style Caster reiterates below, but some fruits can be swapped out for fresh greens. On the keto diet, you can stick to eating berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
We’re not saying fruit isn’t good you, it is. But there are also lots of natural sugars present, so if you’re really trying to cut back on your carb intake, replace fruits like bananas, apples, grapes, and pears with sliced cucumber, crunchy celery, or raw peppers.
Eat This, Not That says to stay away from the noodles and instead try zoodles, which are zucchinis made into yummy noodles!
The first thing you thought of when you considered cutting carbs was probably all of the creamy, delicious pasta you’d be cutting out of your life. With visions of Olive Garden dancing in your head, you ultimately decided a low-carb diet just wasn’t for you. But what if you didn’t have to wave goodbye to your favorite wavy noodles? By purchasing a spiralizer and some ripe zucchinis, you could be scarfing down plates of guilt-free veggie pasta in no time.
Eat low carb breakfast foods
If you love breakfast, we get how it’d be hard to let go of the granola. But Healthline says you should try eating eggs for breakfast instead of high carb foods like bread and sugar-laden granola.
Even small amounts of some breakfast foods are often high in carbs.
For instance, one half-cup (55 grams) of granola cereal typically has around 30 grams of digestible carbs, even before adding milk.
Conversely, eggs are an ideal breakfast when you're trying to cut back on carbs.
For starters, each egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs. They're also a great source of high-quality protein, which can help you feel full for hours and eat fewer calories during the rest of 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.
Wrap it up
Eat This, Not That recommends wrapping up your food in lettuce — and not bread. Think about it: The possibilities are endless with lettuce. Using it as a bun is an obvious choice, and that means you can eat burgers, tacos, and more wrapped up in lettuce instead of bread.
You already put lettuce in your burgers and tacos, so why not use one of the crisp leaves to hold everything together? That’s right, throw out your buns and shells the next time you start grilling. You’ll be ridding yourself of the 20 grams of carbs found in a single Pepperidge Farm hamburger bun and the 24 in a Mission flour tortilla. And since there’s only one single gram of carbs in an entire cup of lettuce, your simple swap will go a long way.
See? Cutting back on carbs doesn’t have to be that bad! In fact, cut back on carbs and eat a diet that’s high in fat and you’ll see incredible results! We give you the scoop on how to Reboot your life in the Body Reboot book. Want a free book? All you have to do is help us cover shipping and visit this page to get your free copy today!
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!