What can I eat instead of carbs?

When we talk about nutrition and diets, carbohydrates are often at the center of debate because they are accused (in my opinion unfairly) of being the cause of obesity and metabolic diseases: however, it should be emphasized that there is no concrete evidence that low-carb diets lead to greater health benefits than other more balanced models, even when it comes to weight loss (where they achieve similar results to other diets, since weight loss is primarily calorie restriction and dieting).

Therefore, the reason for deciding to significantly reduce consumption compared to a traditional diet (such as the Mediterranean) may be personal preference or simply fashion, but regardless of the reasons you can choose. How much reduce them:

  • some people choose to reduce the amount just a little (perhaps correctlycutting out snacks and sweets)
  • while others choose to eliminate them almost completely (ketogenic diet),

with all the intermediate choices in between.

Regardless of how much and why, it is natural to ask what to eat instead, and from this point of view there are basically two alternatives:

  • protein-rich foods
  • foods rich in fat (although in reality in some cases it is difficult to classify foods in a specific category).
Fatty and protein foods

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Possible meal replacements that are typical sources of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereals, tubers, …) can be evaluated:

  1. Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber, but they also have carbohydrates. Depending on how much you want to reduce your carb consumption, they may be more or less suitable choices.
  2. Vegetables.
  3. Fruit: based on the chosen diet model, it is possible to use a more or less wide range of choices; the variety with a low glycemic index (reduced carbohydrate content) contains, for example, berries.
  4. Fish and meat (the first is more suitable for the better quality of the fats present).
  5. Egg.
  6. Milk and milk products: Cheese, Greek yogurt and whole milk are good sources of protein and calcium.
  7. Dried nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds make great snacks and can also add crunch and nutrients to dishes.
  8. Other sources of fat: Olive oil, avocado and peanut butter are rich in good fats and can be added to meals to cover the necessary calorie requirement.

When choosing alternative foods to carbohydrates it is essential to consider not only the calorie content, but also the nutritional value. While protein and fat can provide energy and satiety, it’s important to ensure your diet remains balanced and includes a variety of essential nutrients to avoid dangerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

As for proteinIn addition to fish, meat, and eggs, you can include plant-based sources such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan, which are rich in protein but contain less saturated fat than some meats (and thus reduce the risk of affecting blood tests). These protein sources can be supplemented with a variety of vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals and fiber.

As for fatsIt is important to favor unsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil, flaxseeds and avocados over saturated fats found in foods such as butter and certain cuts of meat. Unsaturated fats have beneficial effects on heart health and can help lower cholesterol.

It is also important to remember that despite reducing carbohydrates, the body still needs a certain amount of them to function optimally. Some complex carbohydrates, such as those found in root vegetables, may still be included in moderate amounts.

Wouldn’t it be better to simply choose them better?

A low-carb diet may seem like an attractive approach to weight loss or other health goals, but it’s important to consider its long-term sustainability. An extremely low carb diet is usually difficult to sustain over time due to dietary restrictions and the potential lack of variety in the diet.

Additionally, these diet regimens No have shown significant long-term benefits over other more balanced approaches, such as the Mediterranean diet, which includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and allows for a more sustainable balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. In this case, carbohydrates come mostly from healthy sources such as:

  • whole grains (rye, spelt, corn, oats, barley, …),
  • brown rice,
  • potatoes and even better sweet potatoes,
  • WHOLE WHEAT bread and pasta.

It is important to remember that a balanced and varied diet that includes all food groups is often the best choice for overall health and well-being. This approach not only provides the body with all the nutrients it needs, but also promotes a more manageable and enjoyable lifestyle. The key is to find a balance that suits individual needs, bearing in mind that extreme diets can be more difficult and less effective in the long run.

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