Colette Heimowitz, Vice President of Education and Nutrition at Atkins, lends us some astute advice about eating smart. Heimowitz is the author of Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook for Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle.
Why is a Low Carb Diet Important?
Did you know that 73% of people are trying to limit some of the carbohydrates in their diets?
Here’s why: When you eat foods high in carbs, like pasta, potatoes or cookies, your body converts these carbs to sugar in your bloodstream.
Any excess sugar that isn’t used as energy is then stored as fat. And when you eat too many of these carbs, blood sugar levels will rise and drop, and you’ll crave more carbs.
It doesn’t matter whether this sugar comes from a potato or a cookie; it has the same effect on your blood sugar.
If this isn’t reason enough to cut back on your carbs, here are some other benefits that you may experience from following a low carb diet:
- You’ll feel fuller, for longer (this is called satiety).
- You’ll experience consistent energy levels throughout the day.
- You’ll burn fat for fuel, instead of carbs (which means you may lose weight).
- You'll eliminate spikes and slumps in your blood sugar.
What to Eat and What Not to Eat on a Low Carb Diet
If you want to follow a low carb diet, there are a few simple things to keep in mind.
Foods to eat:
- Fiber-rich, nutrient vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, salad greens, and avocados
- Fruit lower in sugar such as berries, melons, cherries, apples, grapefruit and oranges
- Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Healthy fat such as olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, butter and mayonnaise
- Protein such as poultry, beef, pork and seafood
Foods to avoid:
- High-starch vegetables such as potatoes and corn
- Fruits higher in sugar such as pineapple, mango, and bananas
- Sweets such as cookies, candy, soda, and high-sugar fruit juices
- Simple carbohydrates such as processed/refined grains, white bread, pasta and bagels
Five Tips & Tricks for Following a Low Carb Diet
If you’re ready to get started on a low carb diet, here are 5 easy ways you can eat low carb all year long:
- Know your Net Carbs. A Net Carb is calculated by subtracting grams of dietary fiber from total carbohydrate grams on a food label. Stick with high-quality, nutrient-rich foods that contain 15 gram of Net Carbs or fewer.
- Stick with three low carb meals and two snacks. This will help keep your hunger in check so that you’re less likely to overdo it or feel ravenous at the end of the day. Include 4 to 6 ounces of protein at each meal.
- Don’t fear fat. Healthy fats help keep you full, your energy levels stable and add flavor to your food. Stick with three 1-tablespoon servings a day.
- Eat your veggies. On a low carb diet like Atkins, you are eating more vegetables in a day than most Americans, for good reason. The fiber and water in veggies keep you fuller for longer and regulate your blood sugar, plus they pack a powerful nutritional punch—numerous studies show that a diet rich in colorful veggies may help improve a variety of health issues. Make sure veggies are a part of every meal and snack.
- Plan ahead. I can’t emphasize this enough. Stock your kitchen with wholesome low-carb and low-sugar foods, and then plan out a few days or more of meals and snacks. To make it even easier, Atkins has teamed up with Chef’d so that you can skip the grocery store and order low carb meal kits bursting with fresh, low carb ingredients and delicious recipes delivered right to your door. You can start with a comfort food favorite such as Chicken Cauliflower Mac and Cheese or creamy Zucchini Chicken Alfredo, add in some international flavors with an Asian Veggie and Pork Bowl or a satisfying Steak Salad.
If you want to explore more low carb choices, discover the many meal kit selections Atkins offers through Chef'd.
Ready to Commit to Low Carb?
Have you ever tried a low carb lifestyle?If given the opportunity, what questions would you want to ask a dietary nutritionist? What questions would you want to ask Colette Heimowitz, specifically? Start the conversation. Leave a comment or a question below.