Low carb diet - rules, diet, food and sample menu for a week

salad on a low carb diet

A low-carb diet is a type of diet based on consuming foods with a low glycemic index. This is a relatively new technique whose main goal is effective weight loss without harm to health and well-being.

Since the 1970s, a standard low-fat, carbohydrate-free diet has been considered the most desirable for weight loss. Meanwhile, numerous studies, including the one from Harvard University published in 2017, confirm that a low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than a low-fat diet.

The results show that the average weight loss among participants on a low-carbohydrate diet was 1-2 kilograms higher than those on a low-fat diet.

A low-carb diet is primarily suitable for professional crossfitters and other athletes, but it will also be beneficial for people far from sports who want to lose a few extra pounds quickly.

The essence of the diet

The essence of a low-carbohydrate diet is the complete or partial elimination of carbohydrate-containing foods and a significant increase in the protein and fiber content of the diet. Carbohydrates in the diet are reduced to 50 grams per day, while the amount of protein, on the contrary, increases - up to 150-200 g, depending on age, stature, degree of physical activity.

The diet must include a large amount of fiber in the form of vegetables, herbs, bran and some unsweetened fruits. By switching to a low-carb diet, the athlete forces his body to reorganize into alternative energy sources. The main principle of a low-carbohydrate diet is based on the process of ketosis. Let's figure out what it is.

making salads on a low carb diet

Biochemistry of ketosis

Any diet without carbohydrates or with few carbohydrates (including the Atkins diet) is a ketogenic diet.

Ketosis is the process of producing fatty acids and ketone bodies from fat cells (adipocytes) to obtain energy in the Krebs cycle.

Such a diet improves blood insulin levels, which is especially important for patients with type 2 diabetes. Since sources of carbohydrates from food do not enter the body, the required amount of glucose is not produced in the blood. In conditions of its deficiency, the body desperately needs alternative sources of energy and nutrients and switches to the mode of fat accumulation consumption in order to maintain a normal metabolic rate.

Cleavage processes are activated in adipose tissue cells. Fatty acids are formed and transported to the liver and muscle tissue, where they are oxidized and converted to acetyl-CoA (a substance needed in the Krebs cycle) and ketones (ketone bodies).

Under conditions of lack of carbohydrates, the liver breaks down fats into fatty acids and ketones to replenish glycogen stores and replenish energy - thus ketosis occurs.

Dr. Atkins Diet

The most common and popular low carb ketogenic diet is the Dr. Atkins. Already in the initial stage, this implies a strict limitation of the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet - no more than 20 grams per day. Dr. Atkins first published his diet in 1966 in Harpers Bazaar magazine.

He divided the diet into 4 phases:

  1. The induction or stimulation phase is a preparatory two-week phase aimed at the body's transition to ketosis (no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day).
  2. Active phase of weight loss, aimed at gradually increasing the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet (by about 10 grams per week) while maintaining the effect of burning fat.
  3. Transition phase - allows you to add any food to your diet, but in a strictly limited amount 1 or 2 times a week.
  4. Support - at this stage the weight should stabilize and the diet gradually becomes normal. However, carbohydrate content and meal size must be controlled to avoid weight gain.

In case of weight gain, we return to the first phase of the diet.

Glycemic index of foods

To understand the benefits of a low-carb diet, consider the concept of a Glycemic Index Product (GI). In the field of sports medicine and fitness, it is common to divide carbohydrates into simple and complex. Or fast and slow - depending on the rate of their absorption in the body.

There is one nuance: the same product can have a high, medium or even low rate of glucose absorption into the blood. It all depends on the method of heat or mechanical treatment, temperature, as well as additional impurities and additives. Therefore, in many respects, the division of carbohydrates into fast / slow will be conditional. The division according to their glycemic index is more correct.

Glycemic indexIt is an indicator of the impact of food after consumption on blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index of a product is determined by two factors - the rate of starch breakdown and the amount of starch that will go through the breakdown. The faster the starch is broken down into glucose, the faster it will enter the bloodstream, and the sugar level will rise.

If a large amount of glucose enters the body at once, it is not used immediately and completely. Some are sent to a "fat store". Therefore, the same food product may have a completely different glycemic index and the body will perceive it differently.

For example, raw carrots have a glycemic index of 20 points, and cooked carrots have a glycemic index of 50 points (like plain white bread).

Buckwheat or oatmeal have a glycemic index - 20 units, and buckwheat or oatmeal - 40 units.

In popcorn, cracking corn kernels increases the glycemic index of corn by 20 percent.

Drying some foods lowers the glycemic index: stale bread has a GI of only 37 units, while the usual GI of fresh bread is 50 units.

Even melted ice cream has a GI 1. 5 times higher than chilled ice cream.

Benefits of nutrition

The main benefits of a low carb diet are:

  1. Knowing the glycemic index of food makes it easier to control blood sugar levels. This is especially helpful for diabetics who are advised by doctors to consume more foods with a low glycemic index.
  2. A large amount of fiber, which is used in a low-carbohydrate diet, normalizes the work of the gastrointestinal tract.
  3. A diet rich in protein foods saturates the body with all the essential amino acids and collagen, which is why hair, skin and nails get a healthy look.

Contraindications

Despite all the benefits of a diet with limited carbohydrate intake, there are situations in which a low-carbohydrate diet is strictly contraindicated:

  • kidney and liver problems;
  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • hormonal imbalance
  • pregnancy and lactation

You can not adhere to a low-carbohydrate diet for children and adolescents - there is a risk of negative effects on metabolic processes.

Rules and diet

On a low-carb diet, there are a number of guidelines that are recommended for achieving the best weight loss results:

  1. Do not exceed the allowable amount of carbohydrates in your daily diet.
  2. Avoid interruptions in meals longer than 4 hours.
  3. It is recommended to divide the daily diet into 5-6 meals.
  4. Divide all meals into 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks.
  5. The caloric content of the main meal should not exceed 600 kilocalories, and the snack should not exceed 200 kilocalories.
  6. If your training takes place in the morning, it is recommended to have a light snack with a protein breakfast (2-3 egg omelette) beforehand.
  7. If you train in the evening, eat 2-3 hours before training and, if possible, do not eat immediately after training. A light snack before bed with a portion of fresh cheese (or other protein product) is allowed.
  8. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages are not recommended on a low-carb diet. Alcohol is strictly forbidden.
  9. Drink at least 2-3, 5 liters of clean drinking water a day.
  10. During a diet low in carbohydrates, it is advisable to take vitamin-mineral complexes to replenish the body's supply of essential substances.

Table of recommended products

In addition to the above rules and recommendations, there is another important point. An integral part of a low-carb diet is a table of recommended foods.

Be sure to hire him if you are interested in the result.

Meat and meat products: lean beef and pork, veal, rabbit, ham, liver, chicken, turkey, duck and goose meat
Fish: salmon, salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, tuna, cod, haddock, greenhouse, chipboard
Sea food: sardines, pink salmon, seafood, crabs, squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters, caps
Milk products: cottage cheese, sour cream, cheese, milk, kefir, fermented baked milk, natural yogurt
Eggs: chicken eggs, quail eggs
Vegetables and herbs: all kinds of cabbage, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, paprika, eggplant, zucchini, celery, garlic, onion
Legumes: green peas, green beans
Mushrooms: porcini mushrooms, aspens, chanterelles, spruces, mushrooms, oyster mushrooms
Fats and oils: olive oil, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, peanut oil, walnuts, olives, olives, mayonnaise

List of prohibited foods

Prohibited foods on a low-carbohydrate diet include:

  • bread and all kinds of bakery products: buns, pies, cakes, pastries, cookies;
  • any sweets: sugar, honey, various syrups, popcorn, ice cream, sweets, chocolate;
  • sweet vegetables and starchy vegetables: potatoes, artichokes, corn sugar;
  • all products containing large amounts of lactose, sucrose and maltose;
  • various cereals and cereals from them with a high glycemic index: semolina, rice porridge, oatmeal, cornflakes.
allowed and forbidden foods on a low-carbohydrate diet

Diet menu for the week

As strict as a low-carb diet may be, the limit is not hard to create a varied and tasty menu for a week or even two.

If it is difficult to do it yourself, take the example below as a basis.

Monday

Breakfast: Omelette of three eggs steamed with cheese and vegetables; one small cucumber or tomato; a glass of fermented baked milk or kefir.
First snack: Vegetable salad of cabbage, green peas, cucumber and onion with a topping of natural yogurt.
Dinner: Chicken fillet (200 grams), baked on charcoal or in the oven with cheese and mushrooms; a serving of vegetable salad; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: 200 grams of cottage cheese with sour cream or fermented milk.
Dinner: White fish fillet steaks (200 g); part of a vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onions with a topping of sour cream or low-fat mayonnaise.
Third snack: A glass of natural yogurt or fermented milk.

Tuesday

Breakfast: Portion of grilled vegetables (zucchini, eggplant) with cheese and soy sauce; two hard-boiled eggs; a cup of green tea.
First snack: 200 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt.
Dinner: Lean pork steak (200 g) baked in the oven with tomato, cheese and onion; a portion of vegetable salad made from cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onions with a topping of natural yogurt; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: A glass of fermented baked milk or natural yogurt.
Dinner: Chicken fillet (200 g) baked in the oven with mushrooms and cheese; a portion of a vegetable salad of cabbage, green peas, cucumber, herbs and onions; a cup of green tea.
Third snack: A glass of kefir or fermented milk.

Wednesday

Breakfast: Three-egg omelette with tomato and cheese; part of vegetables (zucchini, eggplant) baked in the oven; a cup of green tea.
First snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt.
Dinner: Salmon or trout steak (200 g), baked in the oven with green beans and pepper; part of a vegetable salad of cucumber, tomato and herbs with sour cream; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: A glass of fermented baked milk or natural yogurt.
Dinner: Grilled chicken fillet (200 g), previously marinated with soy sauce and garlic; part of a vegetable salad of cabbage, cucumber, green peas, onions and herbs; a cup of green tea.
Third snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt.

Thursday

Breakfast: Portion of vegetables (zucchini, eggplant) grilled with cheese; two hard-boiled eggs; a cup of green tea.
First snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with cream.
Dinner: Lean pork steak (200 g), baked with tomato and cheese in the oven; part of a salad of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onions with sour cream topping; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt, a handful of walnuts (30 g).
Dinner: Chicken fillet (200 g) baked in the oven with garlic, cheese and beans; part of a vegetable salad of cabbage, cucumber, green peas and onions; a cup of green tea.
Third snack: A glass of kefir or fermented milk.

Friday

Breakfast: Three-egg omelette with cheese and sour cream; part of stewed vegetables (green beans with peppers and tomatoes); a glass of natural yogurt.
First snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with cream.
Dinner: Cod or raspberry steak (100 g), steamed with green beans and onions; a portion of vegetable salad made from cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs with sour cream topping; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: 100 grams of cottage cheese with natural yogurt or fermented baked milk; a handful of walnuts (30 g).
Dinner: Chicken fillet (200 g) baked in the oven with cheese and tomato; a portion of stewed vegetables (eggplant with zucchini, tomato and onion); a cup of green tea.
Third snack: A glass of fermented baked milk or natural yogurt.

Saturday

Breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs; part of vegetables; grilled (eggplant and zucchini); two slices of cheese; a cup of green tea.
First snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with cream.
Dinner: Grilled beef steak (200 g) with onions; green beans baked in the oven with cheese; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt; a handful (30 g) of walnuts.
Dinner: Chicken fillet (200 g) baked in the oven with cheese and tomato; part of stewed green beans with paprika; a cup of green tea.
Third snack: A glass of kefir or natural yogurt.

Sunday

Breakfast: Three-egg omelette with cheese and tomato; part of a vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs; a cup of green tea.
First snack: A glass of kefir or fermented milk.
Dinner: Lean pork steak (200 g) baked with mushrooms and cheese in the oven; part of a vegetable salad of cabbage, cucumbers, green peas and greens; a cup of green tea.
Second snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with cream; a handful (30 g) of walnuts.
Dinner: A piece of pink salmon (200 g), baked with cheese and tomato in the oven; portion of cucumber, tomato and greens salad; a cup of green tea.
Third snack: 100 g of cottage cheese with natural yogurt.

Recipes for eating

We draw your attention to a few simple recipes for diet dishes, from which you can easily compile a weekly menu.

Recipe number 1: meat with cheese and tomato in the oven

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • lean pork or beef - 800 g;
  • cheese - 300 g;
  • tomato - 5 pieces;
  • garlic - 3 pieces;
  • soy sauce - 3 tbsp;
  • mayonnaise - 100 g;
  • seasoning for meat, salt and black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

Peel a pork or beef from the bones and veins, rinse thoroughly with cold water and cut into large pieces 2-3 cm thick. Prepare the marinade for the meat: mix the soy sauce with the meat spices, salt and black pepper. Separate the pieces of meat with a special hammer to a thickness of 1-1, 5 cm and put in the prepared marinade for 2-3 hours. Cut the tomatoes into thin slices (no thicker than 1 cm), grate the cheese on a fine grater, cut the onion into thin rings.

Take a baking dish or baking sheet, grease with vegetable oil. Arrange the sour pieces of meat at a distance of 2-3 cm from each other, spread each piece with mayonnaise, put 2-3 rings of onion, put one piece of tomato on the onion, sprinkle with cheese on top and put in the oven to bake 1-1, 5hours at temperatures of 180-200 degrees. Serve the prepared dish with any vegetable salad or side dish.

meat with tomatoes and cheese on a low-carbohydrate diet

Recipe number 2: chicken fillet with beans and peppers

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • chicken fillet - 800 g;
  • green beans - 400 g;
  • tomato - 4 pieces;
  • garlic - 2 pieces;
  • carrots - 1 piece;
  • Bulgarian pepper - 3 pieces;
  • tomato paste - 2 tbsp;
  • seasoning for chicken, with, black pepper - to taste.

Preparation:

Cut the chicken fillet into small pieces and fry in a deep pan greased with vegetable or olive oil. Cut the beans into small pieces 2-3 cm long. Cut the onion into thin half rings. Grate the carrots on a larger grater. Cut the peppers into thin strips. Put all the chopped vegetables in a pan with the chicken and lightly fry. Wash the tomatoes, fry them in boiling water, peel them and cut them into small cubes. Put in a sherpa with vegetables, add tomato paste, pour 300 ml of water, add spices, salt and pepper, cover with a lid.

Saute chicken fillet with vegetables in tomato sauce over low heat for 40-50 minutes until completely cooked through. The dish can be served both hot and cold.

chicken fillet with vegetables on a low-carb diet

Recipe number 3: protein cake

Ingredients:

  • eggs - 7 pieces;
  • milk - 7 tablespoons;
  • minced chicken meat - 300 g;
  • butter - 50 g;
  • onion - 1 piece;
  • sour cream - 200 g;
  • cheese - 300 g;
  • salt, black pepper - to taste;
  • primrose, dill, green onions - optional.

Preparation:

We need egg pancakes to make a protein cake. It is best to bake the pancakes one by one, mixing one egg with a tablespoon of milk and salt each time. Bake the pancakes quickly, for 1 minute on each side, in a pan greased with butter. When all seven pancakes are ready, switch to minced chicken. Put the minced chicken in a pan greased with vegetable oil and fry. Add finely chopped onion to the minced meat and stir. Sprinkle the minced meat with salt, black pepper and spices, add 5 tablespoons of sour cream, cover and cook over low heat. Cool the minced meat.

Place the pancakes with minced meat and cheese on a large cake plate in this order: the first layer - egg pancake, coat it with sour cream, the second layer - minced chicken, sprinkle it with grated cheese, the third layer - egg pancake, and then - minced chicken, sir. Arrange everything in order until the egg pancakes run out, and you can sprinkle finely chopped herbs on top of the protein cake. Put the finished protein cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then cut the cake into pieces and serve.

protein cake on a low-carb diet

Nutrition results and feedback

Numerous reviews on the Internet confirm that it is quite possible to lose weight quickly and efficiently with the help of a low-carbohydrate diet, especially if you combine a proper diet with exercise.

The main advantage of a low-carbohydrate diet is its effectiveness in the initial stage of weight loss. People who have lost weight on this diet often notice a loss of 3-5 kg after a 2 week diet with a low carbohydrate content.

Results of a low-carbohydrate diet

Many people find that a low-carb diet is satisfactory enough, because except for foods that contain carbohydrates, almost anything is allowed.

Based on the review, we conclude that a low-carb diet is effective if you follow it for at least 3-4 months.