7 Foods You Should Cut Down for a Low-Carb Diet
Along with protein and fiber, carbohydrates are part of the essential nutrients we need on a daily basis. Unlike the other two, though, carbs can be both good and bad for our health – and telling them apart is the key to a balanced lifestyle.
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Truth be told, everybody knows they should avoid certain carb-rich foods like candy, sweetened beverages and junk food. However, there are a few other bad choices few people are warned about. Unknowingly, even people on a low-carb diet end up consuming more of this macronutrient than they need and ultimately ruin their meal balance.
By definition, a person on a low-carb diet should consume anywhere between 20-100 carbs per day. That said, these carbs can also come from the following options, as long as you consume them moderately.
Let’s have a look at the main foods you should limit or avoid to lower your daily carb intake:
All bread is rich in carbs and if you want to keep things balanced, you should take caution even for whole-grain bread. To get a better idea, here’s how many carbs you’ll generally find in one slice of the following bread types:
- White bread: 14 grams
- Bagel: 29 grams
- Whole-wheat bread: 17 grams
In other words, the next time you plan on snacking on a healthy sandwich, tortilla or bagel, count the bread carbs as well.
Almost every diet out there encourages people to consume as many veggies they like – and for good reason! Most options are also very high in fiber, which gives energy and helps you lose weight. However, some vegetables also contain many carbs you don’t really need. When it comes to these foods, it’s all about moderation:
- Potato: 37 grahams of carbs (4 grams of fiber)
- Corn: 41 grams of carbs (5 grams of fiber)
- Sweet potato: 24 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber)
Instead of corn or potato, you could go for healthier alternatives to complete your main meals. Some of the most popular low carb veggies are broccoli, mushrooms and avocado.
Yogurt is one of the most popular snacks out there. It’s easy to carry around and it only takes 2 minutes to get the nutrients it offers.
However, sweetened yogurt is an enemy you want to watch out for. Some flavors can have up to 47 grams of carbs, so unless you want to get all your daily carb intake in a single yogurt serving, it’s best to stick to simple ones.
Fat-free salad dressings
If you’re on a low-carb diet, you probably consume salads on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this healthy meal can be instantly ruined by one simple ingredient: a dressing – and ironically, it’s the fat-free ones you should be afraid of!
To get a better idea, only two tablespoons of fat-free ranch dressing give you 11 grams of carbs, while the same amount of fat-free French dressing contains 10 grams of carbs. And trust me, many salads have more than two tablespoons of dressing.
To lower the carbs and keep your meals tasty, you can use olive oil, vinegar or even some yogurt.
Beans are very high in fiber, so they’re always a great choice to increase your energy levels. However, they also contain enough carbs to make you watch out for each portion.
This is how many carbs you’ll find in 160-200 grams of the main types of beans:
- Pinto beans: 45 grams of carbs (15 grams of fiber)
- Black beans: 41 grams of carbs (15 grams of fiber)
- Kidney beans: 40 grams of carbs (13 grams of fiber)
Depending on what else you’re planning to eat during the day, you can add beans to keep your carb count low. Due to their high fiber content, they are definitely a valuable food that should be part of your diet.
Honey earned its popularity around the world for having plenty of properties that improve your health – and it’s really tasty too!
However, a single tablespoon of honey contains 17 grams of carbs. This is more than one tablespoon of white sugar, which has 13 grams of carbs (and you really want to avoid white sugar!). So, as delicious as it may be, this food should also be consumed in moderation for a successful low-carb diet.
Gluten-free baked foods
Similarly to fat-free, the term “gluten-free” makes most people think of something healthy. This type of food gained popularity mainly because gluten can cause gut inflammation and other unpleasant symptoms.
But when there’s no gluten, there are extra carbs! Whether we’re talking about muffins or bread, these baked goods are higher in carbs than their classic alternatives. What’s more, gluten-free baked foods are cooked using flour made of grains that increase your blood sugar faster.