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Starting A Low Carb Diet?

(57 Posts)
woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 15:48:49

Hi. I recently gave up smoking and have put on about 10 lbs,I was 10 lbs overweight anyway,so that means 20lbs to lose.
I have cut out the carbs for the last few days,just eating fruit and veg-which I love. This has helped me to lose that feeling of bloating and "fatness'. Have lost 3 lbs.
But I actually know nothing about a low carb diet. What can I use to substitute pasta and rice?
Can anyone recommend any good websites for info?
Oh,I do run and swim also,and have increased these too.

OP’s posts: |
BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 15:51:38

Well, if you're wanting to do low carb you will also have to cut out the fruit!

Best advice I can give you is to buy/borrow a good book. Ones I would recommend:

Atkins - The New Diet Revolution
Charles Clarke - The High Protein Diete
India Knight/Neris Thomas - The Idiot Proof Diet

Once you understand the theory behind it, it will make it easier to make the right food choices.

There is also a website/forum supporting the Idiot Proof Diet -

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 15:53:48

I am not a big meat eater Because, isn't the Atkins a lot of meat?
And fruit is a carb? I had no idea.
Thanks for the quick response.

OP’s posts: |
BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 15:57:13

Atkins is about good quality, unprocessed foods. It's a myth created/perpetuated by the media that you have to eat bacon and eggs every day for breakfast and then a massive steak for dinner!

That said, it's true that low carbing is easier if you like meat/fish - it's harder if you're veggie, because vegetables contain carbs, whereas meat/fish do not.

Fruit is a carb because it contains sugar.

Some fruits are lower in carbs - berries, rhubarb, for example.

BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 15:57:43

You need to know the carb counts of fruits/veg - I have a list somewhere which I'll try to find. Hang on ...

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:01:06

Thank you.
This is harder than I thought!
I notice some people on here talk about giving up "beige/white" food. Is that ok?
I love berries and rhubarb!

OP’s posts: |
BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 16:02:33

Here is some general advice first:

If you're low carbing, here is some useful stuff. More to come/ask any questions you have and I'll try to help!

1. Fruit is really problematic, as it is so full of sugar. In the induction stage of Atkins, when you're only supposed to have 20g of carbs a day, no fruit is allowed. Once you move on from this phase, berries are allowed - e.g. strawberries, blueberries, raspberries - but you need to weigh them and restrict your consumption of them.

Rhubarb is a very good choice, but only if sweetened with an artificial sweetener such as Splenda.

2. Fat is allowed/encouraged! According to Atkins, you need to eat fat to burn fat. Therefore you are allowed to eat fatty meat, cream, eggs, cheese and nuts. This will be very difficult to get your head round if you have spent the last 20/30 years of your life being told that fat is the enemy.

3. You don't need to calorie count. This may not be true if you only have half a stone or so to lose. But for most of us, you will find that the amount of calories that you can consume on a low carb diet seems ridiculously high. Just enjoy it!

4. You cannot eat:

- bread
- pasta
- rice
- potatoes
- sugar
- flour (which means pastry/white sauces)

5. Other veg that are problematic:

- carrots
- parsnips
- sweet potatoes

6. Things to include as substitutes:

- celeriac makes a fabulous dauphinois or mash
- swede is lovely either pureed or baked as wedges/chips
- thinly sliced, boiled green/white cabbage can be a really good substitute for spaghetti

7. Alcohol is not a great idea, as it is sugar-based. However, being as we are in the real world:

- dry white wine, champagne and red wine are all OK in moderation
- vodka/gin with diet mixers are fine

Just be aware that when you are low carbing, your tolerance for alcohol may change, so you may get drunk more quickly/have more hangovers. If you can avoid drinking, all the better (I fail on this count regularly )

8. Eating out is easier then if you're trying to calorie count, but you do need to know what you're doing to navigate the menu.

Avoid things in sauces unless you can establish that they are not thickened with flour/cornflour.

Go for grilled meat/fish with veg/salad.

Thai is very difficult as most dishes include sugar.

Chinese is also hard - but you can navigate around this. Lettuce wraps are good (just don't use the hoisin sauce), and substitute rice with fried bean sprouts, or waterchestnuts and celery.

With Indian, just leave out the rice (and the naan and poppadoms). Cauliflower and mushroom bhajis are relatively low in carbs.

9. Eating on-the-go is really difficult. Everything is based on carbs - sandwiches, cakes, crisps, chocolate ...

If you're travelling and know you'll need to eat, make sure you take something with you to snack on.

More and more railway/service stations have a M&S Food - so you can buy a salad, cooked meat/fish or small portions of cheese. If you don't have access to these, then take some ham with you, or a couple of hard boiled eggs. John West also make sachets of tuna that don't need to be chilled, which are useful.

10. Make sure that you drink plenty of water. This will help to stave off any hunger pangs - although, to be honest, after the first couple of days of low carbing you will find that your appetite is drastically suppressed.

11. There is some suggestion that diet drinks can cause weight loss to stall. I haven't been able to find any data to support this, but it is reported on often enough to make me say that it's worth being aaware of this at the very least - and if you can, avoiding them.

BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 16:05:15

And here are carb counts for you (grams of carbs per 100g):

Mushrooms 0.4
Watercress 0.4
Spinach 0.8
Celery 0.9
Broccoli 1.1
Asparagus (raw, boiled or canned) 1.4
Cucumber 1.5
Lettuce 1.7
Fennel 1.8
Courgettes 1.8
Cauliflower 1.9
Avocado flesh 1.9
Turnip 2
Pumpkin 2.2
Runner beans 2.3
Swede 2.3
Celeriac 2.3
Bean sprouts 2.5
Carrots 2.5
Green pepper 2.6
Baby sweetcorn 2.7
Aubergine 2.8
Leeks 2.9
Okra 3
Tomato 3.1
Mangetout 3.3
Shallots 3.3
Brussels sprouts 3.5
French beans 4.7
Cabbage 5
Yellow pepper 5.3
Carrots 6
Orange or red pepper 6.4
Ginger (peeled) 7.2
Butternut squash 7.5
Onions 7.9
Beetroot 9.5
Peas (frozen) 9.7
Broad beans 11.7
Parsnips 12.5
Potato 15.7
Garlic (per clove) 16.3
Sweetcorn (canned) 26.6

BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 16:06:22

Figure for garlic is wrong, btw - should not be per clove!

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:09:19

Wow. Thanks for taking the time to do that Because.
Alcohol is not too much of a problem for me,as I only drink about once a month,and then vodka.
If I eat out it is usually a pak choi chow mein. I am not going to deny myself noodles every other weekend.
Off to M&S now for some greek yogurt and nuts!

OP’s posts: |
woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:10:13

Is Quorn OK?

OP’s posts: |
BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 16:10:23

Some fruit carb counts:

Strawberries - 6
Raspberries - 4.6
Blackberries - 4.4
Rhubarb - 0.8
Melon, cataloupe, no skin 4.2
Melon, Galia, No skin or stone 5.6
Melon, Honeydew 6.6
Melon, Water 7.1
Apple - 11.8
Banana - 23.2
Satsuma - 8.5
Pineapple - 10.1
Peach - 7.6

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:11:05

Cross posted.
Thank you

OP’s posts: |
BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 16:12:59

Quorn is 2g carbs per 100g apparently - but assume this is 'basic' Quorn? Best check the packets for the carb count.

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:32:34

Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
SpotsMumSally Sun 17-Apr-11 16:37:46

That's really helpful info thanks BIWI smile

<adds to watch>

I am doing the IPD, the book is really good as is the separate recipe book. I have lost 13lb in two weeks.

Deuce Sun 17-Apr-11 16:44:04

Marking my place here.

woopsidaisy Sun 17-Apr-11 16:51:01

Would you recommend getting the book then Spots?

OP’s posts: |
foundwanting Sun 17-Apr-11 16:52:52

Wow Sally. That's a lot in two weeks. Ignore me if it's TMI, but have you got a lot to lose?

I need to get rid of about a stone and was going to try cutting out bread/rice/pasta etc. but the closer I get to my preferred weight, the harder I find it.

BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 17:04:07

woops - as well as the diet book there is a recipe book, as Spots says - and there are some lovely recipes in there. Don't get that without the main book though - it is literally just recipes and nothing in there about the diet, which it will be important for you to read.

SpotsMumSally Sun 17-Apr-11 17:23:32

I would definitely recommend the books. You have to buy the first one - it has the rules and instructions. The recipe book is optional, but it's great for alternatives to carbs. There is also a forum which has more ideas on it. I am never hungry and have found it so easy.

I want to lose two stone more, I believe the weight loss slows down a bit after the first couple of weeks (fingers crossed not too much!).

BIWI has given great tips above.

TheGoddessBlossom Sun 17-Apr-11 19:41:45

Hi. I have had lots of helpful advice on MN about lo carbing. I have been doing it for 3 weeks now.

Breakfast is almost always 3 eggs, 2 rashers bacon

Lunch is usually dark green salad with tuna and full fat Mayo or cheese and full fat coleslaw. Have realised tins of Heinz chicken soup are lo carb so adding that to repetoire of easy lunches

Tea is chilli with broccoli, roasts with no potatoes, bolognese sauce with broccoli or green beans, salads, fish stew with chorizo ....

Snacks are pepperami, cheese, hummus with celery, nuts, pudding is Greek yog with raspberries or strawbs.

I have lost 3 pounds. I though I would have lost more TBH but am still drinking red wine and eating some carbs like oatcakes.

I was addicted to carbs.

TheGoddessBlossom Sun 17-Apr-11 19:45:27

And followed a strict lo fat diet and I go to the gym 3 times a week but never managed to lost the 3 pounds. I also like drinking more water.

Eating out and about is hard, not in restaurants, but at stations etc, often have to wait till I get home, luckily don't get as hungry. On a lo fat diet I have to eat every 3 hours or feel faint....

Do find I get tired quicker though, and running at the gym is much harder and sometimes impossible...

BecauseImWoeufIt Sun 17-Apr-11 20:15:28

TGB - you are still, actually, consuming a fair few carbs. Coleslaw, hummus, nuts and yoghurt, as well as the red wine and especially the oatcakes will all be adding up to give you quite a high daily carb count.

TheGoddessBlossom Sun 17-Apr-11 20:29:09

Hmm. Hadn't realised coleslaw and hummus were no good. Thought nuts were ok too, and full fat Greek yog 3.2g per 100g?? Yes, I know oatcakes no good... Can't resist, ditto wine.... .grin

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