Low-carb diets may help prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Most weight-loss diets — not just low-carb diets — may improve blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels, at least temporarily.
Healthy fats & oils are back in too: Eating fat does not automatically clog the blood vessels in the way that poring oil down the drain will eventually block the drain. You make your own cholesterol and lipids and are more likely to increase your levels of the more damaging Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLD), which is made in the liver when you eat a high carbohydrate diet.
Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.
I’ve tried low carb on and off over the years. It’s never stuck, and I’ve read a lot of advice that just hasn’t make it any more livable for me. I’ve settled on a lowER carb diet, ditching all flours, grains, dairy, and most sugars. I never eat junk food, and cook nearly everything myself. I eat enough fibrous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower…) and leafy greens to stay somewhat full. Water and black/green tea are my only beverages. Even though I gave up fruit for three whole months before, it wasn’t worth it for me. I will never give up fruit again, and the whole fruit-in-moderation advice didn’t work for me, either. Fresh fruit is the very last true culinary enjoyment I have left, and my quality of life without fresh fruit–berries, citrus, melons–plummets. I don’t eat dried fruit, and I work out five to six days a week with high intensity, focusing on large muscle groups; and walk with friends or alone nearly every day. I’d rather exercise more than give up fruit. I just came back from a session with my trainer and after a lean, nutritious lunch working at my desk, just had a snack of about 3/4-cup blueberries before meeting up with a friend in about a half hour for a 5-mile walk. And that snack (I’d have had more if I’d had more berries in the fridge) made today’s workout worth it for me.
I personally don’t count anymore as I want this to be as easy and sustainable as possible. I have had years of counting calories and points, and this is incredibly liberating. I just don’t eat any sugars, grains or high carb foods any more so I am incredibly low carb all the time. When I was starting out I counted, just to see where my carbs were coming from and it was an eye opener. And yes you are correct, to go into ketosis anywhere between 20-50g carbs/day. Find out what works for you.
The reason why low-carb plans so often fail most of us is that they're not sustainable for the long term. They often fail to provide a "fallback" plan for what to eat when low-carb foods aren't readily available. Birthdays, holidays, work functions … there's likely at least one scenario in which you'll find yourself eating high-carb foods that don't necessarily "fit" into your plan.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
Use our premium meal planner tool (free trial) to access tons of weekly meal plans, complete with shopping lists. You can adapt the diet plans to your liking, skipping any meal, choosing how many people you’re cooking for, and the shopping lists adapt. You can even start a new plan from scratch (of from pre-existing ones), tailor them completely and save them.
Use fat as a lever. We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied.