There’s a lot of interest in the low-carb lifestyle over the past few years because of the impressive health benefits and weight loss results that it can deliver. But it also is a great choice for ladies over 40 who want to resolve other issues – like hot flashes, lack of energy, bloating, joint pain, brain fog, and anxiety. Many celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Lebron James, Kim Kardashian, and Katie Couric have adopted it and shown very public results. So what is this all about?
The low carb lifestyle is a moderate fat, moderate protein, and moderate-carb combination of food choices.
The basic ratios are that about 35% of calorie intake comes from fat, about 20% from protein and the 45% from carbohydrates.
Low carb eating can be a very effective way to lose weight and also lower risk factors for many diseases. There is research that shows that low-carb foods are more successful than the previously recommended high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.
There is less and less controversy about low carb and the Mediterranean diet as lifestyles. The science supports this approach to eating as we age. While keto might have worked for younger people, it is not providing all the needed nutrients to older women with their changing hormones and bodies.
Since the traditional low fat, high carbohydrate diet template that has been in place for the past 50 years has failed so miserably and lead the way to record levels of obesity, there is much to applaud the low carb way of eating.
That said, there is also a lot of misinformation floating around. And this can cause confusion for those who want to follow a strict approach.
So what do you eat on a low-carb diet?
- Fat: Healthy unsaturated fats are encouraged — like nuts (macadamia, pecans), seeds, avocados, tofu, and extra virgin olive oil. And healthy saturated fats from oils are also good – like coconut, grass-fed butter, and cocoa butter.
- Protein: Protein is an important part of the low-carb diet, but this is not a high protein diet. That means that protein sources high in saturated fat such as grass-fed beef and lamb, heritage pork, free run poultry, and fatty fish are popular choices.
- Carbohydrates: Vegetables contain so many nutrients that we require as we age. Leafy greens, as well as root vegetables like beets, sweet potato, carrots, and parsnips, are excellent. Leafy greens (such as kale, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, fennel, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and zucchini.
The fact that low-carb eating does not spike your insulin means that you don’t store fat. Instead, you burn it. The limit on insulin production is what makes the low-carb way of eating especially effective for people who have become insulin resistant and for people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Many people say that following a low carb or Mediterranean food plan is much easier than other options such as a vegan or gluten-free diet. Many condiments include a lot of hidden sugar, but otherwise, eateries such as steakhouses, roadhouses, and cafes are usually able to handle dietary needs. Chicken, fish, pork, beef, or eggs are the easiest starting points. Add to that a salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing, or some sautéed green vegetables of the day. And Presto! You have a meal! This makes it easier to continue with your social life and to go on vacation while staying on course. While it takes a little mental and physical adjustment, the low carb way of eating offers millions of people a welcome alternative to shed pounds, support their aging body, guard against disease and feel better.