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Examining your DNA can help you discover the diet plan that is perfect for your individual genetic structure. In studies, this personalized approach to nutrition was shown to be more effective than traditional diet methods. By eating for our unique dietary needs it’s easier to make long-term sustainable changes to improve our health and wellbeing. This week we're giving you an overview on different types on most-common recommended diets.

Low carbohydrate diets have been growing in popularity, with sugar replacing fat as public enemy number one. Decreasing carbohydrate intake has been shown to improve blood glucose levels, aid weight loss and help keep the heart healthy.

Some of us are genetically programmed to react to carbohydrates by releasing bigger amounts of insulin, which can make us hungry and more likely to get fat, so would benefit most from this way of eating.

 

What is a low carb diet?

Low carbohydrate diets restrict carbohydrate intake from sugar, grains and starchy vegetables. Popular examples include the Atkins, Zone and South Beach diets. They often include a very strict induction period with extremely low carbohydrate levels, under 30g a day.

 

How do they work?

They are thought to work in a number of ways: the reduction in carbohydrates means that people produce less insulin. As insulin helps to store fat, less circulating insulin helps to prevent, reduce or reverse weight gain. Protein and fat is also very satisfying, so people on low carb diets tend to be less hungry and therefore naturally restrict their calorie intake. Low carbing can encourage the body to burn fat instead of glucose as a fuel; this is known as ketosis and can have the effect of further suppressing the appetite.

 

What should I eat?

Choose foods with higher fat and protein content. Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese and nuts will keep you satisfied. Dairy should be full fat but you shouldn’t over-indulge in dairy produce as it contains varying amounts of lactose, a form of sugar. Vegetables can be eaten in abundance and will provide fibre and nutrients. Choose lower carbohydrate types like cabbage, spinach, kale, salad vegetables and avocado.

The amount of carbohydrate allowed varies between diets from 20g -130g but less that 20% of calories come from carbohydrates.

 

What should I avoid?

Stay away from sugar in all its forms. That includes cakes, sweets and biscuits but also most fruit (apart from berries), fruit juices, agave and honey. You also need to ban all grains, so that cuts out bread, pasta, cereals and oats. When picking vegetables, avoid starchy varieties like potatoes and carrots, celeriac or swede can be a good alternative.

 

The Good

These diets offer rapid initial weight loss (mostly fluid) which can help boost motivation. Steady blood sugar levels will control food cravings and decrease hunger and a low carbohydrate approach has been shown in research to help weight loss and improve diabetic control without increasing lipid levels.

The Bad

This way of eating doesn’t respond well to occasional cheats. Gorging on sugary snacks can cause you to gain water weight rapidly and feel bloated and uncomfortable.

And the ugly

When the body first starts burning fat it can give you a bad breath and headache, like a hangover without the fun, and make you feel weak and exhausted. This ‘keto flu’ will pass and will be less painful if you drink pletty of water to flush away the ketones.

 

A sample day

Breakfast: Asparagus frittata or full fat Greek yoghurt and berries

Lunch: Chicken mayo lettuce wraps or celeriac soup

Supper: Roasted salmon fillets with courgetti in pesto sauce or steak and salad.

Snacks: Nuts, cheese, olives or celery sticks with cream cheese

 

If you’re eating out: Choose meat or fish without a coating served with veggies or salad- but watch for sugar in the dressings. Stay away from the puddings; instead choose cheese or fresh berries.

Tags:

Nutrition Genetics Diet Low Carb Diet Carbs Carbohydrates Healthy diet

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