Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, is a strong advocate of low-carb diets.
Low-carb diets are not only proven to be effective for weight loss and weight management, but they’re also scientifically proven to have many other health benefits – including improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the reversal of type II diabetes, reduced gastrointestinal problems as well as reduced cravings for sugar, which is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain.
In order to guide you towards making healthy low-carb choices, Dr. Ali Ghahary shares some basic guidelines below.
Foods to Eat
Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and veal contain little to no carbohydrates. In addition, these meats are excellent sources of protein and nutrients like iron and vitamin B12, which benefit your health in a lot of ways.
Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, sardines, shrimp, haddock, cod, halibut, tuna, lobster, herring and catfish. Like meat, fish and seafood also contain very few carbohydrates, if any, and are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower your risk of developing heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, arthritis, and even depression.
Vegetables: Broccoli, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, celery, spinach, and zucchini. They are high in fibre, high in vitamin’s C and K, and carotene antioxidants. Carotene converts into vitamin A and helps strengthen the immune system as well as improves the skin.
Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, oranges, kiwi and lemons. While some of these fruits contain a trace amount of carbohydrates, they’re still healthy to consume, as they are high in vitamin C, manganese, potassium, carotene and other antioxidants.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Along with being low in carbohydrates, they’re also high in fibre, protein and micronutrients, and are great for snacking on.
Other low-carb items worth mentioning include dairy products like cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and perhaps the most important of all – water.
Foods to Avoid
Sugar: Carbonated soft drinks, sweetened fruit juice, sports drinks, chocolate, pastries, cakes, ice cream, certain cereals, and artificial sweeteners.
Starches: Pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, potato chips, French fries, and porridge.
Other things you should consider avoiding include alcohol (which is full of rapidly absorbed carbs), milk, and legumes (such as peas and beans.) While some legumes do have health benefits (i.e. being high in fibre), they are higher in carbohydrates.