Limiting carb intake is not rocket science. It may seem complex at first, but when you get on with it, you will find it easy to replace starches and sugars in your diet with healthy fats, eggs, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Going vegan or vegetarian is quite straightforward; no consumption of any type of animal meat. Traditional low-carb diets rely heavily on meat, hence making it inappropriate for vegetarians. However, this does not have to be the case as anyone with a preferential diet can follow a low-carb diet, even vegans and vegetarians.
The major reason most people accept the low-carb diet has to be due to its effectiveness for weight loss. A low-carb diet causes less fluctuation in blood sugar levels while suggestively lowering one's overall diet. Being on a low-carb diet tends to increase good HDL cholesterol while reducing triglycerides, bad LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. Also, a low-carb diet help reverse a lot of symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including the increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Depending on your main aim, you can choose to go easy or minor with your carb intake limit i.e., taking out any form of sugar and starch or go all-in; this is the case for obese patients looking to shed excess weight rapidly.
Below are ways to limit carb intake as a vegetarian
Stop Consuming Sugar-Sweetened Beverages.
Sugar-sweetened drinks are quite unhealthy. These sweeteners are high in added sugar and are associated with increased risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes when excessively consumed. Beverages such as sweetened iced tea and sugary sodas are made from sugar. As an alternative, drink delicious, refreshing drinks such as lime or lemon iced tea or club soda. You may want to use a small amount of low-calorie sweetener.
Quit Drinking Fruit Juice.
As compared to whole fruits, processed fruit juice is full of sugar and little or no fiber. Fruit juice is no better than sugar-sweetened beverages, even though they may contain minerals and vitamins. Hence, it is advised to stay away from juice completely, instead of gulp down flavored water by adding a slice of lemon or orange.
Munch on Low-Carb Snacks
Snack foods like crackers, chips, and pretzels can add up lots of carbs in snack foods, and they are still not very satisfying. Munching on a low-carb snack that contains protein is one of the best strategies when hunger strikes between meals. Below are some healthy low-carb vegetarian snacks that contain some proteins and less than 5g of digestible carbs per serving.
Ensure you have healthy low-carb vegetarian snacks in hand in case you feel hungry between meals.
Consume Eggs or Other Low-Carb Breakfast Foods.
Typical breakfast foods are high in carbs, even in the smallest of quantity. For example, half a cup of granola cereal naturally has about 30g of digestible carbs even before adding milk. On the other hand, eggs are a perfect breakfast when trying to regulate and limit carb intake. Eggs are high in quality protein, which can make you feel satisfied for hours and eat lesser calories for the rest of the day. Eggs are also versatile and can be garnished or prepared in different ways for an on-the-go breakfast.
Make use of Sweeteners rather than Sugar
Making use of sugar to sweeten beverages and foods is not a healthy practice, especially on the vegetarian keto diet. A tablespoon of brown or white sugar contains about 12g of carbs in the form of sucrose i.e., 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Even though honey seems like a much healthier choice, it contains a high quantity of carbs. A tablespoon of honey contains 17g of carbs with roughly the same fructose and glucose i.e., 50% fructose and 50% glucose just as sugar. It is high time one learns how to revel in the natural taste of foods without adding sweetener. However, below are few safe sugar-free vegetarian keto sweeteners that may contain some admirable health benefits. These include;
Erythritol: this is a type of sugar alcohol that it tastes just like sugar but does not in any way raise insulin level or body sugar. Erythritol also may help prevent the development of cavities by killing plaque-causing bacteria.
Stevia: This is produced from the Stevia plant, which is native to South America. Stevia has been discovered to help cut down the level of blood sugar in the body and increase the sensitivity of insulin.
Xylitol: is another sugar alcohol. It helps combat the bacteria that cause tooth plaque. Additionally, it may lower insulin resistance and help protect the body against obesity
These low-calorie alternatives of sugar can help limit sugar intake, lower the chances of tooth decay without giving up sweeteners altogether.
Opt for Vegetables or Salads rather than Bread or Potato when eating out at a restaurant
When eating out, although it may be challenging during the early stage of the vegetarian keto diet. For instance, when you order for your main with no breading, you may be served with a starchy food on the side which may be rolls, pasta, bread, or potatoes. On the other hand, these starches can increase your carb intake by 30g of carbs depending on the portion size. Rather, inform your waiter or server to substitute keto vegetables e.g., kale, spinach, mushrooms, etc. in place of high-carb containing foods. In case your meal includes a side of veggies, you may have another serving. So far, it is not the starchy type of vegetables.
Consume Almond or Coconut milk as an alternative to Dairy milk.
Milk is delicious and nutritious; however, it has its fair share of high carbs due to its type of sugar known as lactose. For instance, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat or full-fat milk contains approximately 12-13 grams of carbs. Adding a bit of milk to tea or coffee is good. However, if you gulp down milk by its glassful or in milkshakes or lattes, you may have increased carb content in your body. Several alternatives or milk substitutes are available to which the most common ones are almond milk and coconut milk. Other types of milk low-carb milk are made from hemp and different types of other nuts. Calcium, Vitamin D, as well as other minerals and vitamins are often added to increase its nutritional value. These beverages are mainly made up of 80% of water, and the carb contents are often extremely low. It may at mist contain 2g of digestible carbs or less in each serving. But, some milk contains sugar, hence making it imperative to ensure the nutrition label and ingredient list are checked to be certain you are purchasing a low-carb unsweetened beverage.
Lay Emphasis on Non-Starchy Vegetables
Veggies are an extremely valuable source of fiber and nutrients on a keto vegetarian diet. Vegetables contain some plant compounds known as phytochemicals, many of which function as an antioxidant and help protect you from diseases. However, it is essential to choose non-starchy veggies to limit one's carb intake. Some root vegetables and legumes like corn, lima beans, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and peas are reasonably high in carbs. There are other starchy vegetables you can consume that are equally nutritious.
Consume Healthy High-Protein Meals
Consuming a good protein source at each meal can make it much easier to limit carb intake, and this is crucial if you are looking to lose weight. Protein stimulates the release of PYY i.e., the "fullness hormones" that help reduce the pangs of hunger and also help fight food cravings and protects muscle mass during one's weight loss. Protein contains much higher thermic value than carbs or fats. What this means is that the human body's metabolic rate increases when consuming, digesting, and metabolizing protein. Ensure to include at least a single serving from the list of high-protein sources below when you prepare low-carb meals; these include – Eggs, Nuts, Cottage cheese, Cheese, Whey protein powder, Greek Yogurt, etc. In essence, eating healthy protein at each meal can help one fee, satiated, and reduce cravings, which also improves one's metabolic rate.
Prepare meals using healthy fats
On a low-carb diet, carbs are replaced with fats and typically contribute to over 60% of the diet's calories. This means it is important to choose fats that do not add flavorful taste to your meals; it also has amazing benefits to human health. Some of these healthy fats and oils include extra-virgin olive oil and extra-virgin coconut oil. Oils such as the virgin coconut oil is a highly stable and saturated fat that says stable at high cooking temp. Most virgin coconut oil fats are MCT i.e., medium-chain triglycerides. This may lower belly fat and increase HDL cholesterol. MCT may also lower appetite. While extra-virgin olive oil has shown to lower blood pressure, it also improves the function of the cells lining of the human arteries; it also helps prevent weight gain.
Now that you know how to limit the carb-intake in your meals as a keto-vegetarian, you can visit our website www.awakenedlabz.com for more information on how to get started based on factors like age, weight, lifestyle, and end goal.
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