Low-Carb Swaps and Their Benefits
The movement toward embracing a lower-carb diet for its health benefits has had its challenges. Clinical trials however, consistently show that low-carb diets are effective for weight loss, over and above the low-fat diets that once proved popular for those slimming down and watching their weight. Changing your diet is easier than you think with low-carb swaps that taste just as delicious, yet keep you satisfied for longer.
The key is to realise that not all carbs are created equal; just as there are healthy fats and less-healthy fats, there are also some carbs that will always be a far better choice than others. It’s important not to cut carbs completely, but rather to be choosy about the ones you regularly eat.
Easily digestible carbohydrates, “simple carbs”, are rapidly absorbed by the body and create a big spike in your blood-sugar levels. They will not support you in achieving your health goals. To reduce your intake of simple carbs, white bread, white pasta, potatoes and also sugars, including maple syrup and agave nectar, are best eaten sparingly, if at all.
Instead, eat carbohydrates that contain lots of fibre, “complex carbs”. Fibre reduces the blood sugar spike, provides protection against bowel cancer and feeds the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your guts. Examples include vegetables, legumes – chickpeas and lentils – and wholegrains such as barley, oats, buckwheat, and wholegrain and rye.
To provide satisfaction and diversity, recipes on The Fast 800 Online Programme swap starchy, sugary carbohydrates, often associated with “comfort foods”, for high fibre, lower carb alternatives. Making these small upgrades and trying alternatives that include plenty of fibre will not only fill you up but they will also bring you closer towards your health goals!
Low-carb swaps: Spaghetti = Courgetti/ Zoodles
Courgettes are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, high in both soluble and insoluble fibre and low in calories. Soluble fibre dissolves in water whereas insoluble fibre doesn’t, yet both have great benefits. Soluble fibre aids digestion and helps to reduce blood sugar levels, which can assist in reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Insoluble fibre also helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and promotes bowel regularity by adding water to stools, moreover preventing constipation.
Mushrooms, specifically portobello, make fantastic burger buns, pizza bases and simple toast (just with extra nutrients than your typical bread).
One of the great things about mushrooms is their variety; their uniqueness means that meals can feel completely different with just one small change. As far as nutritional benefits go, they are high in fibre, potassium and antioxidants. Although the amounts vary between the type of mushroom, all of them are incredibly good for you and your healthy lifestyle.
Mushrooms can be a great source of Vitamin D. For those that aren’t getting too much sunlight at the moment, it might be worth considering adding more to your diet. Alternatively, The Fast 800 Multivitamin (available in the UK only) contains 100%NRV of your vitamin D3, along with 22 other vitamins and minerals, to help ensure your nutrition stays on track, particularly on fasting days.
Rice, mash, a pizza base or just straight up, the choice is yours! We regularly use cauliflower in The Fast 800 recipes as a great alternative to starchy carbs, such as rice or potatoes.
Cauliflower is hydrating, packed with vitamin C, high in fibre and low in calories. By swapping rice with cauliflower rice, you’ll benefit from an 80 per cent decrease in carbohydrates, which lowers blood sugars and contributes to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cauliflower is also great for gut health by providing prebiotics to feed the ‘good’ bacteria. When the ‘good’ bacteria proliferates, it can help fight infection and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Also, many of our feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, are created in the gut. By having a healthy, happy gut, you are reducing your risk of anxiety.