Low Carb Diets
“Low carb” has gotten a really bad reputation. Not because there is anything wrong with the low-carb nutritional philosophy but rather because of the horrible way that most people tend to implement it. There is no dispute, with low carb diets and ketogenic diets people lose weight – LOTS of it. The question is, is it healthy and what exactly are they losing – fat, muscle or both. As with most things, the devil is in the details. Low-carb by itself is neither good nor bad, its how you implement it that determines if its healthy and if you lose just fat or lose muscle too.
Unfortunately, the way most people do low-carb is unhealthy, very unhealthy. Its the reason that as soon as they go off the diet their weight balloons back up to where it was. Most people use low-carb as an excuse to eat yummy garbage. Here is how most people do low carb- bacon, flavored cheese, hot dogs, luncheon meets, butter, lotsa butter – and no vegetables. Yes, you can lose weight eating like that and millions of people do but not only is it very unhealthy, but because the protein content is so low, they end up burning off muscle as well as fat. Not only that, but because they have learned nothing of healthy eating habits, when they go off the diet, their weight pops right back up. People seem to confuse a healthy nutritional plan from a nutritional plan that lets you lose weight. Yes, you CAN lose weight be eating bacon and butter but its NOT healthy. There is no reason at all that a low carb meal cant be both healthy and help you lose weight at the same time.
There have been a lot of questions about “what is wrong with bacon/butter/etc”. Well, lets talk about why its garbage. First, you might be surprised to find that butter is the #2 worst pesticide contaminated food source in America – thats whats wrong with butter. Most pesticides are fat soluble which means the pesticide tainted grain the cows eat is more likely to end up in butter and cheese than in the nonfat milk. That is also the reason I do not like cheese as a fat source in keto and low carb diets. So what about the hot dogs, bacon, sausage, spam, and lunchmeats? Read the ingredients list! Anything pickled in unpronounceable chemicals and extruded in round or square shape is NOT healthy.
Now lets look at healthy low-carb. I have actually been doing low carb for about a month now as I am cutting for my upcoming mens physique contest. This is healthy low carb. Not once in the last month have I been hungry and because I have taken very careful daily measurements, I know that I have not lost *any* muscle mass as I have dropped from 10% bodyfat down to 7%. I eat LOTS of vegetables, probably 2-3 pounds of fresh low net-carb vegetables a day. I eat lean chicken breast and egg whites for protein so that I can get my fats from a variety of healthy sources. I get lots of fat from flax, chia which are also very low net carb. I also use a LOT of nuts and olive oil along with a few egg yolks a day to get some good fats from animal sources. THAT is healthy low carb.
Now most of you know I am an engineer, its the reason I spend so much time building fitness tools for my website. My latest software tool is my crowning achievement to date, its custom meal planner that uses AI techniques to build the perfect meal plan. I wrote it because I needed a meal planner to build my low-carb and keto meals for my contest prep. There are a LOT of meal planners out there but they are not designed for athletes and bodybuilders, this one is. Of course, its free like all my tools but please give this one a try! If you want to know more about my meal planner software, please read the custom meal planner FAQ.
Anyway, low-carb CAN be healthy, very healthy. To guide people who are doing low-carb diets, I have created three different low carb nutritional options in my meal planner. If you are not sure you know how to design a healthy low carb meal plan that will help you achieve your goal then let my very smart AI software do it for you! To give you a general idea what the various meal planners give you in terms of carbs, here are approximate numbers for a 180 pound guy cutting with a 25% caloric deficit:
|Nutrition Plan||Carbs/day||Net Carbs/day|
|Keto Meal Planner||81g||46g|
|Low Carb Meal Planner||117g||60g|
|Medium Carb Meal Planner||208g||143g|
I actually starting using it yesterday and have already gotten my contest prep back on track (see chart below). Many meal planners out there give you a rope long enough to make a nutritional noose, not mine. The only foods you get to choose are healthy ones that will help you achieve your fitness goals. For example, if you say you are cutting then its going to show you low calorie density carbs like green beans and broccoli rather than high density carbs like corn and potato. The software also knows how many calories you have requested per meal and it knows your calorie allotment for each meal so it wont bother showing you protein sources that do not contain a high enough protein density to provide the necessary calories within the calorie budget provided.
What I do is every night before going to bed, I pull up my link to my meal plan and edit the foods that I want to eat tomorrow. That way, when I wake up I know exactly what I am going to eat and when.
For example, this is the meal that I ate an hour ago which was designed for me by the meal planner, if you want to check out my whole meal plan here it is: Scooby’s Low-Carb Meal Plan. Its printed below but go ahead and click on the link because its COOL! What is so cool about it is that you can make changes and play around with it. It makes it very easy every night to make a few tweeks and make your meal plan for the next day.
Anyway, back to the title of this post – a healthy low carb meal. THIS is healthy! Here are the stats for the meal 500 calories, 39g protein, 14g fiber, and 17g of net carbs. Not low enough for keto but an excellent meal for low carb!
One very important note. The scale is in the picture for a reason. You MUST weigh everything for this meal planner to work. There is NO way that anyone, not even me, can estimate 10g of flaxseed, 21g of chia, and 20g of almond butter with any degree of accuracy as is required for my delicious meal #3:
Scooby’s Cutting Contest Prep Meals For Today, Friday the 3rd of April
DAY NUTRITIONAL SUMMARY
|NET CARBS:||83 grams|
|SAT FAT:||18 grams|
|OMEGA 3:||6 grams|
Scooby’s meal plan
|MEAL 1 (click on each food to see how to weigh)|
|egg white, 1 large||6||24 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||96cals|
|asparagus spears, fresh||831 g||17 g||44 g||17 g||26 g||0 g||178cals|
|olive oil||24 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||24 g||218cals|
|MEAL TOTALS||41 g||44 g||17 g||26 g||24 g||493 cal|
|MEAL 2 (click on each food to see how to weigh)|
|chicken breast, boneless, skinless||90 g||27 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||148cals|
|broccoli||442 g||11 g||31 g||14 g||17 g||1 g||155cals|
|olive oil||21 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||21 g||189cals|
|MEAL TOTALS||39 g||31 g||14 g||17 g||26 g||493 cal|
|MEAL 3 (click on each food to see how to weigh)|
|greek yogurt, nonfat||343 g||34 g||13 g||0 g||13 g||0 g||196cals|
|flaxseed, ground||10 g||1 g||3 g||2 g||0 g||4 g||58cals|
|chia seeds||21 g||3 g||9 g||8 g||1 g||6 g||107cals|
|almond butter||20 g||3 g||4 g||0 g||3 g||12 g||130cals|
|MEAL TOTALS||43 g||30 g||12 g||18 g||23 g||493 cal|
|MEAL 4 (click on each food to see how to weigh)|
|chicken breast, boneless, skinless||138 g||42 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||5 g||228cals|
|nuts, dry roasted, mixed, without peanuts||43 g||6 g||9 g||2 g||7 g||24 g||264cals|
|MEAL TOTALS||49 g||9 g||2 g||7 g||29 g||493 cal|
|MEAL 5 (click on each food to see how to weigh)|
|chicken breast, boneless, skinless||90 g||27 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||148cals|
|spinach, baby, fresh leaves||658 g||15 g||23 g||15 g||7 g||0 g||155cals|
|nuts, dry roasted, mixed, without peanuts||30 g||4 g||6 g||1 g||5 g||17 g||189cals|
|MEAL TOTALS||48 g||30 g||17 g||12 g||20 g||493 cal|
My fat loss is back on track!
After just one day using the meal plan that my custom low-carb meal planner generated!
You can compare this to my chart from yesterday
Low-carb diets – healthy or not?