'Eat Right' Challenge, Carbs - Day 7

Emma White - Nutritionist

Carbs can raise a lot of questions when it comes to dieting. Here we address some common carb-related questions raised by our members.

The Keto diet is very popular – what happens if I cut out virtually all carbs from my diet?

The Keto diet was developed for people with medical conditions and wasn't intended to be a diet for healthy individuals. The extreme nature of the Keto diet means that you cut out virtually all carbs from your diet. Although this works for some people, it is an extreme diet and can have adverse effects.

Cutting out carbs on the Keto diet means having around 15-30g of carbs per day – compared to the average intake of approximately 250g. Carbs are our primary energy source, so cutting them out means the body using other nutrients for energy – namely fat and protein. And if you cut out all carbs, you cut out essential nutrients like fibre from your diet. Not having enough fibre can lead to digestive issues and constipation.

Carbs also give us essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins which are crucial for energy metabolism. Having fewer carbs in your diet might be suitable for you, but cutting them out altogether may not be the healthiest option. I have written a blog about more drastic carb reduction (the Keto Diet) and the pros and cons.

A nutritionist's review of the Keto diet

What are the healthiest carb vegetables to eat?

All veggies are great! They are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and fibre and should be the staple in our diets. Some veggies are higher in carbohydrates than others, so always use the app to check how the veggies you choose fit in with the rest of your day's intake.

What can I do if I really don't like wholemeal bread?

That's fine – if you prefer the taste of white bread, then why not try a 50:50 version? These breads are baked with the goodness of wholemeal, but the taste of white so are a good halfway house if you're not so keen on wholemeal. Or why not try other options such as crackers, crispbreads, pittas or wraps – sometimes, choosing a different variety of wholemeal might make it more enjoyable.

Click to compare the fibre content of different bread products

Do you have any tips for healthily cutting down on carbs?

If you're looking to cut down on carbs, then there are a few simple tips to help you on your way – please do remember to take things slowly and don't cut out carbs altogether. Remember they are a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals too, so choose wisely:

  • Don't double carb – think about whether you need to have pasta and bread with a meal or rice and naan with your curry.
  • Cut down on your portions – we all overdo it when it comes to cooking rice and pasta. Weigh out your portion or use a measuring cup or spoon to ensure you're not having more than you need.
  • Fill up your plate with salad or veggies first before you add your carb portion.
  • Try a vegetable carb like courgetti or cauliflower rice – same texture but cutting down on calories.
  • Plan ahead – do you usually have a sandwich for lunch every day? Why not swap for a salad or a wrap?

Nutritionist Emma White (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.

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