A low carb diet has long been used to lose weight and stay healthy. This diet is simply titled; it involves eating very few carbohydrates. Although it must be said that we need carbohydrates, eating less of them can have some benefits to our health.
Starchy foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes have the most glycemic load, meaning they cause blood sugar spikes, obviously, cutting down on these foods would inevitably lead to a lower carb intake.
Vegetables are some of the best carbs, however when starting a low carb lifestyle, there are certain ones we need to avoid, and some of these may seem to go against our common sense.
However, there is a very good reason for avoiding these starchy vegetables when following a low carb diet.
Say No To Starchy Vegetables
As a general idea, you need to avoid the vegetables that are high starch. The obvious culprit is the potato; we all know potatoes are starchy but there are others…
- Sweet Potatoes
- All root vegetables
Typically, all starchy vegetables need to be cooked, unlike non-starchy varieties than can be eaten raw, such as spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Spinach (a low starch and allowed vegetable) contains 0.1g of carbs per half a cup. Compare this to the parsnip, which contains 12.1g of carbs per half a cup.
The vegetable with the highest carb and therefore starch rating is the fresh yucca, which has an absolutely huge amount of carbs at 37.2.
The potato is the king of starch, scoring a 100 on the GI scale (glycemic index).
The problem with starchy vegetables is that starch is essentially broken down into glucose when we digest it and starches cause blood sugar spikes, and an insulin response in the body, additionally, when eating low carb, you want to trigger the metabolic response known as ketosis and any starchy foods, including vegetables can interfere with this process.
Vegetables that are high in starch also tend to be higher in calories than non-starchy vegetables and can therefore have a huge impact on weight loss and gain. If you are trying to control your weight then you should be consuming far more of the low starch vegetables.
Not only are they better for you, but you are less likely to be hungry and therefore snack as you can eat much bigger proportions of them. This is one of the huge problems for many people who are trying to lose weight, so ensuring you eat the appropriate portion size for the right food is critical. You can have much bigger portions of low starch vegetables without suffering the harm of a high carb intake that you get with foods like peas and potatoes.
Some vegetables contain far higher levels of starch and therefore sugar than we want when following a low carb diet so if you are to succeed on this diet then they are best avoided.
The best low carb vegetables that you can eat are the leafy greens such as spinach, kale, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, and many others.
They are good for you in so many ways, and do not contain the levels of sugar and starches that other vegetables such as potatoes do. These vegetables are particularly nutrient dense and are always recommended for everyone, but particularly those who are suffering from health problems. This is partly because they are full of nutrients and antioxidants, which are essential for good health.
As a really general and basic rule, opt for vegetables that grow above the ground, as these are generally lower in sugar than root vegetables, and typically come from the flowering part of the plant.
A word of warning, if you suffer from diabetes or any other health issue you should consult your doctor before changing your diet, particularly when considering a low carb diet.
This is because the levels of sugar in the blood become increasingly important at this time and a low carb diet that avoids high starch vegetables will have a significant effect on your blood sugar level. It is best to engage in any diet changes under medical supervision.