I've been paleo for about 3 weeks, I've got the hang of it, and now I'm looking to go Low Carb to encourage some weight loss. Only problem is, I'm not sure which fruit and veggies are 'low carb'. Obviously potato and sweet potato are off the list, are there any others I should avoid?
My most commonly eaten veggies are tomato, onion (any sort), zucchini, baby spinach, red capsicum, carrot, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli.
My most commonly eaten fruits are raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, green apples, banana, dried apricots and dried pear.
Should I cut any of those out when going low carb? On the flip side, are there any options I can munch away on to my heart's content? If you've had success losing weight on Paleo (and I know there are a lot of you!) please comment/reply with the fruits and veggies you went crazy for, and also those you restricted or removed from your diet.
Thank you all! :)
Hi, Beatrice, I just googled "Which fruits and vegetables are low carb" and I got some pretty good results. So that should give you a start. But remember that in the usual Atkins-inspired low-carb way of going about things there's this whole system of subtracting fiber to get to "net carbs," so you might need to do a little work if you want to ignore that. (A certain amount of fiber can be turned into fat in your large intestine, and a lot of people think that's a healthy thing.) (Website for nutrition info: http://nutritiondata.self.com/)
And of course since this is Paleohacks I should say that if you want to allow yourself a quota of carbohydrate every day then it's best to choose starches like potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, etc., instead of wheat and corn on the one hand or fruit on the other hand. We like glucose here, but we don't like gluten and fructose. But even a little bit of those things won't kill you.
I was low carb for the first year and a half of my paleo experience and I really think it did me right, but in the last six months I've transitioned back to eating a lot more starch, especially potatoes and rice, and it feels really good. But to answer the latter part of your question: When I was low-carb I ate a lot of lemons and limes, mostly by squeezing them into my water; and I ate a lot of greens like spinach and arugula; and pretty much all those other veggies you mentioned, except carrots (they taste sweet to me). Nowadays I still consume lots of lemon and lime, but my only veggies (other than the starch) are bitter greens and other herbs. My digestion is a lot better without the bulky non-starchy veggies. Good luck to you.
I'd cut out all fruit (maybe have a handful of berries once or twice a week). Definitely quit the dried fruit.
I wouldn't worry to much about veg, but like you say avoid sweet potatoes. I'd also avoid yams and pumpkin/ squash.
Glycemic index puts some numbers on which carbs are the worst ones for weight loss. I'd suggest avoiding the dried apricots, bananas and pineapple. They have a lot of calories and digest fast (high GI) compared to the berries and greens, leaving you feeling starved.
Now if you were to fry that banana in butter....
I avoided all fruit and ate only crunchy vegetables, basically anything you find on your typical salad bar. That pretty much did it for me, I kept 25-50g of carbs per day for months.
Fruit is pretty easy: berries are ok for the occasional small dessert, be they straw-, rasp-, black-, blue-, mul-, or others. Pour some heavy cream over them, and you've got a high-fat dessert with just a few carbs. (If you don't do dairy, just eat the berries by themselves.) They're high in fiber, so most people here wouldn't eat a lot of them, but if you're not eating grain and high-fiber vegetables, your total fiber intake will be very low anyway.
Pretty much all other fruit is out, especially dried fruit. All the other fruits you mentioned are very high in carbs. Some melon isn't too high, but it's high in fiber and fructose, so it's best avoided when you're trying to heal from past damage (which goes along with losing weight). (Plus, I find it's a lot easier to stop at a 1/4 cup of berries than a 1/4 cup of watermelon, since I grew up eating watermelon by the thick slice. It doesn't seem worth the trouble to cut into a melon to get a low-carb serving.)
On vegetables, most of the green ones tend to be low-carb, especially if they're leafy: broccoli, lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, mustard greens, Oriental greens, etc. Green beans are low, if you don't think they're too legume-y. Some exceptions to the 'green' rule would be peas and lima beans -- since they're the starchy seed part, they're high in carbs. (Snow peas with undeveloped peas in the pod are low though.) Cauliflower is borderline, as are tomatoes: a slice of tomato on your burger now and then may be fine, but tomato-heavy recipes or tomato-concentrates like sauces generally aren't. Some root vegetables are low also, like radishes and turnips. Carrots are high -- if people squeeze the juice out of something and consider it sweet enough to drink, you can figure it's high-carb. Summer squash and its watery relatives like zucchini and cucumbers are low; the solid and heavy winter squash like butternut and pumpkins are fairly high.
Note that I'm not addressing the paleo-appropriateness of any of these things, except the mention of fructose. Once you lose the weight and get healthy, you may be able to switch back to starchier vegetables and be choosier about avoiding things like fiber or nightshades if you wish. In the meantime, you might want to mix things up -- don't just eat the same one or two vegetables all the time, in case you have a problem with them -- or just keep your fruit and vegetable consumption very low.
Dried fruits definitely have to go!
Tomatoes and carrots are the only real higher carb veggies that you should concern yourself with but I wouldn't limit these in any way unless you gorge on them, but I doubt that's the case.
Berries are your best bet for fruit and even better if you limit them to pre or post workout where your body can better utilise the extra carbs.
Try going real low carb(0-1 servings of fruit or sweet potatoes) on your non-workout days, and lower carb(1-3 servings of fruit or sweet potatoes) on your more active days. This approach helped me reach my lowest body fat % in a very short period of time and I have since been able to eat more fruits, veggies, and starches while still maintaining the progress I made.
Its n=1 but seems to be a worthwhile approach for most.
Low Carb frustration 9 Answers
Not losing weight on low carb paleo. Why? 17 Answers
Low carb ketogenic vs. more carbs 5 Answers