No carb Indian diet won’t make you healthy. Learn what actually works

Key Takeaways:

1. Obesity Trends in India:
Over 15 years, obesity rates in India have increased significantly, with 1 in 5 adults being obese.

2. No-Carb Indian Diet Overview:
A no-carb Indian diet eliminates or minimizes dietary carbohydrates, gaining popularity for weight loss.

3. Weight Loss on No-Carb Diet:
A no-carb Indian diet may lead to weight loss by creating a calorie deficit, as proteins and fats make you feel full, reducing overall calorie intake.

4. Side Effects of No-Carb Diet:
Potential side effects include constipation, low energy, hypoglycemia, and a lack of essential nutrients.

5. Low-Carb Diet as an Alternative:
A low-carb diet is more practical, allowing for essential nutrient intake, fibre, and better sustainability than a no-carb diet.

6. Consultation Before Dietary Changes:
Consult your doctor or dietitians for personalized advice before making significant dietary changes.

Introduction  

Over 15 years (2005–2021), the Indian NFHS found that the obesity rates for women went from 12.6% to 24%, and for men, it went from 9.3% to 22.9%. This means that about 1 in 5 adults in India is obese, with this number increasing every year.

A no carb Indian diet is an extreme diet that eliminates or minimizes dietary carbohydrates.

It is becoming quite popular on social media to blame carbohydrates for obesity. However, they are not wrong, as carbs do increase weight.

But this may lead many people to develop an unhealthy relationship with carbs. This also makes people obsess over a no-carb diet for weight loss.

A low carb Indian diet is good. It aids you in losing weight and improves your vitals. However, completely eliminating carbs from your diet may not be a good idea.

Let's find out why!

No carb Indian diet  

A no carb Indian diet is an extreme form of dieting that eliminates the food that has carbohydrates.

People following a no carb diet replace carbs with fats and protein.

A no carb diet may seem similar to a keto diet, but distinct differences exist. Standard ketogenic guidelines propose an average intake of 70-80% of daily calories from fat, 5-10% from carbs, and 10-20% from protein.

However, a no carb diet has no such protein and fat intake guidelines.

Does a no carb diet help you lose weight?  

Yes, having a no carb Indian diet will help you lose weight.

Your body needs about 2000 to 2500 calories daily to survive. We get a good amount of these calories from carbohydrates.

Your food mainly consists of fats and proteins in a no carb diet. Proteins and fats make your stomach full faster. Hence, they help you to consume fewer calories, reducing your daily calorie intake.

Hence, a no carb diet may help lose weight by putting you on a calorie deficit. However, it is always best to consult your healthcare provider or dietician before significantly changing your diet.

You do not need to eliminate carbohydrates to lose weight. You can sustainably lose weight even when consuming carbs in moderation.

Benefits of No carb diet  

There is a lack of research on the benefits of a no carbs diet. However, as it helps you lose weight in the short term, it may have certain cardiovascular benefits.

No carb diet: side effects  

Carbohydates are one of the essential macronutrients. Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can have side effects such as:

  1. Constipation: A no carb diet lacks fibre, which is necessary for adding bulk to the stool. This might lead you to develop constipation, particularly in the beginning.
  1. Low energy: Carbs are our primary source of energy. Cutting carbs may cause fatigue and weakness.
  1. Hypoglycemia: Eliminating carbs can potentially lead to low blood glucose levels.
  1. Lack of vital nutrients: Carbohydrate-rich foods also contain vitamins and minerals. Cutting down on these foods may cause nutrient deficiency, leading to health issues.

Foods to avoid in a no carb diet  

In a low-carb diet, it's advisable to limit the following foods that are high in carbohydrates.

An image of foods that you should avoid in a no carb diet
  • Sugary Foods
    • Soda
    • Candy
    • Pastries
    • Ice cream
    • Sweetened cereals
  • Grains and Starches
    • Bread (mainly white bread)
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Potatoes
    • Cereals
  • Processed Foods
    • Most packaged snacks
    • Chips
    • Crackers
    • Convenience meals
  • High-Sugar Fruits
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Mangoes
    • Pineapple
  • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Peas
  • High-Sugar Dairy
    • Sweetened yoghurt
    • Flavored milk
  • Sauces and Condiments with Added Sugar
    • Ketchup
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Sweetened salad dressings
  • Alcohol
    • Beer
    • Sweetened cocktails
  • Low-Fat or Diet Products
    • Usually contain added sugars to compensate for low-fat
  • Root Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Beets

Foods to eat in a no carb diet  

A no-carb diet typically focuses on minimizing carbohydrate intake. Here's a recommended no carb diet list of foods.

  • Vegetables
    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Cabbage
    • Bell peppers
  • Proteins
    • Chicken
    • Fish
    • Eggs
    • Paneer (cottage cheese)
    • Tofu
  • Dairy
    • Greek yoghurt (unsweetened)
    • Full-fat cream
    • Cheese (in moderation)
  • Fats and Oils
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Nuts and Seeds (in moderation)
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Chia seeds
    • Flaxseeds
  • Herbs and Spices
    • Turmeric
    • Cumin
    • Coriander
    • Fenugreek
    • Ginger
    • Garlic

List of zero carb diet foods:  

Finding carbless foods is challenging. However, here are some examples of foods and drinks commonly consumed in India that are near zero carb diet foods.

  1. Tea and coffee (without sugar): They are virtually carb-free when consumed without added sugar or milk.
  1. Spices and herbs: Most spices and herbs are very low in carbohydrates.
  1. Paneer (Indian cottage cheese): Paneer is low in carbs and high in protein.

Also read: Foods To Avoid To Lose Weight Quickly (With Alternatives)

A no-carb diet may not be the best idea. But let's also explore how a low-carb diet may help manage weight and Diabetes.

Low carb diet:  

As the name suggests, this diet allows eating carbs in low amounts.

World Health Organization recommends eating about 400g of carbohydrates (from healthy foods) daily. But when you are on a low carb diet, the general recommendation is to eat less than 130g of carbs daily.

Earlier, it was believed that eating fats makes you gain weight. But now we know that carbohydrates are the culprit for weight gain. Hence, guidlines to lose weight often ask you to cut your carbohydrates.

How is it better?  

A low carb diet is better than no carb diet because:

  • It is less restricting 
  • There are clearly defined values for the amount of carbs to eat
  • It provides you with essential nutrients
  • You can fulfil your fibre requirement
A chart representing the effects of low carb diet and time-restricted fasting on weight, body fat and health vitals
Pic Credit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9589024/

Low carb Indian food list:  

Eating low carb foods will allow you to maintain a calorie deficit even when having full meals. Here's the list of low calorie Indian foods with the approximate number of carbohydrates per 100g.

  1. Spinach (Palak): ~3.6g
  1. Cauliflower (Phool Gobi): ~5g
  1. Cabbage (Patta Gobi): ~5.8g
  1. Bhindi (Okra/Ladyfinger): ~7g
  1. Eggs (Anda): ~0.6g
  1. Chicken (Murgh): ~0g
  1. Fish (Machli): ~0g
  1. Paneer (Cottage Cheese): ~1.2g
  1. Tofu: ~1.9g
  1. Lauki (Bottle Gourd): ~4.5g
  1. Bitter Gourd (Karela): ~3.7g
  1. Radish (Mooli): ~3.4g
  1. Methi (Fenugreek): ~6.0g
  1. Capsicum (Shimla Mirch): ~6g
  1. Cucumber (Kheera): ~3.6g
  1. Coconut: ~15g
  1. Ghee (Clarified Butter): ~0g
  1. Lamb (Gosht): ~0g
  1. Avocado: ~8.5g
  1. Chia Seeds (Sabja): ~42g (Note: Chia seeds are high in fibre, so the net carbs are lower)
  1. Green Beans (Fansi): ~7g
  1. Mushrooms (Khumb): ~3.3g
  1. Lettuce (Salad Patta): ~5.8g
  1. Broccoli (Hari Phool Gobi): ~6.6g
  1. Cottage Cheese (Paneer Bhurji): ~3.4g
  1. Turai (Ridge Gourd): ~2.8gs
  1. Tomatoes (Tamatar): ~3.9g

Also read: The Best Foods to Improve Your Heart Health

Sample Three-day No-carb Meal Plan:  

Here's a sample three-day no-carb meal plan with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Day 1:  

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms.

Lunch: Grilled chicken with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower.

Dinner: Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) stir-fry with bell peppers and zucchini.

Snacks: Cucumber slices with guacamole.

Day 2:  

Breakfast: Omelette with tomatoes, onions, and cheese.

Lunch: Fish curry with coconut milk and green beans.

Dinner: Stir-fried tofu with spinach, garlic, and ginger.

Snacks: Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans).

Day 3:

Breakfast: Egg bhurji (spiced scrambled eggs) with bell peppers and tomatoes.

Lunch: Mutton curry with a side of stir-fried cabbage.

Dinner: Grilled shrimp with asparagus and a lemon-butter sauce.

Snacks: Celery sticks with cream cheese.

Remember to stay hydrated. Adjust portion sizes as per your dietary needs and preferences.

Remember, talking with a doctor or a registered dietitian is crucial before significantly changing your diet.

FAQs  

Now let's talk about some questions that we frequently get asked by our audience about carbohydrates.

1. How to reduce carbs in diet?

You can reduce carbohydrates in your diet through mindful food choices. Focus on:

  1. Whole grains: Eat whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats instead of refined grains.
  1. Vegetables: Prioritize non-starchy vegetables, which are low in carbs and rich in nutrients.
  1. Limiting sugary foods: Minimize intake of sugary snacks and beverages.
  1. Moderate fruit consumption: Choose fruits with lower sugar content, and be mindful of portion sizes.
  1. Lean proteins: Eat lean protein sources like poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes.
  1. Controlling portion sizes: Be aware of serving sizes to manage overall carbohydrate intake.
  1. Reading food labels: Check nutrition labels for packaged foods' hidden sugars and refined carbohydrates.

2. How much carbs in a day for weight loss?

For weight loss, target 45-50% of your daily calories from carbs, focusing on nutrient-dense options like whole grains.

On a 2,000-calorie diet, aim for 225-325 grams of carbs daily. Distribute them evenly for sustained energy.

If opting for a low-carb diet (<130g carbohydrates), talk to a dietitian or healthcare professional for personalized guidance on nutrient balance and health implications.

3. Can you survive on a no carb diet?

A no-carb diet is possible. However, it's not recommended for the long term.

The body uses carbohydrates for energy. They also play a crucial role in various bodily functions. Eliminating carbs may lead to nutritional deficiencies and potential health risks.

4. How long should you do a no carb diet?

A no-carb is not recommended for long-term sustainability. Short-term low carb diets may be helpful for specific health goals, such as weight loss. However, extended periods without carbohydrates may lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health risks.

Conclusion  

In summary, going for a no-carb diet might not be the best plan for everyone. Opting for a low-carb approach seems more practical and sustainable.

However, It is always best to consult with your healthcare provider or dietician before significantly changing your diet.

Check out the Aware Health Rewards app for weight management and better blood sugar control. We help you track your weight and blood glucose levels and give you daily nudges to improve your numbers.

Take the next step in your health journey by choosing low-carb options and using the Aware App's personalized diabetes diet plans.

Download the app now!

About the author: 

Lucky Mehtani
, B. Pharm, merges his healthcare expertise with a passion for writing to enhance India's heart health. Through insightful blogs, he provides well-researched information on managing Diabetes, Hypertension, and High Cholesterol, aiming to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

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