Low carb diets work when it comes to weight loss. To maintain good health, though, we do need to eat plenty of vegetables everyday – as the constant 5 – day bleat reminds us. But since vegetables are a form of carbs, which vegetables can we eat for best health results and least devastation to the waist line? The simple answer lies in asking two questions of a vegetable; ‘Can it be eaten raw?’ and ‘ How sweet is it?’.
Before going into a little more detail, if needed, click on the link for an explanation of what is a carb?
CAN THIS VEGETABLE BE EATEN RAW?
If the answer is, ‘Yes’, then this vegetable is almost certainly low carb.
The vegetables to avoid when on a low carb diet are potatoes, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables such as swedes or parsnips. All taste horrible raw (except the sweet potato)- and normal potatoes are actually poisonous raw. There are exceptions to this rule, aubergines coming to mind. The common rule of only eating overground vegetables also works, but underground veggies such as celery, asparagus and fennel can be eaten in abundance on a low carb diet. However, all these pass the ‘can this vegetable be eaten raw?’ test. Whether we like these vegetables is entirely another matter, of course.
HOW SWEET IS THIS VEGETABLE?
Some veg are sweet, for example, carrots, beetroot, onions, peas and sweetcorn. The sweeter a vegetable is, the more careful we have to be with how much we eat in order to stay on track. In the early stages of a low carb diet, sweet vegetables are best avoided altogether, and then can be added back in, but with an eye kept on the quantity. Now tomatoes, of course, are hotly argued to be a fruit. And for a low carb diet to have success, fruit should be really restricted or frustration will result as the inches fail to fall. And so with tomatoes; if regarded as a vegetable, then they come under the sweet vegetable category. If a fruit – well, depending upon the diet followed, they will count as part of the fruit allowance.
So if a low carb diet is not working, then asking these questions of a vegetable can help get back on track and encourage us to eat plenty of greens.
A summary of the sort of vegetables that can be eaten with gay abandon:
- Cabbage – any and all ‘greens’
- Brocolli – green or purple
- Runner beans
- Broad Beans
I am often asked about pulses: kidney beans, chick peas, lentils and so on. Yes, they do contain more protein than most vegetables, but they are also very starchy – and cannot be eaten raw – so should either be avoided or eaten with caution, unless they form part of a high carb meal. If weight loss is going well, then by all means try adding some in. If the pants remain obstinately tight and we are regularly tucking into hummus and raw carrot as part of an afternoon snack, for example, then maybe change that snack to a bit of cold meat and carrot, or, even better, cucumber.