Every year it seems a new fad diet sweeps its way across social media and into mainstream society, promising to make us healthier or help us to shed a few pounds. A few years ago, it was the Atkins diet, a low-carb diet devised by American physician Dr Robert Atkins, which proved popular across the globe.
Atkins argued that cutting out carbohydrates – the body’s primary source of energy – the body utilised more fat, its second source of energy instead, leading to weight loss.
However, the Atkins diet can result in fatigue, mood swings, lack of focus, increased hunger and even cause damage to the body.
Reducing your carbohydrate means reducing your mineral, vitamin and fibre intake, which will in turn lead to complications such as chemical imbalances and constipation. So we need to carefully consider our overall diet before deciding to reduce or cut out carbohydrates from it.
Carbohydrates are significant to our diet and health, making up the majority of our food intake, with each of us chomping down on approximately 350g every day.
Energy is absorbed from carbs and increases the level of blood sugar in our bodies, triggering the release of insulin to transport this energy around our organs. This important aspect of human physiology is even more significant for individuals with diabetes, due to their resistance to or inability to produce insulin.
While those with diabetes or other diet-affected conditions should always seek advice if looking to adjust their diet, there are safe ways for most of us to tweak our carbohydrate intake. For example, there are more efficient alternatives to the majority of commonly consumed carbs, most of which taste just as good.
Here is a list of common carbohydrate foods and their potential alternatives:
White bread… replace with multi-seed bread
Cornflakes… replace with oats
Sponge cake… replace with fruit cake
Digestive biscuits… replace with Hobnobs
White sugar… replace with honey
White rice… replace with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice
White pasta… replace with brown pasta or vegetable pasta (like corgetti)
Pizza dough base… replace with a base made from cauliflower
Chips… replace with butternut squash wedges or avocado, carrot or courgette fries
Lasagne sheets… replace with sliced courgette or aubergine sheets
Mash potato… replace with cauliflower or broccoli mash
Burger buns… replace with Portabello mushroom buns
If you need personalised nutritional advice relating to any medical condition, please speak to your GP.