Filed under: Nutrition
Time and again I run into people who have taken their low carb diets so far that they avoid fruit at all costs and even some non-starchy veggies like carrots. It blows my mind. From a health perspective, eliminating an entire food category like fruit, especially fruit, from the diet is asinine. Unless you are actually trying to do a ketogenic diet where pretty much all carb sources are eliminated for a while, I assure you that some fruit consumption will not decrease your fat loss ability. It actually might even help.
While fruit does contain ample amounts of carbs, mainly in the form of sugar, it contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and loads of other awesome things we have yet to discover. Berries especially should never be taken out of someones diet unless they have some type of allergy. If you really think that consuming 1 small apple, 1/2 grapefruit, and 1/2 cup of frozen berries as a daily example would halt your fat loss progress, you are sadly mistaken. Grapefruit itself has been shown to aid in weight loss. Apples are great sources of soluble fiber to help maintain satiety, and berries are just nutritional powerhouses that should almost never be eliminated from the diet. Consuming copious amounts of fruit could potentially be detrimental to a low calorie, low carb diet, but eliminating it completely is not the answer. The solution is to consume most of your fruit when it will be best tolerated: at breakfast, and after exercise. This will help to ensure the carbs are either stored as glycogen, or oxidized as fuel, not stored as fat, while still getting in the innumerable health benefits of fruit consumption.
Many people not only eliminate the great and wonderful fruit category, they will eliminate many veggies as well. Now I can understand where many low carb dieters don’t want potatoes and corn in their diet, which are closer to grains than vegetables, but pushing out things like carrots and pumpkin is just going too far. If you are one of those people afraid of carrots because someone told you it’s GI is too high, then you are sadly misinformed. While carrots do have a fairly high score on the GI (glycemic index, which is a measure of how much a food raises your blood sugar after eating a standardized amount), it is really taken out of context. The GI is useful, but is does have many flaws, the greatest in this case being that it requires the tested food to have been consumed in an amount that would give 50 grams of usable carbohydrate. For carrots, this would require eating one and a half pounds! Most people probably don’t consume an entire bag or more of baby carrots in one sitting. A normal serving is about 9 baby carrots, which contains approximately 9 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber. Pumpkin is a similar vegetable (and is actually higher in carotenoids, a powerful antioxidant) that people should eat more of. Pumpkin also contains 9 grams of carbs per serving, with an impressive 5 grams of fiber. It is fast becoming one of my favorite vegetables.
So long story short when on a low carb diet, you can eat more than broccoli. Eat an assortment of fruits and veggies from the entire color spectrum, your body will thank you and your fat loss efforts will not be diminished, I promise.
My Favorite Pumpkin Recipe (borrowed and modified from Tony Gentilcore, through Mike Roussell):
1 cup Cottage Cheese (Friendship Digestive Health if you can find it)
1 scoop Vanilla Metabolic Drive Protein Powder
1/2 cup canned Pumpkin
1 tbsp Milled Flax Seed
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp chopped Walnuts
and Enjoy the Pumpkin Goodness
This will get you about 52 grams Protein, 27 grams Carbohydrate, 15 grams Fiber, and 19 grams Fat for about 490 calories.
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