Low Carb FAQs

There are a number of questions we get asked all of the time in relation to low carb dieting, so we’ve put together a page to help answer these FAQs.

Just click on the questions to read more.

How will Low Carb help me?

Following a low carbohydrate diet can be beneficial to many people in many different ways.

While it’s safe to say that most people are initially drawn to this way of eating (WOE) predominately for weight loss, they and others often find that many other benefits follow.

Decreased cravings for unhealthy foods to improved cholesterol levels and a reduction of inflammation in the body are often found.

These can help to improve conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and Hashimotos Thyroiditis.

Find out more about the benefits of following a low carb diet here.

Are Low Carb Diets just for weight loss?

Absolutely not. In fact, there are multiple benefits that result from limiting carbohydrate consumption. Most of the high-carbohydrate foods you will find on supermarket shelves heavily processed, laden with additives, sugars and unnatural preservatives. Removing these kinds of foods from your diet not only reduces your carbohydrate load, it also reduces potential health issues that arise from eating foods that our bodies were not designed to handle.

So, what are the other benefits apart from weight loss? Find out here

How many grams of carbohydrates should I eat?

As you look into the many low-carbohydrate diets that are out there you’ll find a variety of recommendation for how many grams of carbs you should be consuming.  So where do you start and what level is right for you?

There really is no one level that is best for everyone.  A familiar term you will run across is “metabolic resistance” or “carbohydrate sensitivity/intolerance”, meaning different bodies have different capabilities to handling carbohydrates.  Finding a plan that emphasizes a customized approach will afford you the process of finding what level of carbs might be right for your goals.

Carbohydrate intake can range from an initial phase of 20-40 grams increasing to around 100-300 grams.  So as you can see there are wide ranges of what is suggested; bottom line is find a level where you are getting balance, variety, desired weight loss, and satiety.  This will be your sweet spot until you note any changes that warrant additional modifications.

What are the different types of Low Carb diets?

Simply focusing on reducing the amount of carbs that you normally consume would be one approach.  Restricting fruits, starchy vegetables, grains, and milk would be changes involved in this type of diet.

Other popular low carb diets include:  Atkin’s, Ketogenic Diet, South Beach Diet, Sugar Busters, Paleo, The Zone, and Metifast.

– Atkin’s involves several stages of restricting carbohydrate intake.

– The Ketogenic Diet is very similar to initial phase of the Atkin’s diet, though instead of gradually lightening up your carb restriction dieters remain under ~20-40 g of net carbs indefinitely.

– The South Beach, Zone and Paleo have a low carb nature, but not the primary focus and maybe more liberal approaches to modifying carbohydrates.

I’m getting side effects – should I be concerned?

There are a few side effects that are quite common during the first few weeks when your body adapts to a low-carb diet. These are usually temporary, and nothing to worry about (even if they can be unpleasant). These include:

  • Induction or keto flu
  • Dizziness
  • Leg cramps
  • Constipation
  • Bad breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Reduced physical performance.

The trick that usually works in ameliorating these problems is drinking water with salt (and maybe some squeezed lemon).

However, if you use blood pressure medications and you feel dizzy, it might be because low-carb diets can reduce blood pressure and you may thus need to lower your medication.


Find out what other side effects are common when starting out on a low carb diet. 

Is a Low Carb diet good for people with type 2 diabetes?

Studies show that low carb diets can effectively manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Low carb diets can improve blood sugar management, decrease medication needs, and reduce the risk of diabetic complications. So yes, a low-carb diet can be very beneficial for patients with diabetes type 2. 

People with type 2 diabetes have a hard time regulating sugar in the body. The pancreas produces a lot of the hormone insulin in order to move sugar out of the blood and into the body’s cells. More and more insulin may be required for this, leading to a vicious cycle resulting in insulin resistance and consequences of high insulin, including weight gain.

Its important to note that if you are taking medications, especially insulin, you need to monitor your blood sugar levels closely when starting a low-carb diet, and adapt (lower) doses as appropriate to avoid low blood sugar. You should of course consult with your doctor, as ideally he or she has knowledge about how to reduce medications on a low-carb diet.


Find out more about how a Llow Carb Diet can help with type 2 diabetes 

Can I still drink alcohol and coffee?

On a low-carb diet, you can still enjoy a delicious coffee and a drink or two on special occasions. Even though many alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar, there are still some decent low-carb options.

There are few things to keep in mind when enjoying the morning coffee or evening cocktail.  A high percentage of people take their “coffee” in the form of a skinny, caramel latte with whip, for example.  This now makes your two calorie cup of coffee well over 100 calories.  Instead consider adding full-fat cream, coconut or almond milk.  Desire something sweeter?  Trade in the sugar for sugar substitute. 

When it comes to your favorite cocktail consider low sugar substitutes.  No worries if you’re a rum or scotch or even wine drinker…in terms of carbohydrates, but those are still empty calories with no nutritional value added to your day.  Think moderation! 

 Here’s a list of the top 5 Low Carb alcoholic drinks:

1. Champagne or sparkling wine (extra dry or brut)

2. Dry wine – red or white

3. Vodka & Soda 

4. Whiskey 

5. Dry Martini 

How much weight will I lose?

The amount of weight you lose is totally dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your diet will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common “stall” causers is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it). 

Water weight loss is common when you first start a low carb diet. Ketosis has a diuretic effect to it that can cause many pounds of weight loss in only a few days. While we hate being the bearer of bad news, this isn’t fat. But on a side (and more positive) note, that shows that your body is starting to adjust itself into a fat burning machine! 

What foods should I avoid?

Whether you’re just starting out or have been following the diet for months or years these basic food groupings should be at the forefront of your mind:

– Sugar:  Sodas, fruit juices, agave sweetener, any type of candy, ice cream, pudding, popsicles, honey, maple syrup.

Gluten Grains: Wheat, spelt, barley and rye.  Breads, pastas, baked goods, crackers, etc. 

– Trans Fats: “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.  Fake butters. 

– High Omega-6 and Vegetable Oils: Cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, grapeseed, corn, safflower and canola oils. 

– Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium.  Instead try Stevia or Truvia. 

– “Non-fat” and “Low-fat” Products: Various dairy products; milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt.  Crackers, cookies, protein/meal or cereal bars. 

– Highly Processed Foods: If it has more than five ingredients or ingredients you can’t eat or find in nature, just don’t eat it. 

How can I handle cravings on a Low Carb Diet?

There is a difference between cravings and physiological hunger.  Feeling that deep sensation of hunger vs impulsively reaching for a bag of chips while feeling anxious are two different scenarios. 

If you are fighting a craving make sure the snack is pre-portioned as you’re more likely to eat beyond feeling satisfied.  Have healthy items prepared and on hand. If it’s there and ready to grab you’re more likely to make that selection then going through the steps to prep a healthy snack as it’s much easier and may be perceived to be more satisfying to run to the vending machine. 

Develop coping strategies to keep emotions and eating separate.  Feeling stressed?  Take a quick walk, perform stretches, or practice deep breathing techniques. 

Then of course, the classic suggestion of making sure you are drinking plenty of water is a daily necessity.  The cravings for food can be a mistaken sign of thirst so this is certainly an important element. 

Find out the best way to handle cravings on a low carb diet here. 

How does ketosis work?

In a nutshell, ketosis is a state that our body enters when we don’t eat carbohydrates. It’s a way for our body to use fats (body fats included) as the primary energy we need. It’s not only healthy for us, it’s actually more efficient for our brains to use. 

Can I practice intermittent fasting on keto?

Yes, absolutely! It is a very useful tool to boost ketone levels and fat burning. But it’s best to take it easy when you first start out on a low-carbohydrate diet. 

Every time we eat, we trigger insulin production. Insulin production is not limited to only when we eat food containing carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting is a great way of allowing your body to switch from being a sugar burning system into a fat burning system. 

Find out how you can introduce intermittent fasting to your low carb way of eating here. 

Isn't eliminating entire food groups unhealthy?

In short, no. Vegans and vegetarians eliminate entire food groups, but by living low-carb we only eliminate wheat, grains, and sugar, which are not food groups, but sadly found in thousands of products. 

 We enjoy nutrient-dense, unprocessed carbohydrates, but in very limited quantities. Our carbohydrates now come from sources such as non-starchy vegetables, full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, and low-sugar fruit such as berries. 

 By choosing to live low-carb, we reduce the impact carbohydrates have on our body, reduce our insulin requirements, improve our appetite control, and improve our cholesterol profile. 

Why are whole grains so unhealthy?

Grains raise your blood sugar as much as table sugarDiets that are full of whole grains are also high in carbs, cause inflammation, and contain gluten that inflames the lining of the gut, which may cause leaky gut and malabsorption of vitamins and nutrients. Grains such as pasta, rice, and bread, cheaply bulk up a meal whilst reducing the nutrient density of that meal. 

By omitting grains, bread, and pasta from your diet, for example, you begin to base your meals on whole food and gain stable blood sugars. 

We need carbs to fuel our body and our brain, don't we?

No, our bodies are brilliant adapters and can run far more efficiently on fat! When your body is fuelled by a low-carb or keto diet, you achieve stable lower blood glucose levels and your body will switch from being a sugar burner to a fat burner. 

When you keep your carb levels low, you begin to use your glycogen stores and lower your insulin levels. Your body starts burning fat for fuel (instead of sugar). You experience more stable energy levels, improved mood, decreased hunger, reduced inflammation, and incredible mental clarity. 

We need carbs to fuel our body and our brain, don't we?

No, our bodies are brilliant adapters and can run far more efficiently on fat! When your body is fuelled by a low-carb or keto diet, you achieve stable lower blood glucose levels and your body will switch from being a sugar burner to a fat burner. 

When you keep your carb levels low, you begin to use your glycogen stores and lower your insulin levels. Your body starts burning fat for fuel (instead of sugar). You experience more stable energy levels, improved mood, decreased hunger, reduced inflammation, and incredible mental clarity. 

Won't I be deficient in some kind of nutrient by not eating carbs?

There are no essential carbohydrates or sugars. There are zero nutrients in sugar or whole grains that can’t be found in meat and vegetables. Eating more healthy fats such as butter, avocados, meat, coconut oil, and cheese, we can obtain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D  E, and K which may have been lacking in a low-fat diet.

Begin to focus on nutrient intake, not calorie intake, and start eating real food, with real nutrients rather than processed foods that have to be fortified with artificial vitamins. 

I'm skinny, why do i need to eat low-carb?

People can be skinny or overweight but still undernourished and have insulin resistance. Processed carbs are unnecessary and offer no nutrition. 

Remember it is our health that is important, not our size. Skinny people can have high visceral fat (the dangerous fat which surrounds your organs) but not tummy fat. This is often referred to as tofi (thin outside fat inside). Size is only one indicator of health, but it is the most visual indicator.

By enjoying low-carb meals, increasing quality meat, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats, our nutrition improves, inflammation decreases, insulin is stabilised and our risk of heart disease, alzheimer’s, and all other metabolic diseases is reduced. 

How many eggs can i eat?

Eggs have been off the menu for so long because of the fear of cholesterol and heart disease, but after it has been found that there is no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the restriction has been quietly lifted. 

Eggs are little powerhouses of nutrition. They are often referred to as nature’s multivitamin. Eggs are a high protein, affordable, and versatile family-friendly ingredient for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a portable high-protein snack. 

Is there a healthy sugar?

Spoiler alert … there is no such thing as a healthy sugar. These may be ‘natural’ sugar but the body sees them all in exactly the same way – sugar. 

It is marketing that has made us feel better about sweetening foods with natural ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, or dried fruits. And no, buying these sugars from a farmers market isn’t any better.