7 Steps to Healthy Low-Carb Living

Adapted from “A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual,” by Dr. Eric C. Westman

Eric C. Westman, MD, MHS, and Chair of the KE Diet® Scientific Advisory Board, is the author of A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual. He often recommends this “No-Sugar, No-Starch Diet” to his patients at Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, where he serves as Director. Dr. Westman’s low-carb, ketogenic eating plan is also used by Dr. Oliver Di Pietro, founder of the 10-day KE Diet, as a follow-up program for his patients who have undergone one or more cycles of the KE Diet.

What is Ketosis? Normally, the body produces energy by burning glucose and carbohydrates. If there isn’t sufficient glucose and carbohydrates, the body begins burning its own fat to produce energy. This produces an organic compound called ketones in the blood – thus the name, ketosis. Because the body is consuming its own fat, a ketogenic diet results in rapid weight loss without significant hunger.*

*Your results may vary.


Here are seven tips for low-carb living that can help you lose weight…and keep the weight off!

1.  Avoid Sugar and Starch. Sugars and starches are also known as carbohydrates and can be measured in “grams.” Try to limit your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day by avoiding sugar, bread, fruit, flour, pasta or any other sugary/starchy food that has a lot of carbs. Read the labels!

2.  Eat “Real Foods” That Have No Carbs. When hungry, you can have as much as you want of meats (beef, pork, lamb, veal, sausage, hot dogs), poultry, fish and shellfish, and eggs.

3.  Eat Fat to Lose Fat. Oils and butter have no carbs. You do not have to limit quantities, but you should stop eating when you’re full.

A Word about Veggies: Always remember that fruits and vegetables are healthy but they do contain significant carbohydrates and can slow down ketosis and weight loss. While you are targeting about 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, weigh yourself every day as you add small portions vegetables to your diet. If your weight begins to increase, you may need to reduce the amount of vegetables you are consuming.


4.  Eat Greens Every Day. Enjoy 2 cups of salad greens and 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables (measured uncooked) every day. Veggies can include: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, jicama, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peppers, pumpkin, shallots, snow peas, sprouts, summer squash, tomatoes, rhubarb, wax beans, zucchini.

5.  Drink Lots of Liquids. In addition to water, drink bouillon as needed to minimize headache or fatigue (unless you have high blood pressure, in which case bouillon is not recommended). You may have up to three servings of coffee, tea or caffeinated diet soda per day (cream and/or artificial sweeteners are allowed).

6.  Increase Activity/Reduce Stress. Inactivity and stress can negatively impact your health and even make it more difficult to lose weight. Stress management techniques may improve your ability to handle dietary temptations, such as sugar cravings. Increasing your activity level helps reduce stress, build muscle, decrease appetite and improve bone density.

7.    Eat When You’re Hungry, Stop When You’re Full. Listen to your body…if you are not hungry you don’t have to eat. A low-carb diet has a natural appetite reduction effect to ease you into smaller portions comfortably. You are not counting calories…you do not have to eat everything on your plate because it’s there!

Note: Always consult your family physician or a bariatrician before starting any new diet or exercise plan.

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