Weight Loss

Is this missing from your low-carb/ketogenic diet?

Vegetables are often missing from low-carb diets because we avoid their carbs but doing so robs us of needed nutrients and fiber critical to our health

Guess what? Every low-carb diet should actually revolve largely around the same thing that every vegan diet should also revolve around: vegetables.

The moment you set your sights on eating low-carb (under 100 grams per day) or ketogenic (under 20 grams per day), vegetables can easily and accidentally get swiped to the side, too.

Don’t get me wrong: I fully support adjusting and manipulating and choosing your carbs wisely. I’ve experimented with a variety of approaches to carbohydrates and there’s no denying that a low-carb diet makes blood sugar management much easier!

But when we eat low-carb, we still need to keep vegetables at the top of the list.

A low-carb diet isn’t automatically healthy

Eating a severely low-carb diet that leads to quick weight-loss or steady blood sugars isn’t actually that healthy if it doesn’t include a lot of real vegetables.

Just because your insulin needs have plummeted doesn’t mean your diet is healthy. 

Blood sugar levels and insulin needs are just two of many ways to measure our health. If I ate a diet of 100 percent bacon, I would definitely lose weight very quickly, and my blood sugars would be painfully easy to manage, too. But that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy diet, right?

When you’re tallying up your carb-count for the day, and patting yourself on the back for staying under 50 net grams of carbohydrate, do you also tally up the fiber? The greens? The vitamins and minerals?

The daily goal can’t just be about carb-quantity if the over-arching goal is really about improving our health.

The ketogenic fear of vegetables

It’s easy to get sucked into the ketogenic quest: eat mostly fat, some protein, and so few carbohydrates that you become a ketone-producing machine, losing weight quickly and finding your blood sugars much easier to manage.

But even a low-carb ketogenic diet should involve a lot of vegetables.

Your body needs vegetables. 

If eating a plate of broccoli technically knocks you out of ketosis, is that really the end of the world? You’re still eating extremely low-carb but at least you got the goodness from that serving of vegetables. 

It isn’t logical to achieve ketosis at the expense of getting the natural fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs in order to thrive.

And if you’re struggling with ketogenic constipation, the most obvious reason is: you aren’t getting enough vegetables.

Look at your current relationship with vegetables

Okay, where’s your vegetable intake right now? 

Once a day? A bowl of spinach? Have you developed a total fear of wonderfully healthy things like carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, green beans just because they contain some carbohydrates? 

Your body needs veggies. There’s room in your low-carb diet for vegetables. The “carbs” from a few daily servings of whole, real vegetables isn’t going to lead to weight gain just because you popped out of ketosis. Instead, it’ll create more balance in your super low-carb life.

Have a look at that low-carb diet of yours and ask yourself, am I getting the basics that my body needs?

Ginger Vieira has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1999, along with Celiac, fibromyalgia, and hypothyroidism. She is the author of several books: When I Go Low (for kids!), Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes, Dealing with Diabetes Burnout, Emotional Eating with Diabetes, Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger has created content for a variety of websites, including Diabetes Strong, Diathrive, MySugr, DiabetesMine, Healthline, and her YouTube Channel. Today, she is the Digital Content Manager for Beyond Type 1 & Beyond Type 2. Her background includes a B.S. in Professional Writing, certifications in cognitive coaching, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training with several records in drug-free powerlifting. She lives in Vermont with two kiddos, her handsome fella, and their amazing dog, Pedro.

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