Group Forum: Starting Out--The Low Carb Basics

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Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 151

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 17:52

The low carb way of eating can be daunting unless you’re well-informed. In this thread, you will find a wealth of information pertaining to low carb dieting. Most of your questions will be answered in these pages, but if you have any further questions or you would like to make a comment, please refer to the “Low Carb Daily Check-In” thread for a prompt response.

When starting any new diet plan, be sure to do the following:

Check with your doctor—We recommend that you at least speak to your doctor before beginning any weight loss plan.
Download the Fat Secret mobile app-- For easy carb-counting on the go, visit the app store and download the Fat Secret mobile application. It automatically synchronizes with your Fat Secret food journal, and it can be set to calculate net carbs!
Take your measurements— You may be making changes in body composition that aren’t always reflected on the scale, so take the time to record your body measurements before getting started.
Do your homework— Research the specific plan that you have chosen thoroughly. If you still have questions, please post them to the “Low Carb Daily Check-In” thread. Our team of veteran low-carbers check posts daily.
* Log your food--Keep honest records of everything that you consume daily. This will help you to see where changes may need to be made in your diet.


How do I get started?

How do I read nutrition labels?

What are net carbs?

What is ketosis?

I've chosen Atkins. How many carbs should I eat in Phase I: Induction? Phase II: OWL? Phase III: Pre-Maintenance? Phase IV: Maintenance?

Do you have any sample menus?

Do you have a basic shopping list?

What about sodium?

Do you have any information on the Paleo Diet? The South Beach Diet? Carb Cycling? The Zone Diet? The Low Carb High Fat Diet?



Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 151

Posted: 12 Feb 2013, 18:18

Green Beans
Snow Peas
Vidalia Onions
Brussels Sprouts

Pork Chops
Ground Beef
Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless)

Refrigerated Meats
Buffalo Chicken (Deli)
Pepperoni (Sams)

Heavy Cream (Sams)
Monterey Jack
Mexican Blend (Sam’s)
Mozzarella (Sam’s)
Mild Cheddar (Sam’s)
Parmesan Cheese
Sour Cream (Daisy)
Cream Cheese
Deli Deluxe Slices (Kraft)
Butter (Salted & Unsalted)

Basil Tomato No Sugar Pasta Sauce(Ragu)
Tomato Sauce (Hunts or Muir Glen)
Salsa (Old El Paso)
Parmesan Cheese (Kraft or Cooper)
Mushrooms (Green Giant/Glass Jar)
Chicken/Beef Broth (College Inn)
Tuna Fish (Starkist)

Sandwich Steaks (Steak-Umms or Murrys)
Broccoli (Sams)

Peach Sugar Free Jello (JELL-O)
Orange/Strawberry Gelatin (Handi Snacks)
Pork Rinds (Salt & Vinegar or Plain)

Liquid Sucralose
Cocoa Powder (Hersheys)
Almond Flour (Honeyville)
Erythritol (Swerve)

Spicy Mustard
Mayo (Kraft)
Ranch (Hidden Valley)
Italian or Greek (Kraft)
Caesar w/ Garlic (Ken's)
White Vinegar
Rice Wine Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Real Bacon Pieces (Hormel)

Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea (Lipton)
Cold Brew Tea Bags (Lipton)
Peach Tea (Crystal Light)
Peach Carbonated Water

Low Carb Wraps (La Tortilla Factory)

As needed…


Veg - Cabbage, Cauliflower, Zucchini and Avocado's (when on sale!).
Meats - Chuck Roast, Whole Chicken, Nitrite free hotdogs, flavored Chicken sausages
Snacks - Assortment of Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds and Natural Peanut Butter
Other - Flaxmeal, Coconut Oil, Stevia/Truvia, Green Olives, Extra Sharp Cheddar


Chicken tenderloins (2 bags if money allows)
Ground Beef (5 pounds) and/or Stir-fry meat
Eggs and Egg Substitute
Canned Salmon or Mackerel
Salad Greens (normally Romaine and Baby Spinach)
Grape Tomatoes (or whichever kind are on sale)
Canned Green Beans and Spinach
Green Bell Peppers
Brussels Sprouts
Frozen Broccoli and Cauliflower
Butter (I buy Margarine with reduced saturated fat)
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Shredded Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Poblano or Jalapeno Peppers
Pork Skins

LOW CARB STAPLES, by eKatherine

Meat for cooking ahead. I keep cooked meat in the refrigerator ready to eat or turn into something else.
Beef: brisket, shoulder roast
Pork: shoulder, tenderloin, loin
Chicken: boneless skinless breast and thigh; leg quarters
Fish: frozen individually wrapped filets
Shrimp: frozen redi-peel, use a few at a time


Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
80/20 or 85/15 Ground Beef
Beef roast
Stew Beef
Stir fry steak strips (if reasonably priced)
Pork Roast-can be used SO many ways
Pork Chops
Tilapia-frozen individual fillets
Swai- frozen individual fillets
Salmon-frozen individual fillets
Shrimp-uncooked, peeled, deveined med,large or jumbo

Salad Greens
Bell Peppers
Black Olives
Fresh/Canned Mushrooms
Canned Veggies (Collards, Spinach, Kale, Green Beans)
Fresh/Frozen Broccoli,Cauliflower,Green Beans
Frozen Mixed Veggies(usually use for stir fry type stuff or in a last min pinch)

Pre-shredded Cheeses
Block cheeses that I can shred later
Cream Cheese
Parmesan Cheese


My go to list:
Bacon, bacon and more bacon! I use low sodium
Eggs...fried, and I have been making deviled (with mayo only) and that is yummy....or boiled in a salad....or alone.
Mission Pork Skins - when I need something crunchy like a chip
Cheese - garlic jalapeno, aged, yum all sorts!
Low Carb Tortilla's - I cut up a tortilla and deep fry them and bag one tortilla (which is now chips) each in a baggy. Sometimes I will only use half a baggy but they are great when I want some dip and a chip
Chicken Wings - I love hot wings...I will bake them until crispy and then toss them in a bit of butter and buffalo sauce (watch the sodium)
Russell Stover Sugar Free chocolates - they are good for a sweet and also when I seem to have a voiding issue (the maltitol works on me)


Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 151

Posted: 13 Feb 2013, 04:17
FAT, PROTEIN, SODIUM, FIBER...How much do you need? by Angiekae

How much Fat do we need when eating a low-carb diet?

The amount of Fat you should be getting on a daily basis when you're eating low-carb is actually different from person to person. The amount is based on 4 things: your weight, how many grams of Protein you need, your Recommended Calorie Intake (RDI), and how many total (not net) Carbs you're limiting yourself to.

First of all, you need to figure out how much Protein you need. You can do this by dividing your weight in half. The number you get is the least amount of Protein you should be eating a day. (If you use the Metric System, that would be half a gram per kilo a day). Here's an example of mine:

I weigh 175 pounds
175 divided by 2 = approximately 88
So, I should be eating at least 88 grams of Protein a day.

You can eat more than that. Actually, you can eat equal to your weight in grams of Protein, but that wouldn't leave very much room for Fat, and Fat plays a very big role in the low-carb way of eating.

Now that I've figured my Protein (88g a day), and by looking at my Food Diary, I know that I eat an average of about 50 total grams (not net grams) of carbs per day, this means I'm getting about 552 calories from Protein and Carbs per day. (Protein and Carbs both have 4 calories per gram, so 88 x 4 = 352 and 50 x 4 = 200; 352 + 200 = 552).

No one can live on 552 calories a day, so the rest of my calories need to come from Fat. In my case, my RDI is 1400 calories a day. 1400 - 552 = 848, so I need 848 calories from Fat. Fat has 9 calories per gram, and 848 divided by 9 = 94, so that would mean that I need to eat about 94 grams of Fat per day.

Foods to eat to get more Fat in your diet:

- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Olives
- Avocados
- Salmon
- Tuna
- Sardines
- Mackerel
- Trout
- Halibut
- Duck
- Salami
- Pork (Sausage, bacon, ham)
- Beef
- Eggs
- Cheese
- Real Butter
- Heavy Cream (or Whipping Cream)
- Sour Cream
- Cream Cheese
- Real Mayonnaise
- Lard (or Crisco)
- Pork Rinds/Skins

Don't make the mistake of adding a low-fat dressing to your healthy salad. Recently, researchers from Purdue University released a study that showed why fat is an essential part of any salad. They argued that low- and no-fat salad dressings made the vitamins and nutrients in greens and veggies less available to the body. That's because carotenoids—a class of nutrient that includes lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin—is fat soluble and can't be absorbed by the body unless it's delivered with some fat as well.

Some high-fat dressings are:

-Thousand Island
-Bleu Cheese

Don't buy dairy products labeled "fat-free", "low-fat" or "reduced fat", unless you eat a lot of these products daily.

Don't be afraid to fry foods.

Don't choose "Turkey" products over "Pork", again, unless you eat a lot of Pork every day.


The Good, The Okay, and The Bad Fats

The majority of your Fat intake should be Unsaturated Fat. This doesn't mean that you must cut out all other Fat, with the exception of Trans Fats. Do not eat foods containing Trans Fats or Partially-hydronated Oils, those are the "Bad Fats".

Some foods that contain Trans Fat are:

-Animal Products (Trans fats occur naturally in the digestive system of many animals, including cows. This means that dairy products like butterfat and many types of meat will contain these fats, though in much smaller amounts than foods prepared with the industrially produced versions. The American Heart Association notes these naturally occurring trans fats do not appear to exhibit the same health risks as their manufactured counterparts.)

-Spreads (stick margarine, tub margarine, shortening, butter

-Packaged Foods (cake mixes, Bisquick, and other mixes)

-Soups (ramen noodles, soup cups)

-Fast Food

-Frozen Food (pies, pot pies, waffles, fish sticks, pizzas)

-Baked Goods

-Chips and Crackers

-Breakfast Foods (cereals, energy bars)

-Cookies and Candy

-Toppings and Dips (Nondairy creamers and flavored coffees, whipped toppings, bean dips, gravy mixes, and salad dressings contain lots of trans fat.)

-Packaged Popcorn

-Chocolate Drink Mixes

Can you eliminate trans fats entirely your diet?

Probably not. Even the esteemed National Academy of Sciences stated last year that such a laudable goal is not possible or realistic.

Instead, take this suggestion from Cindy Moore, MS, RD, director of nutrition therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "The goal is to have as little trans fat in your diet as possible. "You're not eliminating trans fats entirely, but you're certainly cutting back."

If you eat a lot of Saturated Fat products (see the list of "Okay Fat" below), then you would be better off buying the "low-fat" variety of Dairy Products, Egg Substitutes, and leaner cuts of meat and poultry. But, be aware that Dairy foods that are "low-fat" are also higher in carbs. They have to replace the fat with something, so they add carbs.

Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats are the "Good Fats".

"Good Fat" Foods are:

- Avocados
- Olives

- Unsweetened Coconut (although pure, organic, unrefined Coconut/Coconut Oil are Saturated Fats, they're not processed in your body in the same way as other Saturated Fats. They are actually very good for you, as they raise your "Good" or HDL Cholesterol. Coconut Oil is the only food that is highest in Lauric Acid that is comparable to human breast milk.)

- Salmon
- Mackerel
- Trout
- Herring
- Tuna
- Sardines
- Halibut
- Black Cod
- Mussels*
- Oysters*
- Scallops*

*These foods (with the asterisk) contain a higher amount of carbs so be sure to plan carefully if you're going to eat them.

"Okay Fat" Foods are:

Animal Products like:
- Red Meat (Beef, Pork, Ham/Bacon/Sausage)
- Dark-meat Poultry
- Dairy (including butter)
- Eggs

Those should be limited to small quantities and not eaten as often as fish, light-meat poultry, and turkey.

The bottom line is that the body needs dietary fat. Fat is a source of energy, it allows the proper function of cells and the nervous system, and fat is required for the proper absorption of certain vitamins. Fat also helps us maintain healthy hair and skin, insulates us from the cold, and makes us feel full longer after a meal.

If you choose to eat a less-fatty diet, it's suggested to limit your intake to 30-35% of your calories, but no less than 20%. But, keep in mind, that you may not feel as full after eating a meal, and that you can always increase that amount. If you do want to increase it, try to get the extra fat from the "Good Fat" Food list.

From my calculations:

35% of 1500 Calories = 58g Fat
35% of 2000 Calories = 77g Fat


How much Protein do you need?

We learned in the "Fat Info" section how to determine the amount of Protein we need when eating low-carb. While it's important not to get too much, it's also important not to get too little. To figure out what your minimun Protein requirement is, the standard method used by nutritionists to estimate our minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply your weight in kilograms by .8, or multiply your weight in pounds by .37. This is the number of grams of protein that should be the daily minimum.

Although it is controversial, there is evidence that people engaging in endurance exercise (such as long distance running) or heavy resistive exercise (such as body building) can benefit from additional protein in their diets. One prominent researcher in the field recommends 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for endurance exercisers and 1.7 to 1.8 grams per kg per day for heavy strength training.

Quite a few programs and nutritionists quote percentage of calories, usually in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, as a way to figure out how much protein a person needs to consume daily. This is a rough estimate of a person's minimum protein needs. It works because typically, larger and more active people need more calories, so the more calories they need, the more protein they will get.

Where this falls down is when people are eating diets that are lower in calories for any reason, conscious or not. People who are ill or losing weight, for example, do not need less protein just because they are eating fewer calories -- so anyone on a weight loss diet should not go by the above-mentioned percent of calories method of calculating protein needs.

(Side note: Personally, I try to keep my Protein percentage around 25% of my caloric intake.)

Can you eat too much Protein? Too little?

A low carb diet should not be a high protein diet. Too much protein raises the amount of circulating insulin in your body and contributes to the dragon's breath that is such a common, and unfortunate side effect of low carb dieting. Once you have eaten enough protein to repair your muscles and provide material from which the liver can synthsize the small amount of extra glucose your neurons may need when you are eating a very low carb diet, there's no need to eat more.

When your carbohydrate intake level drops to a level too low to supply your brain with the glucose it requires, you need to eat extra protein, which your liver can convert to glucose. However, once your body has adapted to a ketogenic state, your brain will switch to burning ketones in place of some glucose. This lowers the amount of extra protein you need to eat.

You don't want to overdo protein. Excess protein causes the famous stinky breath too often associated with low carb diets. Eating too much protein that converts into carbohydrate can also raise blood sugar and has the potential to stall weight loss.

While restricting carbohydrate intake does offer several health benefits, there are also dangers involved with eating too much protein. Not only does excessive dietary protein burden the digestive system, it can also contribute to the production of sugar in the body and even inhibit the body’s ability to naturally detoxify!

What happens if we don’t eat enough protein?

Unlike fat and glucose, our body has little capacity to store protein. If we were to stop eating protein, our body would start to break down muscle for its needs within a day or so.

Is it OK to eat a lot more protein than the minimum recommendations?

This is the crucial question for people on diets that are higher in protein than usual, as low-carb diets tend to be. In a review of the research, the National Academy of Sciences reported that the only known danger from high-protein diets is for individuals with kidney disease. After careful study, they recommend that 10 percent to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. They point out that increased protein could be helpful in treating obesity. There is also accumulating evidence that extra protein may help prevent osteoporosis.

Extra protein can be broken down into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. On low carb diets, this happens continually. One benefit of obtaining glucose from protein is that it is absorbed into the bloodstream very slowly, so it doesn’t cause a rapid blood sugar increase.

3 Reasons to Limit Your Protein Intake:

Reason #1 to Moderate Your Protein Intake: Live Longer

Bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms need certain amino acids for their survival. Amino acids come from protein-rich foods. In our own bodies, protein provides us with building blocks to produce things like cells, greater muscle mass, and even neurotransmitters. However, a moderate amount of protein is enough to do the job. Too much protein in the diet creates surplus. This ends up giving disease-causing bacteria the building blocks that they need in order to thrive.

When we restrict our protein and occasionally even eliminate it for a day or two, we actually give our immune system the chance to perform something called autophagy. Autophagy is a recycling process. “Junk proteins,” which have lost function, can accumulate in our body. When protein is scarce or when we restrict dietary protein, cells turn on this recycling process called autophagy. They begin to break down these junk proteins into usable amino acids. Autophagy has been found to improve the health of cells and to promote longevity.

Reason #2 to Moderate Your Protein Intake: Limit Sugar

As dieters learn to restrict carbohydrates, they tend to over-consume protein. An assortment of meat begins to find its way on their plate, replacing old favorites, like breads and pasta. When the body needs to raise its levels of blood sugar, it turns to liver. This is because the liver has the ability to convert the amino acids that are found in protein into sugar. This process is called gluconeogenesis. An excess amount of protein may be turned into sugar to feed systemic infections in the body and lead to autoimmune diseases. Much research is now centered on how diabetes may start in the gut.

Reason #3 to Moderate Your Protein Intake: Improve Digestion

It takes a lot of energy to digest animal-based proteins. Most of us are not even equipped with enough hydrochloric acid to handle the massive amounts of animal proteins that we consume on a daily basis.

Some of the most popular medications on the market today are those that control the production of stomach acid. These are drugs like proton pump inhibitors and over-the-counter medications, like Tums.

Did you know that one of the biggest reasons for heartburn is not too much stomach acid but too little? If you are not producing enough stomach acid, it is essential to take a properly balanced supplemental form of hydrochloric acid (HCL) like Assist Dairy and Protein. When digestion is smooth, food does not have the chance to sit in the gut and ferment.

Protein Foods:

Note: An ounce of meat or fish has approximately 7 grams of protein.


Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce


Chicken breast, 3.5 oz - 30 grams protein
Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
Drumstick – 11 grams
Wing – 6 grams
Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams


Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
Tuna, 6 oz can - 40 grams of protein


Pork chop, average - 22 grams protein
Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6 grams

Eggs and Dairy:

Egg, large - 6 grams protein
Milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
Cottage cheese, ½ cup - 15 grams
Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz

Protein Foods low in Saturated Fat:

Fish and Seafood:

All fish and seafood are fine, but nothing breaded or deep-fried. Canned tuna should be packed in water.


Chicken or Turkey: White meat is fine
Dark meat occasionally after Phase One
Turkey bacon or low fat sausage OK in moderation
Cornish Hen
Always remove skin
Nothing breaded
No goose or duck

Beef: Acceptable Cuts

Beef cuts can be confusing, as names vary a lot. Dr. Agatston has OK’d the following cuts of beef:

Ground Meat:

Ground sirloin
Ground beef with less than 10-percent fat

Cuts from the short loin (called various name in various places):

Short Loin
Tenderloin Roast
T-Bone steak
Porterhouse Steak
Tenderloin Steak
Filet Mignon
Fillet Steak
Top Loin Steak
Strip Steak
Kansas City Steak
New York Strip Steak
Hotel-Style Steak
Sirloin Strip Steak
Club Steak
Country Club Steak
Delmonico Steak
Shell Steak

Cuts from the Sirloin (which can be called):

Sirloin Steak
Top Sirloin
Coulotte Steak
Cap Steak
Round-Bone Steak
Beef Loin
Flap Steak
Flap Meat

Cuts from the Round (which can be called):

Bottom Round
Top Round
Eye (of the) Round
Round Tip Roast
Rump Roast
Round Tip Steak
Ball Tip Steak
Beef Sirloin Tip Steak
Breakfast Steak
Knuckle Steak
Sandwich Steak
Minute Steak
Round Steak

Other Acceptable Beef Cuts:

Flank Steak
London Broil

Pork: Acceptable List

Boiled ham
Lean, well-trimmed chops
Canadian bacon
Occasional crisp-cooked, well-drained bacon (best as a garnish)


Leg of lamb, well-trimmed of fat
Lamb chop as an occasional treat


Top Round
Leg cutlet

Lunch Meats:

Lunch Meats should be sugar-free and low in fat. Deli turkey is a good choice.

Other Acceptable Protein Sources:

Low fat meat substitutes


How much Sodium is too much?

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Mayo Clinic both recommend that your daily sodium intake be restricted to 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggests that healthy American adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, and only 1,500 mg if you are:

- Over 51 years of age
- African American
- High risk for developing heart disease
- Suffer from hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease

The AHA and the National Institutes of Health also agree with this suggestion.

Not getting enough sodium?

The body requires sodium to keep body fluids balanced, transmit nerve impulses and influence muscle contraction and relaxation. When eating low-carb, the amount of carbohydrate in our diet changes our need for salt. The body’s metabolism of salt is uniquely different when one is adapted to a low carbohydrate diet. Salt and water are more efficiently excreted, which is a good thing as long as you maintain an adequate minimum sodium intake. And although 1500-2300 mg sounds like a lot of salt, most Americans consume 3,436 mg of sodium daily, according to the AHA.

A large decrease in sodium can cause:

Leg Cramps
Malaise (bodily discomfort)

All of these things are associated with what is known as the Atkins Flu. This happens to many people who are just beginning the Induction Phase of Atkins. The reason being, consuming lots of carbs makes you retain water, but shifting over to fat burning has a diuretic effect, meaning you excrete electrolytes and salt along with fluid. Fluid loss can be too much of a good thing for some. Fortunately, all of the above low-sodium issues are pretty easy to avoid.

To manage this problem, simply drink plenty of water and have either a couple of cups of broth (not the low-sodium kind), ½ teaspoon of salt or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce each day. Have one cup of broth mid-morning, one mid-afternoon; measure out the salt and sprinkle it on food throughout the day; or season foods with the soy sauce. Follow this regimen from Day 1, and you should be spared any problematic symptoms. And no, this doesn’t make Atkins a high-salt diet.

*Tip: If you take diuretic medication for hypertension or other health issues, don't follow the above regimen until your doctor has told you that you no longer need to take your diuretic medication. Instead, consume the recommended amounts of water, increase your intake of leafy greens and/or add some nuts or even half a cup of tomato juice until you feel better.

What are the dangers of too much sodium?

Sodium, or salt, makes your body retain water, which can add pounds to the scale. Every pound of carbs stored in your body hold 2 or 3 pounds of water and it is this water that holds the excess salt. Following a low-salt or low-carb diet may help you lose weight and keep it off, while also helping to reduce the risk of hypertension, and the other medical issues listed below. Health professionals recommend that you eat less salt and unhealthy carbs to maintain or improve your health.

Too much sodium in your diet can cause:

Hypertension (or High Blood Pressure)
Heart attack
Heart Disease
Kidney Disease
Congestive Heart Failure
Stomach and Intestine Problems

Ways to limit your sodium intake:

- Choose a salt substitute, like No Salt, Nu-Salt, Also Salt, Lo-Salt, Morton's Salt Substitute, Salt Sense or Magic Salt. Or, if you don't want to completely cut out the salt, you might try just cutting down by using Sea Salt.

*Note: Salt substitutes are not a healthful option for everyone. Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride. Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful for some people. For example, many persons with kidney problems are unable to rid their bodies of excessive potassium, which could result in a deadly situation. If you have kidney problems, heart problems, diabetes, or are on any of the medications listed below for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium.

Captopril (and other angiotensiin-converting enzyme inhibitors)

- Season your food with non-sodium herbs and spices such as:

Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
Lemon or Lime Juice
Flavored Vinegar
Salt-Free Herb Blends (like Mrs. Dash)
Fresh Ground Peper
Chili Powder
Red Pepper

- You can also find low-sodium versions of ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, salad dressing, and hot sauce at certain supermarkets.

- Buy fresh or unseasoned poultry, fish, meats, and frozen veggies or choose canned/packaged/processed versions that have no salt added.

- Cut back on salt in recipes.

- Marinate meats and veggies to tenderize them and boost their flavor.

- You could also choose to not use any salt. Tasting salt on our foods is a learned habit, therefore, it can also be unlearned Smile

Here are some great recipes for homemade salt substitutes:

If you are trying to limit your sodium intake, you should be familiar with foods that are low in sodium.

Here is a list of foods that are low in carbs and sodium:

Yellow Summer Squash
Bok Choy
Green Beans
Brussel Sprouts
Canned, crushed Tomatoes
Sweet Green Peppers
Swiss Cheese
Colby Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Whipping Cream

Or a 3 oz. serving of the following:

Beef, round - bottom, tip or eye of round
Wild Rainbow Trout
Yellowfin or Bluefin Tuna
Wild Atlantic Salmon
Chicken, white meat only
Pork Loin

Ways to deal with water retention/bloating:

If you don't drink a lot of water daily, and you know you have greatly exceeded your sodium limit for the day (or several days), here are some ways that will help you to flush out the excess sodium:

- Drink More Water - According to the University of Maine, you excrete 90 to 95 percent of the sodium in your body through your kidneys by urination. If you increase your water intake, you'll also increase your urine output--and the amount of excess sodium you flush out of your body. CBS MoneyWatch suggests drinking up to one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily, about twice the normal recommended daily intake. This will help flush excess sodium of your body in a very short time. You should only do this for 3 or 4 days at most. Dina Aronson, MS, RD writes that although maximizing water consumption is a healthy lifestyle choice, it's not a sufficient strategy by itself for reducing sodium over time. However, it can help normalize sodium levels after an unexpectedly high-sodium meal.

- Eat Spicy Foods - You also lose a small amount of sodium when you perspire, according to the University of Maine. Spicy foods will make you want to drink more water, which not only keeps you well hydrated in hot weather but also boosts urine production and thus sodium excretion. A Penn State bulletin recommends spicy foods for boosting your metabolism. It states that very hot foods can increase the metabolic rate by 20 percent for about a half hour after consumption. This will be of interest if you're trying to keep your weight down, but it's also relevant in terms of speeding up all your bodily cycles, including fluid and sodium excretion.

*Note: None of these strategies will be enough in the long term if you continue eating foods high in sodium. According to Harvard Health Publications, water follows sodium; too much sodium in your body means less water in your urine to carry sodium away. CBS MoneyWatch adds that excess sodium winds up under your skin, where it attracts water. Lowering your sodium intake reduces water retention. As that water leaves your body, it takes excess sodium with it. And of course a low sodium diet means your body has less excess sodium in needs to flush out in the first place.


How much Fiber do we need when eating low-carb?

According to the National Academy of Sciences:

Women under 50: at least 25 grams
Women over 50: at least 21 grams
Men under 50: at least 38 grams
Men over 50: at least 30 grams

Doctors say that eating up to five servings of low-carb vegetables daily, foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce, can keep your bowels healthy without interfering with weight loss.

It's important to eat both Soluble and Insoluble Fiber foods daily. As you increase the fiber in your diet, you may experience more intestinal gas. Increasing fiber gradually will allow your body to adapt. Because some fibers absorb water, you should also drink more water as you increase fiber.

Since large amounts of fiber can reduce absorption of some medications, it is best to take medication either an hour before or two hours after the fiber.

Soluble fiber is a plant food component that dissolves in water forming a viscous material.

What does it do?

- Makes you eat less – the soluble fiber gel slows down the passage of food through the stomach, making us feeling full for a longer time after a meal.

- Lowers the risk of heart attacks or strokes – the principal reason for those diseases is having a high cholesterol level. The cholesterol in excess accumulates on the inner walls of blood vessels, causing them to gradually narrow. The narrowing develops into a full blockage in the form of a heart attack or stroke. Soluble fiber in the diet reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, decreasing this risk.

- Controls blood sugar level – soluble fiber also slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream, stabilizing blood sugar levels. This reduces insulin necessities, being especially helpful for people suffering from diabetes.

Soluble Low-Carb Fiber Foods:

- Squash
- Mushrooms
- Avocados
- Broccoli
- Cauliflower
- Brussel Sprouts
- Artichokes
- Asparagus
- Olives
- Cucumbers

Note: While Flax Seed/Flax Seed Meal is an excellent source of Soluble Fiber, it does have the tendency to cause a lot of people, including me, constipation, even when drinking large amounts (100+ ounces) of water daily. It's an allowed food on Induction, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Insoluble fiber is a coarse material that does not dissolve in water, passing through the digestive system almost unchanged.

What does it do?

- Prevent or relieve constipation – insoluble fiber bulks up the food, increasing the rate at which food goes through the digestive system, relieving constipation.

- Reduce the risk of bowel cancer – when food moves through the digestive tract quickly, there is not enough time for harmful material to build up in the intestine. This could help prevent bowel cancer.

- Prevent hemorrhoids – insoluble fiber makes food move at a faster pace in the intestine, reducing the pressure in the intestine, which is the principal reason for hemorrhoids.

Insoluble Low-Carb Fiber Foods:

Collard Greens
Green Beans
Bell Peppers
Bok Choy
Brussel Sprouts
Alfalfa Sprouts
Fresh herbs




Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 151

Posted: 13 Feb 2013, 04:29

Without water, we'd be poisoned to death by our own waste products. When the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water. If there isn't enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones. Water also is vital for chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism. It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. Water also lubricates our joints.

- Keeps your body hydrated

Water needs to be brought in throughout your day to keep you hydrated. You also need water in your system to facilitate the breakdown of fat cells. Water is the way the fat will exit your body.

- Breaks down fat cells

When the body taps its fat deposits to produce energy, the triglycerides in the fat cells are removed. These are then broken down into glycerols and fatty acids and are absorbed into your muscle tissue and internal organs, where they are broken down even further through various chemical processes. The products of these chemical processes either go for use as energy in the body or they are waste products to be removed from the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.

- Removes waste products from your body

During weight loss, the body has more waste to get rid of, and all that metabolized fat must be shed. Water is the vehicle used to remove these waste products from the body. The leftover materials of fat breakdown are then filtered out of your organs by water. The water carries these byproducts to your bladder, and they are then expelled from the body through your urine.

- Proper kidney function
- Proper liver function

The kidneys cannot function properly without enough water. When they do not work to capacity, some of their load is dumped on the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney's work, it cannot work at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat... more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops!

- Supresses your appetite

Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase! And an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits!

- Eliminates fluid retention

Drinking an adequate amount of water every day is the best treatment for fluid retention. But when your body is given less water than it needs... it perceives the shortage as a threat to survival and will begin to retain every drop. Water reserves are stored in extra-cellular spaces (outside the cells). This water can show up as swollen feet, hands and legs.

- Maintain proper muscle tone
- Prevent sagging skin following weight loss
- Promotes healthy skin

Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone... which in turn, aids proper muscle contraction and prevents dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weight loss. Shrinking cells are buoyed by water which plums the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.

- Maintain normal bowel function

The colon is a primary internal water source. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. Result? Constipation. But when a person drinks enough water... normal bowel function will return.

- Lubricate your joints and relieve joint pain

The cartilage in your body, including your joints, is composed mainly of water. As cartilage surfaces glide over one another, some exposed cells become worn and peel away. New cartilage is normally produced to replace the damaged cells. Due to the lack of blood vessels in cartilage, water is needed to transport the nutrients required for maintenance and repair. Dehydration may increase the abrasive damage and delay its repair, resulting in joint pain.

- Aids in proper digestion and metabolism

Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration). "Proper water intake is a key to weight loss," says Dr. Donald Robertson, medical director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. "If people who are trying to lose weight don't drink enough water, the body can't metabolize the fat adequately."

- Maintains proper brain function

Depression may be another complication of chronic dehydration. The amino acid tryptophan is required by the brain to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which subsequently is needed to make melatonin. An adequate amount of water is required for tryptophan to be transported into the brain. Dehydration may limit the amount of tryptophan available to the brain and to complicate matters, the histamine levels may actually stimulate tryptophan's breakdown in the liver.

- Possible headache cure

Often when we have headaches it's simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

- Lowers your risks of a heart attack

Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

- Reduces the risk of colon cancer

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

- We even need water to breathe

Our lungs must be moist to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. It is possible to lose a pint of liquid each day just exhaling. Asthma and allergies can be another indication that the body has increased production of histamine. During chronic dehydration, the body will attempt to conserve water by preventing unnecessary water loss. A large amount of water is normally lost from the lungs as water vapor through expired air. Histamine, which also controls bronchial muscle contractions, may attempt to restrict water loss through expiration by constricting the bronchial muscles.

How much water should you drink?

If you are a normal weight for your height, then, on average, you should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. This will ensure stored fat is encouraged to leave your system.

However, if you are overweight, you should add one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight you are trying to lose. You also may need more water than this if you exercise during the day, or if the weather is hot and dry, which can increase the amount of water lost. Drink consistently throughout the day to continuously replenish fluids lost through your urine and your sweat.

How do you know if you're drinking enough water?

Your urine should be clear or lightly colored. A darker colored urine may be an indication that your kidneys are working hard to concentrate the urine.

What are the dangers of not drinking enough water or being dehydrated?

It has become a practice to regard a "dry mouth" as a signal of body water needs, which is further assumed to be well-regulated if the sensation of "dry mouth" is not present. A dry mouth is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration, however. Damage occurs to the body at a persistent lower level of hydration. Because of a gradually failing thirst sensation, the body becomes chronically and increasingly dehydrated.

- Kidney stones
- Water retention
- Heartburn
- Stomach ache
- Non-infectious recurring or chronic pain
- Low back pain
- Mental irritation
- Depression
- Joint pain (rheumatoid arthritis)
- Constipation
- Allergies and asthma
- Diverticulitis
- Dyspepsia (heartburn or GERD)
- Colitis
- Headaches (migraines)

If you find that you're extremely thirsty, not eating a healthy diet, or feeling dehydrated, drink cold water rather than hot water. According to Southern Cross Health Insurance, the body absorbs cold water more quickly.

Further problems often develop when the sensation of thirst urges an intake of water, and instead, soda pop, coffee, or alcohol-containing beverages are taken to quench the thirst. While these beverages contain water, they are actually dehydrating fluids. Not only do they eliminate the water contained in them, but they also cause you to lose further amounts of water from your body's reserves!

Can you drink too much water?

Only in extreme cases is this possible. Drinking a gallon of water within an hours time would be dangerous. Drink your water throughout the day. Have a glass when you wake up, one with each meal, and a couple in-between meals. This will help reduce the urge to go to the bathroom continuously, though right at first, you probably will. This will subside, though, as your bladder adjusts to the new amount of water your drinking. Ideally, water should be taken 30 minutes before meals, during meals, and again two hours after eating.

In conclusion:

Simply drinking large amounts of water won't clean fat deposits from your body. You need to approach fat and weight loss by making lifestyle changes that can be maintained for months and years, not just days and weeks. Exercise most days of the week and adjust your daily diet so that you are consuming fewer calories than what your body burns in a day -- this, along with eating a diet of low-carb food, will trigger the use of fat cells to provide energy, leading to weight loss.

How to form a water habit:

Carry a bottle
A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk, and I drink from it all day long. When it's empty, I fill it up again, and keep drinking.

Set a reminder
Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don't forget to drink water.

Substitute water
If you would normally get a soda, or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It'll make tap water taste like bottled, at a fraction of the price.

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It's not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you're going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.

Track it
It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it -- it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you're staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass of water you drink.