The 3-Step Plan to Cut Back on Carbs

Use this plan from Dr. Kellyann Petrucci to successfully cut carbs without suffering from the "low-carb flu"!

The 3-Step Plan to Cut Back on Carbs

The "low-carb flu" is the phenomenon that causes you to experience flu-like symptoms for the first 3-4 days after you cut carbs. It happens for a reason. Protein and fat provide energy, but they're more long-term, where carbs are your body's main source of quick energy; when you abruptly give up carbs, your blood sugar will plummet. Carbs are also your main source of fiber, so cutting them can lead to constipation, nausea, and bloating. Finally, you lose a lot of water weight once you cut carbs, which can be a good thing for starting to lose weight, but if you don't replenish those water stores, you'll become dehydrated and experience headaches and weakness. Though there are good reasons for all of these symptoms in response to carb loss, it's frustrating! How can you lose weight if the only way to feel better is to eat carbs again? The answer: Use this plan from weight loss expert Dr. Kellyann Petrucci to stick to your diet without suffering!

Quiz: Are You Carb Intolerant?


Try a Veggie Swap

Remove bread, pasta, and rice and add one starchy vegetable in place of each on the second day. Starchy vegetables add a lot more fiber and are more nutrient-dense than your typical bread and pasta, even whole wheat. You'll get a lot more "bang for your buck" this way, says Petrucci, and it's easier than you think to make this substitution. For lunch, have your turkey on sweet potato toast instead of a sandwich, and replace your rice at dinner with riced Brussels sprouts.

More: Sweet Potato Toast with Avocado

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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