A: Despite sounding healthy, this is not a good option. It is near impossible to meet the meal structure guideline of 1. Start with Protein; 2. Add Veg and 3. Add Fat when having a green smoothie or any smoothie for that matter. Sure you can add an egg, some Greek yoghurt, coconut oil, coconut cream/milk, nuts and seeds and it all sounds really healthy but if we really analyse this it is 1. Still going to be pretty low in protein, therefore we most likely are going to be hungry in an hour or two; 2. I’m not a fan of liquid calories in any form, chewing your food is definitely beneficial in terms of slowing digestion and absorption and thereby delaying the onset of hunger hormones, 3. Most ingredients for a smoothie come from the orange list – so not ideal. You might ask, ‘well can I add a protein powder to the smoothie to boost protein levels’ and that brings me to my next question…
The Low Carb 6-Week Challenge Rapid Fire Q&A - Part 2
Common low carb questions answered.
Please scroll down to find a transcript of this video
Q1: Can I have a green smoothie for breakfast or instead of a meal?
Q1: Can I/should I use a protein powder?
A: Most protein powders have LOTS of additives, flavours, preservatives, sweeteners etc and really don’t come anywhere near being in the category of real food. In most circumstances I believe that we can meet our protein requirements without protein powders and we should be aiming to meet these requirements through real food. However there are exceptions and protein powder can be useful sometimes to get us over the mark with protein if we are struggling to hit a target. I would be suggesting as your first option a 100% whey – with nothing else added is the way to go. It doesn’t taste wonderful but you could add it creatively to your food to boost your protein intake. If you don’t tolerate dairy then this is not the way to go. In that case you would be looking for a pea protein isolate – be sure to check that there are no additives and nasties in the product. These are protein powders on the market specifically marketed for those following keto with MCT added to them and others that are ‘whole food’ based with things like nuts, seeds, psyllium husk added – it all depends on your goals and your personal situation here. I’m not a big fan of protein powder – personally I’ve never used one, I believe they are only necessary in exceptional situations.
Q: Do I need to track my macros?
A: In most circumstances you do NOT need to track macros – by sticking to my guidelines (in particular having most food from the green list, eating to hunger and following the meal structure) you will be getting your carbs low, really low, your protein will be adequate and as a result your fat will fall into place. For most people, particularly with goals around losing weight, decreasing risk of/preventing progression of metabolic disease and generally just feeling better on a day-to-day basis, this is sufficient. Tracking macros is hard work and not something that is realistic to do long term for the majority of people and therefore if we can achieve our goals without having to go down this path, it is definitely preferable. In a very small percentage of people, with specific goals, like perhaps getting ketones to within therapeutic levels or perhaps for someone with T1D, then this may be necessary but in most circumstances I would say NO it is not.
Q: Is the low carb bread at Aldi okay?
A: Don’t be tricked by ‘low carb’ labels which are becoming more and more prevalent on our supermarket shelves. The low carb/keto industry is a growing one and food companies are jumping onto the bandwagon. Most of these product are NOT real food and are typically highly processed products made with the majority red list ingredients. This particular product is a definite no from me. You can do low carb in a very unhealthy way, bars, shakes and processed products can make it possible to get your carb intake low but your health and ultimately your weight will suffer in the long run. This is where a lot of low carb criticism comes from. If you do it right, like I’ve taught you, you will win on ALL fronts
Q: Are konjac noodles okay?
A: Yes these are okay to eat – there are a number of brands available. They are made from a starchy plant that is VERY high in fibre with close to zero calories. A couple of precautions here – I would recommend you have these in small amount only as they can cause gut irritation due to their high fibre content. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you consume these – if you suffer from gut issues – diverticulitis, irritable bowel etc then try these in a very small amount first to see how you respond or perhaps zoodles (zucchini noodles) are a better option for you.
Q: I haven't lost any weight yet or I've only lost very little weight, is this normal?
A: Weight loss is frustratingly unpredictable. I really wish I had clear cut answers for you in this regard but I really don’t. If I generalise, when it comes to low carb most of the time men tend to lose weight more consistently than women, perhaps our hormones play a role here. To shed some light on things I encourage you to watch the expert interview titled ‘Surprising patterns of weight loss on LCHF’ with dietitian Kym Connolly. In this interview Kym explains why weight loss may be slowly at first and then kick up a notch after a few months when your body becomes really good at burning fat. I truly believe that if you are here and doing this challenge you are on the right track – eating real food is the foundation for any long term weight loss journey, it may take you a little longer but I encourage you to hang in there. If you are feeling better, energy levels are up, hunger is better controlled, you are enjoying the food, then keep doing what you’re doing and I believe the weight loss will come. I’ve seen many people struggle in the early stages only to suddenly see weight loss just kick in, for no particular reason but possibly just because they were consistent with sticking to things for an extended period of time. Don’t give it, sometimes it is a lifetime of undoings that needs to occur before the weight loss kicks in. Hang in there, use this group for support but just keep pushing forward.