Low Carb Diets and Vegetables – How much is too much?

I remember when I was doing my Personal Training course with Donna Aston who I LOVE and see her as a pioneer in helping us understand that Fat is NOT Bad (her book Fat or Fiction which was originally published in 1999 is a great read), I asked her the question that had been nagging me “Is it possible to eat too many veggies?” She said that you could definitely overeat starchy vegetables like potatoes, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, etc; but everything else was fine and in fact it was impossible to overeat them.

All these years later understanding that I am carbohydrate sensitive and starting The Low Carb High Fat Lifestyle my suspicion that vegetables could be contributing to my weight gain were confirmed.

The aim is to stick to under 20g of Carbohydrates per day to keep your sugars low so you can burn fat instead of sugar for energy. And even though I was being careful and only eating healthy salads, no potato or sweet potatoes and instead pumpkin because it was a lower fructose option, and a huge mix of colourful vegetables to get all of my needed nutrients, it was all adding up.

Here’s an example of what my lunch and dinner salads looked like:

They always had a base of either spinach or cabbage and then I topped them with a mix of colourful veggies, avocado for good fats, some lean protein and my favourite dressing was 3/4 white balsamic, 1/4 olive oil and seeded mustard.

Add this to one of my average “healthy” breakfast of a 1/4 cup of oats, with full fat greek yoghurt, 1/2 cup of blueberries and some pumpkin kernels and I was pushing my carb levels way up!

I now understand that most of the carbohydrate we eat turns to glucose (sugar) during digestion. Our bodies then use this glucose for energy. Whether you eat 15g of carb from a piece of bread, 15g of carb from broccoli or 15g of carb from a cookie, the effect on your blood glucose level is about the same.

It’s a common misconception that eating sweet foods causes your blood glucose level to climb higher than if you eat a starchy food.

This now explains why I was putting on weight despite eating healthy 80% of the time and going to the gym 3-5 days a week. This could be called the definition of FRUSTRATING – you never want to put on weight from eating salads… EVER! and I’m so glad that I now know this and have been able to implement the right lifestyle for my body.

In my What To Eat blog you will find The Low Carb High Fat Lifestyle Guide which recommends eating only:

  • 2 cups of salad greens &
  • 1 cup (measured while uncooked) vegetables per day

My biggest challenge when starting the Low Carb High Fat Lifestyle was getting my macros right: 70% Fat, 20% Protein and 10% Carbs which slowed down my weight loss. As soon as I tweaked my carb intake to the above recommendation, my weight loss has increased to a steady, healthy, half kilo a week.

See my blog on This is NOT a High Protein Diet – How much protein should I be eating?