Carbohydrate diet: how it works and allowed foods

Anyone looking for novelties to lose weight or reduce fats must have heard about the carbohydrate diet.

The macronutrient is essential to maintain a good diet, ensuring sources of energy for the body’s functions.

Despite this, it is also quite associated with extra weight or the accumulation of love handles. Therefore, it is quite common that it is one of the first nutrients cut or reduced in the diet.

When it comes to the carbohydrate diet, a number of menus can come to mind. This is because the name is very comprehensive and can designate several types of food restriction.

From those that reduce the amount ingested per day, such as the low carb diet, to the Dukan diets, which are followed for a longer time.

But in general, the proposal is the same. Reduce or remove the carbohydrate from the diet in order to lose weight. It is worth remembering that, although popular, these diets bring the alert about their effectiveness, especially when they are made for long periods.

Carbohydrate is important and necessary for the maintenance of the body’s functions and, therefore, without medical and nutritional monitoring and guidance, dieting can bring risks. Learn more about it in the following text:


What can I eat on the carbohydrate diet?

It depends on the mode of the diet. Some are very restrictive and indicate that only foods without carbohydrates , such as meat, milk and eggs, can be eaten. Others are more flexible and allow healthy foods that contain the nutrient to enter the menu, such as grains and cereals.

In these cases, the preference is to choose complex carbohydrates that have smaller amounts of the nutrient.

Therefore, the exact menu depends on the choice and setting of the schedule, which should preferably be done with nutritional monitoring.

In general, one can eat without restrictions:

  • Vegetables : zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, chayote, lettuce, chard, watercress;
  • Meat : beef, chicken and fish, preferably with lean cuts;
  • Fruits : strawberry, watermelon, lemon;
  • Dairy products : skim milk, white cheese, plain yogurt, butter;
  • Condiments and seasonings : olive oil, sunflower oils, corn, canola, rice, parsley, oregano, chives, vinegar.

Types and variations: how to assemble the menu?

There are some variations of the carbohydrate diet, and in general, any dietary guidelines that reduce or limit nutrient intake are called so.

Among the best known or most popular are:

Simple carbohydrate diet

The simple carbohydrate diet consists of the removal or significant reduction of foods with the so-called simple carbohydrate. In general, the biggest representatives of the group are the sweets or pastries with white flour.

This type of carbohydrate is a quick source of energy, that is, they are absorbed immediately.

The big problem with these foods is that they promote a rapid rise in blood glucose, which then drops again. That is, even after eating a sandwich, hunger comes quickly.

Therefore, the main foods banned in the simple carbohydrate diet are:

  • White sugar;
  • White bread;
  • Industrialized sweets;
  • Sweets in general;
  • Juices, soft drinks and industrialized drinks;
  • White flours;
  • Fast-foods.

In general, the menu can be planned aiming at meals every 3 or 4 hours, opting for low glycemic index fruits, nuts, natural yogurts and wholemeal bread sandwiches with white cheese.

Unicamp carbohydrate diet

Unicamp’s carbohydrate diet is a little more rigid and follows dietary patterns. For example, it is advised that the person does not eat any type of carbohydrate in the first 48 hours, as this stimulates the body to start burning fat for energy.

In that case, sugar-free drinks (juices, teas and coffee) are allowed. Foods that can be eaten are:

  • Vegetables and vegetables, such as: cabbage, lettuce, tomato, green beans, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, pepper, onion, cucumber, zucchini, okra, chard, parsley, chicory, endive, eggplant, olives and peppers.
  • Dairy products, such as: milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt;
  • Meats, such as: beef, fish, chicken, pork;
  • Eggs;
  • Gelatina diet.

After 15 days, some fruits with low glycemic index can be eaten, such as melon and papaya.

Zero carbohydrate diet 1 week

Unlike the dietary changes that adopt low carbohydrate intake as a lifestyle, the carbohydrate diet has a short period of fulfillment.

In general, 1 week is the deadline for these restricted foods aimed at weight loss to be followed, because after that, the body may be nutritionally weakened due to the absence of essential nutrients.

The type of zero carbohydrate diet is one that suggests a very low intake of the nutrient, with a maximum limit of 50g per day.

Among the foods that can integrate meals are:

  • Eggs;
  • Milks and derivatives;
  • Meats;
  • Hardwoods (such as lettuce, watercress and arugula).

Read more: Egg diet: check out the menu suggestions

15-day carbohydrate diet

This type of carbohydrate diet lasts for 15 days and is divided into 3 phases. The model is more restrictive and side effects, such as malaise, can be more intense.

This modality promotes weight loss through ketogenic action. That is, the restriction of carbohydrates is quite severe, forcing the body to resort to the production of ketone bodies as a way of obtaining energy (the same logic of the ketogenic diet ).

Thus, fats are broken down, stimulating weight loss.

To start, in the first 3 days, you should eat only zero carbohydrate foods, such as diet gelatin, eggs, meat and water.

Between the 3rd and the 10th day, the intake of carbohydrates can be approximately 30g. In the last days, fruits with low glycemic index can be eaten.

Carbohydrate diet really lose weight?

It depends on several factors. Ana Paula Lesniovski, clinical nutritionist, points out that dietary change can give a boost in weight reduction, but there is no need for professional evaluation, as each organism is different.

Every diet or food change needs a nutritional assessment. This is because even if the goal is to eat a carbohydrate diet, the choice of foods will depend on the nutritional needs of each person.

You may need to invest more in proteins or fats, increase your fiber intake or just decrease your energy foods .

Therefore, despite being considered a good diet plan to reduce measures, the body will not always adapt to the routine. In addition, not always cutting just the nutrient will be enough.

The ideal, then, is to combine the change (always made with nutritional monitoring) with physical activities and inclusion of healthy foods, such as vegetables.

Balance and diversity of natural foods is, in general, the best way to lose weight with health.

Carbohydrate diet: list of prohibited foods

The restriction will depend on a number of factors, such as the goal, the amount of carbohydrate allowed per day, in addition to other restrictions (allergies, for example).

But in general, some foods that should be avoided or eaten in moderation are:

  • Cereals: rice, wheat, corn;
  • Vegetables: beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas;
  • Fruits: banana, fig, plum;
  • Tubers: sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsley, cassava;
  • Sugars: white, brown, organic, honey, molasses and others;
  • Industrialized: chocolates, sweetened yogurts, snacks, fast-foods, cookies, soft drinks, sweetened juices, cakes, pies, among others.

Is the carbohydrate diet bad? Do you have contraindications?

In long periods, headaches, dizziness, malaise and weakness can arise, triggered by the lack of carbohydrates, as points out the nutritionist Ana Paula Lesniovski.

Tiredness , malaise and lack of energy can be common symptoms when the body does not adapt to the restriction. Therefore, it is important to observe the signals that the body gives.

In addition, restrictive diets or sudden changes in diet are contraindicated for people who have chronic diseases, such as diabetes , children and adolescents, the elderly, people who are undergoing any health treatment or who suffer from eating disorders.


Diets with some nutrient restriction are very popular with those looking to reduce measures.

Several modalities indicate a reduction in carbohydrate intake, which can be done more flexibly or more severely. On average, carbohydrate diets may indicate a daily intake of up to 200g of the nutrient and others limit it to just 20g or 50g.

The ideal is always to talk to professional nutritionists and follow up. Thus, one can obtain a healthier life and achieve a weight loss without risks.

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