On the 20-gram-total carbohydrate diet, 1 cup of a large selection of low-glycemic-load vegetables is recommended daily, along with 2 cups of salad vegetables. Certain fruits — olives, tomatoes, and avocado among them — are also included.
The vegetables recommended are low-glycemic ones. These are chosen because they help avoid a high blood sugar response, and because they provide a variety of nutrients. Many low-carbers find that the diet leads them to eat more and better-quality vegetables than they did before.
A 2005 CDC report found that only about 27.2% of people in the US eat 3 or more servings of vegetables daily. The most common vegetables consumed by many are potatoes, in the form of French fries, and sliced tomatoes on a burger.
According to The Institute of Medicine, there is no minimal dietary requirement of carbohydrates needed for health. On the other hand, there are essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids that we must consume.
The foods we recommend for a low-carb diet plan are whole, minimally-processed foods. Their nutrition content is much higher than that of processed foods. Processed foods are so devoid of so many nutrients that, in many cases, a small amount of a few vitamins must be added back — what is meant by the term “enriched” – in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
To avoid any possible shortfalls, we recommend a good quality multivitamin or iron-free mineral supplement. These replenish nutrient levels that are often low in the typical Western diet. They also work to replenish nutrients lost due to chronic stress or as a consequence of prescription medications.