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Low-carb eating without the hassle

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If you're interested in cutting back on carbohydrates without following a book or a strict diet, you can.

Molly Kimbal, a nutritionist with the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, says eliminating some highly processed foods is an easy way to reduce carbohydrates in your diet and cut calories.

First, eliminate carbs with little or no food value, such as pastries, fruit juices, soft drinks, crackers, and pretzels.

Doctors at the American Council on Science and Health say you should be sure to get plenty of the high-fiber vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, squash, and asparagus. While bananas are a high-carb food, they are also full of potassium, so don't eliminate them.

Plan your meals and snacks so you don't shop too often or just eat whatever is available. Ask yourself if you really are hungry or if the food just looks good.

Eat early and eat often. Eat small amounts frequently. And drink plenty of water.

Don't deprive yourself of your favorite stuff, or you could quit watching your carbs and your weight. Go ahead and have a glass of wine. If you love chocolate cake, eat a small piece occasionally.

There are hundreds of low-carb products in the supermarket. Before buying one, check the calorie count.

If your diet doesn't include whole grains, you will benefit from a B-vitamin supplement in addition to a daily multivitamin.

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