Sure, a low-carb eating plan can be very effective for losing weight, which is helpful for metabolic consequences, says Kessler. But that’s not what being metabolically healthy is all about; he says the goal is to reduce your LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol, so to speak). “You have to keep an eye on that LDL because it varies for people.”
And while eliminating fast carbs is only the first step toward becoming metabolically healthy, it’s important to note “when you look at the clinical trials on people who go low carb, you see the amount of LDL increases,” Kessler says. “So it’s working in the wrong direction.”
Which raises the question: How do you get your LDL levels down? According to Kessler, the key is quite simple: a plant-based diet. “That’s the most dramatic way to get LDL down,” Kessler says.
While Kessler is a champion for going fully plant-based, that’s not to say you can’t eat animal products from time to time—you just might want to make veggies the star of your plate.
In terms of becoming metabolically healthy, these two doctor-approved tips can ensure you set yourself up for success. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it has to be boring: You can get creative with tons of nutrient-rich plant-based recipes. No matter which specific foods you choose to put on your plate, just make sure they’re whole and nutritious. As Kessler notes, “If it doesn’t look like food, we have a problem.”
Read More: Are You Metabolically Healthy? 2 Easy Ways To Tell