Tip: Prepare for social situations


A common problem when eating low carb is that it can be hard to prepare for social situations.

How do you, in the best way, answer questions like “Why aren’t you eating bread/pasta/potatoes/cookies – like a normal person?”

These questions can be difficult to deal with, especially if people react negatively. Most everyone wants to be nice. But sometimes people may deep down feel that they too have a negative relationship with food – perhaps they’re even addicted to high-carb foods. It may then be upsetting to watch other people apparently succeeding. This may often be completely subconscious.

One way to answer these people and their questions is to simply be honest and tell them that you’re trying to lose weight and you think low carb is the best way to do this. If you’d like to soften it a bit, you can add that it is what you think is best – for you.

Another way is to say that you suffer GI issues or get sick in other ways from eating too many carbs. You might even blame it on gluten. Simple and to the point – they don’t know your body like you do.

A third way is to reference, perhaps, to a challenge – like our two-week low-carb challenge – and say “I’m currently doing a two-week challenge, just to see how I feel, and during these two weeks, I can’t eat too many carbs, that’s why”.

Something to think about when you’re invited to other people’s homes for example, is to tell them in advance what you can’t eat. That can simplify things for you and your host.

Your best tips

What are your best tips for handling social situations? Feel free to leave a comment below.



  1. Kay
    I tell people that I find I feel better when I limit carbs.

    I was vegetarian for years before I shifted to low carb so I was already comfortable with saying "no, thank you" to foods I was choosing not to eat.

  2. Scott Morgan
    Or, you could point out that your goal is to optimize your risk markers (HbA1c, TG, HDL, etc.) for chronic disease and RCTs show this is the diet that achieves it (see Jeff Volek's work for example).
  3. Mike
    Honesty period. If they don't like it too bad! My health is much too important to me
  4. Mumbro
    My family and friends have been fantastic and so supportive. I also never try to convert anybody but I'm happy to answer any questions they have. If they want to try this WOE I always tell them to go to http://www.dietdoctor.com first.

    For special occasions (Xmas, Easter, Birthdays etc) I just go with the flow and head in with ideas of eating anything I like. Usually I'm still pretty good as I consider most processed food as poison/toxic etc. I think because I give myself permission to be naughty that my contrary nature allows me to be good.

    I have found that if alcohol is involved and I know I might overindulge, that I need a certain amount of carbs or I just get too drunk and feel too awful the next day. Being T2D alcohol will lower my BGLs and a few Low GI carbs helps this also.

  5. LowCarb Finn
    The weird thing is, that as I rarely drink any alcohol, my experience of people trying to push me to drink AND to push me to eat grains is quite similar. It seems to be SO important to them that I drink when they drink and I eat grains when they eat grains.

    I don't even try to be nice, I list the most horrific scientific facts about both: alcohol is a solvent, and it's intoxicating effect is based on it being poison, changing the permeability of cell membranes & gliadin in grains does the same to gut cells as cholera - gives a chemical command to the cells to loosen their bonds causing leaky gut for absolutely everyone, not just those suffering from celiac disease. After telling this I ask:

    "Now that you know this, why do you try to push me to consume something that does not taste good to me, does not give me ANY enjoyment whatsoever, and causes me health problems?"

    I'm not interested in pleasing people, who want me to conform to what they themselves do. If someone cannot tolerate that I don't drink much and don't eat grains, sugar & industrial food, I'm quite happy to be without their company. So I will be quite content to be rid of anyone who reacts negatively to my PRIVATE decisions about my OWN LIFE.

    (If I'm invited to visit someone I don't know well, I do tell about my diet, but also tell that with 6-8 hours between meals, I'm quite happy with just coffee, no need to feed me at all.)

  6. Stefan
    Not really a problem to me. I'm open with everything and nobody pushes me. I might get tongue in cheek comments like "oh, you're not allowed to eat this" or something similar. No big deal really. I have quite a pragmatic take on this. On special occasions I eat cake and buns (in moderation). At restaurants I might eat bread, depending of the type of food. Sometimes I'm out to have a couple of beers. As I see it, it's what I eat on a daily basis that matters, not what I eat on special occasions.
  7. Krystle
    One honest thing I like to say is that bread gives me indigestion. Funny, pizza always gave me painful indigestion that I thought was always greasy toppings and the sauce. But it turns out it was the dough all along!

    I've never really found it hard to justify low carb eating...it's the high fat that is MUCH harder to explain over a meal or party. People think I'm nuts, that I'm a walking heart attack waiting to happen. I don't really like to drink unless it's a super special occasion, like a wedding, so that temptation is never really there for me.

  8. Marie
    I do not have a problem at all, I just say 'no thanks' and if pushed will say ' I don't like that'. A wise friend once told me that 'What other people think of me is none of my business' and I just don't worry about the ubiquitous 'they' anymore.
  9. Åsa
    Saying no when offered food is impolite, especially when it is something that someone made themselves. This rule leads to so much problems however, especially overeating, that it is high time to change it. And someone has to start changing it, so just say "no thank you". Everybody should have the right to decide what goes into their body without making excuses.
  10. Drachula
    My mother just thinks I'm being difficult! I don't need to lose weight so she thinks I'm teaching my daughter to worry about food.
    So, when I am at her house I take a tub of cream, some berries and some seed crackers with me. I eat root veg but not potatoes to try to compromise.
    The family is not converted - husband is allergic to nuts which makes it particularly hard, and the children, reasonably enough, says that, seeing as they are slim and well, why should they worry?
    Does anyone know if asthma and hayfever gets better with low carbs? That may be a reason?!
  11. Randal L. Schwartz
    I just tell people that my doc said I have 170/110 blood pressure, so I cut carbs and lost 45 pounds in six months (showing them the "before" pictures from my phone) without exercise, starving, or calorie counting, and have maintained that for 3 years now, and my blood pressure is now 110/70 without any kind of meds. That usually frames the rest of any conversation about that, including "no, I'm not going to eat your home-made pumpkin pie, because I need my health, as I just explained, except for maybe one forkfull". :)
  12. wendy
    I go for honesty. I don't have weight to lose but don't like eating potatoes as they feel very heavy in my tummy (I'm Irish so it's unheard of at times to say no to spuds!). Most people are fine with it. Bread is a staple here too - again, leaving it untouched draws questions at times but I prefer my main course - honest. I agree with what you say above, if anyone does have an issue with it - it's usually as they have their own issues. Most people that know how I eat ask consistently how they can copy it for the same results. I send them to this website
  13. Jane
    I find a good response is, "Ooh, thank you, but I've given up sugar" when offered sweets / doughts / cake / biscuits.
    It's simple, people understand it and take the offending offering away. The "I've given up sugar" phrase works better than "I'm trying to be good" or any of the others. It also stops the "are you sure?" and being offered again ten minutes later. The "ooh thank you" keeps things remaining friendly and suggests that you are grateful for their hospitality (even though it's quite the opposite), thus they don't mind so much being turned down.
  14. Theresa
    Jane how can I ask a question on the site? I have lupus and I wonder if this change of life style will effect the lupus or cause flare ups.

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