Full Review of Leading Low-Carb Diets
What is a Low Carb Diet?
There are many diets that are labeled "low carb" and they all work about the same way. The diets have varying degrees of carbohydrate limitation which causes the body to go into a state of ketosis, or fat burning.
All foods are made up of a combination of three things; fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Each is a necessary part of a healthy body but in the past 100 years we have begun to eat, not only way too many carbohydrates, but we eat them in a very refined state. Generally all the nutrition is removed and we are left with calories.
Highly refined carbohydrates drive blood sugar levels up causing the body to make lots of insulin and quickly change the carbs into fat. Stored fat. This is why the low fat trends of the past 20 years have not caused Americans to get thinner. We have seen a continuing climb in obesity among adults and it is beginning to affect children.
With a low carb diet, then, the carbohydrate intake is restricted, especially the refined carbohydrate intake, while the protein intake is generally unlimited. Various diets have various levels of fat intake that are allowable. Because the body does not turn protein into stored fat it begins to burn calories and people an lose several pounds in the first stage of weight loss- usually about 10% of their body weight. This means that if you start at 160 lbs you can expect to lose between 10-16 lbs in 14 days. Some of this will be water.
As you move through the various stages of the diet carbs will be slowly added back in and weight loss will begin to slow. You can probably expect and average weight loss of 2-3 lbs a week after the first two weeks.
The problem is often one of cravings. It is difficult to cut carbohydrates out of your diet and easy to allow yourself to get hungry and grab for a doughnut. You will need a plan to help you through your cravings.
Following are the top low carb diet plans and a brief overview of each.
The Paleolithic diet is based on eating only what early, primitive man would have had the opportunity to eat. There are a couple of books out there but the basic diet is the same.
Assuming that early man ate only what he could gather from the wild the diet is very restricted, allowing only about one-fourth of what Americans typically eat. Organic foods are stressed as early man would not have had the chemicals in his food.
The allowable foods are:
- Honey in very restricted amounts
- Starches (corn, wheat, rice)
- Legumes (dried beans and peas)
- Processed foods, sugar or artificial sweeteners
Basically, if a human could catch it or pick it from a plant and eat it without processing it is o.k. for you to eat.
You only eat when you are hungry, and while you don't count calories the proponents stress that calories do count. Weight loss is rapid the first week or two, as on any low carb regime, and then slows to a more normal rate.
Sugar cravings and carb cravings may happen but lessen in a few days if you don't give in to them.
This is a lifestyle, not a short-term weight loss diet. You lose weight because your body does not have the insulin spikes that it has when you are eating processed foods. You are allowed more variety of vegetables and fruit from the very start on this diet, which is easier for some people, although overall this is one of the most restricted diets there is.
Typical Breakfast Menu
- Pork chop or chicken breast
- Whole, raw carrots
Paleo Diet Support and Information
- Paleo (Neanderthin) introduction
An excellent introduction to the Paleo diet with the philosophy, food lists, and an excellent comparison of the Paleo diet with other diets such as Atkins, Protein Power, and low fat. There is a question and answer section which seeks to answer most
- Paleolithic Eating Support Recipe Archives
Literally hundreds of recipes that support the Paleo diet and way of life. Numerous ways to cook your foods, how to make nut milks, and many other ideas for eating well on this plan.
- Caveman Forum
A chat board of people on and interested in the Paleo diet. Support is important to the success of any diet plan an this chatboard has information about everything from recipes to exercise. This would be an excellent first resource.
The Protein Power Diet
The protein power diet was created by the Eades. It is very similar to the paleo diet but the protein levels are based on figuring out the amount of protein you need for your height and weight as well as your activity level.
You are allowed 20-40 grams of carbohydrates per day even in the early stages of the diet. Fats are unlimited. Calories are not counted. Like Atkins there are three phases of the diet with the earliest phase being the most intense.
- All meats, poultry, and fish
- Eggs, cheese, dairy products (the dairy products contain some carbs so you must keep track of them)
- All vegetables except starchy ones like potatoes.
- Nuts and seeds
Foods Not Allowed :
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes and some squashes
- Anything with a high sugar content like sweet sauces, syrups, candy, ice cream, high-sugar fruits like pineapples and mangoes
Typical Breakfast Menu
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 2 eggs
- 3 sausages
- small coffee w/ whipped cream
More Information on Protein Power
- Protein Power
The Eades' official website contains information, links to medical journals, a chatboard, blogs and products to enhance the Protein Power diet that you can buy on site.
- Protein Shake Recipes
Whey protein shake recipes that help to add variety to the high protein diets. Frozen Chocolate Banana, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Tangerine Cream, and other recipes make a great meal replacement item or a snack.
- Web MD
A discussion of the Eades' Protein Power Diet on WebMD which takes into account the latest medical and scientific information on protein and nutrition. Discusses how the diet works from a medical standpoint. Excellent site.
The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet
Dr.s Richard and Rachael Heller came up with the Carb Addict's Diet based on the theory that overweight people might be addicted to carbohydrates and unable to stop eating once they started, much like an alcoholic.
They do not believe that all carbs are bad or that they should be totally eliminated from the diet but believe that by eating tow low carb meals and one meal in which you can have whatever you like the carb cravings will be controlled and you will be free to eat in a healthy way.
The advantages are, of course, that you don't have to give up your favorite foods at all, only limit them to one hour a day.
Typical Breakfast Menu
- Western omelet
- Coffee or tea
Remember, though, you get one meal a day where you can eat whatever.
More Help For Carbohydrate Addict's Diet
- The Carbohydrate Addict's Official Home Page
This is the official site of Dr.s Richard and Rachael Heller, creators of the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet. Here you will find books, information, explanations and even a quiz to help you figure out if you are a true carb addict.
- Low Carb Recipe | Free Collection
Information about losing weight on the low carb diet as well as numerous recipes and suggestions for staying the course on your diet. Cooking tips, forums for support and more are included. This is an excellent resource for any low carb diet plan.
- Download Carbohydrate Addicts Diet Shareware Freeware Software at Super Shareware
Here is a helpful site! Download freeware and shareware to help with details of the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet plan. Downloads like calorie and nutrition counters, as well as other files will keep you on track.
The South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet was created by yet another cardiologist, Dr.Arthur Agatston. It is similar to Atkins in that it is done in three phases, with the first phase being the most strict.
Agatston promised that dieters can expect to lose between eight and twelve pounds in the first two weeks of the diet, the strict phase.
Phase one limits fats as well as carbs. Because soy substitutes are allowable vegetarians and vegans can use this diet easily.
Another benefit to the South Beach Diet is that it is so popular that you can buy frozen prepared meals and foods specifically for the South Beach Diet Program at the local grocer.
- Very lean beef (90/10 ground beef for example)
- Fat free cheeses
- Meat substitutes made from soy such as tempeh and tofu
- Skinless turkey and chicken breast
- All vegetables except starchy ones
Foods Not Allowed:
- All starchy foods
- Beets and carrots
- Limit caffeine intake
Typical Breakfast Menu
- Two eggs scrambled with fresh herbs and mushrooms
- Two slices grilled lean bacon
- Small glass of tomato juice
- Decaf coffee or tea
What You Need To Know About South Beach
- Lose Weight with The South Beach Diet Online!
This is the main site of the South Beach Diet and has a number of helpful things for the person that is using this diet. A FAQs page, a quiz to see if the diet is right for you, and an overview of the various phases are included.
- South Beach Diet Recipe Collections
A large number of recipes for the person that is on the South Beach Diet plan. Collection includes recipes from each phase, main courses, snacks, side dishes and even fabulous desserts like creme brullee are all to be found here.
The Rosedale Diet is low carb/low protein/somewhat high fat. You cannot just eat any fat however, the emphasis is on healthy, unsaturated fats.
The premise of this higher fat diet is that it will help to control the level of leptins in the body and in turn, will help control the appetite. The allowable carbs are high in fiber and very low in carbohydrate. The emphasis is on organic and hormone free foods.
Interestingly while Dr.Rosedale suggests 15-20 minutes a day of moderate exercise he eschews high-intensity workouts, saying that they can lead to stress in the body and the release of hormones that actually discourage weight loss.
You can expect to lose about 5 lbs in the first week with this diet. Phase one lasts for three weeks.
Typical Breakfast Menu
- Hard-boiled eggs and Swiss chard
Rosedale Diet Information
- Rosedale Diet - Diet Review
A review of the Rosedale diet and the various aspects of how it works differently than other low carb diet plans.
- The Rosedale Diet - Outline and Meal Plan
An extensive overview that includes typical menus and information on what you need to eat and how you need to eat it. The site is somewhat negative about the plan over all. Keep that in mind when reading.
- Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects by Ron Rosedale, M.D.
An interesting article by Doctor Rosedale about the effects of the normal, USDA recommended diet on insulin release in the body. He discusses different medical problems and issues and how they relate to diet.
Atkins Diet Revolution
Dr. Atkins started it all back in the early 70s with his Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. The diet then was very different from the new and improved version that is available now.
There are three stages of the lifetime plan. Stage one is induction in which carbohydrate intake is severely limited to 20 grams per day. Proteins and fats are unlimited in quantity. During inductions you can expect to lose ten to fifteen pounds, depending on your body chemistry and make up.
After induction you go on to ongoing weight loss or OWL. This is where you begin to add carbs back into your diet slowly to see which carbs trigger a carb craving, or slow weight loss. This part takes many weeks as you ad carbs back by only five grams a week. A very slow process. Average weight loss during this period is 2-3 pounds a week.
After this you enter the maintenance phase where your body may adjust up or down one or two pounds but you now know how many carbohydrates you can have per day without gaining weight.
- Salad Vegetables
Vegetables in moderation include:
- Collard Greens
- String Beans
- Wax Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bamboo Shoots
- Kale Sauerkraut
- Summer Squash
- Water Chestnuts
- Spaghetti Squash
Remember, you must count your carbs!
Foods that are not allowed:
Pretty much anything else. The off-limits foods will change depending on which portion of the diet you are on. Remember the induction phase lasts for two weeks and is the most difficult portion of the diet.
Sample Breakfast Menu
- Omelet with cheese, bacon or ham
- Coffee with sweetener and 1 tbs heavy cream
An Inspiring Atkins Diet Story
High Protein/Low Carb Increases Fertility
Low Carb Diets Work
The truth is that Low Carb Diets work if you stick with them consistently and follow them carefully. The "unhealthy" portion of the diet usually only lasts a short time.
When on a low carb diet it is especially important that you drink lots of water, as recommended and take vitamins. The water helps to flush your system out and keeps toxins from building up.
Most low carb diets are similar. Looks at the various foods and requirements and decide for yourself which is right for you. Get an accountability partner and then just start..and keep going. You'll get there eventually if you keep moving ahead and if you don't let setbacks stop you!