The low carbohydrate diet has been tweaked a million times and been given a million different names over the years it seems, The Atkins Diet, The Paleolithic Diet, South Beach Diet etc etc
So what is a low carbohydrate diet? well it’s exactly what it says on the tin. You keep your carbohydrate intake below a 50 grams maximum a day, which you may need to lower until you began to lose weight e.g if you eat only 50 grams a day but you still don’t lose any weight then you need to lower your intake to 40 grams and so on each week until you’re regularly losing weight. The people who find that even with only 50 grams of carbs they are still not losing weight are usually ‘Carbohydrate sensitive’ which basically means their bodies struggle to deal with ingested carbohydrates and maintaining their blood sugar levels on an even keel.
Do I have to avoid all carbs for the duration of the diet? No not really, you’re allowed (and should have) one cheat day each week. There are two reasons for this, the first is that it satisfies your desire for your favourite ‘bad foods’ which you may have been craving throughout the week and prevents lapses during the diet. The second reason is that it may prevent your metabolism from slowing down too much and it serves to keep your body guessing. The big danger with your metabolism slowing is that when you add carbohydrates back into your diet and your overall calorie intake raises once again your in danger of putting weight back on, which usually happens which most calorie restrictive diets.
So what’s the basic idea behind the diet? Well Carbohydrates are your primary energy source so if you take away your primary energy source your body has to tap into it’s stored energy source which is fat and that’s what most of us on any diet want to lose. You don’t really need to keep tabs on the rest of your food intake as the body finds protein and fat difficult to convert into energy and has other uses for those two e.g repair of muscle tissue.
What about fibre? You should be eating plenty of dark green veg while on this diet so you will be getting enough fibre (probably more than the average person) but if you’re still worried you can buy some soluble fibre tablets from most health food stores on the high street.
Here are some examples of what you should avoid and what you can eat while following this diet:
Avoid: Rice, Potatoes, Pasta, Fruit, Bread, cereals, milk, Sugar, soft drinks, baked beans etc
Allowed: Fish, Beef, eggs, unsweetened soya milk, hard cheeses, broccoli, coliflor, stir fry etc
In conclusion, I’ve found that this diet works really well for about 90% of my clients and I even use it for myself when I want to lean up quickly for my holidays etc if I’m carry a few extra pounds (yes me too!) and apart from a little bit of tiredness in the beginning i’ve never seen or heard of any adverse health effects, in fact research has recently shown that people on low carbohydrate diets reduced their cholesterol more than people on low fat diets, how’s that!