Lesson 1: What is a Low Carb Diet?
October 1st 2011 By
Carbohydrates = Sugar, Starch, Cellulose
Simply put, a low carbohydrate diet tries to minimise the amount of sugar, starch and cellulose in your diet in order to help you lose weight.
Foods high in digestible carbohydrates such as bread and pasta are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of proteins and fats such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and peanuts as well as other foods low in carbs such as salads and green vegetables.
The amount of carbohydrates allowed varies with different low-carbohydrate diets, a few of which we’ve discussed below:
Different Types of Low Carbohydrate Diets
There are a number of different routes you can take when starting a low carb diet; each has its own philosophy but the unifying principle is that they restrict the number of carbohydrates in your diet. Below are some of the most well known and popular choices:
- The Atkins Diet: the most famous and most controversial low carb diet. It has received widespread criticism alongside huge support from people who have seen positive results. It is the poster child of the low carb world and as a result there is a lot of information and resources available. The diet has a rigid plan which you follow, most notably a 2 week induction phase.
- The South Beach Diet: this diet is split into 3 phases designed to ease you into a new way of thinking about food – both what you eat and why you eat it. The focus is on fresh whole foods.
- The Ketosis Diet: this is more of a philosophy than a specific diet plan – the only goal is to reach a state of ketosis (i.e. burning fat as fuel) and the route to getting there is different depending on your tolerance to carbohydrates
- Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean diet
Ultimately, the diet you should choose is the one which fits best with your lifestyle. Spend some time researching and learning about the pros and cons of each diet and get some unbiased views from your doctor or health professionals.
Don’t be surprised if the professional advice you are given tells you not to go on a low carbohydrate diet – it is a controversial diet approach and there are many conflicting points of view. The decision ultimately lies with you – but before you decide, head on to the next lesson: