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Beginners Guide to the Low Carb Diet

Made famous by a certain Doctor called Atkins and his best selling books. Here is the lowdown on the low carbdiet.

Avoid carbs with the low carb plan...

A brief history lesson...

A low carbdietwas first documentedas being used for weight loss in 1862. A Doctor (not Atkins) used it to treat a patient for an illness caused by obesity. There have been many reincarnationsof it since but none have caught onlikeDr Atkins.

Despite many of Dr Atkins peers at the time who disagreed ifa low carb dietwould workhe went ahead and found that it did. He first published these findingsin 1972. Twenty three years and 10 million selling diet books later,the techniques arestill being used today.

How you do the low carb diet

Simply eat low carb foods instead of high ones. Low carb foods include red meat, poultry, salads, fish and cheese. High are breads, pasta, rice and cereals. See individual labels on foods and add the daily total.

  • Weeks 1 & 2 - Limit carb intake to 20 grams per day
  • Weeks 3 to Desired Weight - Add 5 to 10 grams to the daily total per week. Ensure your weight isalwaysdecreasingand lowerthe daily amount if it isn't.

  • Desired Weightto Lifetime - Desired weight is now achieved so increase the final daily totalby 5 grams. Then monitor your weight, if it starts torise slightly decreasethe daily total. If it starts tofall increase daily amount. You should end up with an exact number of grams of carbsyou can eat each daywhere your weight doesn't change. This is the "lifetime" amount.

How the the low carb diet works is not fully known and hasresulted intwo main theories. First is thatlowcarb foodstend to be low in calories and it is the lower calorie intake that causes the weight loss. Second is that the level of insulin in the blood dictates how much fat is stored. Eating less carbs is said to lower the amount of insulin in the blood so the body is less inclined to store fat.

A low carb diet will be high in fats and protein...

Side effects of the low carb diet

The main function of carbohydrate in the body is to provide energy. When the bodyis short onsupply it will find an alternative source. This will be from the extra fat and protein you eat to replace the carbs or if there is a calorie deficit, your body will use it's fat stores. Many people reportheadaches and other symptoms in the early stages and this adjustmentcould be the reason.

Adiet high in fats and proteinhas it'sown health risks. Ahighfat diet is known to increase therisk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Stephen Barrett M.D.) Too much of something isnever a good thing and protein doesn't escapeeither. An excess has been linked to potential kidney, bone and liver problems. (Web MD)

Summary of the low carb diet

The low carb diet will make you lose weightand it's not due to fluid loss(your body adjusts by making you feel thirsty). However the problem isthe bodysimply needs carbohydrate.Evolution still expects us to be physically active and carbs are ourmain source of energy.

Wedon't need to forget the low carb dietapproach entirelybut there are now better alternatives. These include the South Beach diet and the GI diet where certain carbs are allowed and/or slowly re-introduced. These modern versions are much better nutritionally. Overalldo look at the original low carbidea but move on when it comes to a long term plan.


Dr Atkins diet books are among the top 50 best selling books in the world, ever!

Carbs per day

The FDA recommend youeat 330 grams of carbs per day.

Interesting story

Despite helping millions lose weight, some have not been so kind to Dr Atkins about his weight.

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