At the conclusion of the four month trial, researchers found that the two carbohydrate restricted conditions led to greater weight loss and fat loss (both groups lost an average of ~9 lbs vs. Now to be fair, this is just the summary report from a conference presentation so I can’t exactly go through the methodology to see what kind of diets the two low-carb groups were following the other 5 days of the week.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the participants in those two intermittent low carbohydrate groups actually ate fairly low carb for more than just those two days a week.
But in any case, the important thing to note here is once again, we see evidence of superior body composition results as well as health outcomes when you consciously reduce (*note I did not say eliminate) the amount of carbohydrate you consume in your diet.
Incorporating a few deliberate low-carbohydrate days into your regular routine can also be a fantastic way to avoid gaining a whack load of weight through the Holiday season, which is fast approaching. The studies consistently show that when people cut carbs and eat more protein and fat, they end up eating much fewer calories. In fact… when researchers are comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in studies, they need to actively restrict calories in the low-fat groups to make the results comparable (2). One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. In studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, the low-carbers sometimes lose 2-3 times as much weight, without being hungry (5, 6). Low-carb diets appear to be particularly effective for up to 6 months, but after that the weight starts creeping back up because people give up on the diet and start eating the same old stuff (7).
Visceral fat is fat that tends to lodge around the organs. Having a lot of fat in that area can drive inflammation, insulin resistance and is believed to be a leading driver of the metabolic dysfunction that is so common in Western countries today (8).
When people cut carbs, they tend to have a very dramatic reduction in blood triglycerides (14, 15). Compare this to low-fat diets, which can cause triglycerides to go up in many cases (16, 17).
Whereas LDL carries cholesterol from the liver and to the rest of the body, HDL carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver, where it can be reused or excreted.
For people who are healthy, the quick insulin response tends to minimize the blood sugar “spike” in order to prevent it from harming us. However… many, many people have major problems with this system. This can lead to a disease called type 2 diabetes, when the body fails to secrete enough insulin to lower the blood sugar after meals. If you are currently on blood sugar lowering medication, then talk to your doctor before making changes to your carbohydrate intake, because your dosage may need to be adjusted in order to prevent hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, the government and major health organization still recommend a low-fat diet for this purpose, which is pretty much useless because it does nothing to address the underlying metabolic problem. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment (44). In many cases, this diet can cure children of epilepsy.
These meal plans combine the advantage of a low-carb approach with a low calorie meal plan. A 2011 study showed that eating a low-carb diet can help reduce hunger, which is essential if you are following a very low calorie plan of 1200 calories per day.
To follow this plan, divide your allotted 1200 calories into three meals of 300 calories each and three snacks of 100 calories each. The diet relies on lean protein, berries, and vegetables as well as the use of cooking spray.
If you decide to make other substitutes, bear in mind you will need to reduce the portion size of some items because of differences in calorie counts.
If you read our previous article Is a Low Carb Diet Right for You?, a primer on low carbohydrate dieting, you may feel ready to forget about counting calories and focus instead on counting carbohydrates per day.
Getting the balance wrong – too few carbohydrates, too much protein, too little dietary fat or the wrong kinds of fats can sabotage your success or worse, lead to health risks.
For example, some people might thing that ending their carbohydrate intake completely is a low-carb diet.
Not only is a zero-carb diet very hard to stick to, it can also be counterproductive, slowing down long-term weight loss while depleting alertness and energy. Another common mistake some low-carb dieters make is to get stuck in the what is called the introductory phase, which is only supposed to last about two weeks. Me and My Diabetes – Both inspiring and educational, this blog shows how low carbohydrate dieting has helped the author overcome many health issue. It's the satiety A successful low-carb dieter discusses weight, health, and satiety as a guiding principle to the diet.
It's also helpful to develop a network of low-carb buddies – people who are doing the same diet and have similar goals. Greens – Any green vegetable is recommended including lettuce, spinach, kale, and green beans. Seeds and nuts – Though not free of carbohydrates, most nuts are low enough in carbs that you can safely enjoy a few handfuls daily. To get a better handle on what foods with carbohydrates are healthy, WebMd's article about the Glycemic Index can help. There are many low-carb recipe books available as well as recipes for a low carbohydrate lifestyle online.
Happy dieting, and feel free to share your recipes and idea about low-carb dieting in the comments. There is significant controversy regarding low-carb diets and little consensus within scientific community on the impact of low-carb diets on health.


There is a common misconception that to lose weight you have to cut out carbs completely because carbohydrates cause fat storage.
Another great advantage to low carb diets is that it cuts out the large amounts of starches and sugars that have crept into our diets and now make up most of what we eat. The other problem with eliminating or drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake is that your body adapts to the low levels of carbohydrates it is receiving, becoming more efficient at burning fat. If carbs have been severely restricted, your body is also forced to produce ketone bodies to supply energy to parts of the body that cannot use fat as an energy source.
Instead of severely restricting carbs or cutting them out completely, a moderate reduction will suffice. For those you are very carbohydrate sensitive and have had problems losing the fat or those who have reached a fat loss plateau this may be an approach to try. Having high and low carbohydrate days avoids the “side-effects” of a low carbohydrate diet and avoids your body from adapting to the low carbohydrate intake. Also, if your weight loss is progressing there is no need to reduce carbs or try carb cycling.
5 lbs in the Mediterranean condition), as well as yielding superior benefits in decreasing the prevalence of insulin resistance (22% reduction in the low carb calorie-restricted, 14% reduction for the ad lib group and 4% reduction in the Mediterranean group). In fact, we can take the whole periodic, deliberate low intake philosophy one step further for really explosive results… but that’s a blog article for next week! Low-Carb Diets Lead to More Weight Loss Cutting carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. Studies show that people on low-carb diets lose more weight, faster, than people on low-fat diets… even when the low-fat dieters are actively restricting calories. Because they lower insulin levels, the kidneys start shedding excess sodium, leading to rapid weight loss in the first week or two (3, 4). The only way to succeed in the long-term is to stick to it. However, some people may be able to add in healthy carbs after they have reached their goal weight. The higher it is, the greater your risk of heart disease is (26, 27, 28). By lowering triglycerides and raising HDL levels, low-carb diets lead to a major improvement in this ratio.
They have what is called insulin resistance, which means that the cells don’t “see” the insulin and therefore it is harder for the body to bring the blood sugar into the cells (29). This disease is very common today, afflicting about 300 million people worldwide (30). There is actually a very simple solution to this problem… by cutting carbohydrates, you remove the need for all of that insulin. Low-Carb Diets Are The Most Effective Treatment Known Against Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome is a medical condition that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease. People who have mostly small particles have a high risk of heart disease, while people who have mostly large particles have a low risk (40, 41, 42). It turns out that low-carb diets actually turn the LDL particles from small to large, while reducing the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream (43).
Low-Carb Diets Are Therapeutic For Several Brain Disorders It is often claimed that glucose is necessary for the brain… and it’s true. Some part of the brain can only burn glucose.
In one study, over half of children on a ketogenic diet had a greater than 50% reduction in seizures.
Set at 1,200 calories and under 25 grams of carbs per meal, this plan is considered very low-calorie and moderately low-carbohydrate. These two strategies together can accelerate weight loss, helping you achieve quick results. If you can see results for your efforts while experiencing minimal hunger, you are more likely to stick to the plan and less likely to stray down paths with foods higher in calories.
In many cases, the meals listed below have lower effective carbohydrate counts because fiber is counted as a carbohydrate as far as nutritional information goes, but it does not affect blood sugar the way other carbohydrates do. Feel free to mix and match for a meal plan that will maintain you at around 1,200 calories per day with low carbohydrate counts. A tablespoon of oil or butter contains up to 120 calories, calories you cannot afford to add, if you are sticking to the 1200 calorie plan. An online calorie counter and reading food labels can help you make good choices while staying within the calorie limit using low carb foods. Combining low calorie options with foods low in carbs can help you achieve your weight goals that much quicker.
Always discuss any weight loss plan with your doctor before you begin and report any health issues right away. But, they often cut out all fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds from their diet, opting instead for nothing but bacon cheeseburgers, steak, and hot dogs.
All the above foods are permissible in the right type and quantity, and at the right phase of the diet. This is a "kick-start" phase and it is valuable for getting your body keto-adapted, which means adjusted to burning fat instead of sugars.This introductory phase is not sustainable in the long run. To help you maintain a low carbohydrate diet, it helps to have inspirational sources, such as the examples of others who have stuck with the diet and have succeeded in losing weight or meeting other health goals. Participating or commenting in discussions on blogs dedicated to low carbohydrate dieting is a great way to build such a network and to get that much-needed inspiration. Also, beware of low-fat dairy products that are sometimes higher in carbohydrates due to added sugars.


A handful of sunflower seeds or almonds makes a great between-meals snack to keep you feeling satisfied. Overweight people, or people suffering from obesity, typically aim to reduce the percentage of body fat. Foods high in carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta are restricted and replaced with protein rich foods (e.g.
Few studies have shown that low-carb diets may adversely affect health, while other research suggests that it may positively influence diseases such as diabetes, cancer and autism. That is, if you ate 200 calories worth of protein, carbohydrate or fat, you would feel most satisfied after eating the protein. It isn’t normal or natural for humans to be consuming the large quantities of refined carbohydrates that we indulge in today.
So, your body catches on to the low carbohydrate intake and when you reintroduce normal amounts of carbohydrate into your diet you pile the weight back on. The foods people eat day-to-day tend to be high in carbohydrates making it impossible for the body to burn all the carbohydrates eaten, let alone protein and fat.
Meals comprising of  around 50% carbohydrates (mainly complex carbs) of total calories is a good place to start. This method involves dramatically decreasing carbohydrate intake for three days to a level that would be difficult to maintain for long periods of time, whilst increasing protein intake, followed by an raise of carbohydrates for one day. Stick with what is working for you and should you hit a weight loss plateau, then try other avenues. That’s why the liver produces glucose out of protein if we don’t eat any carbs. But a large part of the brain can also burn ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carbohydrate intake is very low. It's important you eat at least 1,200 calories per day in order to support your body's basic metabolic needs.
The best way to ensure you are adhering to calorie and carb counts is by weighing your food on a kitchen scale or measuring it carefully. Variety helps ensure you do not become bored with your diet, and eating a variety of foods across the spectrum of color will ensure you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need.
Because vegetables, particularly leafy greens, are low in both carbohydrates and calories, they figure strongly into these meal plans.
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For one thing, it lacks variety and dieting can become boring and unproductive when there is little variety in the menu. We also cannot stress enough how important your health care professional is as a partner in your weight loss plan. Additionally, as muscle tissue is denser than fat, fat loss results in increased loss of body volume compared with muscle loss. When a normal diet is resumed, some of the lost muscle tissue is rebuilt, water is restored and weight quickly returns, but mostly as fat. Unfortunately, diets high in protein and fats are associated with abdominal obesity, as well as obesity-related disorders such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. At this point a person is in a state of ketosis and is noticeable characterized by smelly breath (acetone like smell equivalent to nail varnish) and side-effects such as fatigue and nausea.
However, everyone is unique and some may do better with more, others with less. Endomorphs especially tend to be sensitive to carbohydrates and may have to reduce this percentage further. Having a physical prior to beginning a new diet is a great step in helping you decide with diet is right for you. These higher levels of blood sugar, repeated spikes in blood sugar following high carb meals and greater levels of insulin are thought to cause the body to function sub-optimally, promoting diseases such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis (fatty blood vessels), coronary heart disease and possibly even cancer. Compelling research also suggests that these types of carbohydrates are associated with weight gain and obesity. What you are left with is a decrease in muscle tissue, which will lead to a decrease in the number of calories you need every day to maintain your weight, thus making it significantly harder to keep your weight under control when you stop following the low carb diet. The leftover carbohydrates are converted to fat and get stored around your hips, thighs and other trouble spots.
In order to maximize nutritional intake, the 1200 calorie low carb meal plan leaves no room for empty calories. Furthermore, research suggests that high carb diets may be damaging to health and that some restriction of carb intake will reduce the risk of disease and aid weight loss and weight control.
This method also prevents your body from switching into starvation mode and avoids your body from adapting to the low quantities of carbohydrates that it is receiving by slowing your metabolism, decreasing thyroid hormone output etc. Therefore, low carb diets essentially boil down to low carb dietscalories in versus calories out.



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