Review of Low Carb Diet Plans
Guide To Low Carb Diet Plans
Most Popular Low Carb Diets
During the past 2-3 years, low carb diet plans have become high fashion. Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution has led the way as the ultimate ketogenic weight loss plan. Atkins diet permits 20g of net digestible carbohydrate per day, during the first 14 days, then allows an extra 5g of net carbs each week, during the ongoing weight loss phase until you have achieved your weight reduction goals. South Beach Diet, written by cardiologist Agatston, is a less restrictive low carb plan but even so it forbids most carb-rich foods during its induction phase. The Zone diet, by Barry Sears, is more reasonable still. It advocates a 40:30:30 division of calories from carbs, protein and fat.
Theory Behind Low Carb Weight loss Plans
Atkins says we eat too much carbohydrate. As a result, the excess (which we cannot process) is converted to glucose and is stored as body fat. In addition, too much glucose from this excess carbohydrate causes a range of metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Atkins dietary solution is simple: eat a minimum amount of carbohydrate and you will lose weight and improve health. At the same time, according to Dr Atkins, you are recommended to eat his low-carb bars and also to take a number of nutritional supplements, both to ensure optimum nutrition and to help the body recover from its previous over consumption of carbs. The South Beach diet plan does not advocate this type of dietary supplementation.
Critics of Low Carb Diet Plans
Many dietitians and nutritionists have doubts about very-low carb diets such as Atkins. Although these diet experts recognize Atkins' achievement in rehabilitating dietary fat (that is to say, not all fat is bad), they do not agree with several aspects of low carb eating.
Not Enough Healthy Carbohydrate
Critics of low carb diets say that whole grains (eg. whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats and the like) contain important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. To eat a diet largely devoid of these healthy foods is not consistent with optimum health. One reason, say the critics, why so many supplements are necessary when following Dr Atkins diet.
Low Carb Diet Plans Contain Too Much Saturated and Trans Fats
Another criticism of low carb diets like Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution, is that dieters are encouraged to eat excessive amounts of animal foods (eg. butter, cheese, meat) that contain high levels of saturated and trans fats. These dietary fats are known to cause atherosclerosis heart disease (clogging of arteries) which is a major risk for heart attacks and stroke. Even Dr Agatston, author of South Beach Diet, balks at the high intake of animal food proposed by Dr Atkins.
Excessive Calories or Carbs? Which Causes Weight Gain?
Another problem with Dr Atkins approach to weight loss is the fact he seems uncertain about which is more important: calories or carbs. Nearly all clinical diet trials show that weight reduction is impossible unless calories are restricted. But in his diet book, Dr Atkins states that the real obstacle to weight loss is excessive carb consumption.
Weight Loss on Low Carb Diet Plans: How Much is Water?
Carbohydrate binds with water. Therefore, when we use up our carb reserves (as we do on Atkins diet) we automatically shed extra water. This is why initial weight loss on a low carb plan like Atkins is typically quite fast. However, because more water is lost (than on conventional calorie-controlled diets) as soon as you stop restricting your carb intake, weight regain is inevitable.
So What Diet is Best?
We recommend two healthy diet programs, both of which offer great support. For more information, see our reviews of the Best Diets.
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