Low Carb Diets
Popular Low Carb Diet Plans
Examples of popular low carb diet programs include Dr Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet, the South Beach Diet, Protein Power, the Scarsdale Diet, Sugar Busters and the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet.
Carb, Protein and Fat Intake on a Low Carb Diet
Carb intake varies. Some low carb diets restrict you to less than 20 percent of your calories in the form of carbs, others permit up to 40 percent. To complicate matters further, many low carb diets are divided into 'phases.' Phase 1 typically permits only a minimum number of carbs, Phases 2 and 3 are usually more generous. This compares with US government recommendations to eat about 50-55 percent carbs.
Fat intake varies, too. Some low carb diets contain 55-65 percent fat, others include 30 percent. This compares with US government recommendations to eat about 30 percent fat, and American Heart Association advice to eat a maximum of 30 percent fat.
More controversially, some low carb diets actually state that animal fats may be eaten liberally along with vegetable oils. This diet advice contradicts the recommendations of most heart specialists.
Suggested protein intake in low carb diets ranges from 25 percent to 40 percent. This compares with US government guidelines of between 15-20 percent protein.
The Rationale of Low Carb Diets - Fat, Insulin and Obesity
According to the promoters of low carb diet plans, eating fewer carbs means that fat is definitely burned, and that insulin production is decreased, thus (they claim) reducing the problem of insulin resistance and therefore obesity.
Do Low Carb Diets Work?
Yes - at least in the short term. Initial weight loss on low carb diets is definitely faster than weight loss on more balanced diets, although some of this may be due to an increase in water loss.
Are Low Carb Diets Healthy and Good for Weight Loss in the Long Term?
There are as yet few clinical studies into the long term weight loss and health effects of low carb diets. Those weight-loss studies that exist are either too small and/or inconclusive. Some show that after 12 months, weight loss is no better on low carb diets than on more balanced diets, while others show a small weight loss advantage for low carb diets. Simultaneously, one study which compared a high-fat, low-carb diet with a lower-fat and two other surgeon-general-type diets, [The effect of High, Moderate and Low Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Dr R. Fleming, Preventative Cardiology, Summer 2002] revealed that the high-fat low-carb plan had negative effects on a number of heart disease health indicators. Even so, it seems clear that low carb diets are not as harmful as critics initially suggested, and they do offer better blood-glucose control.
Sources: Includes material (edited) from Carbs and Weight Loss Diet Trials
Related Low Carb Diet Links
of Dr Atkins Diet
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