Low Carb Diets

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

low-carb-dietDue to extensive publicity, low carb diets have become increasingly popular. However there is considerable ambiguity over exactly what is low carbohydrate. Many companies have seen low carb popularity as a brand to be exploited.

Low Carb – A Definition

All food is made up of three primary macro nutrients – carbohydrates (or sugars), proteins, and fats. Low carb implies that the percentage of carbohydrate (by calorie) is low – but lower than what?

  • High Carb 50-70% (USDA Food Pyramid)
  • Moderate Carb 40-50%
  • Low Carb 25-39%
  • Very Low Carb 0-25%

However it is common to find that any diet less than 50-60% carb ratio is called a low carb diet. Depending on one’s sensitivity to carbohydrates, a moderate carb ratio may be better than a high carb ratio.

By definition, the lower the carb ratio – the higher the fat and protein ratio. Generally speaking a low carb diet will also tend to be a high protein diet.

Find high protein and low carb recipes here.

Carb Tracker App


Low Carb Diet Assistant

For those following a low carb diet, tracking your daily carb intake is essential.

In order you ketosis to take place a very limited amount of carbs can be consumed each day.

The Low Carb Diet Assistant iPhone App makes counting carbs easier. It basically does all the work for you using its huge database of foods.

It also tracks your carbs and tells you exactly how many grams you can eat each day, which makes sticking to the strict eating routine a bit easier.


Featured Recipe

Low Carb Diets

The following diets are generally all ‘lumped’ together under the definition of ‘low-carb’. However they actually are made up of little or no carbs – to some that are moderate carb.

Diet to GoDelivers fresh low carb meals to your door weekly. Available throughout the USA.
The 2 Day DietEat Low carb only 2 days a week to lose weight.
17 Day DietThe 17 Day Diet is a carbohydrate cycling diet whereby you adjust your intake of carbohydrates.
Anabolic DietA low carbohydrate diet that alternates with periods of high carbohydrate eating.
Anne Collins Low Carb Diet
28-day plan in 2 phases: Phase 1 (14-days) average of 30g carbs per day- Phase 2 (14-days) average of 55g carbs per day.
Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate LivingThis book will appeal to health professionals who prescribe low carbohydrates diets to their patients, as well as dieters who want to understand the science as it relates to the low carbohydrate diet.
Atkins is a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
The New Atkins Diet PlanNew Atkins for a New You is an updated version of the Atkins Diet, which outlines how to adjust the diet in accordance with the latest thinking about diet and nutrition.
Carbohydrate Addicts
This diet is unusual in that 2 meals have no carbohydrate, and then a 3rd meal is made up of about 1/3 carbohydrates. Very much a low-carb diet – but not low enough for ketosis.
Cheat to LoseOne week of reduced carb, one week of Low Glycemic Load carbohydrates, one week of Higher Glycemic Load, and then a “cheat day”
Doctor Whitaker DietBased on the real-life experiences of thousands of patients who have been treated by Dr Julian Whitaker at his Wellness Institute. It is based on following a high protein, low carbohydrate diet in combination with regular exercise.
Fat Burning DietDieters to cycle between high carb and low carb days
Fat Flush
This detox diet is not usually referred to as a low-carb diet – but it has about the same macro-nutrient ratios as the Zone (about 40% carb).
Idiot Proof DietThere are three phases to the diet with the first being a two-week introductory phase which is very low carb and resembles the induction phase of the Atkins diet.
Hampton’s Diet
Quite similar to Atkins, but with an emphasis on healthier fats – specifically macadamia nut oil.
How the Rich Get ThinThe basic structure of the diet is high protein, low carbohydrate with the elimination of processed foods including nutrition bars.
Ketogenic Diet
A diet that is high in fat with moderate protein and virtually no carbohydrate. This diet will put the body in a state of ketosis, where ketones rather than glucose are used for energy.
Kimkins DietA low carb and very low calorie diet that has received a lot of controversy.
Lifestyle Cut DietThe basis of the program is a low carbohydrate diet with small frequent meals because this promotes the continual burning of fat.
Lindoraa high-protein, very low carb diet based on the process of ketosis. This program is medically-supervised
Living Low CarbNot a diet book as such but more of a general guide to living a low carb lifestyle.
Metabolism B DietOffers a solution for dieters who may not realize they have the condition called “Metabolism B”, which influences their capacity to process carbohydrates.
Considered to be low-carb – as all grains are to be avoided.
New York DietA very strict low carb diet plan that eliminates alcohol, bread, sugar, coffee, fruit and dairy products.
No Grain DietThe No Grain diet is very low in carbohydrates, as it requires dieters to eliminate all grains, sugar, potatoes, and sweets.
Protein Power
This diet could also be considered low to moderate carb – with a similar ratio to the Zone Diet.
Rosedale Diet
Rosedale places emphasis on more fats and no starchy carbs.
South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet has an induction phase that is very low carb, but beyond this the diet is not really low carb at all. Effort is made to consume only low GI (Glycemic Index) and un-refined carbohydrates.
South Beach Diet SuperchargedThe diet is basically the same as that outlined in the original South Beach Diet with some extra foods allowed.
Stress Eater DietA four-week meal plan that transitions from a low carbohydrate diet to a more moderate intake of carbohydrates.
Sugar Busters
More like a moderate carb diet with a ratio of 30-40% carbs – but with a fairly low daily calorie intake.
Thermogenic DietThe basic idea of the diet is to restrict carbohydrates to some degree while emphasizing low glycemic sources and at the same time.
The Schwarzbein PrincipleThe diet involves two stages. The first stage is designed to heal the metabolism and is basically a high protein, low carbohydrate diet that is very similar to the Atkins diet.
Zone Diet
Dr. Sears Zone Perfect diet has a ratio of about 40% carbohydrates (moderate). However many refer to it as a ‘low-carb diet’.

Other Low or Reduced Carb Diets

The Low Carb Industry

The surging popularity of low carb diets caused an entire food industry to appear seemingly overnight. An entire line of foods now bear the catchy name “low carb”. What’s unfortunate is that a lot of these foods are very processed, and are not rich in nutritional quality. Clever marketing has come to the fore, with terms like “Smart Carbs” and “Net Carbs” appearing on many products.

The craze began to decline towards the end of 2004.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: November 4, 2014
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