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-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.

iTunes

Popular 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.
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.
AtkinsAtkins is a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Fat Burning DietDieters to cycle between high carb and low carb days
Ketogenic DietA 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.
Living Low CarbNot a diet book as such but more of a general guide to living a low carb lifestyle.
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.
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’.

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 but continues to be popular.

It Doesn’t Work For Everyone

Some people respond very well to low carb eating and lose weight quickly. However, some do not. It really depends on your genetic make-up and how you process carbs based on it.

A low carb diet is just one of the many viable methods a person can use to lose weight or stay slim.

    References:

  • Foster, G. D., Wyatt, H. R., Hill, J. O., McGuckin, B. G., Brill, C., Mohammed, B. S., … & Klein, S. (2003). A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(21), 2082-2090. link
  • Shai, I., Schwarzfuchs, D., Henkin, Y., Shahar, D. R., Witkow, S., Greenberg, I., … & Stampfer, M. J. (2008). Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(3), 229-241. link
  • Boden, G., Sargrad, K., Homko, C., Mozzoli, M., & Stein, T. P. (2005). Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Annals of internal medicine, 142(6), 403-411. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: December 10, 2014. Disclaimer
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