SolveYourProblem Article Series: Low Carb Diet
What Are The Benefits Of The Low Carb Diet?


What is a Low Carb Diet?

A low carbohydrate diet is a regime that restricts carbohydrate intake in order to achieve weight loss. The best known low carb diet plans include the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet. These diets can be very successful and have certainly helped a lot of people to lose weight.

What Foods Are Eaten On A Low Carbohydrate Diet?

Most low carb diets will start off with a 2 week induction phase where carbohydrates are cut down to around 20g net carbohydrate per day. Most foods contain some carbohydrate, so this means either counting carbs using an online diet journal at a site like, or following rules about how much of each food group you can eat.

For example the induction phase of the Atkins diet allows unlimited meat, fish, eggs, butter and vegetable oils; 2 cups of salad veggies and 1 cup of other vegetables per day (excluding starchy vegetables); and a maximum 4 oz of cheese. Heavy cream is also allowed, but limited.

Milk, nuts, beans, fruit, alcohol, potatoes, bread, grains, pasta, corn etc are all banned during those first two weeks. Milk, nuts, beans and most fruit, plus some alcoholic drinks, are added back in limited quantities in phase 2. Whole grains and their products such as whole grain bread, along with corn and potatoes, are allowed when you are close to your goal weight.

Most low carb diets recommend that you never again eat large quantities of foods that contain refined flour and sugar. Even when you reach your goal weight, if you go back to old eating habits, you will gain weight again.

What Else Is In The Plan?

At the same time that you follow the eating plan, you must drink at least 8 x 12 oz glasses of water spread through the day, do a little exercise every day and take a good multi vitamin and mineral supplement. These points are just as important as the food rules, and they apply to all phases of the low carbohydrate diet.

Are There Any Risks?

There have still not been enough studies to be sure about risks. Low carb diets go against the 'received wisdom' that says that we should eat less fat to lose weight. On a low carbohydrate diet you can eat more fat, but still lose weight.

Opponents of the low carbohydrate diet point to research that shows that a higher intake of red meat and saturated fats can lead to increased risk of heart disease. You should speak to your medical adviser before starting a low carb diet plan, to check whether this might be a risk for you.

Supporters of the low carbohydrate diet refer to other studies which show cholesterol levels dropping on low carb diets. They point out that the people who were studied in that type of research were almost never on low carb diets. They were eating large amounts of red meat and saturated fats, plus large amounts of carbohydrates.

So it could be the combination of high fat and high carbohydrate that is unhealthy. This seems to make a lot of sense, and if it is true it would mean that a low carbohydrate diet can be healthy as well as being effective for weight loss.

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