One widely popular diet is the low-carb diet. The low-carb diet is an umbrella term that is used for several diets that restrict carbohydrates. Some of the more well-known diets in this category include the Atkins diet, the Zone diet and the South Beach Diet.
The theory behind the low-carb diet involves insulin levels and fat storage. When carbohydrates are reduced, so are the insulin levels. Lower insulin levels force the body to burn the existing fat stores, instead of using food intake for the body's energy needs.
The low-carb diet basically restricts foods high in carbohydrates such as breads, rice, starchy vegetables, grains and beans. Instead, proteins and fats take the forefront. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and non-starchy vegetables are consumed in any amount.
Does It Work?
There has been a significant amount of success with the low-carb diet as a weight loss program. Some government bodies, however, are on the fence about endorsing it. It is important to have adequate water intake, to have as balanced a diet as possible and to take a vitamin supplement while on a low-carb diet. Since many vegetables and fruits are restricted, it is important to make sure you are still getting the nutrients your body needs.
Typical Low-Carb Menu
2-egg omelet, with 1/2 cooked broccoli or spinach and 1/3 c. low-fat cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil or butter for cooking
1 cantaloupe wedge (about 1/8 of a medium melon)
1 salmon fillet, topped with rosemary or dill
1/2 c. mixed greens with 2 T olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
3/4 c. sliced strawberries
4 oz. lean beef
1 c. cooked greens (spinach, collard greens, chard). use 1 clove garlic and 1T olive oil
1/2 squash and zucchini, steamed
15 almonds or celery with low-carb dip
How Many Carbs Should You Have?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the amount of carbs you should consume daily on a low-carb diet. Some diet plans prescribe 50 to 150 grams, while others restrict carbohydrates even more, to a daily allowance of 30 grams.
What To Watch Out For
On a low-carb diet, there are a few things to watch out for. Since vegetable and fruit intake is somewhat limited, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough fiber. Another caution point is regarding saturated fats. Meats and dairy products contain more saturated fat, which has been implicated in heart disease and some types of cancer.
Which Low-Carb Diet Is Best?
There is no one perfect diet to choose from. The best tact is to review several different low-carb diets and find one that suits your lifestyle best. The more seamlessly you can adapt to a diet, the higher chance of success.