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Low Carb Diet

Low carb diet
Low Carb Diet 101

By Valerie Mellema

There is not just one low carb diet. There are several different low carb diet plans that include a variety of different ranges of carb levels and food choices. Essentially all of these diets cuts out most sugars and starches in the diet, which are considered to be the cause of weight gain.
The most popular low carb diets include:

  • Atkins diet
  • South Beach diet
  • Protein Power diet
  • Paleolithic diet

These different diet plans are all low-carb, but vary in how they eliminate carbs in your diet.

Atkins diet is perhaps the most extreme of the low-carb diets, as it cuts out added sugars and refined grains. The first phase of the diet, or the Induction Phase, is the most extreme part of the diet restricting carbohydrates. The diet restricts carbohydrate intake to the point that the body goes into ketosis. Ketosis is when the body begins to utilize fat for energy, instead of the carbohydrates in your diet. After the induction phase, the diet slowly allows carbohydrates back into the diet in a methodical way. You are allowed to consume carbohydrates in the pre-maintenance and maintenance phases of the diet in just the right quantities that will allow you to keep losing weight.

The South Beach diet is also a low carb diet. Like other low carb diets, phase one of this diet is the most restrictive in terms of carbohydrates. This phase restricts fruit, grains, starches and alcohol for two weeks. After phase one carbs are slowly reintroduced back into the diet. This diet is designed to reduce carb cravings and promote fast weight loss. It is also designed to change the body so that it can tolerate carbs better.

The Protein Power Diet depends on you figuring out how much carbohydrate is in everything that you eat. Therefore, you have to learn and understand carb counting. There are various resources available with carb counts, as well as software that will figure it out for you. Or, if carb counting is too much of a hassle, another version of the diet lists foods in terms of serving size, such as small, medium and large and the size you eat depends on the serving size. In the first phase of the meal, you can have two small servings of carbs with each meal.
Examples of these servings include:

  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1 slice of low carb bread
  • Unlimited spinach
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • 2 apricots
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 avocado

When you begin a low carb diet, you have to remember that when you decide to make a major change in the manner you eat, you will need to expect the first week or so to be pretty bumpy. If you decide to follow a low-carb diet, you may have other challenges in the diet as well. Because of this, you need to know what to do when you encounter these difficulties. Getting through the first week is the hardest part of any low carb diet. However, the benefit of these diets is that when your body doesn't depend on carbohydrates for energy, it turns to your body fat.