Imagine a diet where you cut a few things out, lose weight safely but quickly towards your target, then begin to add food back into your daily diet as you continue to hone in on your target weight.
Sounds pretty good. It might even sound a bit too good to be true. However, it is simply a type of low carb diet.
At the most basic, a low carb diet is one with relatively few carbohydrates and variations of low carbs diets have existed since at least the middle ages. However, more sophisticated low carb diets led by the Atkins plan are more concerned with net carbs and specific targets.
Net carbs take into account the sugar alcohol of food among other things, deducting these figures from the carbs total. It is possible to work out the net carbs of any foodstuff although you don't have to as Atkins provide net carb counts in their nutritional panels
Western diets have a tendency to be carb heavy. Bread for breakfast, maybe a jacket potato for lunch and pasta for evening meal, an average daily carbohydrate intake for men is thought to be as high as 330 grams. In relative terms an intake of 200 grams of carbs is therefore low carbs but Atkins takes this far further, down to a target 20 grams per day in the induction stage, typically the shortest of the four phases.
The first phase is the quick, safe weight loss. If the target is to lose 40 lbs, 15 of those pounds could easily be shed in the first fortnight. Phases two and three then involve adding carbs back, at an increasing rate into the diet as the weight continues to come off in a slow, controlled manor down to the target. And then a final, lifelong step; maintaining the new healthy weight with a personally tailored carb intake arrived at naturally.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. When put in one paragraph the natural question is what about cravings? At the end of the diet won't there be a natural desire to binge and start on the road towards undoing all the hard work? Not with a low carbs diet really suited to your needs.
A low carbs diet works by changing how your body works rather than simply starving it, and so the hunger pangs normally associated with weight loss are not apparent. Rather than using carbs for energy, the body becomes a fat-burning machine. Whereas the fat in a typical meal plan is a problem that needs to be burnt off, with low carb it becomes the fuel of the body as you can see in our science section
Appetite is sated in a low carbs diet by consumption of meat, fish, poultry, tofu, vegetables and more and because these foods take longer to digest the hunger pangs so common in most diets just do not exist. Phases two and three then see more carbs returned to the diet – fruit, nut and berries, alcohol even. By the time a target weight is reached, the dieter has complete knowledge of how many carbohydrates they can eat to stay in shape. Think of it like a personalised shopping trolley full of things it is fine to eat, on the site we have some great recipes to help you make the very best of these superb ingredients.
Low carb diets can though do much more than lower weight. Again the scientific research shows many positive effects for diabetes sufferers – the American Diabetic Association one of many similar bodies to find evidence supporting a low carb diet. Recent research also suggests benefits in some cases for those with cancer and epilepsy although advice should always be sought by patients before embarking on major changes to their diet. Independent research by Stanford University even found the Atkins plan outstripped other diets for improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It also found Atkins was the best for weight loss over a year.
Low carbs diets can be very simple, some even suggest cutting out all white food, a method that is untargeted, will leave many carbs remaining and needlessly cut out other beneficial foods.
But when done properly, with the help available on these pages, low carb diets are the backbone to an eating plan that will leave you satisfied for life.