Atkins, Dukan, and South Beach are all about slashing carbs for a slimmed-down you. Love flavorful recipes high in protein and fat? You'll want to read this
by Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.N.
Carbohydrates are the root of all evil.
The day starts off with a high-protein meal, and continues in the same vein
Fast-burning carbs such as white bread, rice, potatoes, and sweets are off the table
Beans, whole grains, and fruits are allowed in moderation
Nonstarchy vegetables add nutrients and fiber
Fat is your friend
This Is Your Diet If…
You're looking for a high-protein diet
You're ready to give up white foods
You need to control your blood sugar
You'd rather count carbs than calories
Probably Not for You If…
You cannot live without bread and potatoes
Your life involves a lot of strenuous physical activity (e.g., you're an athlete)
You prefer a low-fat diet
You need to limit saturated fat or cholesterol
For those whose daily lives include hours of strenuous physical activity, carbohydrates are an indispensable source of energy. If you're an Ironman competitor or Tough Mudder addict, you can eat your weight in pasta and still maintain 5 percent body fat. For the rest of us, all that ready fuel simply turns our metabolism toward fat storage lace wigs uk
. Embracing a low-carbohydrate diet is one way of adapting to the fact that life isn't as (physically) strenuous as it used to be.
Carbs also send our blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride, which results in a cruel irony: The more carbs you eat, the more you want. Cutting carbohydrates like bread, cereal, potatoes, pastries, and pasta out of the diet not only reduces calories, it can also help shift the body out of carb-craving and fat-storage mode.
Drastically reducing your intake of carbohydrates usually requires increasing your intake of protein and fat. For most low-carb dieters, this means a big uptick in animal protein (dairy, meat, and fish). Though it's possible for vegans to follow a low-carb diet, it's tough. Most vegetarian protein sources (beans, nuts, and grains) come packaged with a lot of carbohydrates.
Giving up carbs can be challenging: No cereal for breakfast. No sandwiches for lunch. No cocktail before dinner. In exchange, you get to enjoy high-fat foods that are often off-limits to dieters. Ultimately, though, you still need to eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.
A Day on the Low-Carb Diet
Low-Carb Diet Recipes
Fluffy Baked Eggs with Roasted-Vegetable Hash
with a glass of tomato juice
Tuna Salad with Olives, Orange and Bell Pepper
with peanut butter on celery sticks
Chicken with Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce
with steamed brown rice
see the full nutritional analysis for this meal plan at NutritionData.com
More Great Low-Carb Recipes
Caper-Rosemary Tuna with Herb Salad
Crispy-Skin Fish Fillets with Wilted Escarole
Grilled Oregano Shrimp
Grilled Tuna with Provençal Vegetables and Easy Aioli
Lemon-Roasted Green Beans with Marcona Almonds
Moroccan Style Lamb and Carrots with Chickpea Purée
See our diet comparison chart for information about other ways to lose weight
Books on the Low-Carb Diet
The Dukan Diet by Pierre Dukan Gemstone jewelry
Essentially the Atkins diet with a French accent, the Dukan diet features an initial "attack" phase that involves eating nothing but protein foods for a solid week in order to blast weight (and water) off quickly. Phase two permits non-starch veggies on alternating days, as weight loss continues. But even in the maintenance phase, carbohydrates are strictly limited. Although you will almost certainly lose weight on this diet, keeping it off requires sticking to an ultra-low-carb diet for the long term.
The 100 by Jorge Cruise
Although Cruise claims that his new approach is not a low-carb diet plan, the central tenet of the diet is limiting carbs to 100 calories (25 grams) per day. The book supplies four weeks' worth of low-carb, low-calorie meal plans (to repeat as needed), along with a list of "free" foods and a carb counter. The good news? Every day's plan includes two big glasses of red wine!
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution by Robert Atkins, M.D.
The original low-carb diet plan, the Atkins diet virtually eliminates carbs, at least in the early stages of the program. The resulting regimen is very high in both fat (60 percent) and protein (35 percent). No restrictions are placed on the type of protein and fat you consume, leading to the bacon, Brie, and Bratwurst diet that elicits concern from some cardiologists. Although the Atkins diet can peel the weight off quickly, many experts question its long-term healthfulness. Dr. Atkins refined his approach in later years, acknowledging that people probably should eat a few fruits and vegetables once in a while. Although Atkins remains synonymous with low-carb, most people who say they are on the Atkins diet actually follow a modified Atkins regime hong kong work visa
South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Super Charged by Arthur Agatston, M.D.
Like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet starts with an extremely low-carb phase to break the high-carb cycle and jump-start weight loss. Dr. Agatston avoids one of the chief complaints leveled at the Atkins-style low-carb diet by introducing the notion of "good" and "bad" fats. Although South Beach allows you a generous amount of fat, here the bacon cheeseburgers have been replaced by heart-healthy nuts, avocado, and olive oil. When carbs are added back, the emphasis is on smart (low-glycemic-index) carbs.