Low Carb Diets, Do They Work?

YES they Do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How Do Low Carb Diets Work?

Carbohydrates are used by the body during exercise and are broken down into fuel for the muscles. All Carbs except for dietary fiber, are ultimately broken down into simple sugar molecules by digestive processes. Limiting the amount of carbohydrates in the body limits this available fuel, and as a result the body has to resort to burning fat stores for it's energy needs. Exercise then becomes much more effective in the reduction of fat. To get into this state you need to consume less than 20 – 40 grams of carbohydrate a day.

In the less restrictive low calorie diets, it may be that a diet high in fat is more satisfying and therefore allows some individuals to be more easily satisfied and allow them to reduce total calorie intake without being hungry. It is believed that calorie restricted diets reduce Serotonin levels which cause cravings and over eating. Low Carb Diets tend to maintain Serotonin levels better in many people thus improving the success of low carb diets.

What Are Carbs?

Carbs are one of the six nutrients used by the body for energy and 1 gram equals 4 calories. Carbs are important because they:

  • Are the main source of fuel for the body
  • Are quickly and easily used by the body for energy
  • Can be stored in the muscles for exercise
  • Provide lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber
  • Help your body function properly without fatigue

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs such as candy, sodas and juice are quickly digested and can be used immediately for energy. However, they also spike blood glucose levels, which inevitably leads to a crash when your blood sugar drops. Simple carbs can be an ideal choice just before an intense cardio workout like sprints, but they're not a great choice for snacks or meals since they can leave you hungry and tired.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs take longer to digest and come from things like whole grain products, vegetables, and fruits. They are slowly released into the body, unlike simple carbs, so you don't get that sugar rush followed by the painful sugar crash.

Regardless of the type of carbs you eat, all are treated the same way in your body, they are all broken down into sugars during digestion. But, complex carbs are almost always the best choice because they are naturally low in fat, high in fiber and provide tons of vitamins and minerals.

So What is Low Carb?

  • The National Academy of Sciences recommends 120 grams of carbs per day
  • The recommended daily allowance is 300 grams of carbs per 2000 calories
  • Atkins initially recommends 20 grams per day
  • Protein Power recommends about 12-15% of calories should be carbs
  • The Zone advises keeping carbs at 40% of total calories

While we don't know which, if any, recommendation is right, recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine report that participants who successfully followed low-carb plans for six months lost more weight than those who ate low-fat. Those on the Atkins diet raised their levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol.

The following can be considered Low-Carb

  • All meats
  • All fish and shellfish
  • All fats (moderation)
  • Butter and margarine
  • Caviar
  • Cream
  • Cheese
  • Eggs


  • Asparagus
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac Root
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Pickles
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • String beans
  • Snow peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Zucchini


  • Strawberries (limit 6-8 per day)
  • Fresh coconut
  • Cantaloupe (limit 1/4 per day


  • Almond
  • Brazil
  • Butternut
  • Hazel
  • Hickory
  • Macadamia
  • Pecan
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnut


  • Club soda
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Weak or decaffeinated tea
  • Caffeine-free diet sodas
  • Bourbon, cognac, gin, rum, scotch, vodka, dry wine (after a month on the diet)


  • All spices
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Oil and vinegar
  • Sugar-free sauces such as mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup
  • Sugar-free salad dressings

Wait 2 months before attempting to introduce any (unsweetened) chocolate into your diet.

Foods to Avoid

  • Baked beans, refried beans
  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Burritos and flour tortillas
  • Corn
  • Dried fruits & fruit juices
  • Lima beans
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Sweets of any kind
  • Tamales
  • Products, which contain: Dextrose, Glucose, Hexitol, Maltose, Sucrose, Honey, Fructose, Corn Syrup or Starch, or caffeine.

Low Carb Diets. Are they safe?

Researchers from Duke University presented the results of a study at the American Heart Association annual scientific meeting. 120 over weight volunteers were randomly assigned to either the Atkins diet or the Heart Association's Step one diet, which is a widely used, low fat diet. Those people on the Atkins's low carb diet were limited to less than 20g of carbohydrates a day with 60% of their calories coming from fat.. Total cholesterol fell a small degree in both groups, although in the Atkins's group there was an 11% increase in HDL (good cholesterol) along with a significant 49% drop in triglycerides. In the Step One diet, there was no change in the HDL with only a 22% drop in triglycerides.

In addition to improvements in Atkins volunteers health profile, they lost more weight, 31 pounds compared to 20 pounds. Other studies have confirmed the benefits and safety of low carb diets.

Concerns of Low Carb Diets

The high consumption of fat on a low carb diet is of major concern. Recent research is suggesting that it is not the consumption of fat that is the problem but the type of fat and other food choices of the typical North American type diet. The problem seems to stem from trans fatty acids, the high consumption of grain oils and refined carbohydrates.


Excerpt from Atkins: What fruits are relatively low in carbs? "You should avoid fruit completely during Induction, because most people find it interferes with lipolysis/ketosis. When you move to Ongoing Weight Loss, you can try introducing berries, which are relatively low in carbohydrates, as long as they don't slow or stop your weight loss. Recent research shows blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and other phytochemical nutrients. A quarter of a cup of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries contains approximately 5 grams of carbs. When you reach Pre-Maintenance, most people can also enjoy low-glycemic fruits such as plums, nectarines, green apples, cherries and kiwi in moderate amounts. Again, continue to count carbs and refer to the Carb Counter."

Excerpt from Atkins: How can I get adequate fiber while doing Atkins? "Fiber is found in plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and is primarily non-digestible. In the Induction phase of Atkins, when carbohydrates are restricted, some people experience constipation. Supplementing with fiber is one way to relieve the problem. Fiber keeps your gastrointestinal tract clean and working properly and helps lower cholesterol, among other benefits. A tablespoon or two of wheat bran, psyllium husks or ground flaxseed will meet your fiber requirements during Induction when your carbohydrate intake is limited to 3 cups of vegetables daily. You don't have to count the carbs in fiber because it has no impact on blood sugar levels."

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