Low carb diets are known for being a great option for weight loss, but what does a low carb diet really mean? Is it as simple as lowering your intake of carbohydrates in order to lose a few pounds? Not necessarily, according to the powers that be in the diet world. There are many variations of low carb diets that can make it very difficult to know which one to choose. Read on to learn about the most popular low carb diets and the differences between them so you can better determine which one will work for you.
The Atkins Low Carb Diet
The most well-known, and likely still the most popular form of a low carb diet, The Atkins Diet has been around for decades and was the first of its kind. It allows for a very limited number of carbs in the diet, with the first few days being even more limited than later in the diet, and is likely the most extreme form of low carb dieting that people choose. It is the topic of much debate about whether the unlimited amounts of protein and limited carbs are healthy (although studies have shown that those on Atkins don’t have an increase in bad cholesterol, and in fact have an increase in good cholesterol instead). In addition, the process of putting the body into ketosis (a stage in which you consume so few carbs the body is forced to burn its own fat for fuel) can actually harm muscle mass and create a state in the body that offers quick results in a manner that is hard to maintain on a daily basis. However, it is still being debated and studied regularly, and there is likely a reason it is still the most-used low carb diet.
The Diabetic’s Low Carb Diet
For many, the entire reason for going on any type of low carb diet is due to a predisposition for (or even a diagnosis of) diabetes. However, this type of diet is not limited only to those that are at high risk of developing the disease. Adopting a healthy low carb diet and maintaining it is one of the best ways to keep this and other diseases at bay. Because carbohydrates are processed in the body as a sugar, lowering the intake of carbs naturally leads to more regulated blood sugar levels.
According to WebMD, one study showed that diabetics on a low-carb diet designed specifically with diabetes in mind were able to cut their insulin dependency in half over a 22-month period. The diabetics’ low carb diet is one of the low carb variations that is specifically designed to regulate blood sugar levels, and it is restrictive, but not quite as restrictive as the Atkins.
Low Carbs in Phases
The South Beach Diet is a popular type of low carb diet that utilizes phases to create weight loss and better health. The beginning requires a strict Atkins-style form of carbohydrate restriction in order to eliminate the sugar and starch cravings that most people typically endure. Once the beginning strict low carb phase is passed, healthy carbs can be reintroduced to the diet. Many believe that this type of low carb diet is one of the best variations because it may be easier to stick with over time than a more restrictive type.
The paleolithic diet is one type of low carb diet that offers a variation that goes by one simple rule – eat like a caveman. This variation on the low carb diet requires that you eat as you would long ago, before so many processed foods were readily available. Sugars and other modern day foods are banned, and meats are allowed in abundance (just as it would have been during paleolithic times). While dieters on the “caveman diet” typically show success in weight loss and health, in some ways it is more limiting than the Atkins form of low carb diet. Atkins promotes protein bars and other store-bought processed foods as part of the daily low carb diet, but the paleolithic diet frowns on these types of foods. Eating in an all-natural way that is also low in carb is of course a healthy option in most cases, but it might not always be easy to stick with.
Whatever type of low carb diet you choose to follow, you are sure to experience weight loss if you stick with it. And of course, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to make sure that any diet you consider undertaking is safe.
When you do choose your preferred variation of a low carb diet, be sure to stop by our store at Linda’s Diet Delites to find a variety of low carb snacks, mixes, breads and more!