Low Carb – The Many Variations

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.

Eating Like a Caveman

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!

Low Carb Diet 101: What You Need To Know About Atkins, Net Carbs & GI

Both Low Carb and Low GI (glycemic index) diets have taken the world by storm.  Both have been proven to be highly efficient at reducing weight and improving health, and both concentrate of how much glucose the body produces. Whilst both diets centre around restricting carbohydrate intake there are some significant differences between the two.

Low Carb Diet

The Low Carb diet was pioneered by US Cardiologist Dr. Robert C. Atkins in 1972 and uses a process called ketosis to burn fat as fuel instead of glucose.  To achieve this, the overall intake of carbohydrate, which the body turns into glucose, needs to be severely restricted.  The initial stage of the New Atkins diet only allows for 20g of net carbs per day (an average slice of white bread contains 15g of net carbs). Along with all grain based carbohydrates, many vegetables are also banned for the initial stages of the diet as they contain high levels of starch. The bulk of the diet is made up from protein in the form of meat, fish and eggs, low carbohydrate vegetables such as salad vegetables, fruit, and dairy.

A low carb diet is very good for rapid weight reduction and is ideal for people who are very overweight. Because of its quick results, it’s considered a good diet plan for motivation as people can see the effects of the Low Carb plan rapidly while not struggling with hunger. The Low Carb diet is often used to treat ailments such as diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and even extreme epilepsy.

Some of the proven positive effects of a low carb diet are:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced blood glucose for diabetics
  • Increased HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lower blood insulin level
  • Increased energy
  • Sugar cravings reduced
  • Improved concentration
  • Less mood swings
Low GI Diet
Low GI diets such as the South Beach diet and Zone diet concentrate on the Glycemic Index, which rates all foods on its index with a number between 1 and 100 with foods numbered 55 or less as low GI, 56-69 as medium GI, and above 70 as high GI.  Food are categorized as low, medium or high GI by looking at a number of elements.
1.  Does a food contain carbohydrates?
Any foods that don’t contain carbohydrates such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy and fats have zero effect on the body’s ability to product glucose so are considered low GI.
2.  How much starch does a food contain?
Raw foods that contain starch are usually in a compact form that the body will be unable to break down easily, so they are therefore low GI. However, starchy foods such as grains that have been processed have had this compact form altered so that the body can more easily digest them and turn into glucose.
3. How much fiber does a food contain?
The more fiber a food contains, the slower the body can break it down and turn it into glucose.  Therefore most grains and beans are either low or medium GI.
4.  What kind of sugar does a food contain?
Along with glucose, there are another 3 types of sugar.  Fructose found in fruit, and lactose found in dairy are both slow to break down and convert into glucose so are low GI.  Sucrose has a medium GI.
5.  Does the food contain fat?
Fat does not effect glucose, but it does slow down the speed of food in your system so therefore has an overall slowing effect in the production of glucose in your body.
6.  How acidic is a food?
Acidity also slows a food down through the digestive tract, thus helping to slow the rate at which it is converted to glucose.
The basis of a low GI diet is to ensure that you eat only foods that have low or medium GI ratings and that you avoid high GI foods.  Although, if you do eat high GI foods they should be small portions and be eaten alongside low GI foods that will decrease the overall GI rating of the meal.
Benefits of a low GI diet include:
  • Appetite control
  • Lowered risk of diabetes type 2
  • Better physical endurance
  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Increase of body’s sensitivity to insulin
  • Weight loss & maintenance of healthy body weight
  • Doesn’t ban any foods
  • High in fiber
  • Lowers blood lipids
  • Lessen fatigues and enhances moods
As you can see, both diet plans have many similarities, and both have been proven to be exceptional aids for weight loss. Both plans are to be treated as lifestyle changes rather than short fix diets and the long term effects of reducing your overall processed, starchy carbohydrates has proven healthy benefits that more and more people are realizing.

Atkins Bars & Shakes Discount

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, make sure to check out the huge 30-40% off sale on the new Atkins Bars and Atkins Shakes. You can see all the Atkins items here: Atkins Bars & Atkins Shakes.All of the atkins items are very low in carbs, very low in sugar, and high in protein. Atkins has been around for years making great products, but they have recently updated their packaging and some of their recipes.