To help with weight issues and for overall improved health, many people turn to diets. In fact, government statistics show that while about 65 percent of Americans are overweight, 38 percent are actually doing something about it.
And according to a recent survey by the National Health Institute, about a third of overweight Americans who are trying to lose weight, are doing so by eating less carbohydrates (carbs) largely because of the increased popularity of fad diets like Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet.
Although there have certainly been other low-carb or low-sugar diet plans before, and more will most assuredly come out in the years ahead, let’s take a look at the basics behind many of the major plans. And let’s take a look at how they fit into the real world today. Because while it might be great to lower the body’s sugar content and be healthier, wouldn’t it be great to learn how to do so while being part of this fast-paced world?
In the world of instant messaging, quick Internet interaction and the already multi-faceted day-to-day hectic schedules, dietary food budgeting, planning, preparing and shopping are issues that can become major sources of stress and reasons for dieting failure. Dual income families on-the-go and other super-busy wage earners and dieters often already suffer from more than their share of everyday stressors like fears of being laid off, their jobs being relocated or terminated, juggling more than one job, dependents (both elderly and minors) and trying to fund and juggle continuing education into their lives, budgets, and daily routines.
People want and need simpler solutions. And they need simpler dieting plans. Forget spending mega bucks on gourmet, hard-to-find items. Forget spending hours just to prepare meals. And forget counting, measuring, and weighing ingredients.
Either a low-carb plan fit into real-world lives, or it doesn’t. First we’ll take a look at some basic terms and definitions to help understand the science behind low- carb plans. Let’s see how many of the major players’ plans measure up.
Note that the contents here are not presented from a medical practitioner, and that any and all dietary planning should be made under the guidance of your own medical practitioners. This content only presents overviews of low-carb research for educational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a professional physician.
LOW-CARB, SLOW CARB
In a nutshell, there are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Some refer to them as bad and good carbs, fast and slow digestion carbs and other possibly confusing lingo. Here’s the scoop.
Foods with simple or refined carbohydrates most often have a low nutrient content and a high-glycemic index. They are quick to digest and can cause blood sugar to soar then fall dramatically within a short span of time. In order to keep the body running more healthy and stable, health advisors recommend that these type foods be limited.
Examples of these simple carbs are white bread, potatoes, bananas, and sugary treats like cookies, candy, cupcakes and cakes, and soda beverages like popular cola products.
Foods with complex carbohydrates contain many nutrients and have a low- to moderate-glycemic index. Higher fiber content in these foods means slower digestion, which is healthier for the body. And these foods are considered good choices by health advisors.
Examples of these complex carbs are whole grains, most fruits and vegetables. Legumes, plants of the pea or bean family, are also in this category.
WHICH IS BEST????
While studies like one from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in January of 2004 show that low-carb diets can help with weight loss; the carbs need to be of the complex, low-glycemic type. Notable is that a total avoidance of the simple carbs is not necessary, either. In other words a treat now and then, in moderation (and approved per your dietary advisor or in accordance with your health practitioner), should be fine.
As a side note, your teeth will also be healthier without the build up of sugar decay from simple carb foods. So healthier smiles will shine with healthier bodies.
OTHER HELPFUL TERMS
Here are some other terms to help explain the science and health issues behind low-carbohydrate dietary planning solutions. Note these are only basic definitions and can be explored at your leisure through other resources to further define their roles in the body’s health system.
A calorie is a measure of heat. Calorie also refers to a measure of the amount of energy a body gets from food. In a nutshell, the more calories in food, the more energy is required for the body to use up the nutrients.
A carbohydrate is one of three major nutrients that provide the body with energy. Carbohydrates are made up of either single sugars or bound strings of sugar.
Examples of single sugars (simple carbohydrates) are sucrose or table sugar, fructose or fruit sugar and lactose or dairy sugar. Bound strings of sugar or complex carbohydrates that are found in plants are often called starches.
Examples of digestible kinds of complex carbs are wheat flour or potato starch. A non-digestible example is cellulose from celery. Carbs are converted by the body into sugar and used for energy. Unused carbs are stored in the body as fat.
A Fat is one of the three major nutrient groups that provide energy to the body. Fat is derived from animal or plant oil sources. It is broken down by the body into simpler fats and are burned or stored in the body.
Fructose is sugar derived from plants, especially corn, that is used to sweeten commercial food products like sodas and other prepared foods. First gained widespread popularity in the 1970s and is usually listed in ingredients as “high- fructose corn syrup”.
Glucose is referred to as blood sugar. All carbohydrates whether simple or complex are converted by the body into sugar and the sugar within the body’s bloodstream is of this form. The level of glucose in the blood is the main stimulus for insulin secretion.
Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that encourages fat cells to convert their stores to glucose and release them for energy use. Glucagon must be released for the body to release and break down body fat. The pancreas cannot efficiently release both glucagon and insulin and will not release glucagon if blood sugar and insulin levels are high.
Glycogen is the main form of carbohydrate storage in animals and occurs primarily in the liver and muscle tissue. It is readily converted to glucose as needed by the body to satisfy its energy needs. Also called animal starch.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly individual foods will raise your body’s blood sugar level.
Insulin is one of two main hormones produced by the pancreas and the body’s major metabolic hormone. When the blood’s glucose increases, insulin is released by the pancreas to help transfer glucose into the cells for energy.
Insulin also helps convert extra glucose to storage in fatty tissue, and helps promote amino acids which are turned into protein and stored in muscle. In the liver, it aids in extra glucose being stored as glycogen. Insulin can raise cholesterol levels and cause retention of fluids and salt and it gets in the way of breaking down stored fat. A lack of adequate insulin or lack of sufficient sensitivity to insulin’s effects in the body can lead to diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a state reached when the body does not properly respond to and process the insulin it releases. Insulin resistance causes the pancreas to overproduce insulin. According to Drs. Michael and Mary Eades of Protein Power, insulin resistance causes high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, coronary artery disease (heart disease), obesity, Type II diabetes and a host of other diseases and disorders.
When the body breaks down fat for energy due to the lack of sufficient glucose for energy needs combined with the liver’s depletion of glycogen, ketones is a type of chemical result. Excess ketones cause bad breath and show up in urine during strip testing.
Ketosis is the body’s process of burning stored fat for energy when glucose is not readily available. A survival mechanism used during times of famine.
Generally thought not to be a good long-term state for the body to operate in. When ketosis takes place in someone who is the victim of famine, or who is not eating food for whatever reason, it can cause serious illness and eventually death.
Protein is one of the three major nutrient groups that provide energy to the body. Protein is derived from animal and soy products and from some plant products like legumes (beans, peanuts and peas). Converted to amino acids by the body during digestion and stored in muscle cells as protein.
Another name for sucrose is table sugar; it is derived from sugar cane plants.
Starch is a type of sugar found in potatoes, white rice, breads, bagels and other foods.
Trans fat is a type of processed fat that does not occur in nature (also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat/oil). Used in baked goods like doughnuts, breads, crackers, potato chips, cookies and many other processed food products like margarine and salad dressings.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND OF LOW-CARB
The terminology “low-carb” wasn’t really coined until around 1992 when the USDA announced America’s model food pyramid included six to eleven servings daily of grains and starches. However, low-carb dieting dates back more than 100 years before the trendy Atkins diet to 1864 with a pamphlet titled Letter on Corpulence written by William Banting, as close to the first commercial low-carb diet as you could get.
Banting had suffered a series of debilitating health problems due mainly to being overweight or “corpulent”. He searched in vain for cures to his weight problem, which many doctors at that time believed to be a necessary side effect of old age. He also tried eating less but he continued to gain weight and have various health problems. He could not understand how the small amounts of food he was eating led to his weight problem:
“Few men have led a more active life – bodily or mentally – from a constitutional anxiety for regularity, precision, and order, during fifty years’ business career, from which I had retired, so that my corpulence and subsequent obesity were not through neglect of necessary bodily activity, nor from excessive eating, drinking, or self indulgence of any kind, except that I partook of the simple aliments of bread, milk, butter, beer, sugar, and potatoes more freely than my age required…”
Many contemporary Americans on the go may recognize Banting’s previous unhealthy daily diet:
“My former dietary table was bread and milk for breakfast, or a pint of tea with plenty of milk, sugar, and buttered toast; meat, beer, much bread (of which I was always very fond) and pastry for dinner, the meal of tea similar to that of breakfast, and generally a fruit tart or bread and milk for supper. I had little comfort and far less sound sleep.”
Just substitute a Pop tart, doughnut or muffin with coffee and plenty of cream and sugar for breakfast, a fast food burger and fries with a super-sized soft drink for lunch and a frozen pot pie or pizza for dinner followed by dessert and you can see how Banting’s diet was so much like the typical fast-paced modern day Americans.
When his physician placed these items on a “forbidden foods list,” Banting lost 50 pounds and 13 inches in one year. He kept it off, living a long and much healthier life.
His new diet plan consisted of a number of meat dishes and he listed it as follows:
“For breakfast, at 9.00 A.M., I take five to six ounces of either beef mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, or cold meat of any kind; a large cup of tea or coffee (without milk or sugar), a little biscuit, or one ounce of dry toast; making together six ounces solid, nine liquid.
For dinner, at 2.00 P.M., Five or six ounces of any fish except salmon, herrings, or eels, any meat, any vegetable except potato, parsnip, beetroot, turnip, or carrot, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a pudding not sweetened any kind of poultry or game, and two or three glasses of good claret, sherry, or Madeira- Champagne, port, and beer forbidden; making together ten to twelve ounces solid, and ten liquid.
For tea, at 6.00 P.M., Two or three ounces of cooked fruit, a rusk or two, and a cup of tea without milk or sugar; making two to four ounces solid, nine liquid.
For supper, at 9.00 P.M. Three or four ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret or sherry and water; making four ounces solid and seven liquid.
For nightcap, if required, a tumbler of grog (gin, whisky, or brandy, without sugar)-or a glass or two of claret or sherry.”
So great were the changes in his appearance and health that his friends and acquaintances began to notice and just like today wanted to know what diet he was on. Most important of all Banting could feel and see a difference himself.
“I am told by all who know me that my personal appearance greatly improved, and that I seem to bear the stamp of good health; this may be a matter of opinion or friendly remark, but I can honestly assert that I feel restored in health, “bodily and mentally,” appear to have more muscular power and vigour, eat and drink with a good appetite, and sleep well. All symptoms of acidity, indigestion, and heartburn (with which I was frequently tormented) have vanished. I have left off using boot-hooks, and other such aids, which were indispensable, but being now able to stoop with ease and freedom, are unnecessary. I have lost the feeling of occasional faintness, and what I think a remarkable blessing and comfort is, that I have been able safely to leave off knee-bandages, which I had worn necessarily for many years, and given up the umbilical truss.”
His how-to dieting book became very popular and was translated into multiple languages. However, over time it was abandoned.
Banting noted in Letter on Corpulence that a common health paradox of our time did not exist in his. This was the paradox of obesity, widely believed to be a problem of excess, among the poor. The poor of the 19th century could not afford the refined sugary foods that cause weight gain. But poor people of the 21st century sure can today.
In a recent Associated Press article titled, “Health Paradox: Obesity Attacks Poor”, the reporter noted that many poor families are stretching their food dollars by purchasing unhealthy processed and refined foods. Of one family Barbassa wrote,
“During winter, jobs are scarce, so Caballero feeds her husband and three children the cheapest food she can get: potatoes, bread, tortillas… As processed foods rich in sugar and fat have become cheaper than fruits and vegetables, the poor in particular are paying a high price with obesity rates shooting up, followed by diabetes.”
Unfortunately for the Caballero family, these cheap staples are bad for their health. Fresh meat, low-starch fruits and vegetables may be more expensive and have a shorter shelf life, but they are definitely worth the price in saved medical expenses and better health.
Throughout the years, as “calories” became known, variations of counting them were included in dietary solutions. And a variety of other issues were explored like how many of which foods should be eaten and how frequently.
While Banting’s diet eventually fell out of favor, low-carb diets did begin appearing again in the 20th century. The most famous of these are the Atkins and Scarsdale diets that came to popularity in the 1970s. While Scarsdale has a set 14 day meal plan that must be followed and greatly restricts calories, the Atkins diet allowed for unlimited calorie consumption as long as those calories were from protein, fat and vegetables and carbs intake was kept low.
Atkins and Scarsdale fell out of favor in the 1980’s as the U. S. Department of Agriculture encouraged the consumption of grains and grain products with the USDA food pyramid.
It was only in the 1990’s that we began to see a return to low-carb dieting that seems to be more than a fad. It’s a lifestyle! As more and more people realize the weight loss and other health benefits that are available to people who eat low-carb, the number of diets and stores that sell specialty low-carb products continue to rise.
In a nutshell, most low-carb diets carry the same basic premise: that too much of simple, refined carbohydrates leads to over overproduction of insulin, which leads to the storage of too much fat in the body. This fat storage is especially prominent around the middle.
While there are degrees of difference among the many diets, they all agree on the negative effects that excess insulin production have on our systems.
THE ROLE OF INSULIN
There are three basic units the body uses for energy:
All three can be converted to blood glucose. However, while fats and proteins are converted slowly, carbohydrates are converted quickly causing quick spikes in the body’s blood sugar levels. These spikes in blood sugar levels cause the pancreas to create and release insulin until the blood sugar level returns to normal.
Meanwhile, insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that lowers our blood’s glucose levels is released into the blood as soon as the body detects that blood sugar levels have risen above its optimal level.
Insulin is a very efficient hormone that runs the body’s fuel storage systems. If there is excess sugar or fat in the blood insulin will signal the body to store it in the body’s fat cells. Insulin also tells these cells not to release their stored fat, making that fat unavailable for use by the body as energy.
Since this stored fat cannot be released for use as energy, insulin very effectively prevents weight loss. The higher the body’s insulin levels, the more effectively it prevents fat cells from releasing their stores, and the harder it becomes to lose weight. According to many authorities, over the long term, high insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance and cause serious health problems like the ones listed below:
- Raised insulin levels and insulin resistance
- Lower metabolism leading to weight gain
- An increase in fatty tissue and reduction in muscle tissue
- Accelerated aging
- Increased food allergies and intolerance
- Overworked immune system
- Increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer
Carbohydrates, especially simple carbs like sugar and starch, are quickly turned into sucrose by the body entering the blood stream quicker thereby causing the release of large amounts of insulin. The fewer carbs are eaten, the less insulin is produced by the body, and the fewer calories are stored as fat. Less fat storage equals less weight gain and fewer carbs eaten equals less insulin in the blood and the body using its fat stores for fuel.
The premise behind every low-carb diet plan is that a body that produces less insulin burns more fat than a body that produces lots of insulin. Some plans encourage a period of extremely low carbohydrate intake so that the body will enter a state of ketosis and more quickly burn fat stores.
These are usually called induction periods. The length of extreme carb control varies from seven days to however long it takes you to reach your ideal weight. After this period of extremely low carb dieting, maintenance levels of carb consumption are followed to prevent weight gain. The amount of carb you can safely eat will depend on your unique body system. And you will probably have to experiment to find out what level of carb intake is best for you.
No matter what your carb intake, it will be lower than the norm and you will still eliminate white flour and white flower products and certain other sugary and starchy foods. This is why these diet plans are known as low-carb lifestyles.
Low-carb success requires that you be willing to give up simple carbs for the long-term.
Now, here is a list 14 of the most popular low-carb diet plans and books and a summary of their requirements….
1. Atkins Diet
Perhaps the most widely known of all low carb diets is the Atkins diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970s the Atkins diet is considered by some to be the most extreme low carb diet plan.
Dr. Atkins believed that nearly all obesity is caused by overactive insulin production and not by overeating. He believed that overeating could be caused by carbohydrate addiction and that most overweight people actually ate less than their slim counterparts. However, they crave and eat carbohydrate, which raises their insulin levels and suppresses fat burning.
Dr. Atkins is a proponent of ketogenic fat burning, which is achieved by eating fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrate each day. He advises his followers to buy testing strips so that they can measure the amount of ketones in their urine daily to confirm that they are in a constant state of ketosis. He also recommends the use of dietary supplements to help balance nutrition and the bodies systems.
The Atkins Diet is divided into four stages: the Induction diet, the Ongoing Weight Loss diet, the Pre-Maintenance diet, and finally the Lifetime Maintenance diet.
The Induction diet is very strict as far as carb elimination (20 grams or less per day), but generous in the allowance of fat and protein. It should be noted that low starch vegetables are the recommended source of carbs. This phase of the diet lasts 14 days and is followed by the Ongoing Weight Loss diet (OWL).
The OWL phase allows for the reintroduction of certain good carbs but the levels are kept below 40 grams a day. Dieters stay on OWL until they reach their ideal weight. Once the ideal weight is reached dieters transition into the Pre-Maintenance diet, where they experiment with reintroducing certain good carbs until they discover their carb tolerance level (the total carb grams they can consume in a day and not gain weight).
When dieters understand how much carb they can consume and they maintain their ideal weight, they will enter Lifetime Maintenance. Here they will continue to avoid sugar, processed foods, white flour and hydrogenated fat/oils.
The Atkins diet offers a number of approved foods and there are Atkins stores in many areas that sell diet compatible products.
2. Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet
Husband and wife scientist team Drs. Rachael and Richard Heller introduced the term “Carbohydrate Addict” in their 1993 book The Carbohydrates Addict’s Diet.
The idea is that some people are addicted to carbohydrates are addicted to drugs. This addiction causes strong cravings, insulin resistance and weight gain.
Dr. Rachael Heller developed the diet to eliminate her own obesity and had maintained her dramatic weight loss for more than twenty years by the time the first book was written. The Heller’s believe that insulin imbalance caused by carbohydrates causes the body to crave more food and interferes with serotonin release that would signal that the body is full. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
The Heller’s recommend that the carb addict should limit his or her carb intake to a “reward meal”, eat three times per day and avoid snacks until the person is out of the weight loss phase of the diet.
In addition to the diet plan, the Hellers also cover psychological triggers that can cause carb addicts to binge on carbs and gain weight. They encourage dieters to identify personal emotional triggers and how to avoid these triggers to help lose weight.
One of the most important theories of this diet is that being overweight is not the fault of the obese person. Why? Because the person’s biology and the addictive power of carbohydrates is working against them.
Like all other low carb plans, the Hellers recommend that processed foods and many types of sugar should be avoided. However, they also state that some starchy carbs should be eaten with reward meals if desired so that the dieter will be more likely to stick with the diet for the long-term.
The Heller’s believe that carb addiction is treated over the long-term with good nutrition and proper diet, but it is never cured and carb addicts must be vigilant to prevent future weight gain and carb binges.
3. Hampton’s Diet
Dr. Fred Pescatore, a former Associate Medical Director at the Atkins Institute, developed the Hampton’s Diet. This diet is a mix of low carb dieting concepts and the healthiest concepts of the Mediterranean diet. He encourages the liberal consumption of monosaturated fats to aid weight loss and prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. All of this is laid out in The Hampton’s Diet, published in May of 2004.
His book includes a thirty-day meal plan, gourmet recipes and information about Australian macadamia nut oil, which he encourages dieters to use liberally. He suggests the use of special cold pressed virgin olive oil if you cannot afford the macadamia nut oil that he considers to be the best for your health.
There are a liberal number of recipes but most of them use expensive ingredients and are quite gourmet-style. World-class chefs and restaurant owners contributed many of the book’s recipes to their own successful low carb creations enjoyed by customers worldwide.
Because of Dr. Pescatore’s affiliation with Dr. Atkins, his diet is heavily influenced by the Atkins diet. The main points of difference seem to be more of an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, the use of healthier fats like macadamia nut oil and the suggestion that all skin and fat be trimmed from meat prior to cooking.
This plan has a lot of the same features as Atkins, but features tasty recipes and 30-day meal plans and more than 100 recipes.
4. The Glycemic Index Diet
Written by Rick Gallop, a former President of The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, The Glycemic Index (GI) Diet claims, “if you can understand a traffic light, you’ll understand this diet”.
Gallop divides food into three groups based on their glycemic index, how fast they cause spikes in blood sugar levels. He separates food into green light, yellow light and red light foods. Glucose is set at a GI level of 100 and all other foods are compared against it. Red light foods should be avoided, yellow light foods are avoided during the initial weight loss phase and eaten occasionally during the ongoing maintenance phase and green light foods should form the basis of your diet throughout.
No special foods need to be purchased. Simply look up where your favorite foods fit in the plan, eat green, sample some yellow and avoid red. Period. Gallop says dieters should expect to lose one to two pounds per week and need not start with a crash diet. While this is a low carb diet it is not as high protein as most of the other diets and encourages dieters to cut fats as well as carbs. He also encourages exercising for 30 minutes each day and eating three balanced meals that include carbs, proteins and fats.
According to Gallop, followers of the GI diet should consider it a lifestyle change that they will adhere to for the rest of their lives, not a diet. It isn’t easy, though. For example consider this “Red Light foods” list and note all of the “good eats”:
- Baked beans
- Refried beans
- Regular soft drinks
- English muffins
- Hamburger buns
- Hot dog buns
- Kaiser rolls
- Melba toast
- Regular Granola Bars Stuffing
- Tortillas White bread Millet
- White rice Instant rice Rice cakes Cold Cereals
- Cream of Wheat Granola
- Grits Muesli
- Instant oatmeal
- Tartar sauce
- Chocolate milk
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Ice Cream
- Whole/2% milk
- Sour Cream
- Coconut oil
- Hard Margarine Lard
- Palm oil
- Peanut butter
- Regular salad dressing
- Tropical oils
- Vegetable shortening
- Honeydew melon
- Canned fruit in syrup
- All dried fruit
- Applesauce w/sugar
- All fruit drinks
- Prune juice
- Regular eggs
- Ground beef with 20% fat
- Processed meat
- Salami Sausages
- Sushi rolls
- All canned pasta
- Macaroni and cheese
- Pasta filled with meat or cheese
- Alfredo sauces
- Sauces with sugar
- French fries
Ray Audette, the author of NeanderThin touts his diet as a way to “Eat like a caveman to achieve a lean, strong, healthy body”. At the tender age of 33, Audette suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. After hearing from doctors that his condition was treatable but not curable, Audette decided to undertake nutritional research to find a better cure.
His research led him to adopt a “Paleolithic”, hunter-gatherer diet, like that eaten by our human ancestors before they settled in agrarian societies. Within one week, his blood sugar levels were normal and after one month he had lost 25 pounds, his arthritic pain was relieved and he noticed improved muscle tone.
According to Audette, our Paleolithic ancestors where much healthier and lived longer, healthier lives than our agrarian Neolithic ancestors. He states that Neolithic man was shorter, had poorer dental health and was prone to obesity than Paleolithic man. Women also began to menstruate earlier and have more children closer together causing population increases that further encouraged agrarian lifestyles.
He suggests that modern man should become modern hunter-gathers by eliminating foods that need human intervention to become edible. These foods include milk, grains, beans, potatoes, and sugar. Grains include all wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, and rye. He also subscribes to the theory that these carbs produce cravings and warns that if they are consumed they will cause eventual binging.
Audette’s rule of thumb is that if a fruit or vegetable is edible raw without processing, then it is safe in the NeanderThin diet. He explains that many vegetables, like potatoes, are actually poisonous if not properly stored and treated with fungicide. He further encourages eating fruits when they are in season and limiting winter intake of fruit to help the body burn stored fat.
He gives Ten Commandments. Condensed, they are:
Do eat: meats and fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, berries Don’t eat: grains, beans, potatoes, dairy, and sugar.
6. Protein Power
Drs. Michael and Mary Eades, co-authors of The Protein Power LifePlan hold views similar to Audette and also believe that modern health problems are caused by our modern diet that is heavy on grains and processed food. (Notable is that Dr. Michael Eades even wrote the introduction to Audette’s NeanderThin.)
TheEades offer a food pyramid that is the USDA pyramid turned upside down so that proteins form the base, vegetables and fruit form the center and whole grains form the pyramids tip.
In addition to basing your diet on high protein and low grain intake, the Eades also encourage regular exercise and modified regular sunbathing sans sun block to help the body produce needed vitamins and regulate body systems. They also recommend taking a complete multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily.
Dieters must identify their per meal minimum protein requirements by height, weight and sex. Each meal should include at a minimum that amount of protein and protein should be consumed at each meal. Dieters should eliminate bad fats, which include corn oil, vegetable cooking oils, margarine, vegetable shortening and all partially hydrogenated oils.
The diet can be followed in phases allowing a quick transition to low carb and accelerated weight loss. The first phase is called Intervention and carb intake is limited to 7 to 10 grams per meal. The second phase is called the Transition level and should be adhered to for several months. At this level up to 15 net carb grams are allowed per meal. In the final maintenance phase, up to 30 grams of carb can be consumed with each meal. Additionally, they offer food choices and plans for 3 types of low carb dieters: Purists, Hedonists, and Dilettantes.
Purists are looking to replicate a Paleolithic eating style in the modern world and will rely heavily on animal protein and will avoid all dairy products, caffeine, legumes, sugars (except honey), processed food, cereal grains and products that contain them. Additionally, they will eat fresh, organic fruits and veggies and natural meat products or game.
Hedonists are allowed the most dietary leeway. They simply need to consume sufficient protein, keep carbs within set per meal limits, consume plenty of water and good fats and take potassium and magnesium supplements.
The Dilettantes walk the middle road between these two extremes. They continue to avoid wheat, corn, millet, rye and products produced from their flours. Yet they are allowed carbs within the daily guidelines, some natural sugar and organic dairy products.
7. Schwarzbein Principle
Dr. Diana Schwarzbein is the endocrinologist to the stars. The doctor of choice for Suzanne Somers, Larry Hagman and many others, Schwarzbein encourages extensive testing for hormonal imbalances and then suggests various diet and exercise programs and selective hormone replacement to treat any deficiencies.
Dr. Schwarzbein’s diet principles are laid out in The Schwarzbein Principle, her 5-step plan to optimal health.
The first step of the program is Healthy Nutrition and there are ten basic rules:
- Never skip a meal again
- Eat real, unprocessed foods
- Eat balanced meals
- Choose a protein as the main nutrient in your meal
- Add some healthy fats
- Add real carbohydrates
- Add non-starchy vegetables
- Eat snacks
- Eat solid food
- Drink enough water
The second step of the program is Stress Management:
- Make downtime a daily practice
- Put your life in perspective
- Keep track of stress signals
- Get enough sleep
Third, avoid all toxic chemicals including:
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Illegal drugs
- MSG, additives & preservatives
- Fake fats and fat blockers
- Certain prescription drugs
Fourth, practice cardio, resistance and flexibility/relaxing exercises.
And finally, the fifth step to optimal health is taking hormone replacement therapy as needed.
Suzanne Somers first introduced “Somersizing” in Suzanne Somers Eat Great, Lose Weight in 1992. Somersizing is a way of eating in which you cut sugar and “funky foods” and eat plenty of fats, proteins and good carbs like vegetables and fruit. Foods must be combined in certain ways so that the body easily digests them. Dieters Somersize in two steps, the first (Level One) to lose weight and induce “the melt” of fat and the second (Level Two) for ongoing maintenance of their ideal weight.
Somers separates foods into four Somersizing food groups: Proteins/Fat, Veggies, Carbos, and Fruit. She suggests that fruit be eaten on an empty stomach. Proteins/Fat includes meat, dish, eggs, natural oils, butter, cream and cheese. Veggies include low starch fresh vegetables. Carbos covers whole- grain breads, pastas and cereals and non-fat dairy products.
She lists “Seven Easy Steps to Somersizing”:
- Eliminate all Funky Food.
- East fruit alone, on an empty stomach: 20 minutes before a Carbos meal, 1 hour before a Pro/Fats meal and at least 2 hours before the last meal of the day.
- Eat Pro/Fats with Veggies.
- Eat Carbos with Veggies.
- Keep Pro/Fats and Carbos separate.
- Wait 3 hours between meals if switching from Pro/Fats to Carbos or vice versa.
- Eat at least 3 meals a day and do not skip meals.
Funky Foods include:
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Raw Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- White Flour
- White Rice
- Hubbard Squash
- Low-Fat Milk
- Whole Milk
- Caffeine Tea
- Caffeine Soda
All of the foods on the Funky Foods list must be avoided during the first phase of the diet (Level One) but some can be reintroduced in moderation during the maintenance phase (Level Two). Somers sells her own brand of artificial sweetener called “SomerSweet”. All of her books include recipes for meals, snacks and desserts.
9. South Beach Diet
Developed by Dr. Arthur Agatston, The South Beach Diet touts itself as teaching dieters to eat the right carbs and the right fats. The diet has three phases. In the first dieter’s banish their bad carb cravings and induce rapid weight loss. In the second phase, some types of carbs are reintroduced and weight loss is slower. The final phase is the “Diet for Life” phase. This is the maintenance diet and will be followed for the rest of the dieter’s life. If at any time the dieter begins to gain unwanted pounds, then he simply goes through the induction and pre- maintenance phases again.
The first phase emphasizes protein from high-quality meat sources with lots of fresh vegetables and salads with real olive oil dressing. Bread, rice, pastas, potatoes, baked goods, soy milk and cheese, yogurt, beets, carrots, corn and all fruit are forbidden in the 14-day induction phase. This includes all candy, cake, ice cream and sugar, plus meats that are cured in sugar or molasses.
The diet encourages three meals a day with a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack.
There is also a daily meal plan. This plan includes strict portion control in the induction phase. An example of a daily snack is 20 peanuts. And 30 pistachios is another snack option.
Unlike Atkins, unlimited protein consumption is not advised or allowed on this diet. However, during the later phases of the diet some of the strict portion control does end and dieters are able to eat until satiated.
Some of the forbidden foods can be slowly reintroduced, sometimes in modified form in the second phase of the diet. The second phase lasts until the dieter’s goal weight is reached. However, white flour products, potatoes, corn, carrots, beets and sweet fruits like banana and pineapple are still forbidden.
After dieters reach their ideal weight, they proceed on to their Diet for Life or maintenance diet.
In this phase the forbidden foods are processed foods, white flour products, sweet fruits, and foods with a high glycemic index in general.
During the 14-day induction period, Dr. Agatston predicts a weight loss of between eight and 13 pounds, with belly fat being the first to go. In the second phase dieter should continue to lose 1-2 pounds each week as long as they do not go overboard with the carb reintroduction.
10. Sugar Busters!
On Sugar Busters! dieters cut sugar to trim fat. This diet was created by a group of doctors and the CEO of a Fortune 500 business from New Orleans who realized that low fat foods are full of sugar and that it is the sugar in foods that produces a negative insulin response and leads to weight gain.
They emphasize the enjoyment of great food while avoiding certain forbidden foods like processed sugar and refined grain products. Sugar is not forbidden, but overtime sugar consumption should be greatly reduced and dieters should begin to recognize products with hidden sugars. Proper food combining is also emphasized to help avoid weight gain.
On this plan you eliminate potatoes, corn, white flour, white rice, bread from refined flour, most cold cereals, beets, carrots, refined sugar, corn syrup, molasses, honey, sugary colas and beer.
The authors also recommend eating fruit alone and eating whole fruits as much as possible. They permit three meals, two snacks and a sugar-free dessert, But an emphasis is placed on being able to control food portions, similar to what will comfortably fit on a normal sized dinner plate.
The diet begins with a 14-day diet plan and includes a meal planner. Dieters are encouraged to eat high fiber, low starch carbs that have a lower glycemic index. The authors also encourage the consumption of lean, well-trimmed meats for protein. They estimate that you will consume about 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 30 percent monosaturated oils and other fats.
11. The Zone
Created by Dr. Barry Sears, The Zone encourages balanced carb and protein intake. Dr. Sears suggests that you divide your plate into three sections, one for protein and two for fruits and vegetables per meal. This works out to 30 percent protein, 40 percent carb, and 30 percent fat. For each meal, the protein portion should be roughly the size of your tightly closed fist. The carb portion should be the size of two loosely closed fists and the added fat portion should be about the volume of your thumb.
The Zone is all about food portion measurement and control. Another tool that dieters in the Zone can use to measure food is the “block”. Every adult is allowed at least 11 blocks per day and the proper food serving size will affect how much food by volume a dieter actually consumes each day.
This plan does not allow for unlimited protein portions or eating until satiated. Once your Zone meal portions are gone, your meal is done.
The basic Zone rules are to:
- Eat a Zone meal within one hour of waking each day.
- Eat a Zone balanced meal each time you eat (protein, carbohydrate, fat).
- Eat five times per day; three meals, two snacks.
- Never go more than five hours without eating a Zone meal.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and ease of bread, pasta, grains and starches.
- Drink 64 ounces of water per day.
- If you mess up on one meal, just make your next meal Zone friendly.
While no foods are forbidden on the Zone diet, certain unfavorable carbs should be avoided or if eaten, make up no more than 25 percent of any meal or snack. The unfavorable carbs are the usual suspects: white flour, potatoes, sugar, white rice, juices, sodas, bananas, grapes, carrots, corn and drinks with caffeine. Dr. Sears believes that these foods not only increase insulin production but can also lead to hormonal imbalances and inflammation of bodily tissues, which causes disease and overall poor health.
The Zone diet also has packaged food tie-ins such as nutritional bars, drinks, bakery products and nutritional supplements. But be careful, the Zone nutritional bar contains high fructose corn syrup, but according to the website, it is a very “high-quality” type that has a slower glycemic index than the common type and the protein in the bar helps to further slow insulin response. Consume with extreme caution.
12. Thin for Good
Before he began extolling the virtues of Australian macadamia nut oil, Dr. Fred Pescatore wrote the book Thin For Good: The One Low-Carb Diet That Will Finally Work for You. This plan explores the mind-body connection in lasting weight loss and includes plans for men and women as well as a low-carb diet plan for vegetarians.
In Thin For Good, Dr. Pescatore lays out “The Eleven Emotional Levels of Eating” which are:
1 Anger: often felt at the beginning of a new diet, or at ourselves for getting fat; but this is good because it is motivating
2 Frustration: can result from looking at the success of others and comparing it to our own seeming lack of success; but be careful – this a negative emotion and often the one that causes people to give up
3 Sadness: closely tied to self pity or mourning for old ways of life and eating
4 Fear: this emotion is often very difficult to let go of and usually shows up around the same time as the first weight loss successes (Can I keep this diet up for the rest of my life?)
5 Understanding: you must work through the first 4 emotions to get to this more positive point when you begin to understand what your bad food habits are and accept them
6 Trepidation: described as nervousness, edginess and wariness; the doubt that can set in as you begin to see results from your diet
7 Envy: a harmful emotion that arises from comparing yourself to others
8 Boredom: this emotion can kill a diet; add some variety to your meals in accordance to your diet plan
9 Relief: the beginning of the positive emotions that should be enjoyed 10 Joy: comes after you have achieved real results; try not to sabotage it with negative thinking
11 Contentment: the final emotion experienced once people realize their weight loss goals
Along with various exercises to help you work through your emotions, Dr. Pescatore suggests low-carb comfort food recipes that he says can help you feel better when dealing with these emotions.
He suggests “Mind Over Calories” as a concept to embrace because it will help you keep weight off for good. He reveals that this concept helped him once he lost weight and has helped him to keep it off. Mind Over Calories is about training yourself not to feel the desire for sugary, bad-carb foods that will wreck your diet and lead you right back to were you were before – overweight and unhealthy.
He also includes suggestions for dietary supplements for men and women, foods to avoid if you are on a yeast-restricted diet, have thyroid or hormonal problems and more than 40-pages of recipes.
An added bonus is the Thin For Good Food Pyramid that has proteins and fats at the base, complex carbs right above them, simple carbs like starchy veggies and fruits in the third place and finally at the very tip sugar in all its various forms.
13. The 7-Day Low-Carb Rescue and Recovery Plan
This book is was written by Drs. Rachel and Richard Heller and is touted as being the book for any low-carb dieter on any plan who needs help getting back on track – right now.
This is the book for the person who has let the holidays, a vacation or a bad meal choice spiral into a crisis or who are discouraged because they have reached an unwanted weight loss plateau.
The doctors give a 7-day meal plan to help get you back on track as well as tips to curb your carb-cravings, deal with saboteurs and identify hidden carbs and sugars.
First and foremost the Hellers explain that overweight people and people who have a sweet-tooth are physiologically different from naturally thin people and need to stop blaming themselves for their weight problems. By understanding what your body needs – and what it needs to avoid – to lose weight will only help you reach your goals sooner.
The 7-day diet plan that they propose helps to rebalance insulin levels, curb cravings and move the body back into fat -burning mode. Once this is done you can go back to your low-carb plan of choice with new insight into how to avoid common pitfalls. There are 7-steps, to be added one each day. They are:
- Add a low-carb protein to each meal and snack
- Add on low-carb veggies and/or salad to lunch, dinner and snacks
- Include a good portion of low-carb protein, vegetables, and/or salad in relation to high-carb foods you may be consuming.
- Eat all of your low-carb protein, veggies and salad before you eat your high-carb food.
- Eat low-carb snacks only. Save high-carb foods for meals.
- Eat only low-carb foods at all snacks and at one meal.
- Eat only low-carb foods at all snacks and at two meals.
After you successfully complete these steps over 7-days, you will be able to transition back into the low-carb plan of your choice. They also suggest that you avoid sugar substitutes like those found in diet-colas to help you stay on your diet plan.
Additionally, they admonish all low-carbers to eat towards the carbs in their meals. This way they fill up on protein and the lower starch carbs first. Finally, you can eat the higher starch and carb food on your plate. This will help you fill up and consume less of the foods that may be causing you problems. Plus, once the high-carb food hits your system, it will be so busy breaking down the protein and fiber you ate that it will more slowly digest the bad-carbs you consumed.
14. Living Low-Carb
Written by Fran McCullough, the author of The Low-Carb Cookbook, this book’s rather long subtitle promises to teach “everything food-loving dieters need to know to achieve lasting success, including: strategies for controlling binges and cravings, dealing with sudden weight gains and secret metabolic weapons”.
This book is a companion piece to the low-carb diet of your choice and is intended to give you tips and tricks to make the road to low-carb success smoother and a lot less bumpy.
This volume contains sources of low-carb bread and other goodies and how to make vegetables taste like pasta. There are also tips for various kitchen gadgets that can make your life easier and suggestions for stocking a low-carb pantry.
McCullough also offers suggestions for eating low-carb on a very active lifestyle. For instance, there are tips for camping or backpacking through Europe. There are also suggestions for handling your carb cravings with low-carb substitutes.
For instance, she gives a simple recipe for a crustless pizza and potato skins. There is even an ice cream substitute suggestion that incorporates dairy and fruit.
While McCullough does go over many of the low-carb diet basics in the beginning of this book, she mainly gives tips, tricks and recipes. Do not look here for diet basics.
Dieting is not easy. If it were, we would probably all be thin. Since we are not, here are some tips that successful people use to lose weight so that others can benefit, too.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 1: DRINK 8-10 GLASSES OF WATER EACH DAY
Okay, for many people this is a big problem. Water doesn’t taste all that great generally because water doesn’t really “taste” like anything. Drinking water 8 to 10 times each day gets easier the more you actually do it. It is simply a matter of conditioning your taste buds, and yourself, so that it becomes easier to do.
Once you get started, you will begin to crave water.
To begin with, you should drink a glass of water in the morning first thing, before you eat. This is probably the easiest glass you will drink all day and it will help you remember to drink water all day long. Better yet, why not drink two glasses?
If you really cannot bear the taste of water, try using a water purifying pitcher or filter. You can also add a few drops of lemon or lime to your water – but no sugar or sweetener! Ice also helps.
Check out flavored waters on the market, too. Just keep an eye out for additives.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 2: EAT BREAKFAST
Do not skip breakfast. If you need to go to bed a little earlier so that you can get up 20 minutes earlier each morning – do it! Breakfast is so important to your good health and to weight control. According to Dr. Barbara Rolls a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, “Your metabolism slows while you sleep, and it doesn’t rev back up until you eat again.”
Eating breakfast is not only good for overall weight loss, it will help you stay on track with your diet the rest of the day. You are more likely to binge on something sweet and in the “bread” group if you skip breakfast.
You can always keep a couple of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge or some high- fiber, low starch fruit around. If you plan to eat fruit at all during the day, breakfast is the perfect time to do it.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 3: EAT AT LEAST 3 MEALS AND 2 SNACKS EACH DAY
This can be one of the hardest adjustments to make. After all, you are busy! You already have a “full-plate”. When do you have time to worry about filling your plate with more frequent meals?
Just like eating breakfast will increase your metabolism, so will eating more often. This will also help you curb your bad-carb intake by making sure that your snacks are planned and occur regularly throughout the day.
Really, it will just take a minimal investment of planning time at the grocery store and at home each morning before you head out for the day to make some healthy food choices and prepare a few healthy snacks and meals. For suggestions, just see the handy list of snacks and appetizers listed later.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 4: AVOID WHITE FOODS
This is one easy way to remember what not to eat. If it is made from sugar, flour, potatoes, rice or corn – just say no. Remembering this rule of thumb will make it easier to recognize those rice cakes as an unhealthy high-carb snack.
Always look for colorful fruits and veggies to substitute for the white ones. Buy broccoli, lettuce, bell peppers, green beans and peas, brown rice in moderation, leafy greens like kale and spinach, apples, melons, oranges and grapes.
These foods are not only colorful they are also high in fiber, nutrients and important antioxidants. Eating colorful fruits and vegetables will give your diet variety as well as give you added health benefits.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 5: EAT YOUR VEGGIES
It is so easy to use a low-carb diet as an excuse for poor nutrition. Resist this temptation. If the only vegetable you have eaten in the last 5 years has been the potato, now is a good time to begin experimenting with other vegetables. This is important for your overall health and to avoid some nasty side effects of not getting enough fiber in your diet.
If you try hard enough, you will find vegetables that you enjoy eating. Experiment with grilling veggies and cooking with real butter to add flavor. You can also search for new recipes on the Internet or in cookbooks.
Remember, if you are only eating 40 grams of carb a day or less, two cups of plain salad greens contain only about 5 grams of carbohydrate. You have no excuse not to eat your veggies.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 6: PREPARE YOUR OWN FOOD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
While more and more restaurants are offering low-carb friendly menu items, many of them are still not ideal low-carb fare. There are many recipes for quick and easy meals that you can prepare yourself at home. Try to do this as often as possible.
If you cook your own foods, you know exactly what the contents are and you will be able to better control for hidden sugar and otherwise processed foods.
Another benefit is the cost savings over the long run. Even if you must go to the grocery store more often, you will save a significant amount per meal as opposed to eating at restaurants and fast food establishments.
It will also be easier to maintain your diet with your own favorite fresh food selections on hand.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 7: INVEST IN A GOOD SET OF FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS
Having food storage containers of various sizes on hand will make it so much easier for you to plan your meals and snacks. When you buy nuts, fruits and vegetables in bulk you can simply prepare, separate and store them for easy use later.
For instance, you can pre-slice your apples and snack on them over several days. Simply cut them, rinse them in pineapple or lemon juice and store. This will make a quick and easy snack for later.
Fix your lunch and take it with you to work. Better yet, fix your lunch and 2 snacks for work.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 8: EAT SOME PROTIEN AT EACH MEAL & AS A SNACK
In addition to everything that’s been discussed before, eating protein helps you burn more calories. Jeff Hample, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association says that, “Protein is made up mainly of amino acids, which are harder for your body to breakdown, so you burn more calories getting rid of them.”
Just think – eating a protein rich snack can help you lose weight. How about a few slices of turkey or ham or some string cheese?
Eating protein will also help you feel full so that you are less likely to crave unhealthy snacks.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 9: DRINK A GLASS OF WATER AFTER EACH SNACK
This will help you get in your 8 to 10 glasses of water each day but it can also have other benefits. Ever feel hungry after eating a handful or standard serving of nuts? Try drinking water afterwards. The water will help you feel full and prevent overindulgence.
Drinking water after a snack will also help remove the aftertaste from your mouth and can help curb your desire for more.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 10: EAT SLOWLY & ENJOY YOUR FOOD
You will feel full and more satisfied if you take the time to savor your food and chew it slower. Don’t get in the habit of eating while standing or eating quickly. Sit down and chew.
Eating slower will help you enjoy your food more, pay attention to what it is you are actually eating and get a better sense of when you are actually full.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 11: EAT YOUR LARGER MEALS EARLY AND SMALLER MEALS LATER
You will feel better and lose weight quicker if you eat a large breakfast and eat a smaller dinner. You may also want to eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day, saving a salad and lean meat protein for dinner.
Eating larger meals during the part of the day when you are most active will help you to feel satisfied throughout the day and curb cravings for unhealthy snacks.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 12: CONSIDER EATING SALMON OR MACKREL FOR BREAKFAST
Yes this may seem odd, but it is one way to work in Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for you and add some variety to your daily diet. After a few months you may tire of eating eggs for breakfast. Substituting fish will give you the protein and healthy fish oils you need.
You can try canned salmon or mackerel in croquettes for a healthier sausage substitute. Or you could simply eat cold leftover salmon the next morning with dill sauce.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 13: USE LETTUCE LEAVES INSTEAD OF BREAD
This tip can seem a bit odd at first but if you try it you will probably grow to love it. Instead of eating breads and buns with your sandwiches and hamburgers, why not try leaves of lettuce?
You can make a double cheeseburger with onions, pickles and tomato wrapped in a whole lettuce leaf. Or you can make tasty wrap sandwiches with lettuce instead of tortilla and bread.
This will help increase your good carb and fiber intake while giving you more variety in your diet.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 14: EAT A FRUIT DESSERT
Okay, we all want a little dessert sometime, but how do you have your dessert and your low-carb diet too? Why not try cheese with fruit slices or berries?
Better yet, why not try cream with berries? You could even try sweet pineapples or strawberries with cottage cheese?
Berries are sweet and high in fiber and nutrients and dairy products are high in protein. If your low-carb plan will allow it, this is a sweet and tasty alternative to more sugary desserts.
An added benefit is that the protein in the dairy products and the fiber in the fresh fruit will make these desserts more filling.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 15: GET YOUR FRUIT FRESH NOT SQUEEZED
Fruit juice can be very tempting as a replacement for soda, but just how healthy is fruit juice? If you read the labels you will soon realize that in many of the commercial juices available at your local grocery store there is very little actual fruit juice.
What you will find is lots of sugar water and other ingredients. Why not skip the juice altogether and eat a fresh piece of fruit? Not only does fresh fruit contain less sugar than juice, fresh fruit has fiber that is good for you and will help you feel fuller longer.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 16: GO EASY ON THE MEAL REPLACEMENTS
New meal replacement shakes and bars go on the market almost every day. These shakes and bars may claim to be healthy, but almost all of them, even the Zone Perfect bars, contain hydrogenated oil and sweeteners.
So be careful. The bars especially may be only slightly healthier than a Snickers candy bar. Occasionally, they may not be that bad for you but as a rule you probably don’t want to indulge in a meal replacement shake or bar every day.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 17: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS
Low carb doughnuts and muffins? You can find these prepackaged low-carb labeled goods at your neighborhood grocery store and at many low-carb lifestyle specialty shops. That does not mean that you should make a habit out of eating them.
While low-carb pastries may be tempting remember that they still contain all of the usual carbohydrate suspects: sugar or a sugar substitute and flour.
They may be healthier than your typical muffin as an occasional treat, but remember to stick with the basics for continued low-carb success.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 18: AT THE GROCERY STORE – SHOP THE OUTER AISLES
It will be easier to stick with your low-carb lifestyle if you learn the one common thread in all grocery store designs: the healthy foods are on the perimeter aisles.
Think about it, when you go into the grocery all of the healthy stuff, fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are arranged around the stores walls.
You only rarely need to enter the center aisle areas in those few stores that stock butter and cheese in the center near the frozen foods. For the most part all of the foods that you need for your low carb diet can be found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
Train yourself to start on one end of the outer aisle and work your way around. It will be much easier to avoid carb cravings and fill your basket with healthy items if you do so.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 19: INVEST IN GOOD COOKBOOKS
Can’t figure out what to eat? Need some variety in your diet? Turn to a cookbook. Granted, not all recipes in a cookbook are low-carb fare, but you will be surprised at the number of low-carb and low-carb friendly recipes you can find in your standard Betty Crocker Cookbook.
Cookbooks are great reference tools that often contain handy tips on purchasing cuts of meat and preparing meats, fruits and vegetables in new and exciting ways.
Plus, new low-carb cookbooks are hitting the shelves all the time. So be sure to take advantage of these resources to try something new, different and delicious.
SUCCESS TIP NO. 20: TAKE A GOOD MULTIVITAMIN
We can’t all do it right all of the time. Even the most conscientious food combiner may miss some healthy vitamins, minerals and trace elements in their diets. To help make sure you get everything that you need, consider taking a good multivitamin.
Check with your doctor first for recommendations and you should be tested for anemia to see if you need a vitamin with iron. However, the longer you eat low- carb and the more red meat you eat, the less anemia will be a problem and you should be able to take vitamins with less iron.
Your success is totally up to you. Assuming that you are an otherwise healthy individual, your body will do its part. Just remember to adhere to the low-carb diet plan that is right for you and add some variety to your meals to help you stay faithful to your health and weight loss goals.
RECIPES & FOOD IDEAS FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO
One of the challenges of low carb diets is that it is often difficult to find appetizing and economical snack options. This is especially true if you are on a tight budget and cannot afford special prepackaged foods. Another obstacle to low carb snacking and meal preparation is finding ingredients that are appetizing and will not leave you bored after a few days.
Low carb dieters need to be creative in their food choices. It is easy to focus on what foods are not allowed. Too often which foods are not allowed seems to be our main focus. However, there are many quick meal and snack possibilities right in front of our eyes if we just think about them creatively.
Certain foods are suitable for snacking and also as the basis for a hearty meal. For instance take chicken. Chicken breast can be grilled and eaten with various low-starch, high-fiber vegetables for a nutritious dinner. Sliced cold chicken breast can also make an appetizing snack on the run. Here are some ideas for quick meals and snacks on the go.
Make sure that your selections are compatible with the low carb plan of your choice and that they are allowed at your stage in the plan. Enjoy these foods alone as snacks or as part of a main course:
APPETIZERS & SNACKS
- STRING CHEESE GRAPES APPLES
- DRIED FRUIT CANNED TUNA CANNED CHICKEN
- SHRIMP WITH COCKTAIL SAUCE PROSCUITTO
- CELERY STICKS AND PEANUT BUTTER EDAMAME (SOYBEANS)
- GARBANZO BEANS (CHICKPEAS) HUMMUS
- HARD BOILED EGGS LOW FAT YOGURT
- UNSWEETENED APPLE SAUCE LOW FAT MILK
- BABY CARROTS SLICED TURKEY CHERRY TOMATOES
- CUCUMBER WITH SUGAR FREE DRESSING/DIP FROZEN SLICED BELL PEPPER
- COLD ROAST BEEF
- SARDINES RINDS JERKY OYSTERS
- 1 ½ cups strawberry juice or crushed strawberries
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup grapefruit juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1½ cups bottled water (or tap)
- 1 lb. frozen white grapes (seedless)
Mix all contents together in a large pitcher except the grapes. Use frozen grapes like ice cubes; pour and serve.
TASTY TOMATO TREAT
- 2 cups tomato or vegetable juice 2 Tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon horseradish
- Couple drops of our favorite hot sauce
- Ice cubes tray filled with water, sprinkled with lemon juice drops and each cube slot
Place the ice cube tray in the freezer to set and make lemon-flavored ice cubes. Combine all other ingredients in a pitcher. Stir and serve over lemon ice cubes.
WHIPPED JELLO TREAT
- 1 package sugar free Jello, your favorite variety 2/3 cup boiling water
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- Favorite nuts to taste
Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Pour into mixing bowl. Add ice cubes and stir until ingredients thicken. Remove any pieces of ice cube remaining.
Mix in whipped cream and stir briskly until smooth texture. Spoon out into serving dishes. Garnish with your favorite nuts on top.
- ½ lb pecans
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ stick margarine, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roast pecans 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine: cinnamon, brown sugar and margarine. Pour over roasted pecans. Placed pecans on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side, turning once.
EASY MUSHROOM AND ASPARAGUS OMLETTE
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp water
- 3 fresh asparagus stalks, stemmed
- ¼ cup sliced white mushrooms
- ¼ cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Spray small skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Lightly whip (by hand is fine) eggs and water. Pour egg/water mix into skillet.
When top is firm, spoon asparagus, mushrooms and cheese onto half the omlette. Fold over other half. Serve.
BROCCOLI WITH CHEESE AND GARLIC
- 1 pound broccoli florets 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly, grated cheese (your favorite type)
Steam broccoli in 2 inches of water for 2 minutes. Drain. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat bottom of skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add broccoli and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle cheese over broccoli. Lightly toss.
BUTTERED ALMONDS AND GREEN BEANS
- 1 pound green beans
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook green beans in a little salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain. In skillet, sauté almonds in butter for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add green beans and sauté for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- 1 pound cauliflower florets
- ¼ cup grated cheese (Parmesan or your favorite)
- ¼ cup whipped cream 1 Tbsp soft butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
Steam cauliflower in 2 inches of water for about 18 minutes or until tender. Add water if necessary during steaming). Drain.
In blender or food processor, puree cauliflower. Add other ingredients. Lightly blend. Place in covered dish and refrigerate. Can be reheated with low heat.
- ½ pound of ground
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp chopped dill
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix all ingredients EXCEPT the oil together well. Make about 12 meatballs from the mixture.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and brown meatballs. Transfer skillet (or place meatballs on cookie or baking sheet) and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until completely cooked.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 Tablespoons chopped onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon of garlic
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- low-carb buns (or at least anything but white!) or lettuce leaves
Brown beef and drain. Reduce heat to low. Add the rest of the ingredients. Slowly cook for about 10 minutes and serve on (whole wheat or multi-grain) buns or lettuce leaves.
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (halved)
- Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling to taste)
- 1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons roaster red sweet pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed 1 teaspoon cooking oil
Make stuffing by combining mushrooms, garlic pepper and marjoram in skillet sprayed with nonfat cooking spray. Finish when mushrooms are soft end tender.
Make slit in chicken pieces so that a pocket is created. Stuff with stuffing you just made and sprinkle inside pocket with cheese. (If you like, secure closed with toothpicks).
Brown chicken on both sides in skillet, cooking in oil. Add broth. Cook over medium- to low-heat until chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve with broth poured over chicken.