The principle behind a low carb weight loss diet is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume so your body isn’t able to get all the energy it needs from your food. It’s therefore forced to look elsewhere to find the glucose it needs, and turns to your fat stores.
Breaking down the fat you have stored around your body supplies the extra energy you need, and helps you to lose weight.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, and are found in a variety of different food types, from sugar, sweets and soft drinks, to rice, pasta and bread. There are two main types of carbohydrates; simple and complex.
Simple carbs are those which the body can quickly and easily convert into glucose, and include foods like sugar, chocolate, and honey. Because these are converted quickly, they typically provide the body with a short term energy boost.
Complex carbs (starches) are generally a lot harder for the body to convert, and so release glucose a lot more slowly, making them perfect for delivering energy over a longer period of time. Eating complex carbohydrate foods like wholegrain pasta, bread and vegetables will also help you feel fuller for longer.
Low Carb Weight Loss Programs
There are a number of diets that work on the basis of a reduced carbohydrate intake, although there are slight differences to each approach. Four examples are:
- The Atkin’s Diet - Perhaps the most famous of all the low carb diets, the Atkin’s Diet drastically reduces your carbohydrate intake, forcing your body to use up its fat stores instead. While this can lead to fairly rapid weight loss, some slimmers may feel a little lethargic, especially if the diet is followed for a prolonged period of time.
- Carb-Cycling - A slightly different approach to the Atkin’s diet, this type of program alternates low carb and high-carb days. The idea is that having one or two days of virtually no carbohydrates causes your body to use up it’s fat stores, but then a single ‘high carb’ day prevents the slimmer from feeling tired and weak and unable to exercise. One of the more popular diets of this particular type is the 17 Day Diet.
- The South Beach Diet - Although some don’t consider this a genuine low carb program, it’s focus on foods with a low Glycemic Index (to prevent the rise in blood sugar that can cause glucose to be deposited as fat) does mean slimmers will eat a diet that is naturally low in bad starches and other carbohydrates.
- The Hampton’s Diet - This diet is quite similar to the Atkin’s Diet in terms of its restriction on the amount of carbs in your diet, but it places more of an emphasis on eating good fats instead. These are the relatively healthy mono-unsaturated fats that are found in a variety of foods, and one that is particularly high in these fats, macadamia oil, is a large part of the diet.
The fact that diets low in carbohydrates have been around for a number of years, and that there are plenty of them to choose from, demonstrates that limiting your carbohydrate intake can be a great way to lose weight, however it’s always worth getting some professional advice first, to make sure you choose the program that’s right for you.