Low Carb Diet Round-Up: A Closer Look At The Ways To Go Low Carb
Low carb diets are one of the most popular ways that people choose to go about their weight loss goals. When done properly, low carb dieting can work incredibly well.
A reduced carb intake tends to help control hunger, stabilize blood sugar, and helps you maintain that reduced calorie intake more easily than diets of comparable calories with more carbs.
If you want to go on a low carb diet, you’ll have no shortage of options. There are many different protocols out there that utilize this approach, each offering their own unique benefits.
Learning more about each diet and what’s involved in each can therefore help you make a more informed decision about which one is most ideal for you.
Let’s go over some of the top low carb diet options that you can consider.
The Paleo Approach
The first approach is one of the most popular out there today – the paleo approach. This diet plan has you eating like our ancestors ate, focusing strictly on foods that come from the ground or the wild.
Followers of the paleo approach feast on wild caught fish, grass fed meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, along with coconuts, oils, and seeds.
They shun grains of all kinds as well as legumes and tubers. The only one complex carb that some people do permit on this plan is sweet potatoes or yams, so for those who are more active, they’ll want to be adding these to their plan.
The paleo approach has you eliminating all processed foods entirely, so from a health standpoint, it is one of the healthiest options out there. Since these processed foods offer virtually no real health benefits, you’ll instead be getting a diet chalk full of nutrient-dense food sources.
Followers of this plan will eat anywhere from 50-150 grams of carbs per day depending on their total daily calorie intake. Carbs will typically be kept to around 10-30% of their total intake, with fat and protein making up the remainder.
The Ketogenic Approach
The next low carb diet approach that you may have heard about is the ketogenic diet or the ‘keto’ diet for short. This diet plan is a more extreme type of approach as it’ll have you cutting your carb intake back way down so that you move into a state called ketosis.
In this state, your brain actually switches from utilizing glucose as a fuel source to something called ketone bodies, ensuring that you are burning strictly fat as energy.
Those who follow this approach generally find that it takes about two weeks or so to actually start feeling good on the diet as they make this transition into the ketogenic state, but then after they have made that transition, many report feeling high energy levels, enhanced concentration and focus, and they have no hunger. So for those who struggle with food cravings on their diet, the ketogenic approach may be for you.
There aren’t as many food restrictions on the ketogenic diet like the paleo one – the only restriction is that foods contain virtually no carbs. As such, many people will feast on beef, cheese, eggs, and of the like, aiming to get their protein and fat intake higher.
The standard protocol for the ketogenic diet is 5% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 65% dietary fat, making this a higher fat approach.
Those who choose to eat healthier varieties of fat will do well with keeping their health status in tact on this plan while those who choose to fill their diet full of saturated fat, deep fried foods, and trans fats may notice some health issues resulting of being on this diet.
Either way, it can work well for weight loss due to the fact that most people do find hunger non-existent. Some actually prefer the way their body feels while in that ketogenic state as well, while others will find they never fully adapt and as such, need to find an alternative plan.
The Standard Low Carb Approach
The next low carb approach is just your standard, run-of-the-mill low carb diet plan. In this approach, followers typically try and focus on healthy foods – lean protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and possibly some unprocessed grains in moderation.
Carb intakes are kept to around 100 grams or less per day, favoring more fat in the diet. Users of this approach typically will bring their overall protein intake up higher as well, up to the 30-35% of their total daily calorie intake.
This low carb diet plan is more ideal for those who do like some flexibly in their protocol and who simply want to work to meet their target daily calories and macros, without having as much food restriction.
Those who follow this approach have the flexibility to basically add whatever they like to their diet provided they keep their carb intake to the target level. For this reason, for those who don’t like being on conventional ‘diet plans’, it can work very well to keep them adhering to the protocol.
The Mediterranean Diet Approach
The Mediterranean diet is another popular approach that many people adopt, especially those that are looking to boost their heart health. People of this area are often said to have the healthiest heart statistics thanks to their high consumption of olive oil, which forms the foundation, so to speak, of this plan.
Those following the Mediterranean diet will consume plenty of fish – usually more fish than meat along with olive oil, olives, cheese, yogurt, along with beans, nuts, and legumes.
The lower carb version of the Mediterranean diet will place grains towards the top of the ‘pyramid’, eating them only in moderation. Then the rest of the diet is based around as many fresh vegetables as one can eat daily along with small amounts of fruit incorporated into the day.
The carb count of this approach will typically be around 25-30% of the total daily intake, balanced with protein and fats at around 30% each as well. While this is definitely a higher carb approach than say the ketogenic diet listed above, it’s still far lower than the traditional diet most people eat, which easily comes in around 50% carb intake or higher.
The Aktins Approach
Finally, the last diet approach that you might consider utilizing is the Atkins diet, which has gained great popularity over the last few years. Those on the Atkins diet each much like those on the ketogenic diet, feasting on steak, eggs, bacon, and keeping carb intake very low.
Usually when you adopt the Atkins diet you go through phases of the diet plan with the first phase being the most restrictive where you virtually eliminate all carbs from the plan – even fruits or higher carb containing vegetables.
This is the primary phase where you focus on losing the bulk of your excess body fat. Then once you’re nearing your weight loss goals, you’ll then increase your carb intake, adding select foods back into the plan such as fruits along with a few servings of grains. Slowly you continue adding more and more carbs back to the plan as you work your way to a maintenance diet protocol.
Followers of this approach however often criticized it due to the high intake of saturated fat and the heart health issues that went along with it, so now it has been revised to focus more on quality food sources rather than simply those that contain very little carbs.
This new Atkins approach will be far more similar to the paleo diet approach and when followed correctly, it can also be one that will really help promote weight loss as well as all around health.
So there you have a closer look at the various low carb diet plans that you can consider using as you strive to reach your weight loss goals. While all the diets do have some strong similarities, including the restriction of grains, potatoes, and highly processed high carbs foods, each diet does set things up slightly differently.
When making a decision on what’s best for you, be sure that you consider your own personal preferences, what challenges you typically face on a diet plan, and which plan sparks your interest the most.