Starting Atkins means making choices beyond food. Most low carbers have questions. What’s going to happen and is this good for me? How low is low carb?
- Most popular low carb diets
- Deciding how many carbs to eat
- What keto feels like and how to reach it
William Banting is considered the father of low carb diets. He was a severely overweight British undertaker who attempted the first low carb diet under the supervision of Dr. William Harvey.
Banting created the very first low carb diet with food guidelines and suggestions. He ate four meals a day of proteins, greens, dry wine and limited amounts of fruit.
What happened? He lost 50 pounds.
Banting documented his success with low carb. He also documented past failed attempts of losing weight with other styles of eating.
Banting simply urged people to eradicate their uses of dairy, beer and starchy foods.
The Atkins Diet
In 1972, Dr. Robert Atkins released his book Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.
At the time, conventional wisdom suggested the way to lose weight was through a low-fat, calorie reduced diet.
Atkins went against convention, reporting that in his practice he’d seen patients experience tremendous success eating luxurious foods, such as cheese, butter, bacon, lobster, steak and heavy cream.
The First Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet plan was met with skepticism by the medical community.
However, dieters embraced the idea of eating foods usually forbidden or restricted on traditional weight loss diets.
Many experienced success, and starting a low carb diet became a popular way of losing weight.
The New Atkins
In 1992, Dr. Atkins released Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, which followed similar principles as his earlier book.
Other Low Carb Diets
Due to the tremendous success, other low carb diets soon followed: SugarBusters, Diabetic, South Beach, The Zone, Primal, Paleo, Low Sugar, etc.
These diet plans usually limited or eliminated grains, sugar and starchy vegetables. Instead, dieters ate leafy greens and other low carbohydrate/high fiber vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, full-fat dairy, fats and oils.
Different diets make different recommendations, but the guidelines are similar when it comes to eating carbs: less is better.
How Low IS Low Carb?
A number of scientists, nutritionists and other experts involved with low carb dieting got together in 2008, and for the first time, defined what makes up a low carb diet.
Here’s what they came up with:
Low Carb Keto Diet: Less than 50 carbs and 10% calories daily
This is usually the level where carb reduction introduces statistically significant advantages of being in ketosis, and a greater rate of fat loss when compared to other diet plans.
Low Carb Diet: 50-130 carbs daily and between 10-26% of calories
Moderate Carb Diet: 130-225 carbs daily and between 26-45% of calories
How Many Carbs Do I Need?
The scientific and practical amount of carbohydrate needed in the diet is ZERO – NONE.
Dietary carbohydrates are not a requirement in any body function.
In fact, it seems that the lower the carbohydrate level in the diet the better the long-term health.
Studies now link age-related degenerative diseases to high levels of carbs in the diet.
Very low or zero carb diets are common in many primitive cultures.
How Do I Get Into Ketosis?
People who normally eat high carb meals have fueled their bodies with glucose and fructose obtained from carbs.
The body experiences a new condition of ketosis when a person converts to the low carb diet.
In this metabolic state, the body burns mainly fat and spares the lean muscle tissue.
There are specific diet and exercise techniques, such as intermittent fasting sessions and high intensity interval training workouts to help you get into ketosis faster, and maximize weight loss.
Why Lower Carbs Lead to Fat Loss
In his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, author Gary Taubes explains how low carb diets bring about weight loss.
Carbs contain sugars. According to Taubes, when you eat carbs, the sugars in them cause your blood sugar to rise.
In response, your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream.
The Carb-Insulin Connection
One of insulin’s functions is moving fuel (food) to fat cells to keep energy stores in case of famine.
When insulin is present, it also keeps the fat locked inside of fat cells, and your body will not burn the fat as a source of fuel.
When you eat a low carb diet, you reduce spikes in blood sugar, and your pancreas releases very little insulin.
Once your body has depleted its carbohydrate stores, then it begins to rely on stored fat as its primary source of fuel, leading to rapid loss of excess stored fat.
When these changes occur, you have reached the metabolic state of ketosis.
Keto: What’s Happening
When you start a low carb diet, the more commonly used glucose fuel is suddenly no longer available.
The body reacts by dropping the pancreas’ production of insulin and increasing the hormone glucagon.
This hormone stored fat reserves (in the form of triglycerides) for cells to use as their new energy source.
However, the cells are slow to react to this new fuel source, and the person feels weak or lacking energy.
The resistance to burning fatty acids for energy can vary greatly among dieters.
What Does Keto Feel Like?
Some people feel this weakness, but others pick right up and take off with the feeling of greater energy than before!
The liver breaks down the extra fatty acids when they are not being used by the cells. This causes a discharge of the ketone molecules into the blood.
A temporary, strange taste in the mouth and mild breath odor signals these ketones are present.
Your New Brain and Metabolism
Your new metabolism uses ketones for energy – which your brain loves.
The brain uses ketones very efficiently, contrary to the myth that the brain is powered by glucose only.
Some areas of the brain will still need glucose, which the body now easily makes from excess protein, amino acids or fats.
Carbohydrates are not required to support a normal blood glucose level and not required in the low carb diet as brain fuel.
The body can make all the glucose required from protein and fats in the diet, and it makes glucose at a healthy level in this way.
It May Surprise You
- Ketones are also the preferred energy source for the muscles of the heart.
- Ketosis encourages better sleep patterns and boosts energy levels.
- While you are in ketosis, the weight lost during a low carb diet is fat loss.
- Weight loss happens quickly and easily.
There are plenty of surprising, healthy reasons to start a low carb diet other than losing weight.
Just remember patience as your body (and scale) adjusts to all the changes.
Almost Zero Carb Meal Plan
The Almost Zero meal plan is three easy days, one aggressive technique, and major fat loss.
The plan is designed to break even the worst stall, and burn off large amounts of stored fat – in 3 days.
- The Technique
- 75 Recipes (60 under 1 net carb)
- Sample Menus