It’s often said that nobody ever completely leaves the dessert stage, but there are ways to fight food addiction. One of the best ways to do so is via an extreme low-carb diet. Whether you’re looking to drop a dress size or just want to try something new, there are various ways to approach the increasingly popular diet.
The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is probably the most talked about low-carb diet these days. Essentially, it is a low-carb diet that utilizes high fat foods (such as butter and eggs) instead of carbohydrates (such as grains, rice, and pasta). This can actually be a great option for people who want to lose weight as it helps to boost the metabolism, resulting in faster weight loss compared to a standard low-carb diet.
The key to the ketogenic diet is to keep the fat content of your diet as high as possible while avoiding excess carbohydrates. This helps your body to enter a state of ketosis, which is when the body uses its own fat for energy rather than carbohydrates (which are usually derived from starchy foods). In ketosis your body also produces ketones, which are a source of energy for the brain. So by maintaining a high fat diet, you will ensure you get the best from it.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been around for a while and is considered to be one of the healthier dietary patterns. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages food abundance, particularly in terms of fruits and vegetables. The diet also encourages you to get your vitamins from natural foods rather than synthetic supplements, so it is a step back from the ‘pre-industrial’ era when many people relied on vitamin injections to boost their health.
However, even though the Mediterranean diet is rich in nutrients, it is high in carbohydrates. In fact, a 2017 study found that those adhering to the diet had an average of 144g of carbohydrates a day – more than double the 74g recommended daily intake. While this could perhaps be chalked up to the study sample’s higher income and education, the fact remains that this is a lot of carbs for those on the diet. Furthermore, the diet lacks the necessary fats that our bodies need to function optimally. For these reasons, if you’re looking for a low-carb option, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t fulfill the role as well as some other alternatives.
The LCHF Diet
The low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet gets its name because it limits the amount of carbs you consume while increasing the amount of fats. This results in less carbohydrate availability for the body, which then forces it into a state of ketosis. It is a great option for people who want to lose weight quickly and safely.
In the LCHF diet, you are encouraged to eat fat, meat, and vegetables while avoiding fruit, which is high in carbohydrates. There is no specific daily amount recommended for carbs, but general guidelines advise consuming between 20g and 40g of carbohydrates per day. This will vary based on your goals and the amount of exercise you do, but as a starting point you might want to try eating somewhere around 30g of carbs per day.
Those following the LCHF diet report lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure compared to those on a standard diet, with some studies even showing reductions in heart disease. In addition to helping with weight loss, some research suggests the diet can also be effective in treating type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. While its popularity has increased in recent years, the LCHF diet wasn’t always so unique. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, people were already talking about high-fat diets and how they helped to reduce the risk of heart disease.
There are several other options for those seeking a low-carb diet. You could try a vegan diet, for example, which encourages you to avoid all animal products, or you could try the Paleolithic diet, which focuses on the fruit, vegetables, and grains that our ancestors actually ate. The popular ‘keto’ diet, which stands for ‘ketogenic’, also has many variations. As the name would suggest, it is based on a diet that uses ketones rather than carbohydrates for energy. There is also the GKR diet, which stands for ‘Gluten-free, Kosher diet’, and the SLDN diet, which stands for ‘Sugar-less, Dairy-free diet’ (this last one is not actually a diet at all, but it helps to promote a healthier lifestyle).
The point is that there are plenty of options for those seeking a low-carb diet. If you aren’t sure which one to choose, take into account your health objectives and how much you want to lose. Then, pick the variation that makes the most sense for you.