There are so many weight loss diet books and reviews such as Nutrisystem reviews out there, it’s hard to know which diet to follow. Low fat, low carb, a high protein which one to pick?
We hear a lot about low carb diet programs these days. Do they work? Yes. Are they hard to stick with? Yes! Most people who start a low carb diet eventually quit. It’s hard to keep our carb consumption down to 20 – 60 grams per day.
Both the Atkins diet and the Southbeach diet tell you to go through a period (1 – 3 weeks) of carb consumption of 20 grams a day or less. At that level, you have to watch the labels of everything you eat for fear of a few extra carbs creeping in. The purpose of this induction phase is to rapidly re-channel your body from burning sugars as its preferred fuel source to fat as its preferred fuel source. The induction phase can be very difficult with participants feeling lethargic, shaky, headache is prone, and more. The reason is the sharp metabolic turnaround these low carb diets are after. The induction phase also sends the human body into a state of ketosis which can be hard on the kidneys.
Look, the problem of eating too many carbohydrates is; if more than your body’s metabolic needs are consumed, there is a spillover effect where not only is excess sugars are converted to fat, any fat consumed at that time will also be converted to fat. Insulin levels are raised which turns on the conveyor belt to our fat cells. Limiting carbs at each meal to 20 grams or less while consuming a balanced or higher amount of protein grams (protein increases your body’s metabolic burn rate) and not going overboard with fat will lead to safe, effective and surprisingly quick weight loss if paired with proper exercise and the Accelerate Program.
There are a few basic principles that can be followed to construct a sound, healthy, and most importantly, effective low carb diet.
- None Calories do count. However, too few calories can reduce your metabolic rate and low-calorie diets should be avoided.
- None You need sufficient protein to build muscle mass, keep skin, hear and nails at their best and feed your brain. Protein also increases your body’s metabolic burn rate provided that you don’t consume more than 40 grams per meal.
- None Carbohydrates are not inherently bad. Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet. Excess consumption of refined carbs in the form of bread, cereals, crackers, cookies, and more, however, will lead to fat gain.
- None Fat consumption is not inherently bad. Consumption of some fats is essential to good health and weight loss. Consumption of any hydrogenated fat is bad for your arteries and your weight loss program.
- None Frequent modest-sized meals are better for weight loss than a few large meals.
Most importantly, one ‘size’ does not fit all. Calorie consumption and the ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fat are dependent on your height, current lean body mass, and physical activity. Two people who are the same height and weight may have significantly different caloric needs if one is 19% body fat and is highly active, and the other is 26% body fat and sedentary.
So how do you create a healthy low carb diet plan that will help you to lose weight?
- None Eat between .80 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For many of you, that will require an increase in protein consumption. If you are sedentary, keep to the low end of the guideline. The more you exercise, the more protein you need to retain your muscle mass. If you are weightlifting two or three times per week (heavyweights not light ones), move more to the high end of the range. Thus if you weigh 150lbs and are doing 25 – 30 minutes of aerobics three times per week, consider eating .8 – .9 grams per pound of body weight or 120 – 135 grams of protein per day. Try to apportion your protein consumption to be increments of 15 – 35 grams per meal. This means that more than three meals a day are required. (You may find it convenient to supplement your protein consumption with Accelerate Ultra Whey protein shakes.)
- None If you are looking to drop weight quickly, carbohydrate consumption should be limited. That said, the 20 gram per day carb suggestions put forth in some diets to send your body into ketosis are not healthy. Most of the weight loss you get from the first two weeks on those diets is just water weight loss. Also, the body is more likely to cannibalize itself (reduce precious muscle mass) when in a state of ketosis. We recommend that you eat 75 – 100 grams of carbs per day if sedentary or if you wish to lose weight more quickly. If you are fairly active, increase that number to 150 grams or more per day. Do not eat more than 25 grams of carb at any one meal. Eat the majority of your carbohydrates before 7 PM each day.
- None Your carb consumption should be of fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g., beans and lentils) and very limited portions of unrefined grains (e.g., old fashioned oatmeal or barley in soup). Target 25 – 30 grams of fiber a day. You are probably not consuming anywhere near 25 grams of fiber a day now, so you need to increase the fiber consumption over a period of 1-2 weeks so your digestive tract has time to accommodate the increase.
- None Based on your desire to lose weight, consume between 60 and 125 grams of fats per day. Do incorporate healthy fats wherever possible. Healthy fats include flaxseed oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, and oils found in much cold-water fish such as salmon. Try not to consume hydrogenated fats (such as margarine). Pre-packaged foods often use hydrogenated fats. Read the labels carefully!
- None Avoid fructose, a sweetener used in a lot of pre-packaged foods whenever possible. Some research supports the claim that fructose may indirectly lead to weight gain. Sucralose (a.k.a., Splenda), a sugar substitute is fine, however.
- None Drink one ounce of water for each pound of body weight. For many of us, this would be a gallon or more of water a day. The increased water will help keep hunger pangs away, flush out toxins, and help your body deal with the increased protein and fiber you will be consuming.
A daily diet target for a 150lb woman who takes an aerobic class 2 or 3 times a week and may do a little walking would look as follows:
Note: Your daily caloric totals may fluctuate up or down by a margin of 10% on any day. That makes the range for this example between 1,521 and 1,859.
A sample day’s eating plan for these totals could look as follows:
If you have a sweet tooth, consider mixing up (1)TBSP Sugar-Free; Fat-Free Chocolate Pudding with 10 grams of Accelerate Ultra Whey chocolate protein powder and a little low-fat milk (1% or 2%) This will add about 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs and about 5 grams of fat for an additional 105 calories. Notice how the protein at each meal equals or exceeds the carb grams. Also eating this way will likely increase the number of fruits and vegetables from what you are eating now. Finally, you will feel like you eat a lot while having more energy and will lose the late morning or mid-afternoon energy slumps you may be experiencing now. This is a low carb diet you can live with.