You might think that low carb diets are all the same; you limit the amount of carbs you consume, right?
Well, not exactly. There are numerous types of low carb diets, all with a different base of foods or a different objective in mind. While all low carb diets can help you lose weight, not all have that as their main purpose.
This varies greatly, depending on the diet, what you are trying to achieve and your preferences.
The lower the grams of carbs, the more effective your eating plan will be. Weight will drop off like crazy, fewer symptoms of diabetes, greater health benefits, and more the fewer carbs you consume. There is a price to pay, however, in that your food choices are more restricted, you might become bored, all of which makes a super low carb diet more of a challenge.
We will list the following eating plans in terms of just how "low" they are considered on the dietary scale, so to speak.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular low carb diets so you can find the right one for you.
Less than 20 grams each day - This is perhaps the strictest of all the low carb plans. If your goal is to lose a great deal of weight, however, this might be the plan for you. The Ketogenic Diet has no cheat days or cheat meals. Most people find this very difficult to stick to for any length of time or if they ever plan on eating out or at someone's home!
The good part about the ketogenic diet is that, not only will you drop pounds like crazy! When your body no longer has access to carbs in the foods you eat, it must burn fat stores as its source of energy.
If you can't live without an occasional lasagna dinner or you crave fruit more than anything else, this diet plan is NOT for you.
Varies 20 to 40 grams - The Atkins Diet is the gold standard for low carb diets and has been around since the 1970’s. You can decide how severely you wish to cut carbs; today, most people use the Atkins 40 plan, which limits you to no more than 40 grams of carbs each day, to lose weight and keep it off.
Most people find that they lose weight gradually, but steadily on this eating plan. Allowing 40 grams of carbs means you can generally enjoy a piece of fruit each day or plan for those special occasions by “saving” carbs earlier in the day.
Low carb, however, still means cutting out those comfort foods, such as pasta and bread.
The Atkins diet has been proven in studies to be both safe and effective, although some people find the limited carb count boring.
If you can't live without your spaghetti Sunday's or if you live for fruit, you might find this diet too restrictive.
Varies depending on the phase, but in general, less than 20 carbs per day - The Dukan Diet plan claims that you can lose 10 pounds in 7 days, and then continue to lose as much as 4 pounds a week. This is all done via a low carb diet. The second half of the plan says that you can maintain your new, healthy weight by eating as much as you want from their list of 100 foods. Again, this list is made up of low carb, low calorie foods, such as celery and watermelon.
This 4 stage plan can be very restrictive for most people, especially during the first few weeks. However, if you want to lose weight quickly and know that you can keep it off as long as you stick to the “OK Food List”, this plan would work great for you.
One of the great things here is that you are told exactly what you can eat. There are no extra costs, since there is nothing special to buy. You can sign up for added online support, even a nutritionist who will personalize your diet plan, but it isn’t necessary.
If you enjoy following the rules and are a stickler for details, this diet will work for you. If you want to choose what to eat, when you want to eat it, you might want to think about the Ketogenic or Atkins diet plan. This eating plan has no cheat days and no flexibility, so consider this before you undertake this low carb plan.
You should check with your doctor before beginning any new weight loss or eating plan to ensure that you are doing what is best for your unique situation. This is especially true if you are taking any medications, or if you have any health problems.
Less than 50 grams each day - Sometimes called the caveman diet, the Paleo Diet allows for all the vegetables and meat you can eat, along with some fruit, but absolutely prohibits grains, dairy, legumes and lentils. Who ever saw a caveman milking a cow, right? If cavemen didn't eat it, neither can you. More than weight loss, this diet is designed to rid the body of many of the problems that are linked to grains and sugar, including joint pain, digestive problems, and asthma.
The Paleo diet is sometimes called the “Anti-inflammation diet” as it cuts out processed foods. This is a great diet if you want to have better health and lose weight at the same time.
The good things about this diet plan is that you can pretty much eat as much as you want when it comes to meat and vegetables, so you aren't hungry… EVER. Paleo has become so popular that many restaurants and grocery stores list Paleo meals or options.
However, if you think cheese is a deal breaker or that you simply couldn't live without grandma's lentil soup on the weekends, you might want to think twice about this diet plan.
Varies 50-100 grams each day - Perhaps the best thing about the Whole 30 diet is that it’s only 30 days in length. The bad thing is that most people expect to lose weight on this diet and most don’t.
The Whole 30 Diet is not meant to be a weight loss plan, but an elimination diet, to help you feel better and uncover unknown food sensitivities, allergic reactions to chemicals and preservatives, etc.
This diet plan does not count calories, although it does forbid sugar, alcohol, and artificial anything. This could lead to weight loss, but often doesn't.
If weight loss is not your main focus, but natural eating is, this will be the perfect eating plan for you.
High In Healthy Fat - The Mediterranean Diet eating plan is a heart healthy diet which focuses more on eating healthy, rather than on losing weight, although this does happen for many people.
Consuming large quantities of vegetables, fish, and healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocados, make up the main ingredients of this diet.
If you love a rich meal and feel that no dinner is complete without at least a piece of garlic toast, this is a good plan for you. Although most people only lose a few pounds, the main idea behind this eating plan is moderate, healthy meals, not necessarily weight loss.
Most people find this the easiest diet to stick to, but are often disappointed that they didn’t lose as much weight as they hoped to.
If you don't need to lose weight (or perhaps just a few pounds) but you want to eat a balanced, healthy diet, this is the perfect plan for you.