These Different Low-Carb Diets Should Be Known Before Starting With Low-Carb
As already mentioned in our low-carb introduction, is the low-carb nutrition not limited to one concrete rule. There’s not the “one” low-carb nutrition and the different low-carb diet varieties follow their own rules.
If you intensively engage in low-carb, you should be aware of the different low-carb dietary theories, so as not to get caught by various internet myths. To choose the low-carb diet that best suits your needs, we put together the most common low-carb diets.
The Atkins Diet
The reduction diet of Robert Atkins (✭ 1930; ✟ 2003), a US nutritionist, is one of the pioneers in the modern low-carb nutrition forms. The diet was published by R. Atkins, formerly also overweight, in 1972 and created a true low-carb hype in the USA. The new diet consisted of a lot of fat and protein and a low amount of carbohydrates.
In order to achieve a fast and efficient burning of fat, the Atkins diet is divided into four phases. In the first phase, only a maximum of 20 grams of carbohydrates are permitted every day. The first phase lasts 14 days. Many patients complain about headache, fatigue, irritability, and sometimes even ravenous appetite during this phase. This phenomenon is also known as “Atkins Flu”.
The second phase usually lasts 2-8 weeks. In each week the amount of carbohydrates is increased by 5 g. The last increase in carbohydrates will be reverted at the moment you can no longer lose weight. Depending on your physique, age, sex, hormonal and health conditions, the daily intake of carbohydrates will even out between 30 g – 80 g daily.
In the third phase, it is necessary to determine your personal carbohydrate limit and to prepare for the final phase. You can increase the amount of carbohydrates by 10 g every week. Now the body loses weight only slowly and it is necessary to adjust your dietary habits. Your body permanently leaves the ketosis and you should have reached your desired weight. In this phase, carbohydrate-rich foods with complex carbohydrates are allowed again, such as oat flakes.
Phase 4 is the last phase. However, you should have reached a lifelong dietary change. Your body neither loses nor gains weight. In this phase, you also eat foods that you have eaten before the diet. You only pay attention to your personal carbohydrate limit. Refined sugar, white flour and bad fats should still be avoided at this stage.
The LOGI Method
The Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University in Boston has also dealt intensively with the ideal nutritional concept and has developed a method that is suitable for every human being. The LOGI method is intended not only for overweight people as a reduction diet, but as a permanent diet for people who want to eat consciously and healthy to maintain their personal ideal weight.
The acronym LOGI stands for Low Glycemic and Insulinemic. The aim of the LOGI method is to keep the blood glucose level steady and the insulin level relatively low.
What Is Allowed to Eat in The LOGI Method
With this low carb-diet, there are basically no prohibitions. Similar to the dietary pyramid is the so-called LOGI nutritional pyramid. The dietary pyramid is divided into four stages. There are foods that can be eaten frequently, often, little or rarely.
In the first stage, you may eat vegetables as much as you like; also, fruits are generally permitted. However, it is important to avoid very sweet fruits because they have a high sugar content and therefore a high glycemic load. Recommended are three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily.
In the second stage, there are, among other things, protein-rich foods dictated. Here you can eat lean meat, poultry and fish but also food such as legumes, eggs, nuts and dairy products are available. If you look at the third step of the LOGI method, you will see that this low-carb diet also rarely allows the use of carbohydrate rich ingredients like whole grain products. This is similar with the last phase of the Atkins Diet.
The LOGI Method – A Permanent Dietary Change
This low-carb diet is also not a pure reduction diet, but a permanent dietary change. Various clinical studies have demonstrated the positive effect, especially for obese people. For a lot of people, the advantage of this low-carb diet is that carbohydrate-rich foods don’t have to be completely forgone and are allowed to a moderate extent.
The daily diet and energy supply consists of about 25% protein-rich food and about 45% fatty food. It is also necessary to drink a lot of water due to the increased dietary fiber intake by vegetables and legumes.
The Montignac Method
This method is not a pure low-carb diet. The Montignac method uses different nutritional concepts. In addition to the idea of food combining, elements from the low-carb diet and methods from the Glyx diet are used. The Montignac method is also a permanent dietary change. The main focus of the selected food is on the so-called glycemic index.
The glycemic index indicates the amount of starch in a food that will be absorbed into the blood stream when consumed. The single sugar glucose serves with 100% as a guideline. In this modified low-carb diet carbohydrates are divided into three categories. In very good carbohydrates, in good carbohydrates, and in bad carbohydrates.
Very good carbohydrates have a glycemic index up to 35, good carbohydrates have a glycemic index of 35-50 and bad carbohydrates have a glycemic index of 50-100. All foodstuffs falling into category three should be avoided since they lead to a weight increase.
The phases of the Montignac method
In this diet, the subject also runs through two phases. The first phase is used to reduce the weight and normalize the functions of the pancreas. Only foods with a low glycemic index may be eaten during this phase. In the second phase, the goal is to keep your weight steady. Now also carbohydrate-rich foods from the category two, like potatoes, are allowed.
The Glyx Diet
The Glyx diet is very similar to the Montignac method. However, in the Montignac method only the glycemic index is considered, but in the Glyx diet the glycemic load is also took in consideration. The glycemic load is an advanced way of looking at the glycemic index and takes into account the density of carbohydrates in a food. For a better understanding it is advisable to include the glycemic load as well as the glycemic index in the calculation. Take a look at the following example:
The glycemic index of cooked carrots is at about 70. Since carrots have a low carbohydrate density about 700 grams of carrots must be eaten to consume 50 g of carbohydrates.
That’s different for foods with high carbohydrate density. Baguette bread also has a glycemic index of 70, but 100 grams baguette bread provides 48 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, after just 104 g of baguette bread you have consumed the same amount of 50 g of carbohydrates.
Starting from a glycemic index of 70, the calculated correct statement is:
“The consumption of 104 g baguette bread leads to the same blood glucose reaction as the consumption of 700 g cooked carrots.” (Source: Wikipedia).
The New York Diet
The New York diet can be broadly referred to as a crash diet among the low-carb diets. This low-carb diet is also divided into different phases. In the first phase, the subject must completely forgo carbohydrates. We are talking about a so-called no-carb diet in the first phase. The first phase has to last for two weeks.
In this phase, you can only drink water, drink sugar-free tea, eat white meat, fish, and vegetables. For the small hunger in between, nuts are allowed as a snack. According to the inventor of this diet, David Kirsch, personal trainer and author, you should lose up to seven kilos of weight with the New York Diet in the first two weeks.
The second phase of this low-carb diet also lasts two weeks. Carbohydrates are, however, permitted in this phase, but only in very small quantities. Here, pod fruits such as beans or lentils are allowed. In addition, those who are willing to take part may have recourse to fruit varieties such as berries.
The third phase also serves as a permanent nutritional concept in this diet. In the New York diet, the main focus is not only nutrition but also sports. Up to 90 minutes of exercise daily and the consumption of various food supplements is advised. The corresponding food supplements are sold by David Kirsch in his own shop. Especially the sports program is critically questioned in this diet, since it is not suitable for untrained people.
The South Beach Diet
The South Beach diet is another miracle diet from the US. Again, we are dealing with a three-phase diet. In the first phase carbohydrates are basically taboo. In the second phase, foods with a low glycemic index may be eaten.
Once the target weight is reached, any carbohydrate is allowed until a new weight increase occurs. Then it is necessary to reduce the carbohydrates again. Daily food intake is divided into three main meals and three smaller meals in the form of snacks.
The Slow Carb Diet
The Slow Carb diet is falsely equated by laymen of low-carb blogs or in Facebook groups with a moderate low-carb diet, but this comparison is wrong in every respect. Although the Slow Carb diet is a low-carb diet it has some extreme restrictions and unilateral eating habits.
The Slow Carb diet was developed by Timothy Ferris. Some know him from his bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek”. In reference to this book, Timothy Ferris has authored the book “The 4-Hour Body”.
Timothy Ferris promises a weight loss of 10 kilos within 30 days with his Slow Carb diet. During this time only complex carbohydrates, which are only slowly processed by the body, and to a high degree proteins are eaten. The following foods are prohibited in the Slow Carb diet:
- All fruit varieties
- Any dairy products
- All whole-grain products
- Without exception, all drinks which contain calories
- No products with refined sugar or white flour
In addition to all the prohibitions, the Slow Carb Diet requires to eat pod fruits and many proteins from meat or fish for every meal. A lot of vegetables are also allowed. During the slow carb diet the meals must be made from a fixed selection of foods, which can be quite monotonous in the long run. However, you can eat as much as you like.
Do all this six days a week but on the seventh day you can eat everything you want, as much as you want. Most people also known this day as the so-called Cheat Day.
If you look at the Slow Carb diet, you can even see with an untrained eye that this diet is quite monotonous and can lead to a nutrient deficiency. Timothy Ferris is aware of this problem and therefore recommends compensating for this deficiency with dietary supplements.
The Lutz Diet
The Lutz Diet is even older than the Atkins Diet. Doctor Wolfgang Lutz from Austria developed his view of a low-carb diet already between 1950 and 1960. While the Atkins Diet was designed and marketed as a reduction diet, Wolfgang Lutz was concerned about the general well-being and the positive effects on the human body for diseases.
Lutz followed the theory that humans are genetically not adapted to a carbohydrate-rich diet. After all, humans were mainly hunters and gatherers during their evolution and therefore could not consume grain or other high-glycemic carbohydrates.
The Lutz Diet is less restrictive compared to the Atkins diet, especially in its first stages, and allows up to 6 bread units (72 g carbohydrates) a day. These can also be consumed from carbohydrate-rich food sources such as rice, noodles or potatoes. The Lutz Diet belongs to the so-called low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diets and provides large amounts of fat and proteins for energy supply.