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What are your thoughts on the Atkin's Diet (or any low carb diets in general)?


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I've been trying to count calories but I always end up eating more than I should (I eat out quite a bit and it's hard to guesstimate how much calories I'm actually eating), and a friend suggested I do low-carb instead of pure low calories, so I'm thinking of trying that. 

I read up on some of the diets and Atkin's at induction is the most extreme at only 20g of carbs. I'll probably try for around 50-60g and maybe decrease over time, would that be ok? Or I should go straight for as low as possible for best results? 

My main source of meals tend to be breads, rice, pasta etc. so it's very high in carb, and I'm not sure if cutting carbs so completely will adversely affect my body?

I also did some food planning for the next couple days, and it seems that if I go for low-carb, my calorie intake also becomes very low since I will be eating mostly vegetables (I'm not a big meat eater), and I'm worried that would become a problem (I don't want to eat below 1400-1500cal for BMR so that my metabolism won't go into hybernation).  

Thanks!

PS: Some general information about myself in case it's needed: I'm female, 24yrs old, university student (mostly sedentary with 1-2 workouts a week). I used to be about 110lb before going into university and have gained weight steadily throughout and now currently weigh around 150lbs and I'm trying to return to about 110lbs. My height is approx 5'5 (just slightly under, at about 164cm).

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Original Post by kurakaze:

I've been trying to count calories but I always end up eating more than I should (I eat out quite a bit and it's hard to guesstimate how much calories I'm actually eating), and a friend suggested I do low-carb instead of pure low calories, so I'm thinking of trying that. 

I read up on some of the diets and Atkin's at induction is the most extreme at only 20g of carbs. I'll probably try for around 50-60g and maybe decrease over time, would that be ok? Or I should go straight for as low as possible for best results? 

My main source of meals tend to be breads, rice, pasta etc. so it's very high in carb, and I'm not sure if cutting carbs so completely will adversely affect my body?

I also did some food planning for the next couple days, and it seems that if I go for low-carb, my calorie intake also becomes very low since I will be eating mostly vegetables (I'm not a big meat eater), and I'm worried that would become a problem (I don't want to eat below 1400-1500cal for BMR so that my metabolism won't go into hybernation).  

Thanks!

PS: Some general information about myself in case it's needed: I'm female, 24yrs old, university student (mostly sedentary with 1-2 workouts a week). I used to be about 110lb before going into university and have gained weight steadily throughout and now currently weigh around 150lbs and I'm trying to return to about 110lbs. My height is approx 5'5 (just slightly under, at about 164cm).

I was exactly where you are now when I started. It's been over 2 years, and I'm still happily low carb. I found it too easy to cheat just counting calories, too..and found my diet was a lot healthier once I went low carb because I was paying more attention to food, rather than just thinking "oh, this cookie fits with my limit, so why not"

As for whether or not induction level is right for you..it's a matter of preference. I don't think 20 grams is a magical number for weight loss..if you're going from hundreds of grams a day to 50, I think you'd see results.

People have different levels that work for them.

I still aim for no more than 20 a day, but that's mostly out of fear, lol.

once the weight was off, I began taking weekends off, so I'm only that strict M-F.

It keeps me from burning out on it, and I still get to have things I love.

But..I did wait until that lousy 20-something pounds was off.

 

I'm no expert on this topic, but I've been reading a lot about it, so can at least tell you what I have read.

There are many reviewers of the Arkins diet who contend that the reason low card diets work is because you are cutting out an entire food category, limiting the foods to select from, and therefore reducing calories consumed.

There are others who suggest that some bodies over use of carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, glucose and fructose, leading to an eventual resistance to insulance and some kind of chain of events leading to increased fat production. Those body types do better avoiding carbs in favour of proteins and fats.

Yet other groups argue that its dietary fat that causes fat and the only sensible approach is to construct a diet featuring carbs as the base.

As yet there is no definitive choice about which works best, and for which person. The one thing that I could see that ran across all the theories was that decreasing calorie consumption and burning more than you use is pretty much a consensus.

From what I'm seeing, your diet is heavily based in more refined carbohydrates, that meat based proteins are not your favourites, and that complex carbs and vegetables don't make up the bulk of your diet.

I have read time and time again that giving up carbohydrates entirely will not lead to an unhealthy diet. Eating vegetables delivers enough carbs as well as other essential nutrients. Protein does play an important role, but its possible to get it from non meat sources. However, carbs play an important fuelling role, keeping the body active at a reasonable cost, too.

So rather than do anything radical, why don't you try replacing all carbs with "intact grains" and significantly controlling grain portions, selecting mainly from vegetables,  and choosing plant based proteins whenever you can... and doing that within a good calorie range for you.

As far as I can tell its the most reasonable approach in a world of controversy. It does mean you have to change things. You may have to focus on a different kind of restaurant, like Ethiopian, or whole food, or vegetarian.

Of all of the things I have tried, and after lot of frustration with unsuccessful dieting using simple calorie counting or weight watchers points, I am finding this approach is working.The quality of the nutrients I take in seems to be solving cravings, binge eating, hunger, and all of the other things that usually have me climbing the walls, and for the first time in a long time I'm actually seeing weight loss.

I'm sorry if this seems garbled; I'm only just starting to learn it all. Others here will know a lot more... and I found this web site really informative too'

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/home/

Good luck!

Total garbage. You need fats/protein/carbs in order to feel &look ur best.. Cheers

Atkin's "works" because of the lower calories you consume, not because of eliminating carbs.

You don't have to go as low as 20g per day, according to Lyle McDonald anything under 100g per day is likely to put you in ketosis.

The key to keto dieting is eating less than you burn, that's a given.

 

I prefer the Cyclical Ketogenic approach, I have a carb up every 10 days or so. Much better for athletes.

You identify that your problem is that you cannot maintain your calorie count limit then give us the reason is that your main meals are bread, reice pasta.

So there you have your answer. You are not allowed to have bread rice or pasta. OR You may have one of these three maximum once in three days. Set a rule and try again. Trying to have a target of Xg of carbs makes llife harder. Limit calories by specifically not allowing yourself to have certain items high on empty calories.

I'm with raychelc...  I absolutely LOVE this way of eating.

So 5 years ago I did the calorie count only thing (with exercise, natch), and my entire day was taken up with *FOOD*.  Thinking about eating, eating, and oh, yeah, that cookie was okay.  And it was amazingly difficult to stay at or slightly under my 1700 goal for the day (this was at a point when I was exercising way more than I'm up to right now).

Well, one too many cookies being okay later, here I am again.

And theeeeeeeennnnn... my MIL bought tickets for everyone to go to the Caribbean at the end of July O.o. 

Well, I can't do Weight Watchers because their points system makes me binge (tried it with mom once years ago and WOW - I experienced my first binge in my 30s - got off that *real* quick) due to what I now believe is not enough food for me.  Looked at South Beach, but I *really* love cream in my tea.  That was one thing I wasn't willing to give up, because I wasn't going to live without it forever (they looked low fat AND low carb).  Wandered over to the Atkins site and thought, "I can do this!" 

I really just wanted something to help get me jump started.  I mean, I knew calorie counting worked, but it just seemed so daunting...

The first +/- two weeks I stayed between 20 & 40 NET carbs (carbs minus fiber)... and it was HELL for the first week/week.5.  Yeah, their induction wants you at 20-25 net, but some days it just didn't work out that way.  My body was apparently a carb running machine and it was NOT happy about getting rid of them.  Honestly it was like going through withdrawal.  And then one day I woke up and the sun was shining and the birds were singing and I didn't have a headache anymore and I felt GOOD. 

However within that first week of starting, I showed up back over here because the quantity of food I was consuming didn't seem to be enough (I'd done this before, after all), and OMG, it so wasn't enough.  CC was telling me about 1300 cals to lose so much by such and such date. So I aimed for that... and it was HARD to reach those calories.  Somehow in this process I've actually learned to like the taste of avocados (high fat/high cal food).  I stalled out pretty quickly on 1300 cals.  Wiggled them around, found I can't go under 1400 at all, and my body is perfectly happy to drop at 1500-1600. 

I eat a lot of nuts and veges.  Some days I absolutely get tired of chewing.  But it's been EASY (well, except for the struggle to reach my calorie goal).  I don't have any cravings anymore, and I don't worry about vege carbs.  I mostly just stay away from grain and startchy/sugary foods.  And on those days when I want a "treat", I have one.  Because, I'm not going to give them up forever either - I just have been training myself that "treats" are just that and not a way of everyday life. 

Oh, and V8 - while not the best vege juice for you - is one of my daily staples.  LOVE it.  Never gave it up, even during induction.  Drank a lesser amount during induction, but it is part of my life-long eating plan so Atkins can bite my oversized butt.

I wasn't looking for super fast loss - though I was hoping for that 10 pound loss in 2 weeks ;)  Most of that is water.  Apparently I only had about 7 pounds of water in me.  The loss has leveled out to about a pound a week now.

So again, it's just keeping your calories up, but down, moving around, and deciding what it is that YOU can live with for life.  I haven't missed the breads and pastas and such, but if that is something that you're going to want in your life later, really and honestly you'd be better off incorporating them into your meal plan (go for whole grain options though) now and just accounting for the calories.  Yes, it's easy to keep your cals within range doing the low carb option, but not if you're going to be looking longingly at someone else's plate of fettuccine in a restaurant.  People usually frown on that ;)

And for a vegetarian plan on "low carb", don't be afraid of the higher carb numbers.  It all still works.  Calories in < Calories out.

I set my carb ceiling at 150 and try to stay under 100.  Usually I end up around 80 and get all my carbs from fruits and veggies.  I don't do grains anymore and stay away from sweets and processed foods.  I do get some dark chocolate on this plan as long as it's over 60% cocoa.  If I am short cals for the day I add some nuts, doesn't take much to add those up and they have healthy fats.

The best thing I have found with this plan is I don't crave sweets anymore.  One was never enough and I was always overeating them.  I pretty easily stay within my cal range and am not fighting the "snackies" all the time.  I really think I can do this long term with no problem.  You need to find what works for you.  Good luck.

I've done Atkins before, did it for 18 months and I did lose weight. No wonder, as a couple of posters pointed out, the calorie intake is quite low for someone who is mild-moderately active (maybe the intake works better if you are totally sedentary?? But that is not healthy). 

Anyway, my point was that like yours, prior to Atkins my diet was mostly carb centric, love the bread, rice and pasta (not the white stuff I hasten to add). It was really hard to virtually give them up. And I was really strict with the Atkins rules. In the end (after 18 months) I was basically craving carbs all.the.time. It was all I could think about. Maybe Rachelc's method (once you are at your goal weight) is the right approach.

For me Once I reached my goal weight, I found that I just went nuts on carbs and then regained a large amount of what I lost. 

Same here.  My doctor told me to lower carbs to 60-100 per day but no more.  I feel sooo much better by doing this.  I am trying to keep my protein about 150 or above and my calories at 1800.

Ya... Not working so well... I have to eat something very high in caloriest to get my cals even up to 1500.  I generally have a small bowl of ice cream becuase I have some carbs to spare and need the calories.  I am generally ok on the protein, so I don't necessarily need the nuts for the protein.

I have lost so far, 7 lbs since 3/1.  I will be weighing again soon and hopefully will have lost a few more.

#11  
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From reading your post I would actually suggest before you cut out carbs you try to cut down on the amount you eat out. Like most people have said, the biggest reason low carb works is because your essentially lowering your calorie consumption. If you cut out meat or dairy you'd have the same results. The problem with restaurant food is that they are super calorie dense and like you said its hard to guesstimate. So you could think your doing well by getting that chicken salad but in reality restaurant salads average between 800-1000 calories without any dressing. Your better off getting the steak and potatoes! Try preparing your own meals more and going for whole grains instead of white and you might see some results. Also weigh/measure your food! Don't just blindly fill half the plate with rice. 1/4 to half a cup is more than enough. Fill the extra space with veggies.
dukan not atkins! you gain back with atkins! dukan slowly transitions you back so by te end youre following the all protein only one day a week and eating carbs etc six days. and its not that bad to follow. you feel better. its raychelc one day a week by the time youre done - the veggies or anyother carbs.

If you look at the maintenance phase of atkins, and then the zone, and then south beach and then the USDA food recommendations you will see they are all the same thing. 

Whatever you call the diet, bottom line is most people need to eat more protein and more healthy fats (from avocado, olive oil, coconut oil ...). If you keep your calories the same and increase protein and fat, then by default you need to reduce carbs in order not to over eat. 

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