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Low Carbohydrate Diet

The low carbohydrate diet is a variant of the Atkins, or high protein, programme. As our diet plan review explains, the low carbohydrate diet is based on the premise that a diet low in carbohydrates will lead to a reduction in the body's insulin production, resulting in fat and protein stores being used as the body's main energy source. The aim of the low carbohydrate diet is to force the body to use fat as its main energy source.

The diet meal plans of the low carbohydrate diet cut out virtually all carbohydrates, and increase protein and fat intake. This means cutting out things like bread, pasta, rice and alcohol, whilst eating unlimited amounts of meat, fish, cheese and butter. In the short term, people on low carbohydrate diets people do lose weight, often losing it quickly, but the majority of the weight loss is water and muscle tissue, not fat, which is what you need to lose if you want to keep the weight off.

There are many criticisms of the programme; mainly that it's an unsustainable programme for weight loss. Also, the body produces "ketone bodies" to fuel parts of the body that cannot use fat as an energy source, namely the brain, and red blood cells in particular. When this happens the person is said to be in a state of ketosis - this is characterised by smelly breath and side effects such as nausea, headaches and fatigue. There seems to be a general consensus that a low carbohydrate diet, with its protein rich diet meal plans and recipes, is effective in producing rapid weight loss but is unsuitable as a long term dietary plan.