If you have been exploring options to slim down, you might have noticed that among the choices, low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets such as Atkins, the keto diet, and Dukan are pretty popular.
All three of Atkins, Dukan, and Google’s most searched diets for the year have made it onto the 2016 US News & World Report’s selection for the finest diets for weight-loss.
The fundamentals of all of these regimens are the same: by restricting carbohydrates, the body will start to utilize the stored fat as a source of energy. Is one of these plans more probable to result in dropping weight?
We had the opportunity to talk to Edwina Clark, R.D., the boss of nutrition and wellness for Yummly, to understand the distinctions and similarities between the three diets.
Clark mentions that the ketogenic diet consists of a high fat intake, a moderate amount of protein, and a low intake of carbohydrates. Approximately three-fourths of one’s caloric intake should come from fat, while carbohydrates should make up between 5 and 10 percent, and the remainder coming from protein. This diet causes your body to switch to running on fat rather than carbs due to the fact that carbohydrates are restricted to 50 grams or lower, which is a process referred to as ketosis.
The ketogenic diet differs from the Atkins and Dukan diets, as it does not involve transitioning through different stages. Maintain your current intake of low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-protein food until you reach your desired weight. Once you achieve your objective, there is no pre-arranged scheme for upkeep.
It’s no shock that significantly cutting back on carbs means that many tasty food items such as beans, potatoes, and most types of fruit will be off the menu. Vegetables that are high in starch, like squash and sweet potatoes, are not allowed, in addition to processed carbs. The importance of meal prepping is emphasized due to carb counting and certain food limitations.
At the start of this diet, you might think you’re losing fat because of the rapid weight decrease, however as Clark explains, this is not actually the case. When people drastically reduce the amount of carbohydrates they consume, the associated water weight is shed as well, according to the source. Additionally, carbs are what the body relies on as an energy source, so reducing your intake too early might leave you feeling exhausted, absentminded, and irritable.
Though you might feel limited by not being able to eat bread and fruit, Clark states that focusing on fat and protein, which are digested slowly, could lead to a feeling of being more satiated. Studies indicate that the formation of ketones during ketosis might reduce the concentration of ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger.
Unfortunately, that’s where the perks stop. Clark expressed concern about how practicable it would be to maintain this type of diet long-term. Clark states that due to its reduced carb consumption, the diet plan in mention could cause nutrient deficiencies over lengthy periods; this is especially true as certain foods are excluded. Furthermore, he argues that getting enough dietary fiber is especially difficult as a result.
There’s such a limited selection of options that it could become dull quickly, possibly leading to an uncontrolled outburst of eating all the foods one is attempting to steer clear of, akin to Cookie Monster’s behavior. When all is said and done, you may weigh more than when you began dieting, because your body will have a tendency to hold onto carbs, like what usually happens when your mother hasn’t seen you for quite a while, according to Clark.
Clark has stated that this particular diet comes in last place due to things like a lack of nourishment, monotony of flavors, an excess of fats, and the potential outcomes of the diet could come back to haunt you.
The Atkins diet consists of four phases, says Clark. No calorie monitoring is necessary, although you do need to pay attention to your carbohydrate intake, making this diet difficult to adhere to. In the initial step (induction), you eliminate most carbohydrates, decreasing the amount of net carbohydrates (net carbs = carbohydates minus fiber) you take in per day to 20 grams, mainly from vegetables. It is necessary to consume a protein source at each meal and three helpings of additional fat per day. This phase lasts an average of two weeks.
During the second part (balancing), Clark says people should allow themselves up to 50g of net carbs each day, and there should be a wider range of sources of nutrition included. This implies that you are able to increase your consumption of vegetables and fruits, plus various types of nuts and seeds. Keep at this stage until you’re around 10 pounds away from your desired weight.
Discovering how to keep your target weight once it has been accomplished is a feature of the third and fourth stages of Atkins. Stage three gives you the possibility to step by step widen the types of food you can eat, including fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and full-fat dairy products. You can use this technique to determine the number of carbohydrates you can consume while still slimming down by introducing 10 grams of net carbohydrates back into your diet until your weight becomes steady, according to Clark. When you reach the point that your weight loss halts before you reach the desired number, you comprehend the necessity to reduce things. This stage is finished when you get your objective weight and keep it stable for four weeks. Phase four is a long-term plan of action, wherein you maintain the dietary practices formed in stage three for the duration of your life.
According to Clark, reducing carbohydrate intake has an effect of causing urination and this will help to begin the process of losing weight. The focus being on protein and fat, which require more time to digest than carbohydrates, hunger should not be a concern.
There is a strong focus on eating natural food and eliminating processed carbohydrates, which reduces the amount of insignificant calories and additional sweeteners. Nevertheless, Clark maintains that the array of Atkins food items, for example, bars, protein drinks, and meals, are not particularly beneficial for one’s health. So be wary.
Once more, consuming drastically less carbohydrates may make you feel fatigued, ill-tempered, and lacking in vigor. Clark believes that this diet is not able to be sustained in the long run. She points out that some individuals may struggle to stay regulated within the constraint and could find themselves back in the same situation they were in before. She emphasizes that it is necessary to work hard to make sure you are taking in enough fiber on a daily basis.
Many people who are on a diet may consider carb counting to be a difficult task, particularly when ingesting food that is not prepared at home. Clark is worried because the diet plan does not prohibit high-fat types of protein like bacon or certain types of steak. She insists that the long-term health impacts of ingesting higher volumes of saturated fat through the Atkins diet are uncertain. Clark ranks the Atkins diet as second best due to its aim of providing dieters with an achievable plan for turning their eating habits into a long-term, sustainable lifestyle, as well as helping to maintain weight loss.
Health Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet
Below are four amazing benefits of embracing a low-carb lifestyle.
Rapid Weight Loss
Investigation suggests that decreased carb dietary patterns can be advantageous for prompt weight reduction and should be followed by those who are overweight or have elevated levels of cholesterol.
A diet that limits carbohydrates can assist with curbing desires, altering food choices, and decreasing appetite, resulting in a natural reduction in weight. Eating a strict low-carb diet with 20 or fewer grams of carbs per day has been shown to reduce cravings, increase satiety, and make you feel fuller and longer:
Enhanced Exercise Performance
It has been documented that when athletes eat a diet that is low in carbs the majority of the week and then increase carbs for one day to top off their glycogen levels, it can result in better athletic capability. Athletes who followed a low-carb diet were proven to be more successful, as well as having their fat burn more quickly without diminishing their glycogen stores. It’s essential for muscle maintenance and growth. These athletes saw an improvement in their stamina and their body’s capacity to burn fat.
Improved Mental Clarity
The body produces ketones as a result of fat being used as energy. Substantial advantages in terms of cognitive functioning can be derived from fat that cannot be obtained through the use of glucose. Your body gets energy from the ketones produced by consuming fat, resulting in better brain function due to decreased glutamate concentrations in the brain. Excessive levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate might lead to injury and destruction of nerve cells. Ketones effectively flush them out of your brain.
Disease Prevention and Treatment
A diet that is low in carbohydrates may be beneficial in avoiding and treating multiple health issues. Research has demonstrated that an eating regimen abundant in fats and low in carbs, like the keto diet, can bring down the likelihood of coronary illness, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Research has demonstrated that it significantly decreases inflammation, which is a source of multiple medical conditions.
Best Low-Carb Diets
Atkins Diet: 20 and 40 Method
Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, created the Atkins diet in 1972. This way of eating focuses on limiting carbohydrates. He performed an experiment on himself and 65 participants to find out if a low-carb approach to weight loss could be effective without making people feel hungry, and discovered it was. He released the results of his research in the book titled “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.”
The Atkins diet of today consists of two approaches: Atkins 20 for those wishing to shed more than 40 pounds, and Atkins 40 for those wanting to drop below 40 pounds.
Those on the Atkins 20 plan should have a daily intake of between 20 and 100 grams of net carbs, while those on the Atkins 40 plan should take in between 40 and 100 grams. Everyone is recommended to have three meals and two snacks daily that include non-starchy vegetables, proteins from vegetarian and animal sources, plus nuts and seeds as snacks.
The Atkins diet is divided into four phases. As you progress from one level to the next, you slowly raise your carbohydrate consumption. You will begin eating again the foods that had been cut out in an earlier phase. Eliminating numerous food items at the start may necessitate taking additional vitamins like B5, B7, D, E, or choline, alongside minerals such as calcium, chromium, copper, iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium, molybdenum, sodium, and zinc.
The four phases include:
- Phase 1: Consume 20–25 grams of carbs, strictly sticking to protein, cheese, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
- Phase 2: Increase your net carb intake to 25–50 grams, introducing low-sugar fruits, legumes, and other vegetables back into your diet.
- Phase 3: Once you are within 10 pounds of your goal weight, you can increase your carb consumption to 50–80 grams. You will begin introducing starchy vegetables and whole grains into your diet.
- Phase 4: To keep your weight stable, steadily increase your carb consumption by 5-gram increments. You can consume all foods, as long as you stay within your daily carb count.
The Dukan diet, formulated by Dr. Pierre Dukan in 1970, involves eating mostly proteins while limiting fat intake and avoiding carbohydrates. After observing that his clients attained pleasing outcomes in terms of losing weight, he released the book “The Dukan Diet” in the year 2000.
The Dukan diet protocol is considered to be very strict, with only 100 different kinds of food that can be consumed. Out of the foods that are consumed, 68 of them are proteins and 32 of them are vegetables that don’t contain starch. Nevertheless, it’s also accepted as being successful in shedding pounds and maintaining muscle mass[*].
The Dukan diet is organized into four segments just like Atkins. Incite more activity and having oat bran routinely each day. In the final phase of stabilization, individuals are prompted to consume solely protein on one day of the week.
- The attack phase: Only foods from the 68 allowed proteins are consumed.
- In the cruise phase: 32 non-starchy vegetables are introduced.
- The consolidation phase: Starchy foods, whole grain bread, and cheese into your diet.
- The stabilization phase: There are no restricted food groups to help stabilize your weight.
The Ketogenic Diet
A specific kind of diet that was put into practice in the early twentieth century, the ketogenic diet consists of a reduced-carbohydrate, high-fat plan that was developed to help children who had epilepsy. This diet has been given thorough scrutiny, attested by its positive effects on metabolism including expeditious weight loss, structure of the body, reduced yearning for food, shortened blood sugar and heightened insulin rates.
The purpose of the keto diet is to shift the body into ketosis, a mode of burning fat rather than glucose, by metabolizing ketones. In order to accomplish this, you should have 70–80% of your daily calorie intake come from fats, 20–25% from proteins, and just a small 5–10% from carbohydrates. When one’s body starts to enter into a state of ketosis, there may be some minor and unfavorable effects associated with it that are commonly referred to as keto flu.
On the keto diet, you will obtain the majority of your energy from fat sources, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and medium-chain triglyceride oil. Eat an adequate amount of protein and keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum. There are four types of ketogenic diets:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the most common and recommended version of the diet. You’ll stay within 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): The TKD is designed to improve exercise performance. You eat 25 to 50 grams of net carbs or less around 30 minutes to an hour before exercise.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This version alternates between high-carb and low-carb cycles. You eat a traditional keto diet for several days followed by two days of eating high-carb, then cycle back to the ketogenic diet. This can help athletes regain glycogen, increasing muscle recovery and performance.
- High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD): It’s identical to a standard keto diet but has additional protein.