If you are looking for a way to reduce your body fat, going low carb is one of the popular diet choices. There a number of different versions of low carb diets, from the famous Atkins diet to The South Beach Diet. Low Carb Diets are not new, the concept was not invented by Dr Robert Atkins as many people seem to think. Low Carb diets even precede other US diet doctors such as Herman Tarnower and Herman Taller. Dieting Plans allowing you to eat meat, some dairy foods, salad and non-starchy vegetables, while restricting or banning foods containing sugar or starch were first promoted in the early 19th century by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. To this day the debate continues among Doctors and Nutritionists as to what is the best diet for us to follow and lose weight.
There is certainly evidence to show that initial weight loss while following a low carb diet does reduce body fat. In a recent study of popular diets (Gardner CD, Kiazand A, Alhassan S, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight loss Study: a randomized trial. JAMA 2007; 297: 969-77) The Atkins diet showed the best weight loss results over both a 2 month and a 6 month period. This is the information you seen mentioned in the media on a regular basis. However over a 12 month period the Atkins diet results were not so impressive, and was no more effective than the other diets in the study.
My own view based on my experience of trying low carb dieting is though effective in the short term, diets such as Atkins are not practical to follow in the long term. In my opinion, to lose body fat and control weight, the way we eat has to be possible to follow for the long term, not just for a few weeks. I have in the past done Atkins, The South Beach Diet, and Fat Flush. I have taken things from all of these diet plans, I use them as part of lifestyle today. I also have a greater understanding of the effect refined carbohydrates have on my body, but the simple fact remains I could not follow these plans as a long term lifestyle change.
This year I became a Retired Dieter. This means I no longer will refuse to eat the foods I enjoy. I have stopped listening to the media talk about the latest new diet and fat loss craze. All diets have a hook, but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing, one way or another we have to eat less. So what is the solution?
For me the effective way to lose body fat, and control my weight, is by using intermittent fasting. Intermittent Fasting is simply taking times of fast (no food) and working them into your lifestyle. You still eat every day, but you will incorporate a period of up to 24hrs without food into your day. Using Intermittent Fasting once or twice a week reduces body fat, yet still allows you to enjoy the foods you enjoy. On the days you are not fasting, you eat normally. Following the IF lifestyle I am still cutting carbs from my diet. I am actually cutting carbs for the equivalent of 2 full days per week.
We could debate the theory, but I like to work on results. In my first 7 weeks of using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, I have reduced my body fat by 12% and lost 24lbs. In my 14 years of trying different diet plans, I have never had results that compare to these. The other main point is, unlike my experience of low carb diets, I have not felt restricted with Intermittent Fasting, I have not had any cravings for specific foods like I did with Low Carb dieting because no foods are off limits. Why do I feel that intermittent fasting is something I can use as long term after only 7 weeks? The answer is because on any diet I have tried in the past, I would always have days where I felt i was restricted, so the diet became difficult, and that is on the diets that I managed to stick to for 7 weeks! The difference with Intermittent Fasting is, it is not a diet, because no foods are off limits. Once you have completed once fast, you know from that day forward, you can incorporate it into your lifestyle, how you do that, and how often you do it, is up to you, that is the great thing about Intermittent Fasting, it adapts to your lifestyle, in the past when you went on a diet, how often did it dominate your life? This again is a prime example why diets fail.
So my suggestion is if you are looking to reduce your body fat, and think you should reduce your carbs, try Intermittent Fasting. Become a Retired Dieter, and let me know how you get on.