September 20, 2020Categories: Eating Styles
Low carb diets are quite popular. As a formal planned diet they became popular in the 1990's with the Atkins Diet. Prior to the 20th century, many people actually ate that way much of the time, with some seasonal variations.
What Makes Low Carb Popular?
The main reason they became popular is that they work for weight loss, and resolve digestive problems for many people who try them. Dr. Atkins made claims on how it worked, and it did work. It worked far better than the other diet trends in the 1990's.
Since then there have been many diets that are based on the same core principals. Reduce carbs, cut out grains, cut out wheat, increase protein and fat.
In the original Atkins diet, there were no purchased special products. The original diet was just regular grocery items. All the special premade foods came many years later.
The same holds true now, with the newer low carb products, such as Paleo and Keto premade foods.
That is a second reason the diets continue to be successful. There's money to be made with premade products. Unfortunately, they are still processed foods, and many will still not be as healthy as people would like.
For those people who want to keep it simpler, and who think it's important to cut the processed foods, they definitely can still do that.
Basics of the Diet:
If low carb is something you're considering, it's worth it to do some research on what different plans there are out there.
A low carb diet does require you learn some basic info on what's called "macros." This refers to the percentage of calories you eat from Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein.
The various low carb diets have some differences in the ratios. They all have lower carbs. Some will be higher fat, some will be higher protein, and some will be about equal fat and protein.
Be Clear On Your Goals:
You should have some sort of goal if you're considering a low carb diet. What that goal is will determine what to look for in a low carb plan.
If your goal is weight loss, you'll want a diet that does show you how to do that. It must also show you what to do when you've reached your goals. Most of the time, low carb diets can be classified as lifestyle diets and not short term diets.
Initially they're structured to help you lose weight, and when you get to your goal, you make some minor adjustments so you can maintain it for a lifetime. There is no going back to your old eating habits that got you overweight in the first place.
If your goal is to help recover from a serious chronic illness or autoimmune disease, you'll need to find a plan that's structured for that. These types of plans often work best when there's a big social group actively participating. Those who have been successful can share their insights, and a lot of small details they've tried that made all the difference in how they recovered.
For some people this is a more stringent eating plan, once they've dialed in their health and are much less sick. However, due to being so sick, and being able to recover, the restrictions are a lot easier because they have such a large benefit. There's a huge positive payback for more restrictions.
Understanding the Core Principals:
Some things to keep in mind when deciding to try a low carb diet such as Keto, is that the point of the diet is not get into Ketosis and stay there. One diet is called Keto, but that name can be a bit misleading.
When the diet was called the Atkins diet, the point was not to get into Ketosis and stay there. Due to the name of the diet people didn't get distracted. It was simple. Cut out most of the carbs, increase the fat and protein. Lose weight and / or improve digestion, and then maintain. If you had a day with a bit more carbs, you just went back to your normal low carb plan the next day. The goal was not to do it all the time. You also could choose to have all your daily carbs all at one meal. This would push you out of Ketosis. But you'd be back in Ketosis in a few hours.
The point was to first get your body to the point where it can burn ketones for energy. Secondly, if you went out of ketosis for a meal, you'd be back in ketosis in a few hours. The main overarching point is to get your body to the point it can use carbs or ketones. The way to do that is to keep on a low carb diet, for the vast majority of the time.
What to Watch Out For:
If you happen to find a diet plan that is really strict in pushing staying in ketosis, it may be best to find a group that's not so dogmatic. Some of them have gotten so ridiculous that they actually sell ketones now. How stupid. If you want ketones, eat some meat and fat and skip the carbs.
There's lots of choice for low carb diet plans out there, so there's something for everyone. Also keep in mind that it's perfectly fine to start on one plan, and as you learn more, and get more familiar with some of the smaller details, you'll outgrow that plan and can move on to another one, with a slightly different focus.
Some people start out with the Paleo plan, then switch to Keto, and find they get better results. And the opposite is also true. Generally, if you're not finding as much success in one particular plan, you just need to find a plan and some people that can spot what's not quite right for you, and they can guide you to make a bit of a change, and you'll be back on track with your initial goals.
Low carb plans are popular because they work, and there's a variation for almost everyone. You can get a formal plan that guides you along the way completely, or you can start planning it out on your own, and get used to it over time.
If you're thinking about planning it out yourself, be sure to check out our Build Your Own Weekly Meal Plan article, that even includes a free template to get you started.
Plan, eat (low carb) and enjoy!