Doing exactly what it says on the tin, the low carb diet has quickly become a catch phrase in our culture and at one time was the favoured diet plan for a lot of celebs.
Following on from the Zone Diet revolution made popular by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston the low carb diet was praised as a quick way to drop unwanted pounds and was seen as an alternative to traditional low fat or calorie-reduced eating plans. But what exactly is a low carb diet? What are the benefits and draw backs? And how do you know if it's the right way for you to lose weight?
Low carb diets instruct you to limit your intake of foods like grains, fruit and vegetables, and refined sugars like candy, cakes and sweets. Instead you are encouraged to eat as much as you like of proteins like lean meat or fish, eggs, cheese and fats like butter or cream.
This plan works on the principle that foods like bread, pasta, refined sugar and even healthy items like fruit and veg are converted by the body into sugars which, if they're not used by the body, will be stored as fat. If you limit the amount of them you indulge in, you will store less fat, and your body will be forced to turn to burning it's own fat supplies for energy, therefore helping you lose weight.
The plan also puts forward that dietary fats like butter, cheese or oil, are not necessarily immediately stored as fat in the same way as high sugar items like bread or fruit, and because dietary fats are rich sources of energy, you'll feel full faster and won't get hungry as often, meaning that you'll consume fewer calories.
On this eating plan, you do tend to lose weight fairly quickly. However, people using this plan will usually gain weight back again if they begin to eat in a more balanced way. Also, doctors have expressed concerns about the long term effects of cutting out fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamins and have a wealth of antioxidants which can prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Consult your doctor before embarking on any kind of weight loss plan.