Low Carb Weight Loss

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

Low carb weight loss involves weight reduction by lowering carbohydrates.

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Low carb weight loss is the most effective way to get weight off quickly and then maintain it but perhaps also the method that needs most explaining.

Cutting fat to lose weight is obvious, unfortunately it doesn't tend to work – research by Stanford University proving that low carbs is the way to go for weight loss,  if you want weight to come off and stay off.

Having a low carb diet works not so much because the carbs are bad in themselves, more that their presence gives the body an easy out. With a carb-rich diet – and that's most diets in the developed world – the body will use glucose to get all the energy it needs, meaning that any fat in a diet is a potential problem. Anything not burnt off leading to greater weight loss. The only option is to cut more fat from the diet, leading to short-term weight loss but leaving the dieter hungry and prone to returning to previous habits.

Low carb weight loss instead seeks to change the body's metabolic behaviour, essentially turning it into a fat-burning machine. With carbohydrates cut, the body's only option is to burn fat.

The low carbohydrate approach also allows the dieter to eat foods that would be off limits in many diets – full fat cheese, steaks, fish, seafood and more. These become the building blocks of an effective diet and, importantly, a diet that can be maintained, enjoyably, to make sure any weight lost remains off for life.

Sophisticated Low Carb Weight Loss Programmes

In a sophisticated low carb weight loss programme such as Atkins – where net carbs (carbs minus fibre and sugar alcohol) are calculated, the weight loss comes in several phases. If there is a lot of weight to be lost, a first induction phase will cut carbs down to 20 grams a day – a tenth of normal consumption. At this stage, weight can fly off, up to 15 pounds in just two weeks.

This induction phase is completely safe and so can be continued to get closer to the target weight, equally as what would only be a dream weight with different diets speeds into view later stages see carbohydrates added back to the diet. Five grams a week at first, 10 grams a week in phase three. As the target weight approaches, the pace of weight loss drops but the diet becomes ever more varied. This is to establish phase four, lifelong maintenance and if that sounds restrictive it's anything but. It's the foods you've chosen, perfectly in keeping with your body so that you don't have cravings, feel energised and don't put on weight. Cravings for sugary snacks are a thing of the past.

Does low carb weight loss involve some sacrifices? Yes, especially at first – but if you are going to cut down on some foods is it not better that it's  bread, pasta and sweet drinks than meat, seafood or dairy products? After all, home many times have you heard someone say they don't want more rich bolognese sauce with cheese but do want more pasta?

And after 15 lbs weight loss inside a fortnight that small sacrifice doesn't seem too bad, then as the diet progresses more carbohydrates get added back in – more fruit, berries, nuts, grains, legumes, soft cheeses, alcohol and more.

Check out the science on the site – more than 50 independent research papers highlighting the benefits of the Atkins low carb weight loss plan. Look at how experts have found it is not only the way to get most weight off quickly and safely but also perhaps the one diet that works in the long term. And if you have any questions prior to starting our FAQs have answers to anything you might need to now.

Good luck.