Conventional wisdom tells us that the words ‘carbs’ and ‘diet’ should not go in the same sentence. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy and to this end are high in glucose. This glucose is used by the body in the form of ATP to carry out all of our regular functions from thinking to blinking to going for a job, but when we get more of it than we need the left over is stored around the body for a rainy day as fat.
We all know this basic equation, and we all understand that to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories and thereby store less fat. Seeing as carbs are our main source of calories, that’s what we should avoid most, right?
Well not according to ‘The Carb Lover’s Diet’ which is a diet basically based around eating more carbs to lose weight. This is a complete 180 on old (and dangerous/ineffective) diets like the Atkins diet that had people completely avoiding carbs to lose weight rapidly, but can it work?
The Basic Idea
The essential idea behind the carb lovers diet is to increase the amount of carbs and thereby help to fill us up and provide us with energy, but to selectively choose those carbs so that they won’t add too much fat.
Specifically the carbs that this diet promotes are ‘resistant starch’ carbohydrates which pass through the system largely undigested rather than being absorbed through the small intestine immediately. It has been considered a ‘third type of fibre’ because it offers the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
So what are these resistant starch carbohydrates? Well generally they refer to things like green bananas, beans, lentils, potatoes, some potato chips and brown rice. The idea is you increase your intake of these carbs and that this leaves you feeling full while at the same time boosting your metabolism and encouraging regular bowel movements. At the same time the diet recommends the other things you might expect from a diet such as a restricted intake of chocolate, alcohol and other treats. No food is completely off limits, but you only get your little treat – a choice of two light beers, two glasses of wine, a piece of chocolate or an apple pie – once a week. You also supplement with more calcium, increase your exercise and stick to a recommended portion size to keep you within the calorie limit. The diet promises to help you lose eight pounds within thirty days.
Does it Work?
So far so good, but the question is – does it work? Well the general principle it starts with is positive. Getting people to eat more carbs and to stop eliminating important parts of their diet is a very good change, and filling up on things that are going to pass through your system is smart.
Still though, I can’t help but feel that the emphasis on these resistant starches is a bit over-hyped and that the diet as usual makes some lofty claims. Seeing as you’re also limiting your caloric intake, increasing exercise and laying of sweets, it’s not really any surprise that you can lose some weight from it and stuffing yourself with starch is probably fairly uncomfortable – particularly when it comes out the other end.
I’m not being down on the diet, this is a HUGE step up from something like the Atkins diet. All I’m saying is that at the end of the day the name is little more than a hook, and really it’s not that different from the vast majority of normal diets that involve calorie counting or set meal plans. It’s still going to be hard to fit into your lifestyle (unless all your friends are t-total and hate pudding) and you could accomplish the same results most likely by just using your common sense and eating less.
Still though, if you’re the kind of person who likes spending money, or who genuinely responds to a set guide, then you can do a lot worse than this particular diet.