Low carb diets are some of the most popular out there, but which one is best for you? The decision in which one to go with depends on the person’s goals, preferences, and interests.
Low carb diets also help people avoid feeling hungry all the time because they’re providing their body what it needs without having to consume tons of carbs or sugars like other eating lifestyles may require.
In this article, we will briefly go over what these different types of low carbohydrate diets entail, so you can decide which one is the best low carb diet for your weight loss journey!
The Atkins Diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets available. The original Atkins Diet was developed in 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins after successfully losing weight following a low carb approach. He published his findings in his “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution” book. The diet’s premise is to limit the intake of carbohydrates, followed by a progressive increase in protein, healthy fats, and limited amounts of low-energy vegetables.
There are four phases on the Atkins Diet plan:
- Phase 1 is the notorious Induction Phase. Up to 20g – 25g Net Carbs, eating only protein, cheese, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
- Phase 2 begins the Ongoing Weight Loss Plan. Up to 25g – 50g Net Carbs, eating low-sugar fruits, some legumes, and remaining approved vegetables back into your diet.
- Phase 3 is called the Pre-Maintenance Stage. You can raise your carb intake to 50g – 80g Net Carbs after you’re within 10 pounds of your ideal weight. You’ll start including more starchy veggies and whole grains in your diet.
- Phase 4 welcomes you to your Maintenance Phase. To maintain your weight, gradually increase your carb intake by 5 grams at a time. You can eat whatever you want as long as you keep it under your daily carb limit.
Eco-Atkins uses vegetarian protein sources to reduce weight and LDL cholesterol like the Atkins diet. In addition, you are encouraged to eat plenty of plant-based food such as fruit and vegetables while limiting your carbohydrate intake. Like Atkins, Eco-Atkins follows the same phases, except skips Phase 1. Followers of this low carb eating style typically consume 43 percent of their daily calories from fat, 31 percent from protein, and 26 percent from carbohydrates.
A paleo diet is based on a modern take of the paleolithic era, which spanned from around 200,000 years ago to 12,000 years ago when hunter-gatherers roamed the earth. Paleo dieters seek to eat only foods that humans would have been able to hunt or gather for themselves, except for dairy products and some processed items. It is a high-fat diet that means eating plenty of nuts, avocados, eggs, bacon, olive oil, etc. while avoiding carbs like bread and pasta.
The paleo diet encourages people to avoid refined sugar, industrial seed oils, and any processed food containing sugar or flour. Studies find this improves heart health by lowering triglyceride levels in your blood and lowers LDL cholesterol, which can be raised from consuming too many carbohydrates/carbs. However, elevated LDL cholesterol increases the risk for type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It’s not so much about what you eat. It is about avoiding processed foods and reducing sugar intake to adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle that includes taking care of your gut health with probiotics.
A ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and Paleo diets. However, it involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake while increasing fat intake to reach ketosis. When your body enters a state of ketosis, it converts fats into fatty acids. It breaks down these fatty acids to be used as energy by cells in the body (including muscle) instead of carbohydrates or sugars like glucose from foods we eat for energy.
Most keto dieters keep their net carbs under 20g – 25g per day. The remaining keto macros vary for every individual and are calculated based on body weight, body fat percentage, activity level, and weight loss goals.
The Whole30 Diet is a carbohydrate restrictive 30-day program that emphasizes eating only whole, unprocessed foods. The idea is to eliminate all the sugar and alcohol for the duration of the diet so you can see what changes occur in your body when these substances are not overworking it. Followers of the Whole30 have the macro goal of fewer than 20g of carbs each day while still getting enough protein (approximately 155g) and fat (about 95g).
The Zone Diet is a low carb diet that focuses on balancing the ratio of protein to carbohydrate-to-fat consumption. This combination promotes weight loss and reduces heart disease risk factors by controlling insulin levels in your body, according to Dr. Barry Sears, Ph.D. author of “The Zone.” In addition, dieters that follow the Zone Diet are encouraged to eat foods high in fiber, like vegetables or beans, to keep feeling fuller for more extended periods during their weight loss journey.
The 80/20 Diet is not a “diet” in the traditional sense. It is more of an eating style that follows general guidelines while catering to individual tastes and lifestyles. Everyday eating habits of 80/20 dieters are to:
- Eat healthy, mostly unprocessed foods 80 percent of the time: vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat (lean only), fish with high omega-three fats like salmon or trout.
- Have at least one indulgent meal on your off days where you can eat anything without counting calories
The 80/20 Diet is effective for weight loss because it’s so flexible and easy to follow. The best part about this diet plan is that there are no forbidden foods, so you’re free to indulge when you want!
The Mediterranean culture typically has a low carb eating style. A traditional Mediterranean eating style consists of primarily whole foods, lots of vegetables, and even more olive oil.
Anyone who wants to keep their carb intake at 20g or less per day can follow the Mediterranean diet. The type of food eaten on the Mediterranean diet typically isn’t as strict as some of the other diets mentioned in this article, so you don’t have to worry about calculating custom macros or making meal plans ahead of time for this one.