About 15 years ago, I first heard about the Atkins Diet. I couldn’t believe these people were eating pork rinds topped with mayonnaise and actually losing weight. It was a whole new concept of omitting carbs that was completely new and bewildering to me. Meat, cheese, nuts… I could eat all of these things and not get fat? Sign me up!
We went through an entire week of just protein, dairy, and vegetables. It was our own version of low carbs, whether it was right, we didn’t know. What I remember most about that week was my devotion to staying away from sugar. At one point I had a large gum ball in my mouth before realizing all of the carbohydrates it must have. As much as I wanted to swallow the sweet flavor coming from it, I kept the gum in and spit out the sugary goo until it felt like it was no longer releasing that forbidden substance. Crazy.
Since it really didn’t fell like we were eating to lose weight, neither one of us had stepped on a scale during that week of dieting, but when we finally did, it was a pleasant surprise. I had lost 4 pounds and my husband 8 pounds!
Fifteen years later, I have tried to eliminate carbohydrates from my diet every now and again. Sure enough, it proves to be a great way to shed a few pounds. Of course, there are good and bad ways to follow low or no carbohydrate diets. There is a scale that I like to keep in mind from Mark’s Daily Apple, a great website about primal living. I have posted it below:
300 or more grams/day – Danger Zone!
Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).
150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain
Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.
100-150 grams/day – Primal Blueprint Maintenance Range
This range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with Primal exercises, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.
50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss
Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.
0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning
Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. May be ideal for many diabetics. Not necessarily recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.