Low-carb diets have been popular for decades because of their proven health benefits. What was once a controversial eating pattern has become a widely-accepted diet that is known to fight against high blood pressure and diabetes. While the term ‘low-carb diet’ is known, this eating pattern has many types, all with different characteristics.
The Most Popular Low-Carb Diets
There are many types of low-carb diets but no two are the same. If you are able to stick to the plan, the benefits and results will significantly differ.
Here is the list of the most popular low-carb diets that will ensure you great health benefits.
Basic Low-Carb Diet
The basic low-carb diet does not have a fixed definition and guideline. It is simply known as a low-card or carb-restricted diet with an eating pattern that is lower in carbs and higher in protein. The typical ingredients in a basic low-carb diet are meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
This type of low-carb diet limits your intake of high-carb foods like grains, potatoes, sugary drinks, and junk food.
The basic low-carb diet is all about eating fewer carbs than what your body requires. The benefit of this type is it is highly individualized, meaning you get to choose the number of carbs that suits your body’s needs, as well as what you can eat, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
The Ketogenic diet is one of the strictest low-carb diets because it restricts you from eating food that accumulates more than 50 grams of carbs a day. It’s a very low-carb, high-fat diet with fat taking up to 80% of your diet. The keto diet’s goal is to keep carbs low and trigger the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, wherein your insulin levels decline and your body releases large amounts of fatty acids.
These fatty acids turn into ketones that cross the blood-brain barrier and supply energy to the brain. Instead of running on carbs, the brain will now largely rely on ketones.
The ketogenic diet is also the type of diet that allows you to lose weight quickly. But the downside to this eating pattern is its strict limits on what you can eat. It can be quite difficult to maintain eating mostly fat, a little protein, and some non-starchy veggies. This type of low-carb diet is meant to be a short-term diet and not a long-term change.
Low-Carb, High-Fat (LCHF)
From the name itself, you might think it’s the same as the ketogenic diet but as mentioned, no two low-carb diets are the same. It is a standard very-low-carb diet but mainly focuses on the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods. It emphasizes eating meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, healthy fats, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and berries.
The LCHF diet allows you to eat more carbs (just so your body doesn’t enter the ketosis state) and a little less fat than what the keto diet requires. Overall, carbs might make up about 25% while fat is supposed to be over 60%.
Many people who opt for LCHF are those who are looking for performance benefits during a workout. This diet is believed to teach the body to use fat for fuel and so it provides a lasting form of energy during endurance activities.
Do note though that low-carb, high-fat diets dramatically helps people lose weight but, the long-term health benefit or risks of these eating patterns are yet to be proven.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is one of the first few eating patterns that started the low-carb diet. With Atkins, you start with very-low, ketogenic-like consumption and then gradually add carb sources, such as vegetables and fruits. It is the most popular low-carb eating plan and involves reducing all high-carb foods but allows you to eat protein and fat as you desired.
The best way to go with this diet is to focus on eating whole food and reducing the intake of prepackaged food and snacks.
Many studies suggest that the Atkins Diet is safe and effective as long as you are taking enough fiber.
The Low-Carb Paleo Diet
The paleo diet is one of the world’s most popular eating patterns. It focuses on eating foods that are available during the Paleolithic era. Proponents of this diet suggest that health should improve with the paleo diet since this is the eating pattern that humans consume to evolve and adapt.
Many small studies claim that a paleo diet can result in weight loss, reduce blood sugars, and improve risk factors for heart disease. It encourages the consumption of meats, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, tubers, nuts, and seeds. The stricter version restricts processed food, added sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy products.