Very low carbohydrate high fat high protein

On the other end of the spectrum you have the very high fat, high protein, very low carbohydrate diets. The Atkin's Diet is the most popular. Others include Protein Power, The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, Sugar Busters, The Ketogenic diet, The Anabolic Diet and a whole host of other programs that impose strict regulations on the amount of carbohydrate you can eat.

The basic assumption of the very low carbohydrate approach is that carbohydrates cause fat storage because they increase insulin production. Insulin is portrayed as an evil fat-storing monster that makes everything you eat turn into fat. The objective of these programs is to control insulin by cutting out carbohydrates and this will supposedly cause rapid body fat loss.

There is some truth in these arguments, but unfortunately, the information has been distorted and taken to extremes. Contrary to what certain diet "gurus" tell you, carbohydrates are not fattening. What's fattening is eating more calories than your body can use at one time. Insulin can be a double-edged sword, but insulin control can be easily achieved without extreme measures.

It's true that some people lose weight more quickly on a very low carbohydrate diet, but that's not the same thing as saying carbohydrates are fattening. It's also true that almost every bodybuilder or fitness competitor uses some variation of the low carbohydrate diet to prepare for competitions.

Very low carbohydrate diets work almost all of the time for all body types. The problem is they also fail to keep body fat off permanently almost all of the time. It's nearly impossible to stay on low carbohydrates for a long time (nor can I figure out why you would want to). It's also up for debate whether the very high saturated fat levels allowed in these programs are healthy or not.

Most people will lose fat simply by adding a regular exercise routine to their schedule and by "cleaning up" their diets. A "clean" diet means you've mastered all the nutritional basics like eating small frequent meals, controlling portion sizes, cutting down on saturated fats, avoiding sugar, drinking plenty of water and eating lean protein at every meal.

Moderate carbohydrate restriction will usually speed up fat loss, but a very low carbohydrate diet is not the ultimate answer to permanent fat loss. At worst it's unhealthy and causes muscle loss. At best it's a temporary tool that should only be used for short periods for specific fat loss goals (such as preparing for bodybuilding competition).

The flaw in the very low carbohydrate approach is the assumption that everyone is carbohydrate sensitive. According to my research, I estimate that only 20% - 30% of the population is carbohydrate sensitive and only a fraction of that 20%-30% is seriously carbohydrate sensitive. The best way to look at very low carbohydrate /high fat/high protein diets is as a last resort for those with extreme difficulty losing fat the conventional way.

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