A Review of Low Carbohydrate Dieting for Beginners

by Maggie Ball

A casual glance through the pages of any woman's magazine will reveal a myriad of diets. Low fat, high fat, low protein, high protein diets based on grapefruits, on eating no fruit, eating lots of fruit, on food combinations, or food avoidance. Most of these diets contradict one another, and some are dangerously low in protein, calories, vitamins, and/or minerals. If you have a few pounds or kilos to shed, how do you choose? Where do you begin?

As a PhD qualified health educator, researcher, exercise physiologist, and writer with more than 20 years in health sciences, Tanya Zilberter is as qualified as anyone to guide would be slimmers. She runs three very popular diet focused web sites: dietandbody.com, DietAndBody.com, and BestLowCarbs.com, and Dr Zilberter's eBook Low Carbohydrate Dieting for Beginners, is, as one would expect, a well written, well researched guide to low carbohydrate diets. While I'm quite familiar with the FDA requirements, and was raised by a health conscious fanatic vegetarian, occasional macrobiotic, raw food, chew counting new age mother, I must say that the concept of a low carbohydrate diet was new to me. The basic premise for low carbohydrate diets is that the body will always burn carbohydrates first since it is the body's preferred fuel, and then burn fats second. Therefore a high carbohydrate diet will limit fat burning.

Zilberter's book covers this point in more detail, along with information on what a low carbohydrate diet is, and a detailed look at the different types of low carbohydrate diets, including ketogenic diets (high fat, low protein, low carbohydrates), the Atkins diet, Carbohydrate Addict Diet, Neanderthin, Protein Power, The Schwarzbein principle, Sugar Busters, and The Zone Diet. The book is well written and easy to understand, with plenty of references to back up the statements, along with anecdotal evidence of people who have benefited from specific diets, diet comparisons, typical menus, testimonials, food charts, proponents, and opponents, trends, and why the FDA guidelines, which contradict much of what the proponents of low-carb diets state, may not be appropriate for everyone.

From my own perspective, I must say that the only diet which makes any sense to me is the Schwarzbein diet, which recommends a range of whole "live" foods, including complex carbohydrates, and avoids supplements, which I generally donut believe in, except for pregnant women, and those with specific deficiencies. Certainly I would be personally loath to reduce my intake of good quality whole grains and legumes, however, Zilberter is an expert (and I certainly am not), and her survey is quite thorough and well put, with nice graphics, clear, simple writing, and a very logical and balanced presentation. If you are considering a low-carbohydrate diet, or want to try something a little different from the standard FDA diet of eating lots of complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and little fat, or, perhaps more importantly, have had difficulty shifting weight using more conventional diet methods, this guide is certainly worth a read.

About the reviewer: Maggie Ball is a freelance writer, reviewer, and interviewer. She is content manager for The Compulsive Reader at http://www.compulsivereader.com, Australian Literature Reviews at http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/10111, and is the author of "THE ART OF ASSESSMENT: How to Review Anything," available at: www.compulsivereader.com/report1001.html

 
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Poll

What low carb plan have you tried the most?
Atkins Diet
52%
South Beach Diet
12%
No White Diet - no white flour, potatoes, white rice
11%
No sugars, high sugar fruit, starchy vegetables
6%
I created my own low carb plan
20%
Total votes: 1076

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