Which low carb diet is best?

Yes and no, says Amy E. Rothberg, MD, PhD, Obesity Specialist and Director of Michigan Medicine Weight Management Clinic. In theory, yes, but the pitfalls here are the same as with keto. There's a good chance that weight loss won't sustain because it's not meant to keep up with extreme carbohydrate reduction forever.

The Atkins diet is the best-known low-carb eating plan. It involves cutting back on all high-carbohydrate foods while eating as much protein and fat as desired. When isn't a low-carb diet just a low-carb diet? When there is a different name. And with the popularity of low-carb living for supposed weight loss and health benefits, many people are turning to diet in its various forms.

Because most Americans eat more than 200 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, says Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN, a nutrition consultant in Columbus, Ohio, diving lower than that is going to be, in one way, a lower-carb diet, he notes. In fact, the Mayo Clinic points out that carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of a person's daily calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, this means that a typical person eats 900 to 1,300 calories from carbohydrates, or 225 to 325 g of carbohydrates per day. There is no official guide that defines a low-carb diet, says Schmidt.

But generally speaking, consuming between 50 and 100 g of carbohydrates a day is considered a basic low-carb diet, he says. That said, it may be more, it's about eating less carbs than normal for you. The advantage of this plan is that it is individualized, allowing you to eat the amount that best suits your body's needs. It also gives you room to choose which carbohydrates you want to include (fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds) rather than following a plan that tells you what to eat and when.

It's better for someone who likes that freedom and doesn't want to waste time counting grams of carbohydrates. This is one of the strictest ways to eat a low-carb diet because it limits the consumption of foods that in total fall below 50 g of carbohydrates per day, although some experts recommend consuming less than 30 or 20 g, says Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDCES, a low-carb dietitian living in Hollywood, Florida. Specifically, she says that most people need to stay below 30g, but some active people may go a little higher. When it comes to low-carb fashion, the Atkins diet started it all.

Atkins soon saw that reducing carbohydrate consumption and allowing unlimited protein and fat had a big impact on appetite and insulin levels, Spritzler says. Whole30 is another diet (which advertises itself more as a program) that is not specifically designed to be low in carbohydrates. For 30 days, you are asked to eat only meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and fats, and to stay away from added sugar of any kind: alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy products. It can be a radical approach for someone who is used to eating the standard American diet, which is low in fruits and vegetables, and high in added sugar and fat, and can help you lose weight, Spritzler says, adding that the freedom to eat as many carbohydrates as you want can make it a bad option for people with type 2 diabetes.

Because this is designed as a short-term challenge, it's supposed to be difficult. You need to weigh your ability to stick to it before you start, and then plan what you're going to do after the 30 days have passed. Then there's the fact that this may lack nutrients. Previous research looked at several popular diet plans, with South Beach one of them, and concluded that the diet is extremely low in calories (around 1200 calories) and did not offer a sufficient source of 21 of the 27 essential nutrients tested, including vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and zinc.

A 2003 research in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people on a low-carb diet lost more weight than people on a low-fat diet after 6 months, but not after 12 months. If you have certain medical conditions, you should talk to your provider before taking Keto. For example, it's not a good diet if you have chronic kidney disease. And if you're diabetic and taking insulin, you should adjust your medications before starting a ketogenic diet.

The Paleo diet gets its name from the Paleolithic era, the Stone Age, basically. The idea behind the Paleo diet is that you should only eat foods that can be hunted or harvested by humans in the Paleolithic era. For this reason, it is often referred to as the caveman's diet. The Atkins diet, the oldest of the modern low-carb diet plans, was originally promoted in the 1970s and has maintained its popularity ever since.

Take a different approach to the most recent low-carb diet trends. You change your diet into four phases, each of which allows for more carbohydrates. The carbohydrate limit depends on the phase, but in general, the Atkins diet allows for higher amounts of carbohydrates and encourages much more protein. You can get protein from meat, butter, eggs and cheese.

Bread, pasta, potatoes, cereals, sugary foods, and high-sugar fruits and vegetables are out. Over the years, the Atkins diet has proven effective in losing weight. But it can be more difficult to maintain than other low-carb diets because it restricts many types of carbohydrates. It also relies a lot more on protein, which can be problematic.

The South Beach diet is lower in carbs, but it's not a strict low-carb diet like Atkins, Paleo, or Keto. Instead, you focus on balance, eating a mix of good carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy oils allowed. The South Beach diet uses a phased system similar to the Atkins diet.

You also become more forgiving with carbohydrates along the way as you progress from the elimination phase to the long-term weight loss phase and into the maintenance phase. The last two phases are particularly effective in creating heart-healthy habits. Even with a greater balance of carbohydrates and proteins, the South Beach diet is high enough in protein to increase liver and kidney problems. You may also lack fiber and other nutrients if you take them for the long term and don't keep an eye on all your nutritional needs.

It's a 30-day elimination diet designed to eliminate unhealthy foods and reconfigure your eating habits. The Whole30 diet is similar to the Paleo diet, but even more restrictive. The one-month trial is very attractive for people who are wary of committing to a long-term diet. However, a permanent improvement in your eating habits should be a goal.

Therefore, to maintain the benefits achieved while following a Whole30 diet, you should continue to eat well after the month ends. Otherwise, you run the risk of regaining lost weight and having bad eating habits again. So you don't have to fully commit to a strict Keto, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, or Whole30 diet. You can take the parts that work for you, adapt the diet to the needs of your own body, and work with experts such as Dr.

Low-carb diets that emphasize healthy sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you lose excess weight can improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, at least temporarily. Once you develop a plan that works for you, you'll save money on the latest dietary advice books and subscription services, as you'll have a diet that will outlast each new dietary fad and help you maintain your health and weight for life. A six-month study showed that an Eco-Atkins diet caused more weight loss and greater improvement in heart disease risk factors than a high-carb vegetarian diet (1).

Atkins is similar in structure to the ketogenic diet in that it reduces carbohydrates and increases sources of protein and fat; the reason it's not far down this list is that this change is not permanent on an Atkins diet. McAvoy warns that while low-carb diets may be effective for short-term weight loss, research shows that weight generally returns after 12 to 24 months because of how difficult it is to maintain diets for a significant period of time. Considering that experts recommend talking to your doctor before you even go on a ketogenic diet, and this is a much more serious form, you should consult a medical professional before attempting the zero-carb diet. Some low-carb diets heavily restrict carbohydrates during the initial phase of the diet and then gradually increase the amount of carbohydrates allowed.

People starting a low-carb diet should think about reducing their consumption of refined and processed carbohydrates. The carbohydrate cycle involves eating very low-carb foods for a set number of days, followed by a day of higher-carb meals. For many people, 10 percent carbohydrates don't allow them to be in that metabolic state, and this is more of a low-carb diet for them. Although high-protein diets can keep you full longer, contributing to lower overall calories and helping you lose weight, if you focus too much on protein, you risk finding the same disadvantages built into ketogenic and Atkins diets.

There is some evidence that a low-carb diet can help people lose weight more quickly than a low-fat diet (31.3) and can help them maintain that weight loss. . .