Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Low-carbohydrate Diets

  • Introduction
  • Atkins Diet
  • South Beach Diet

Weight loss diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the ‘Atkins Diet’ or the ‘South Beach Diet’, have been inappropriately criticized in the media as being inherently unhealthy because they encourage a higher fat consumption. The truth of the matter is, that almost any diet which effects weight loss: will lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lower the incidence of type-2 diabetes, and increase cardiovascular health.
Eating a low-carb diet improves the hormonal signalling involved in obesity and improves the sense of fullness, allowing weight loss; according to a 2007 study conducted by Matthew R. Hayes, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Atkins Diet: Ten Easy Steps to Induction
This is an excerpt from the book: Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Revised Edition by Robert C. Atkins, 2003:
Ready to start losing weight on Atkins? Induction is the first phase of the Atkins Nutritional Approach™. Stay on it for at least two weeks, and follow these 10 steps to get on your way:

  • Eat either three regular-size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Don’t skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating.
  • Eat liberal amounts of protein, such as poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat, as well as natural fats, such as butter, mayo, olive oil and safflower oil (see the Acceptable Foods List).
  • Eat about 20 grams of carbs each day, mostly in the form of salad greens and other vegetables. You should eat at least four cups of salad vegetables, or three cups of salad vegetables plus one cup of other vegetables (see the Acceptable Vegetables List).
  • Don’t eat any fruit (except for avocados, tomatoes and olives), bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than cheese, cream or butter. Don’t eat nuts or seeds in the first two weeks. Foods that combine protein and carbohydrates, such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and other legumes, are not permitted at this Acceptable time.
  • If you’re hungry between meals, enjoy a low-carb snack, such as a hard-boiled egg, some cheese, olives or a low-carb snacks.
  • Do not eat anything that is not on the Foods List.
  • Take a daily multivitamin, essential fatty acids and a fiber supplement.
  • Adjust the quantity of protein you eat to suit your appetite, especially as it decreases. Eat the amount that makes you feel satisfied but not stuffed.
  • Limit coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine to one or two cups per day. Excessive caffeine has been shown to cause unstable blood sugar and trigger cravings.
  • Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to hydrate your body, avoid constipation and flush out the byproducts of burning fat.

The Atkins Diet: Acceptable Foods
These are the foods you may eat liberally during Induction:
All fish. All fowl. All shellfish.* All meat.** All eggs.
*Oysters and mussels are higher in carbs than other shellfish, so limit them to four ounces per day.
**Processed meats, such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs and other luncheon meats-and some fish-may be cured with added sugar and will contribute carbs. Try to avoid meat and fish products cured with nitrates, which are known carcinogens. Also beware of products that are not exclusively meat, fish or fowl, such as imitation fish, meatloaf and breaded foods. Finally, do not consume more than four ounces of organ meats a day.
You can consume three to four ounces daily of the following full-fat, firm, soft and semisoft aged cheeses*, including:

  • cheddar
  • cow, sheep and goat cheese
  • cream cheese
  • Gouda
  • mozzarella
  • Roquefort and other blue cheeses
  • Swiss

*All cheeses have some carbohydrate content. The quantity you eat should be governed by that knowledge. The rule of thumb is to count 1 ounce of cheese as equivalent to 1 gram of carbohydrate. Note that cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese and other fresh cheeses are not permitted during Induction. No “diet” cheese, cheese spreads or whey cheeses are permitted. Individuals with known yeast symptoms, dairy allergy or cheese intolerance must avoid cheese. Imitation cheese products are not allowed, except for soy or rice cheese-but check the carbohydrate content.
You can have two to three cups per day of:

  • alfalfa sprouts
  • daikon
  • mushrooms
  • arugula
  • endive
  • parsley
  • bok choy
  • escarole
  • peppers
  • celery
  • fennel
  • radicchio
  • chicory
  • jicama
  • radishes
  • chives
  • lettuce
  • romaine lettuce
  • cucumber
  • mache
  • sorrel

These salad vegetables are high in phytonutrients and provide a good source of fiber.
Other Vegetables
You can have one cup per day of these veggies if salad does not exceed two cups. The following vegetables are slightly higher in carbohydrate content than the salad vegetables:

  • artichoke
  • celery root
  • pumpkin
  • artichoke hearts
  • rhubarb
  • asparagus
  • chard
  • sauerkraut
  • bamboo shoots
  • collard greens
  • scallions
  • dandelion
  • snow peas
  • bean sprouts
  • dandelion greens
  • spaghetti squash
  • beet greens
  • eggplant
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • hearts of palm
  • string or wax beans
  • broccoli rabe
  • kale
  • summer squash
  • brussels
  • kohlrabi
  • tomato
  • bean sprouts
  • leeks
  • turnips
  • cabbage
  • okra
  • water chestnuts
  • cauliflower
  • onion
  • zucchini

If a vegetable, such as spinach or tomato, cooks down significantly, it must be measured raw so as not to underestimate its carb count.
Salad Garnishes

  • crumbled crisp bacon
  • grated cheese
  • minced hard-boiled egg
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • sour cream

All spices to taste, but make sure none contain added sugar.

  • basil
  • garlic
  • rosemary
  • cayenne pepper
  • ginger
  • sage
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • tarragon
  • dill
  • pepper
  • thyme

For salad dressing, use oil and vinegar (but not balsamic vinegar, which contains sugar) or lemon juice and herbs and spices. Prepared salad dressings without added sugar and no more than two carbs per tablespoon serving are also fine.
Acceptable Fats and Oils
Many fats, especially certain oils, are essential to good nutrition. Olive oil is particularly valuable. All other vegetable oils are allowed, the best being canola, walnut, soybean, grapeseed, sesame, sunflower and safflower oils, especially if they are labeled “cold-pressed” or “expeller-pressed.” Do not cook polyunsaturated oils, such as corn, soybean and sunflower oil, at high temperatures or allow to brown or smoke.
Butter is allowed. Margarine should be avoided, not because of its carbohydrate content, but because it is usually made of trans fats (hydrogenated oils), which are a serious health hazard. (Some nonhydrogenated margarines are available in health-food stores.)
You don’t have to remove the skin and fat from meat or fowl. Salmon and other cold-water fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Remember that trying to do a low-fat version of the Atkins Nutritional ApproachTM will interfere with fat burning and derail your weight loss.
Artificial Sweeteners
You must determine which artificial sweeteners agree with you, but the following are allowed: sucralose (marketed as Splenda™), saccharin, cyclamate and acesulfame-K. Natural sweeteners ending in the suffix “-ose,” such as maltose, etc., should be avoided. However, most sugar alcohols have a minimal effect on blood sugar and are acceptable.
Saccharin has been extensively studied, and harmful effects were produced in the lab when fed to rats only in extremely high doses. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens, basing its decision upon a thorough review of the medical literature and the National Institute of Science’s statement that there is “no clear association between saccharin and human cancer.” It can be safely consumed in moderation, meaning no more than three packets a day. Saccharin is marketed as Sweet’n Low™.
The Atkins preference, however, is sucralose (Splenda™), the only sweetener made from sugar. Sucralose is safe, noncaloric and does not raise blood sugar. It has been used in Canada for years, and the FDA recently approved it after reviewing more than 100 studies conducted over the past 20 years. Note that each packet of sugar substitute contains about 1 gram of carbohydrate, so don’t forget to include the amount in your daily totals.
Acceptable Beverages
Be sure to drink a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, including:

  • Filtered water
  • Mineral water
  • Spring water
  • Tap water

Additionally, you can have the following:

  • Clear broth/bouillon (not all brands; read the label)
  • Club soda
  • Cream, heavy or light (limit to two to three tablespoons a day; note carbohydrate content)
  • Decaffeinated coffee or tea*
  • Diet soda made with sucralose (Splenda™); be sure to count the carbs
  • Essence-flavored seltzer (must say “no calories”)
  • Herb tea (without barley or any fruit sugar added)
  • Lemon juice or lime juice (note that each contains 2.8 grams carbohydrate per ounce); limit to two to three tablespoons

*Excessive caffeine may cause unstable blood sugar and should be avoided by those who suspect they are caffeine dependent. Everyone should try to avoid caffeine. Grain beverages (coffee substitutes) are not allowed. Alcoholic beverages are also not permitted during Induction; those low in carbohydrates are an option, in moderation, in later phases.
Special Category Foods
To add variety, each day you can also eat 10 to 20 olives, half a small avocado, an ounce of sour cream or three ounces of unsweetened heavy cream, as well as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice. But be aware that these foods occasionally slow down weight loss in some people, and may need to be avoided in the first two weeks. If you seem to be losing slowly, moderate your intake of these foods.
Convenience Foods
Although it is important that you eat primarily unprocessed foods, some controlled carb food products can come in handy when you are unable to find appropriate food, can’t take time for a meal or need a quick snack. More and more companies are creating healthy food products that can be eaten during the Induction phase of Atkins. Just remember two things:

  • Not all convenience food products are the same, so check labels and carbohydrate content.
  • While any of these foods can make doing Atkins easier, don’t overdo it. Remember, you must always follow The Rules of Induction.

The Atkins Diet: The Rules of Induction
This phase of the Atkins Nutritional Approach™ must be followed precisely to achieve success. If you do it at all incorrectly you may prevent weight loss and end up saying, “Here is another weight-loss plan that didn’t work.” Also, check out “Extra Cautions,” below.
Memorize the following rules as though your life depends upon it. In fact, it does.

  • Eat either three regular-size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating.
  • Eat liberally of combinations of fat and protein in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat, as well as pure, natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable oils (preferably expeller-pressed or cold-pressed).
  • Eat no more than 20 grams a day of carbohydrate, most of which must come in the form of salad greens and other vegetables. You can eat approximately three loosely packed cups of salad, or two cups of salad plus one cup of other vegetables (see Acceptable Foods).
  • Eat absolutely no fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than cheese, cream or butter. Do not eat nuts or seeds in the first two weeks. Foods that combine protein and carbohydrates, such as chickpeas, kidney beans and other legumes, are not permitted at this time.
  • Eat nothing that isn’t on the Acceptable Foods list. And that means absolutely nothing. Your “just this one taste won’t hurt” rationalization is the kiss of failure during this phase of Atkins.
  • Adjust the quantity you eat to suit your appetite, especially as it decreases. When you’re hungry, eat the amount that makes you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. When you’re not hungry, eat a small controlled carbohydrate snack to accompany your nutritional supplements.
  • Don’t assume any food is low in carbohydrate-instead, read labels. Check the carb count (it’s on every package) or use a carbohydrate gram counter.
  • Eat out as often as you wish but be on guard for hidden carbs in gravies, sauces and dressings. Gravy is often made with flour or cornstarch, and sugar is sometimes an ingredient in salad dressing.
  • Use sucralose or saccharin as a sweetener. Be sure to count each packet of any of these as 1 gram of carbs.
  • Avoid coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine. Excessive caffeine has been shown to cause low blood sugar, which can make you crave sugar.
  • Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to hydrate your body, avoid constipation and flush out the by-products of burning fat.
  • If you are constipated, mix a tablespoon or more of psyllium husks in a cup or more of water and drink daily. Or mix ground flaxseed into a shake or sprinkle wheat bran on a salad or vegetables.
  • At a minimum, take a good daily multivitamin with minerals, including potassium, magnesium and calcium, but without iron.

The South Beach Diet: Overview
This is an excerpt from the book: The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss by Arthur Agatston, 2003.
The South Beach Diet is not low-carb. Nor is it low-fat. Instead, it teaches you to rely on the right carbs and the right fats–the good ones–so you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and get rid of cravings without feeling hungry.
In one 12-week study of 40 overweight people, those who followed the South Beach Diet lost an average of 13.6 lb, almost double the 7.5 lb lost by those on the strict “Step II” American Heart Association (AHA) diet. And the South Beach group showed greater decreases in waist-to-hip ratio (belly fat) and triglycerides, and their good to bad cholesterol ratio improved more. Plus, only one person dropped out compared with five in the AHA group.
By choosing the right carbs and the right fats, you simply won’t be hungry all the time, and portion sizes will take care of themselves.
Caution: If you have kidney problems, talk to your doctor before starting this diet. If you have diabetes, get tested to make sure that your kidneys are not impaired before starting this diet.
Good Carbs versus Bad Carbs
Much of our excess weight comes from the carbohydrates we eat, especially the highly processed ones found in baked goods, breads, snacks, soft drinks, and other convenient favorites. Modern industrial processing removes the fiber from these foods, and once that’s gone, their very nature–and how we metabolize them–changes significantly, and for the worse.
One side effect of excess weight, we now know, is an impairment of insulin’s ability to do its job of processing fuel (fats and sugars) properly. This condition is called insulin resistance. As a result, the body stores more fat than it should, especially in the midsection.
Decrease consumption of those bad carbs, studies showed, and the insulin resistance starts clearing up. Weight decreases, and you begin metabolizing carbs properly. Even the craving for carbs disappears once you cut down on them. Finally, cutting out processed carbs lowers triglycerides and cholesterol.
The Right Fat
To make up for the overall cut in carbs, my diet permits ample fats and animal proteins. The low-fat regimen’s severe restrictions on meat were unnecessary. The latest studies had shown that lean meat did not have a harmful effect on blood chemistry. Even egg yolks are good for you, which is contrary to what we once believed. Chicken, turkey, and fish are recommended, along with nuts and low-fat cheeses and yogurt.
As a rule, low-fat prepared foods can be a bad idea; the fats are replaced with carbs, which are also fattening. But dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt that are low-fat are exceptions to this rule; they are nutritious and not fattening.
I also allowed plenty of healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils. These are the good fats. In addition to actually reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, they taste good and make food palatable. They’re filling too.
Phase 1: Two Weeks of Restraint
This is the strictest part of the diet and is meant to last for 2 weeks only. But you could lose up to 13 lb depending on your starting weight. It allows ample portions of protein, good fats, and the lowest-glycemic index carbs needed for satisfaction and blood sugar control. By the time this phase ends, your cravings for sweets, baked goods, and starches will also have vanished.
Each day includes six different occasions to eat, so you should never feel hungry. If you do, maybe you’re being too stingy with your portions. Meals should be of normal size, enough to satisfy you, but no more than that. No need to measure most things.
Phase 1 Sample Meal Plan
Tomato juice, 6 oz
Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and mushrooms
Canadian bacon, 2 slices
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Midmorning Snack
Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick
Chicken Caesar salad (no croutons)
Prepared Caesar dressing, 2 Tbsp
Midafternoon Snack
Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) with 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
Mahi mahi
Oven-Roasted Vegetables
Arugula salad
Low-sugar prepared dressing
Lemon Peel Ricotta Creme
Foods to Enjoy
Beef: Lean cuts such as sirloin (including ground), tenderloin.
Poultry (skinless): Cornish hen, turkey bacon, turkey breast, chicken breast.
Seafood: All types of fish and shellfish.
Pork: Boiled ham, Canadian bacon, tenderloin.
Veal: Chop, cutlet, top round.
Lunchmeat: Fat-free or low-fat.
Cheese (fat-free or low-fat): American, Cheddar, cottage cheese, cream cheese substitute (dairy-free), feta.
Nuts: Peanut butter, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews.
Eggs: Whole eggs are not limited unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Use egg whites and egg substitute as desired.
Tofu: Use soft, low-fat, or light varieties.
Vegetables and legumes: Artichokes, asparagus, beans and legumes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini.
Fats: Canola and olive oils.
Spices and seasonings: All seasonings that contain no added sugar, broth, butter sprays, pepper.
Sweets (limit to 75 calories per day): Chocolate powder (no added sugar), cocoa powder (baking type), hard candy, sugar substitute (all sugar-free unless otherwise specified).
Foods to Avoid
Beef: Brisket, liver, rib steaks, other fatty cuts.
Poultry: Chicken wings, thighs, and legs, turkey wings, duck, goose, poultry products (processed).
Pork: Honey-baked ham.
Veal: Breast.
Cheese: Brie, Edam, all full-fat.
Vegetables and legumes: Barley, beets, black-eyed peas, carrots, corn, pinto beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams.
Fruit: Avoid all fruits and fruit juices during Phase 1.
Starches: Avoid all starchy food during Phase 1, including all types of bread, cereal, matzo, oatmeal, rice, pasta, pastry, potatoes, and baked goods.
Dairy: Avoid all dairy foods during Phase 1, including ice cream, milk, soy milk, yogurt.
Miscellaneous: Alcohol of any kind
Phase 2: More Liberal Meal Plans
Here’s where you gradually reintroduce certain healthy carbs into your diet: fruit, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread, whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta. Start with one piece of fruit a day for lunch or dinner, and continue with some cereal or a piece of bread. Weight loss will slow a little. (A healthy average rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 lb a week over time.) Stay on this phase until you hit your target weight. If you regain some weight, switch back to Phase 1 until you lose it.
A key to success is the glycemic index (GI) that ranks carbohydrate foods by their effect on your blood sugar levels. Focus on adding low-GI foods (apples, berries, grapefruit, high-fiber cereal, whole grain breads) to your diet instead of those with a high GI (cakes, cookies, crackers, pasta, white bread).
The goal is to eat more carbs again while continuing to lose weight. If you add an apple and a slice of bread a day, and you’re still dropping pounds, that’s great. If you try an apple, two slices of bread, and a banana daily and notice that your weight loss has stalled, you’ve gone too far. Cut back, or try some different carbs.
You’ll go on that cautious way as long as you’re in Phase 2, eating the most beneficial carbs and paying attention to how they affect you. You should also be aware of foods that increase cravings. No two people will experience this phase the same way. Some dieters can have pasta once a week with no detrimental effects. Others have to avoid pasta but can eat sweet potatoes. You’ll have to figure this dynamic out for yourself.
Phase 2 Sample Meal Plan
Berry smoothie (8 oz Dannon Light ‘n Fit fruit-flavored yogurt, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 cup crushed ice, blended)
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Midmorning Snack
1 hard-boiled egg
Lemon Couscous Chicken
Tomato and cucumber slices
Midafternoon Snack
Dannon Light ‘n Fit yogurt, 4 oz
Meat Loaf
Steamed asparagus
Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil
Sliced Bermuda onion and tomato with drizzled olive oil
Sliced cantaloupe with 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
Foods You Can Eat Again
Fruit: Apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, mangoes, oranges, peaches.
Dairy: Milk (light soy, fat-free, or 1%), yogurt.
Starches (use sparingly): Bagels (small whole grain), bran muffins, bread (multigrain, bran, whole wheat), cereal (high-fiber, oatmeal [not instant]), pasta (whole wheat), pita, rice (brown, wild).
Vegetables and legumes: Barley, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, sweet potatoes, yams.
Miscellaneous: Chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet, sparingly), pudding (fat-free).
Foods to Avoid or Eat Rarely
Starches: Bagels (refined wheat), bread (refined wheat, white), cookies, cornflakes, dinner rolls, matzo, pasta (white), potatoes (white baked, instant), rice cakes, rice (white).
Vegetables: Beets, carrots, corn, white potatoes.
Fruit: Bananas, canned fruit, fruit juice, pineapple, raisins, watermelon.
Miscellaneous: Honey, ice cream, jam.
Phase 3: The Rest of Your Life
This is the maintenance phase: how you’ll eat for the rest of your life. It’s the most liberal stage. You can continue to eat snacks if you need them, but most people find that they are satisfied without them.
There will always be times when you overindulge a little even after years on the diet. Those are the times when you’ll switch back to Phase 1 for a week or two. You’ll get back to where you were, and then you’ll return
to Phase 3.
Phase 3 Sample Meal Plan
½ grapefruit
Tex-Mex eggs (2 eggs scrambled with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and salsa)
Whole grain toast, 1 slice
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Roast Beef Wrap
Grilled salmon with tomato salsa
Tossed salad (mixed greens, cucumbers, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes)
Olive oil and vinegar to taste or 2 Tbsp low-sugar prepared dressing
Chocolate-Dipped Apricots
Don’t Forget (All Phases)
1. Drink at least eight glasses of water or decaf beverages (club soda, unsweetened flavored seltzers, decaf tea or coffee [no sugar], decaf sugar-free sodas) per day.
2. Limit caffeine-containing beverages to 1 cup per day.
3. Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.
4. Take a daily calcium supplement (500 mg for men of all ages and women under 50, 1,000 mg for women over 50).
South Beach Diet by Dr A Agatston
Its not low carb and its not low fat!
Teaches you to rely on the right carbs and the right fats-and enables you to live quite happily without the bad ones. You should lose somewhere between 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks alone.

  • You’ll eat normal size helpings of meat, chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish
  • You’ll have plenty of vegetables, eggs, cheese and nuts
  • You’ll have salads with real olive oil in the dressing.
  • You’ll have 3 balanced meals a day and it will be your job to eat so your hunger is satisfied
  • You’ll have dessert after dinner
  • You’ll drink water, plus tea & coffee if you wish
  • Phase 1
  • For the next 14 days you wont have any bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or baked goods. No fruit, no sweets, cakes biscuits, ice cream, beer or alcohol.
  • During the first week the craving for the above will disappear
  • You will lose between 8-13 pounds
  • Phase 2
  • Weight loss should be appx 2 lbs a week
  • You can start introducing more food back to your diet
  • Fruit can be added back to the diet, and pasta etc in reduced quantities
  • Phase 2 should last till you hit your target weight

Phase 3 is the rest of your life-when you’re into the habits of good healthy eating and back to normal foods – as long as you stick to a few basic rules!
Good carbs/ Bad carbs
Phase 1 begins to reverse the body’s inability to process sugars and starches properly. To do this we need to cut out all carbs but the healthiest ones ie those high in fibre and nutrients (and lowest in sugar and starch)-vegetables and salads only in other words!!
Typical brekkie-two egg omelette with two slices lean bacon cooked in a spray of olive oil
This combines protein (eggs & bacon) and good fats (oil and bacon). This will keep your stomach full and occupied with digestion ie no hunger pangs!
An alternative could have been an omelette with vegetables ie mushrooms, peppers, broccoli. Or an omelette with ham or low-fat cheese.
It is essential not to skip breakfast as this allows blood sugar to drop and results in cravings for dodgy carbs!
You can have up to 7 eggs a week.
You should be ready for a mid-morning snack about 10.30am whether or not you feel like you need one. The only low-fat food this diet recommends in low-fat cheese or low-fat yoghurt. (In other low-fat foods, the fat tends to have been replaced with carbohydrates)
Typical lunch could be mixed salad, with grilled chicken or fish, olive oil vinaigrette, grilled prawns, tuna nicoise salad. Eat until you are full.
Aim for good mix of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fats. The aim is to deprive your system of the low-quality sugar and starch that play havoc with your blood chemistry.
Mid-afternoon is another dodgy time as blood sugar levels drop again triggering cravings for chocolate/sweets etc. Nuts are a good thing to eat at this time. Not salted or smoked nuts though. Almonds, or Pistachios. Try and only eat a limited amount ie 15 almonds or 30 pistachios.
Dinner-again we rely on chicken, fish, lean beef and plenty of vegetables and salad to go with them.
Strong recommendation to have dessert after dinner as this is another prime time for blood sugar levels to drop. Two solutions-sugar free jelly (called gelatine in the book but I guess it’s the same thing!!) plus ample use of low-fat ricotta cheese.
Main aim is to slow the absorption of the sugars in the carbohydrates into the bloodstream. Fibre is a very good way of slowing this process down. Similar to drinking on an empty stomach-you get drunk faster than if you had food in your stomach to absorb the alcohol.
Fat also slows down the absorption of sugar. As well as acidic foods such as lemon and vinegar, which slow down the speed at which your stomach empties.
Basically anything that helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrate sugars is good!
You can split card sugars into two groups-slow and fast.
Fast sugar gives us a quick ‘hit’ but then increases cravings soon after the initial hit.
Slow sugar gradually raises our sugar levels but also lowers them slower so the cravings do not reappear so quickly.
Basically when we have low blood sugar, and we raise it quickly then pancreas increases insulin levels in the body, this then reduces the sugar level but often to a level that is too low thus creating more cravings, and so on.
The slower the rate that sugar is released into the body, the slower insulin is released into our bodies to counteract it. Ie no sudden rise/fall in blood sugar = no cravings
Timing your snacks to correspond with the daily lows in blood sugar can also help counteract the craving. There is a lag between your stomach starting to fill and your brain noticing it., so eating i.e. a few nuts before lunch will stop you eating so much
Certain foods cause our sugar levels to rise more quickly-i.e. white bread, white pasta, sugar, beer, rice, certain tropical fruit, anything made with white flour, potatoes and other starchy vegetables,
Phase 1 foods to enjoy :
Beef-Sirloin (including minced), Tenderloin, Top Round, Other lean cuts
Poultry (skinless)-Turkey/chicken breast, Poussin, Turkey Bacon (2 slices per day)
Seafood-all types of fish and shellfish
Pork-Boiled Ham, Lean Bacon, tenderloin
Veal-Leg Cutlet, Top Round, Veal Chop,
Lunchmeat-Non-fat or lower fat only
Cheese (fat-free or lower fat)-American, Cheddar, Feta, Mozzarella, Parmesan,
Ricotta, Provolone, String, Dairy free cream cheese, fat free cottage cheese
Nuts-30 pistachios, 20 small peanuts, 15 pecan halves, 1 teaspoon peanut butter
Eggs-7 eggs per week
Tofu-soft, low-fat or lite varieties
Vegetables-Artichokes, Asparagus, Aubergines, Beans (black, butter. Chickpeas,
Green, Italian, kidney, lentils, Lima, split peas) Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower,
Celery, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Spinach, Turnips
Fats-olive oil
Spices-all spices that contain no added sugar, extracts (vanilla, almond etc)
Horseradish sauce, low fat butter substitute) pepper 9black, white, red,
Sweet treats-limit to 75 calories per day-no added sugar chocolate powder, sugar
free ice-lollies, sugar free gelatine, sugar free hard sweets, sugarless chewing gum, sugar substitute.
Foods to avoid :
Fatty cuts of meat, chicken wings/legs, duck, goose, honey bake ham, brie, edam, beets, carrots, corn, potatoes, tomato (limit to 1 whole or 10 cherry per meal) sweet potatoes, apples, apricots, berries, melon, peaches, pears, all starchy food ie bread, cereal, oatmeal, rice, pasta, pastry, frozen yoghurt, ice-cream, milk, soy milk, yoghurt, alcohol of any kind.
Dessert ideas
-Basically all involved 110g low fat ricotta cheese mixed with: –
Sugar substitute, lemon zest, lime zest, vanilla extract, almond extract.
Mix up and serve chilled
After 2 weeks of phase 1 they recommend you switch to phase 2-ie gradually reintroducing certain healthy carbs ie fruit, granary bread brown rice, wholemeal pasta, sweet potatoes
Foods to reintroduce in phase 2:-
Apples, apricots, blueberries, melon, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, mango, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, light fruit flavoured yoghurt, light soya milk, plain lowfat or fatfree yoghurt, starches-use sparingly ie all-bran cereal, bran flakes, oatmeal, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, multigrain bread, popcorn, small sweet potato, wholegrain bagels etc, red wine.
Foods to avoid or eat rarely:-
White rice, baked white potatoes, instant potatoes, dinner rolls, white bread, white pasta, pretzels, rice cakes, cornflakes, biscuits, beetroot, carrots, corn, potatoes, banana, fruit juice, canned fruit, pineapple, raisins, watermelon, honey, jam, ice-cream.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index–or GI, for short–is a system that ranks foods by how they affect your levels of blood sugar. Low-GI foods (less than 55) produce a gradual rise in blood sugar that’s easy on the body. Foods between 55 and 70 are intermediate-GI foods. Foods with high-GI numbers (more than 70) make blood sugar as well as insulin levels spike fast. We now realize that’s a health threat.
Can choosing more low-GI foods make you healthier?
Mounting research suggests keeping blood sugar from spiking pays off in many ways. Low-GI foods appear to:
stave off heart disease
prevent type 2 diabetes
help you evade serious side effects if you have diabetes
curb your appetite so you lose weight
perhaps even help you feel more energetic
Is it hard to use the GI in real life?
Definitely not. Here are the general guidelines. Include at least one low-GI food at each meal or snack, advises top GI expert Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, University of Sydney, Australia. No one’s suggesting you eliminate all high-GI foods, but you can use this guide to work toward more intermediate- and low-GI choices–with the exceptions noted below. So far, there’s no fixed rule as to the number of GI points that you are “allowed” at each meal.
* Eat sparingly any low- or intermediate-GI foods that are printed in red, such as candy bars. These are high in empty calories. Eat too much, and you’ll crowd out essential nutrients and gain weight.* On the other hand, don’t avoid or even limit high-glycemic index foods that are printed in green. These are low-calorie and very nutritious foods, such as watermelon and baked potato.
Low-Glycemic Index Foods: Less Than 55
* Eat foods printed in red sparingly; these are high in empty calories.
Artichoke <15
Asparagus <15
Broccoli <15
Cauliflower <15
Celery <15
Cucumber <15
Eggplant <15
Green beans <15
Lettuce, all varieties <15
Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened <15
Peanuts <15
Peppers, all varieties <15
Snow peas <15
Spinach <15
Young summer squash <15
Zucchini <15
Tomatoes 15
Cherries 22
Peas, dried 22
Plum 24
Grapefruit 25
Pearled barley 25
Peach 28
Canned peaches, natural juice 30
Dried apricots 31
Soy milk 30
Baby lima beans, frozen 32
Fat-free milk 32
Fettuccine 32
*M&M’s Chocolate Candies, Peanut 32
Low-fat yogurt, sugar sweetened 33
Apple 36
Pear 36
Whole wheat spaghetti 37
Tomato soup 38
Carrots, cooked 39
*Mars Snickers Bar 40
Apple juice 41
Spaghetti 41
All-Bran 42
Canned chickpeas 42
Custard 43
Grapes 43
Orange 43
Canned lentil soup 44
Canned pinto beans 45
Macaroni 45
Pineapple juice 46
Banana bread 47
Long-grain rice 47
Parboiled rice 47
Bulgur 48
Canned baked beans 48
Grapefruit juice 48
Green peas 48
Oat bran bread 48
*Chocolate bar, 1.5 oz 49
Old-fashioned oatmeal 49
Cheese tortellini 50
*Low-fat ice cream 50
Canned kidney beans 52
Kiwifruit 52
Orange juice, not from concentrate 52
Banana 53
*Potato chips 54
*Pound cake 54
Special K 54
Sweet potato 54
Eat foods marked with an asterisk (*) sparingly; these are high in empty calories.