Low-carbohydrate diet plans involve reducing the number of carbs eaten on a daily basis. Two of the most popular diet plans, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, are the Atkins plan and the South Beach Diet. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults and children over the age of 2 consume 130 g of carbohydrate per day.
The initial stage of the Atkins diet requires a reduction in carbohydrates to 20 g per day. After a few weeks on the plan, participants can increase their carb intake to 60 g per day. On the South Beach Diet, participants must reduce their carbohydrate intake to between 65 and 90 g per day after an initial phase of only 20 g per day. According to these plans, a daily diet plan consisting of less than 100 g of carbohydrates per day would be considered low-carb in the later stages of the diets.
Long Term Results
Although low-carb diets may get you results on the scale, they're likely not the healthiest approach to weight loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, low-carb diets are likely effective in the short term because they restrict certain food groups and cause you to eat less overall. Although this will help you lose some weight early on, you're not likely to keep the weight off when you go back to your normal eating patterns. You may find it easier to follow a diet plan that allows you to eat a variety of foods. It is still possible to lose weight while eating an appropriate amount of carbohydrates.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the Atkins diet puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease because of excess saturated fat and cholesterol associated with the diet. Eating fewer than 130 g of carbohydrates per day causes a buildup of ketones in your blood. Excessive ketones – or broken-down fats – may cause a buildup of uric acid in your body, which can lead to gout. Your best bet for healthy weight loss is to stick with a diet that balances all the major food groups, especially since the long-term effects of low-carb diets have not been fully proven.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any diet or weight-loss program. Your doctor can help advise you about low-carb diets and what effects they could have on any medical conditions you might have. Consider hiring a licensed dietitian to help you develop a customized meal plan for weight loss.