A wide variety of diets exist, and many focus on manipulating carbohydrate intake for potential weight-loss benefits. Diane Kress, R.D., author of "The Metabolism Miracle," created one such diet. Like many controlled-carb diets, the Metabolism Miracle diet plan is divided into phases, the first of which is the strictest, allowing a minimum amount of carbs. And while "miracle" may be a strong word for any diet, controlled-carb diets do appear to provide short-term weight-loss benefits. Always be sure to talk to your doctor before making major changes to your diet.
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During the first phase of the Metabolism Miracle diet plan, you reduce your carb intake to jump-start your weight loss. This phase lasts approximately eight weeks. The goal is to reduce the amount of glucose in your blood so that your liver can then deplete glycogen, which is a stored form of glucose. By depleting glycogen stores, your body is encouraged to use fat as an alternate fuel source. Kress warns that you might feel tired and cranky for the first three days of this carb rehab.
Continued Weight Loss
Phase two is designed to get you to your goal weight, so the amount of time you spend on this phase will vary. Phase two transitions you from low carbs to a low-glycemic load, which takes into account the glycemic index and the amount of carbs eaten at each meal. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly and dramatically a particular food raises your blood sugar. During this phase, you learn how to reintroduce healthy carbs that have the mildest effect on insulin secretion. These are known as low-glycemic carbohydrates, which Kress refers to as "low-impact." You will also stick to a specified number of carbs at each meal, and you will practice eating carbohydrates at certain times when your body is most sensitive to insulin, such as after exercise.
Once you reach a healthy weight, the goal is to maintain it. In the ongoing maintenance phase, you'll be able to expand the types of carbohydrates you eat, as well as the amount. The aim is to help prevent the weight from returning by promoting a balanced diet through healthier food choices. During this phase, Kress offers information on how to determine the number of carbs that work best for you, indicating that you'll have a generous allotment of carbohydrates. This phase also emphasizes the importance of establishing healthy dietary habits, such as eating heart-healthy fats, lean protein and vegetables. In addition, according to Kress, now that you've reach your goal weight, the occasional brownie or other treat won't send all the pounds rushing back.
What the Experts Say
Concerns have been raised about low-carb diets because they often contain high amounts of fat and protein and low amounts of fiber, according to the authors of an article published in the journal "American Family Physician" in June 2006. Weight loss is related to the total number of calories you consume each day. In the short-term, the article notes, low-carb diets produce more weight loss than traditional reduced-fat diets. However, the authors report, at the one-year mark, there is no significant difference in weight loss between a low-carb diet and a low-fat diet.