What is a Low Carb Diet? - Slender Kitchen

What is a Low Carb Diet?

Low carb diets come in many different forms and vary greatly in how many and which carbohydrates are allowed. Many people find they are able to successfully lose weight quickly following a low carb diet, but it is important to understand the different types of low carb diets and your lifestyle when considering a low carb diet.


Low carb diet is a broad term used to cover lots of different diets as well as popular weight loss programs including Atkins, Ketogenic Diet, South Beach, the Zone Diet, Protein Power, Sugar Busters, Dukan Diet, and more. It is also sometimes known as a reduced carb diet or a low glycemic diet. While each specific low carb diet may be slightly different in the number of carbs they allow, in general low carb diets look to reduce (not eliminate completely) the number of carbohydrates consumed daily and eliminate foods that raise blood sugar.

Low carb diets can very greatly in the number of allowed carbs, however there are generally three types of low carb diets.

  • Overall Reduced Carb Diets: Generally when we talk about reducing overall carbs in your diet by eliminating specific carb heavy foods, we are talking about a reduced carb diet. People following this type of diet may not be eliminating all carbs but are trying to reduce their overall carb intake based on their goals and preferences. One example of this would be someone who eliminates all white flour and white sugar. Another example could be someone who eliminates all grains, beans, and sugar but continues to eat many fruits and vegetables. A third example could be someone on a Paleo diet. (link to Paleo)
  • Gradual Low Carb Diets: Many of today's popular low carb diets promote a gradual approach to carbohydrates. Normally at the beginning of these diets, carbohydrates are extremely limited. Then as the dieter progresses, certain carbs are added back to the diet. This continues until the dieter experiences an unwanted result – weight gain, lack of energy, cravings, etc. At this point, the dieter returns to their previous level of carb intake so they can continue to reap the positive effects. Some diets that follow this model are South Beach, the Zone Diet, Dr. Dukan Diet, and Atkins.
  • Ketogenic Diets: Ketogenic diets are diets that eliminate almost all carbohydrates and strive to have the body in ketosis where it burns fat for fuel. This can speed up weight loss in many people and is being used to treat some ailments. On most ketogenic diets, carbs are limited to less than 60 grams daily and almost all fruit, grains, legumes, sugars, and processed foods are eliminated. It is extremely important to consult a physician before this type of diet since it very restrictive.
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