Living Low Carb: Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss

The best low-carb guide just got better. Nationally known nutrition expert Jonny Bowden’s bestselling low-carbohydrate eating plan is now both more flexible and more effective at fighting appetite cravings. This updated edition of Living Low Carb explores the many scientific discoveries made in the last five Living-Low-Carb_years about brain chemistry, appetite, cravings, carbs, and sugar addiction. With refreshing candor, Bowden evaluates all the low-carb programs in light of the latest scientific research, including the Dukan Diet, the Low GI Diet, and the Ultimate New York Diet, showing you how to customize your own healthy plan for long-term weight loss and optimal well-being.

The Living Low-Carb plan outlines an eating system designed to help people lose weight by reducing the amount of carbohydrates they consume.

The calories in the foods you eat come from a combination of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in starchy and sugary (both natural and refined sugar) foods, such as bread, pasta, sweets, fruits, and vegetables. Low-carb diets, which usually require people to choose high-protein foods, such as milk, eggs, and cheese, over high-carbohydrate foods, including fruits and grains, have become more popular in recent years and have been shown to help people lose weight.

In addition to teaching you how to eat, snack, attend parties, and dine out while on a low-carb diet, McCullough provides readers with 175 simple low-carb recipes. (She is also the author of The Low-Carb Cookbook.)

A typical day on the diet might include:

Why you might follow a low-carb diet

You might choose to follow a low-carb diet because you:

  • Want a diet that restricts certain carbs to help you lose weight
  • Want to change your overall eating habits
  • Enjoy the types and amounts of foods featured in low-carb diets

Check with your doctor or health care provider before starting any weight-loss diet, especially if you have any health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Many carbohydrates occur naturally in plant-based foods, such as grains. In natural form, carbohydrates can be thought of as complex and fibrous such as the carbohydrates found in whole grains and legumes, or they can be less complex such as those found in milk and fruit. Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include:

  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)

Typical foods for a low-carb diet

In general, a low-carb diet focuses on proteins, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and some nonstarchy vegetables. A low-carb diet generally excludes or limits most grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. Some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

A daily limit of 60 to 130 grams of carbohydrates is typical with a low-carb diet. These amounts of carbohydrates provide 240 to 520 calories.

Some low-carb diets greatly restrict carbs during the initial phase of the diet and then gradually increase the number of allowed carbs. Very low-carb diets restrict carbohydrates to 60 grams or less a day.

In contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calorie intake. So if you consume 2,000 calories a day, you would need to eat between 900 and 1,300 calories a day from carbohydrates or between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

  • Low-carb diets can work. Studies have shown that a low-carb diet can be more effective in helping you lose weight, especially when you first start dieting. And low-carb dieters’ cholesterol levels tend to improve while on the diet.
  • Most Americans need to cut back on processed grains. “The problem really with grain foods is just that people are eating too many processed grains,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Processed grains include foods like sweet baked goods, white bread, white pasta, and white rice.Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits and Inspirations, agrees that people who eat too many carbohydrates are likely to gain weight. “Excess carbohydrates — excess anything — is going to mean excess calories,” she says. And that adds up to excess pounds.