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The CarbLovers Diet

The Promise

If the thought of giving up pasta and bread in the name of losing weight makes your blood run cold, this diet was designed for you.

The CarbLovers Diet actually encourages you to have more carbs, as long as you pick the right ones. 

The diet claims you’ll drop up to 8 pounds in 30 days by combining everyday healthy foods with "carb stars" -- foods rich in resistant starch.

Found in lentils, garbanzo beans, brown rice, and certain other carbs, this type of starch resists digestion in the small intestine. It passes through your body without entering your bloodstream and breaking down into glucose (blood sugar) like other foods.

This starch works, in part, by making you feel full. The authors claim it also promotes fat-burning, and helps keep your blood sugar levels in check.

You eat a lot of resistant starch on this plan:  two to three times as much as most people eat.

In your first week on the diet, you get only 1,200 calories per day -- and you’ll lose up to 6 pounds, say authors Ellen Kunes (editor-in-chief of Health magazine) and Frances Largeman-Roth, RD.

After that, you’ll eat 1,600 calories in three meals and two snacks per day, with a "carb star" at every meal.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

You can have any food in moderation, even potato chips. But refined starches, like white pasta, white rice, white bread, and low-fiber cereals, are discouraged.

The main rule is to fill one-quarter of your plate with a resistant starch. Sources include green bananas, uncooked toasted oatmeal, legumes, whole wheat pasta (preferably cooked al dente), and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled.

The rest of your plate should contain lean meats, low-fat dairy, good fats, fruits, and vegetables.

Level of Effort: Medium

This diet isn’t hard to follow, once you get past the week of eating only 1,200 calories per day.

Limitations: Nothing is banned.

Cooking and shopping: If you use the meal plans and recipes found in the 21-day “immersion plan,” you’ll be making most of your meals and snacks from scratch. If you don’t, it may be harder to follow the diet, though the book offers food lists and diet-appropriate fast-food ideas. More recipes are available in The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook.

Packaged foods or meals: None required.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: You’re encouraged to exercise on this diet, which provides strengthening exercises to do twice a week and interval (cardio) workouts for other days.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Aside from eating a resistant starch at every meal, you can choose what foods to eat. So this plan could work for vegetarians and vegans, as well as those on low-salt, low-fat, and gluten-free diets.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Just your groceries.

Support: You do this diet on your own.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on December 18, 2013

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