Diet Review: The Carb Lovers Diet
The Carb Lovers Diet: How It Works
The Carb Lovers Diet teaches men and women how to eat carbs the right way, Largeman-Roth says.
The plan starts with a one-week detox that trims calories to 1,200 per day in four small meals and promises up to six pounds of weight loss. After that, you get 1,600 calories in five small meals, with a "carb star" at every meal.
Even though you will be eating less, foods rich in resistant starch also tend to be high in fiber and the combination works together to promote fullness (satiety), balance blood sugar, and promote fat burning.
Resistant starch comes in four different forms from the kind found naturally in foods like legumes to starch granules made from corn.
Most Americans eat about 5 grams of resistant starch per day, says Hope Warshaw, RD, MMSc, RD, CDE, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy and a spokeswoman for National Starch, a maker of starches used in food products.
“Ideally, we should consume between 15-20 grams of resistant starch each day to get the satiety and fat burning benefits and help meet fiber needs," Warshaw says. Carb phobia has resulted in adults eating less than half the recommended amount of dietary fiber, she says.
Despite lots of research on the health benefits, resistant starch is hard to measure in the diet because it is not listed on nutrition labels or in most nutrient databases.
The Carb Lovers Diet: Experts' Views
Most registered dietitians and the Institute of Medicine promote diets rich in healthy carbs and wholesome foods -- much like those promoted in the The Carb Lovers Diet.
Nutrition experts are happy to see healthy carbs welcomed back into diet plans because without carbs, it's hard to meet your fiber needs.
“You will lose weight on this plan because the calories are restricted, portions are controlled, and the recommended foods are basically very filling and healthy” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD.
There is a wealth of good science around the health benefits of resistant starch, particularly improving insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and eating fewer calories, says Warshaw, author of Diabetes and Meal Planning Made Easy.
The Carb Lovers Diet is similar to the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2005 Dietary Guidelines, without the emphasis on resistant-starch foods at every meal.
Giancoli applauds the flexibility and basic plan. But she cautions the 1,200-calorie phase one-week detox plan may be too restrictive.
“Skip the first phase and jump right into the 1,600-calorie phase, because the promised six-pound weight loss is mostly fluids and lean tissue, which you don’t want to lose,” Giancoli says.
“There is plenty of fiber, lean and low-fat protein to help make the small meals more filling. Yet even 1,600 calories may be inadequate for people who exercise an hour per day,” Giancoli says.
She agrees with the authors' suggestion to snack if you're still hungry. She also recommends that you “pile on the vegetables" to help fill up.
Giancoli disagrees with skipping artificial sweeteners. “The jury is still out on artificial sweeteners and the research is not clear to warrant pulling these substances that really can help dieters,” she says.