The popularity of low carb diets has never been as low as it is now, with only 2% of the nation following a low carb plan. This makes for a very timely release of Denise Austin's latest book Eat Carbs Lose Weight. Denise lets us eat bread, pasta, potatoes and more, and still lose 2 pounds a week! How does this diet plan work, and how can it work for you? Denise explains it all in three easy sections of her new book, covering carb education, the actual diet plan, and plenty of recipes to get you started.
First, let's get something straight. This will not be an all-you-can-eat carb fest, or a license to ignore the basics of good dieting. You will learn portion control. You will balance your meals through certain ratios of protein, fat, and carbs. And you will exercise. Now before you back away and assume this is just another diet book, let us tell you that you will learn a few things if you read this book. You will walk away with more dieting confidence because you will have the knowledge and tools to make better choices. You'll say "ah ha!" with nearly every turn of the page!
How many carbs will you eat with this plan? Denise suggests a balance of 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat. You WILL eat a lot of carbs, but you'll be taught to make good carb choices. You'll also choose leaner forms of protein, and choose "good" fats. It isn't just about the balance, though, as this is also a calorie controlled diet plan which ensures consistent weight loss. You will consume an average of 1300 calories over the course of 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. It's not just about balanced calorie restriction, it's also a low glycemic index plan! Yes, Denise is wrapping up the best of the best into one diet program.
By now, you are probably thinking this is a knock-off of the South Beach Diet. However, Denise offers us much more leniency with her plan. She not only considers the GI of foods, but also the glycemic load (GL). Denise explains For example, some foods - such as carrots, watermelon, and pumpkin - rate high on the index but don't necessarily result in sky-high blood sugar. These foods may hit your bloodstream quickly, but they don't contain enough carbohydrate calories to greatly affect blood sugar levels. To determine the glycemic load of a food, you multiply the food's GI by the number of carbs in a serving, then divide by 100. Watermelon has a GI of 72 and is not allowed on the South Beach Diet, but it only has a glycemic load of 7. A Low GL rating is 10 or less. A medium GL rating is 11 to 19, and anything over 20 is considered high. So watermelon is a perfectly acceptable choice! You will find that a lot of foods have a low GL, such as corn, maple syrup, bananas, oatmeal cookies, even chocolate ice cream!
Another big difference between this diet plan and similar plans is that Denise prefers the use of real, natural sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, and butter over most margarines. However, she agrees with the World Health Organization's advice to limit added sugars to 10% of your daily calories. This is also something we've encouraged for a long time. We don't consider sugar to be taboo, but we believe it should be limited. Denise manages to enforce that idea with her diet plan. Sugar certainly isn't low GI or low GL, or low anything for that matter. But it's all about balance. If your overall diet is good, you can afford to eat a little real sugar and real butter without affecting your weight loss progress.
The first half of the book teaches us everything we need to know about carbohydrates, and never realized we didn't already know. Denise explains why low carb diets are notorious for reducing our energy levels, cause brain fog, and even can cause more carb cravings. These are some of the things that some low carb diet promoters try to tell us that low carb diets improve, but studies have shown otherwise. Denise goes into great detail, includes references to the studies and experts to prove her point, yet makes it all very interesting to read.
You won't find a forbidden food list on this plan. Sure, some foods are encouraged over others, such as lower GI carbs. Whole grains are preferred, but if a recipe can't work without some white flour or cornstarch, then so be it. According to Denise, food is fabulous and should be enjoyed! So we learn to balance the healthiest aspects of dieting with the ability to enjoy more decadent choices from time to time. Allowing ourselves to enjoy our diets will help us to stick to them and reach our goals. You won't feel deprived. You won't be forced to eat foods you don't enjoy, while avoiding foods you love.
Exercise. It wouldn't be a Denise Austin plan without it, would it? Besides, exercise is ALWAYS the other half of the weight loss equation. However, it's not just about burning extra calories or feeling firmer and stronger. Denise shares her expertise and teaches us about metabolism, fat-storing enzymes, and how dieting without exercise leads to roller-coaster dieting experience that probably never ends. You won't need to follow a gruesome fitness plan, hire a personal trainer, or join a gym. Denise recommends regular walking and doing a daily 12 minute routine that sculpts muscles and revs the metabolism. This is the minimum dosage required, and you can increase your exercise as you become stronger and fitter, and Denise helps us improve in this area.
The Diet. We're given a 28 day plan that includes suggested menus to make it easy. Denise also shares a basic formula that you can follow if you want to create your own menu. It can't get any easier!
A sample day on this plan:
Breakfast - 1 breakfast parfait (recipe in book)
Snack - 1 medium tangerine
Lunch - 1 Chutney Chicken Wrap (recipe in book)
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup radishes
8 oz skim milk
Snack - 1 kiwi fruit
1 oz string cheese
Dinner - Sesame Noodles with Salmon (recipe in book)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
Peach Melba (recipe in book)
The Recipes. There are almost 100 recipes in the book that sound amazing and worth the price of the book alone! You'll find breakfast burritos, coffee-chocolate waffles, sloppy joes, quesadillas, stuffed potatoes, maple mashed sweet potatoes, cakes, cobblers, and more! All of the recipes look like they would appeal to the whole family, not just us. The recipes are used in the menu plan, so it's easy to see what make good side dishes, and how to plan your shopping.
Overall, this diet plan is balanced, looks very easy to stick to, and should be guaranteed to help you lose weight. If you have considered leaving your low carb diet but were not sure if it was the right thing for you, we recommend that you read this book and take to heart what Denise explains in this book. It just makes sense. If you have tried similar diet plans but were discouraged by food restrictions, we suggest this plan because it is much more lenient and should be a lot easier to stick to. One of our forum members was recently upset with herself for having eaten a slice of watermelon while following the South Beach Diet, since it's on the bad food list. We're not sure anyone ever got fat eating watermelon. Denise probably doesn't think so, either.
Fitness Factor: Expect to exercise daily on this plan. You won't have to invest in any equipment, other than a good pair of walking shoes.
Pros: Balanced nutrition, encourages healthier choices but isn't as restrictive as similar plans. Should be easier to stick to. The food plan is affordable and should appeal to the entire family.
Cons: We honestly can't think of any!
Who this diet is best for: For anyone that has had problems sticking to a carb restricted diet plan due to forbidden food lists, but still wants to embrace the idea of better carbs and better fats.