Dr. Rachel Heller and Dr. Richard Heller created the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet in 1993. The premise of this diet is that people are overweight because of their addiction to carbohydrates. The Hellers’ state that the human body fails to metabolize carbohydrates correctly, which creates an insulin imbalance. This imbalance causes continuous food cravings.
Pro: Healthy Recommendations
A part of the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet is based upon sound science. This diet recommends that dieters consume low glycemic carbohydrates instead of high glycemic carbohydrates, which have shown to increase blood sugar levels. The Hellers’ discourage dieters from consuming sugary carbohydrates, which also can increase blood sugar levels. Finally, this diet recommends daily exercise, which is encouraged by the Mayo Clinic to help facilitate weight loss.
Con: Diet Not Based On Science
There is no published scientific research that proves the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet helps individuals lose and maintain long-term weight loss. The Hellers’ state that between 50 to 75% of all American’s are considered insulin resistant or pre-diabetic, which is what causes the weight gain. Actual research shows that this number is closer to only 15 to 20% of Americans who are insulin resistant.
Pro: Not as Strict as Adkins
On the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, individuals are allowed to eat 3 meals a day, one being a ‘free’ meal. Two of these meals must consist of a protein, either fish, lean red meat or poultry, and fibrous vegetables. The last meal is considered a cheat meal where dieters can enjoy a meal that is a balance of 1/3 protein, 1/3 fibrous vegetable and 1/3 carbohydrate.
Con: Fat Content May Negatively Affect Health
For individuals that already have high cholesterol or heart disease, the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet should be avoided. This diet recommends eating foods that are high in saturated fats. These foods could negatively impact individuals with certain heart diseases or high cholesterol levels.
Pro: Breaks the Addiction
For some individuals, a diet this strict and limiting may break them from their addiction to carbohydrates. Dr. Heller states that dieters will have an increased cravings for carbohydrates at the beginning of this diet, but these cravings will taper off as dieters break their addiction to carbohydrates.
Con: Unbalanced Diet
The United States Department of Agriculture supports the belief that a healthy, well-balanced diet is one that includes foods from all the major food groups. The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet severely limits the amount of foods allowed from the grains food group. The USDA states that an adult woman needs to consume a minimum of 3 oz of grains (preferably whole grains) a day and recommends up to 6 oz of grains a day.
Pro: Maintenance Plan
The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet has two phases, a basic phase and a maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, dieters are allowed to add reduced sugar substitutes to their diet and are recommended to increase their daily exercise.
Overall, the Carbohydrate Diet fails to provide dieters with a healthy, well-balanced diet plan that balances protein, fats and carbohydrates. Instead, this diet nearly eliminates carbohydrates and recommends an excessive consumption of protein and fats.