My sister’s bestfriend Janice also an Asian who used to weigh 200 pounds and stand 5’1” is now flaunting her 110 pounds sexiness. Her secret. High-protein Low-carb diet. Which means…no rice.

Whatttt? No rice???

Rice is always important in the Asian dining table. We eat it to supplement our every meal. I particularly love the long grain white rice variety which, they say, has high levels of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates promote insulin production which leads to weight gain. Before declaring a total war against rice, I think I have to closely look into this low carb, high protein diet and how it works?

Low-carbohydrate diet plans focus mainly on reducing the intake of carbohydrates to shed off extra pounds.Two of the most popular low-carb, high protein program that rocked the dieters’ world in the last two decades are the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet.

The Atkins Diet

This diet plan was developed by Dr.Robert Atkins who believes that when we eat carbohydrates, we train our body to burn carbohydrates instead of fat for energy. As a result, these unburned extra calories are stored as body fat, which, overtime, makes us overweight. Atkins diet, therefore, recommends to take away carbohydrates from our diet to a radical extent.

The Atkins diet includes 4 different phases:

  1. Induction Phase (Phase 1)is designed to “train” our body to stop using carbohydrates and start burning fat. To accomplish this, we are required to consume below20 grams of carbs per day for 2 weeks. During this period we should eat high-fat, high-protein, with low-carb vegetables like leafy greens. This kick-starts the weight loss.
  2. Balancing Phase (Phase 2)allows us to gradually add more nuts, low-carb vegetables and small amounts of fruit back to our diet.
  3. Fine-Tuning Phase (Phase 3)is when we are very close to our ideal weight. In this stage, we are allowed to add more carbs to our diet until weight loss slows down.
  4. Maintenance Phase (Phase 4)-It is at this point when our body can already tolerate carbohydrates without regaining weight. Here we can already eat as many healthy carbohydrates.

The South Beach Diet

This diet plan may sound quite similar to the Atkins diet as it is also divided into different phases, but it’s developer, Dr.Agatston claimsthat the South Beach diet is not low-carb. Rather, it is a healthy balance between good carbs and fats.

The South Beach Diet is divided into three phases.

  1. Phase 1 lasts two weekseliminating most carbohydrates, including all fruit, most dairy products and foods which contain saturated fat.Processed foods and softdrinks are totally out. Removing these kinds of carbs will help our body metabolize what we eat and will also improve insulin resistance leading to weight loss. In this phase, we can shed off between 8 and 13 pounds.
  2. Phase 2 goal is to find the right level of carb that we can eat. The idea is to slowly reintroduce into our diet a high-fiber, high nutrient but low-glycemic carbohydrate food. While we are doing this, we should pay attention to our body’s reactions to our carb intake. If we feel we are feeling dizzy, craving and gaining weight, we need to stop and try food that has lo-glycemic index.   Weight loss in this phase is expected to be slow- between 1-2 lbs per week until we reach our target weight.
  3. Phase 3 is the point where we are eating at a carb level which allows us to maintain our ideal weight.

The downside of the low-carbohydrate diet for rice-loving person like me, is that, it is a very difficult plan to follow. And I am quite sure that at some point, after depriving myself of carb, I have the tendency to drop out and binge on carbs bringing the weight back on. This suggests that the low-carbohydrate diet, like so many diets, is no easier to stick to long-term. And although I may initially prefer eating the foods included in the low-carbohydrate diet plan, food choices are actually more limited and perhaps less appealing over time.

Also, in a low-carb diet, burning fat without carbohydrates creates by-products called ketones that build-up our bloodstream that can cause bad breath, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, constipation, loss of appetite, irritability and grouchiness.

On the other hand, studies show that a high protein diet can cause a number of health problems including kidney failure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and kidney stones, and cancer.

Bottom line: Is low-carb high protein diet effective and safe? For others, like my sister’s best friend Janice, this diet plan may work, but for me… I guess I should continue searching for that perfect diet plan that best suits me. Meanwhile, I can smell the yeung chow fried rice that my Mom is cooking, so I better check it out now.


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