Balancing Act Diets

Alternatives that the world offers to the Slow Carb Diet:

Calories, or energy, are made up from three nutritional substances: carbohydrates, fat and protein. The following three diets believe that people gain weight not because of the amount of calories they eat, but from the specific combination of carbs, fat and protein they eat that make up those calories.

South Beach

A hugely popular diet conceived by Arthur Agatston, South Beach emphasizes lowering carbs, switching those carbs to ones low on the Glycemic Index, and increasing protein and good fats. The South Beach plan features 3 stages: the first is a moderately strict two week period, whereby all simple carbs are forbidden so that cravings and dependency are eliminated. During the second stage, more carbs, low on the Glycemic Index, are slowly reintroduced. The third stage is not really a stage, but a healthy lifestyle, that includes occasional indulgences. South Beach doesn’t forbid any food or food type in the long run – it simply alters the standard ‘healthy way of eating’ (low calorie, low all fats, high carb) and tweaks it to what it feels is healthier, essentially re-balancing where your calories come from.

Slow-Carbing The South Beach Diet

The Zone

The Zone also rearranges where calories in your diet come from, but with a very specific formula. Every meal or snack needs to have a calorie ration made up of 30% protein, 30% unsaturated fat and 40% carbs. Barry Spears, the creator of The Zone, says this ratio is the optimal to weight loss, health and physical performance. What differentiates this diet from other high protein, low carb diets is that Spears believes that diets with large quantities of ‘bad’ carbs inflame the linings of cells, decreasing the chances of those cells losing their fat stores. While South Beach is akin to a flexible ‘lifestyle’, The Zone has no phases, but one must be conscious of the ratio at all times. The general idea is that the ratio will keep calories low overall, but will keep you full and energetic, through skewing the calorie ratio towards eating more low-fat protein and healthy fats.

The Schwarzbein Principle

Diana Schwarzbein created this diet after observing the negative effect that high carb diets had on her diabetes patients. Very similar in dietary make-up to South Beach and the Zone, it also promotes low-GI carbs, protein and healthy fats. Schwarzbein stresses that some level of carbs is necessary in one’s diet. In fact, the amount of carbs recommended in the Principle depends on the level of physical activity- people who are more active, she says, need more carbs. However, as seen in the diets above, these carbs should be the healthy, or the low GI, kind. What makes this female-focused  diet unique is its promotion of developing good mental health and, in selected cases, using hormone replacement therapy. Schwarzbein does not guarantee fast weight loss, but rather that the balance of carbs, protein and fat she recommends will produce lasting results.


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