The Fantastic Fats Diets

Eating a Slow Carb Diet would mesh easily with these two…

The following diets emphasize the important role of fats in the diet. Atkins and the Mediterranean diet are very dissimilar in many ways – see below for more details – but both consider dietary fat not only acceptable, but essential, to a healthy diet. This puts them apart from the crowd, especially when you consider that most diet plans treat dietary fat with plastic gloves, or in some cases, a full blown hazmat suit.

Mediterranean Diet

While not championed by one person, the Mediterranean (Med) diet began picking up steam in the mid 1990s when research showed that people from Crete and Southern Italy ate just as much fat as people from the United States, but without the high rate of cardiovascular disease and obesity. The reason for this, research said, is the types of fat consumed by each population.

The Med diet doesn’t frown on fat as a general rule – in fact, it is considered an integral part of the plan, and users are encouraged to eat fatty fish, nuts, plant oils, avocados and flaxseed. The fats in these foods, in essence Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, actually lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, provide antioxidants and considerably reduce the risk of heart disease. The Med diet warns off animal, saturated and trans-fats as extremely detrimental: while 25-35% of your daily calories should be from fat, only 8% should be from saturated, and trans-fats avoided altogether.

To go from a typical American diet to the Med diet, you should swap fish or vegetarian dishes for red meat, olive oil for butter, herbs instead of salt, fruit instead of sugary desserts, and choose whole grains and low-fat dairy.

Of course, you should also eat like an Italian, sitting down to a sensible portion of food after an active day, surrounded by family and friends, and washing it all down with a (optional) glass of red wine. Bottom line: Mangiare il vostro grasso!  (Translation: Eat your fat)


Regardless of popular thought, fat consumption on Atkins is not chugging a jug of lard. However, unlike the Med diet, Dr. Robert Atkins’ diet, developed in the 1970s, does promote a significant relationship with all types of fats. One of the earliest and most popular low-carb diets, Atkins views fats as preferable to carbs. He believes that carbs, not fats of any kind, are what cause ailments like heart disease and cardiovascular problems.

Thus, replacing carbs with fats as a source of calories is a main principle of the Atkins diet. Instead of counting calories and fat grams, Atkins dieters count ‘net carbs’ or the total carb count of a food minus the dietary fiber, and in some cases, sugar alcohol. In the first phase, ‘Induction,’ you are limited to an extremely low 20 net carbs per day. Atkins says this is necessary to eliminate your dependence on carbs and to get your body used to using fat for fuel, instead of the quick burning carbs.

As you travel through the subsequent phases, you find the level of net carbs your body can tolerate and still lose or maintain weight. You also find what

Slow Carb Cheese!

foods trigger cravings by slowly introducing in food groups one at a time using the ‘carb ladder’ as a guide. The ladder starts with meats, oils, full fat cheeses,and ‘foundation’ vegetables, and steps through nuts, dairy, fruits, starchy vegetables and finally whole grains.

The newer version of Atkins places a huge emphasis on non-starch vegetables, however, in the end, Atkins is probably the only diet that suggests you snack on pork rinds instead of whole-wheat crackers.



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