Low carb diets have been around for a long time. Traditional thinking is that carbohydrates are bad for you, so when you enter into a new low carb diet, you may not even think about some factors that may be considered. Many people have benefited from low carb diets. They have been able to shed some unwanted pounds and sometimes even reverse prediabetes etc. However, what most people have reported after doing a low carb diet, is that later, they became burned out, or once they lost the desired weight, they ended up gaining the weight back.
When entering a new diet into your life, it’s important to consider and remember that dieting should not be just a challenge, and something you do on the short term. It should become a way of life. If you have ever had an illness, you know that it takes a while to get healthy again, and to try to stay healthy is even more challenging. Dieting is no different.
The difference between low carb diets and slow carb diets, is that low carb diets focus a lot on how many carbs you actually put into your mouth, as opposed to slow carb diets, that don’t focus on how many carbs you put into your mouth but more or less, which carbs you put in your mouth. According to healthyeating.sfgate.com, they write: “Different low-carb diets recommend varying levels of carbohydrate restriction, ranging from 20 grams to up to 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, compared to the average 250 to 300 grams in the standard American diet. Low-carb diets usually encourage dieters to replace most of their carbs with fats.”
As the low carb diet focuses on how many carbs you eat, and the slow carb diet focuses on the types of carbs you eat, the website further adds: “While the type of carbs is not really a priority on the low-carb diet, type is what the slow-carb diet is all about. Low-glycemic or slowly metabolized carbs are digested and absorbed at a slower pace, which reduce their effects on your blood sugar levels. The slow-carb diet recommends you replace processed and refined carbs — such as sugar, soft drinks, white bread, breakfast cereals and desserts — with slow carbs, such as sweet potatoes, steel-cut oats, fruits, whole-grain pasta and legumes.”
So, what do typical meals look like for both diets? Healthyeating.sfgate.com highlights the interesting differences between both diets, just in the meals alone. They write: “A typical meal on a low-carb or slow-carb diet can look quite different. Choosing the diet that includes foods you enjoy can help you stick to your diet so you are more likely to achieve your goals. For example, a typical low-carb meal could be a serving of grilled salmon with leafy greens, tomatoes and avocado slices drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a steak with mashed cauliflower and a serving of broccoli with butter. A typical low-carb dessert would be a piece of dark chocolate. On the other hand, a slow-carb meal could be a lentil soup with whole grain crackers or whole grain pasta with a tomato-based sauce sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. A slow-carb dessert could be a piece of fruit, a serving of yogurt or homemade baked goods made with whole-grain flour.” And as far as the health benefits from both diets, the site adds: “Although low-carb and slow-carb diets use very different approaches, both can be used to successfully lose weight or improve your health. Low-carb researcher Stephen D. Phinney reports that low-carb diets can help reduce body fat, lower triglycerides, boost heart-protective HDL cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugars and decrease blood pressure. Similar improvements have also been observed with a slow-carb, low-glycemic diet, according to a paper published in 2002 in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.’”
Low carb diets are very hard to stick to and seem as though they were primarily designed for rapid weight loss, while the slow carb diet seems more practical. Although the slow carb diet says to not drink any carbs, it does note that one or two glasses a week are acceptable. Although the low carb diet does not allow for pasta of any kind, the slow carb diet calls for the avoidance of white foods such as sugar, pasta (excluding whole grain pasta) rice, bread and cheese. The slow carb diet also calls for lean meats, beans and veggies, excluding fruit, however tomatoes and avocados are allowed in moderation. You’re also allowed to have one cheat day a week when it comes to letting loose and enjoying all of the slow carb diet forbidden foods.
Straight from the website promoting the Atkins diet, a well-known low carb diet, they write: “Here’s how the Atkins 40 plan works: Start with 40 grams of Net Carbs of carbohydrates a day. Net carbs represent the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content and sugar alcohols (if in the product). The Net Carbs number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and therefore are the only carbs you need to count when you do Atkins. Eat three 4 to 6-ounce servings and protein each day. Eat 2 to 4 servings of fat each day.” It sounds like a lot of counting and measuring! You don’t even get a cheat day! The site further says that once you have achieved your goal weight you can start reintroducing acceptable carbs slowly into your diet.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough how important taking on a new diet is. Dieting should be a way of life. It should be easy, stress free, and you should end up feeling full and satisfied each day. As you can see, the Atkins and most low carb diets don’t offer the type of flexibility you would need to help maintain your diet without getting burned out from all the measuring, counting, and lack of cheat days, while the slow carb diet allows certain carbs that would otherwise be restricted on a low carb diet. A slow carb diet does allow the cheat days, and most importantly offers the flexibility you would need to maintain your new diet.