Carbohydrates: How Low Can You Go?

by Marek Doyle |   Date Released : 20 May 2011
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Marek Doyle

About the author: Marek Doyle

Marek Doyle is the fitness director of Blueprint Fitness, a company offering personal training, nutrition consultancy and allergy therapy in and around Basingstoke, United Kingdom.

His work is backed through certifications from National Amateur Body Building Association (NABBA), GB Fitness, British Complementary Medicine Association (BCMA) and the British Institute of Allergy and Environmental Therapy (BIAET).

He has worked with a range of clients, from members of the public to world champion athletes and top models. He specializes in integrating optimum nutrition together with sport-specific fitness into the busy lives of normal people.

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Comments (8)

Hammond, Heather | 10 Jun 2013, 00:31 AM

I particularly like the part about ways to 'illicit weight loss'. That's sounds so fun!

Wells, Bob | 05 Jun 2012, 19:05 PM

Great article, Marek.

Carbohydrates have become enemy number 1 in the war against obesity, and limiting or restricting their intake has become the vehicle of choice for weight loss. Macronutrient intake regulation (carbohydrate here) can be a very useful tool for weight loss.

However, it is important to take a big picture view when it comes to designing meal plans when it comes to clients, as you mention in the penultimate and ultimate paragraphs.

We also have to consider potential rates of compliance, which is why a diet like Mauro Di Pasquale's would be great. Holding down the fort on carbs for five days, and then being able to splurge on the weekends is more likely to result in dietary compliance than trying to cut out all carbs.

Marek, thanks again for the article. Take care.

In good health,

Bob Wells

Hughes, DebraJo | 28 May 2012, 12:37 PM

I remember in the late 70's and early 80's the Atkins, Scarsdale, and other such diets where called, "high protein crash diets". My personal experience is that, sure, I would lose 10 lbs in 4 days, but then quickly re-gain it plus more as soon as I went "off" the diet! This article does not address long-term maintenance of weight loss. In 30 years I have yet to meet anyone who has maintained weight loss on a low carbohydrate diet, and that includes people who've lost anywhere from 10-100+ lbs. I have, however, met many people who have maintained 10-100+ lbs. weight loss over the course of many years by following their OWN moderate healthy eating plans such as what is recommended by Weight Watchers. Healthy lifestyle changes and behavior modification go much further than very low carbohydrate diets. Perhaps life experience is not science, but I like my numbers.

Edwards, Susannah | 22 Feb 2012, 08:37 AM

Au contraire, Matt. When have you ever had profound success with a client by requiring less of them. Of course they're finding it hard to count calories and figure out ratios and percentages of protein to carbs and fat while getting enough nutrients (green veggies) - that's why they've hired us. If you can educate and inspire clients in exactly these kinds of nutrition basics and pros and cons, you'll get much more compliance and better faster results. Not unhealthy fast, but keep-your-client-happy fast. If you tell them to weigh and measure all their food and keep their ratios/percentages in check, they might not do it all the time but they'll do it more often than they were! Also, there are very easy solutions to the problems you think you see. I suggest you live this way yourself for a bit so that you can offer firsthand experience and tips and tricks to your clients. If you were born fit and always maintained it, then you don't know til you try! And if you don't try, please for all of our sakes and the reputation of trainers everywhere, don't take weight/fat loss clients.
Best to you all! :)
Great article, both sides indeed! I have tried both and have found the moderate to be the better approach, more sustainable as a lifestyle and better long term result. Also, kept the metabolism 'up' so to speak.

White, Matt | 10 Jan 2012, 23:55 PM

One of our biggest problems is educating people on how do have balanced nutrition without entering rigid/dichotomous thiking around eating.

Do we thing that getting people to count the amount of carbs v protein is going to help when they are already finding it hard enough? Is this aimed at people with medical conditions or the general PT client trying to lose a few kg?

Weight loss should be a slow process that involves a lifestyle change not a race against the next person.

Cosentino, M Katherine | 18 Sep 2011, 01:22 AM

You define a moderately-low carbohydrate diet as one consisting of 100-150g carbohydrates. For a 2000 calorie-a-day diet, this constitutes 20%-30%, meaning that the other 70%-80% will come from fat and protein. What ratios do you suggest for these two macronutrients, and what is your opinion on exceeding the RDA for them as well as the dangers of consuming too much protein?

Forster, Matthew | 03 Jul 2011, 02:15 AM

I enjoyed this article. Both sides of the argument were presented very well I believe.

Sinitiere, Nick | 10 Jun 2011, 21:37 PM

Very nice article. Well said....

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