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Laura Dolson

Poll: How Do You Low-Carb?

By January 30, 2011

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altHow do you low carb? Do you follow a plan from a book, or have you developed your own variation? Tell us about it! Vote by clicking on one of the choices below, and tell us about your own variation in the comments section.

I did a similar poll a few years ago, and I'm curious to see whether or not there are differences.

Photo © Laura Dolson

Poll: Which low-carb plan do you follow?
Related Resources:
January 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm
(1) Heather says:

Plan of my own:
I started with the “No White Diet” as recommended by my Dr. and then I was diagnosed with T2 Diabetes. Next, I incorporated Jorge Cruise’s methods of looking for the hidden sugars in food items but I had a problem with the amount of carbs allowed with his program.
And then I found out I had a trigger with wheat. If I eat whole wheat bread or Dreamfield’s pasta, my blood sugars go way too high. So I’ve been experimenting with other grains i.e. buckwheat and have found that I don’t get the high blood sugars.
Most of my carbs are now obtained through vegetables which is fine by me. And the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, as I have lost 115 lbs in the last year and a half!!
Low Carber I’ve become and Low Carber I will remain…


January 30, 2011 at 6:55 pm
(2) Jessica says:

I do a variation of Atkins, but my big emphasis is no sugar and gluten free.

January 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm
(3) Richard K says:

Cut 100% sugar, bread, rice, potatoes & yams, fruit juices, and most sweet fruits (e.g., pineapple). Added lots of berries, and snacks on roasted unsalted almonds. Completely ignore no- and low-fat guideline. Daily targets of 90g protein, <100g net carbs; let the rest (calories, fat, etc.) be what they may. Calories automatically dropped to well under 2000. Lost 10lb in six weeks, and still going down.

January 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(4) Vickilynn says:

Hi Laura,

I am doing a low carb variation of JUDDD (UP day and Down day in cals and carbs) and using Dr. Bernstein’s guidelines for carbs. My Down Days are 20 carbs and my UP days I shoot for 30 carbs.

I am gluten-free, sugar-free and going dairy-free, so that lines up with the primal guidelines, but I fiercely disagree with the philosophy of the primal diet because I don’t accept evolution.

I eat meat and egg proteins and veggies and use seeds and nuts, such as almond meal and chia seeds etc.

BTW I love your recipes!


January 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(5) Sherry says:

The “plan of my own” means eating fats, meats, low carb vegetables, greens, seeds, nuts, and dairy, but I do indulge in occasional low-carb grain-based foods (such as Dreamfield’s or wraps), and I do allow for – but don’t always eat – a carbier meal each week, when I’m eating at a restaurant for example, although I don’t go crazy :) . When I lost my original 90# (in 5 months’ time, almost 7 years ago) I was eating 75%+ fats, 20%ish protein, and 5-10% carbs from the types of foods listed above. This also normalized my blood pressure and blood lipids (my doctor was wanting to put me on statins), as well as resolving several other health issues.

January 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(6) mary titus says:

My low carb method can best be described as sitting on the fence. I began doing Atkins but as I became increasingly healthy on low carb, instead of increasing my carbs, I ‘ve actually decreased them from the induction phase amount to less than 10 grams of carbs/day. My diet is now closer to primal but I will endulge in a low carb dessert or candy. I occasionally eat sweet low carb fruit such as blueberries and strawberries. Sometimes I will even get “wild” and have a grilled nectarine. I fast everyday…in other words I do not eat my fast-breaking meal no sooner than 3:00 PM. Three days a week I go through a 24 hour fast, in-other-words, I will eat one meal on the 1/24 hour days.

January 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm
(7) Helen South says:

I try to follow a roughly Paleo plan (close to Mark Sisson’s ‘Primal’ plan) with low to moderate carbs, minimal grains and a focus on natural foods with optimal nutrition, aiming to eat the way our bodies evolved to eat, but without being obsessive about it.

January 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm
(8) Ron Anthony says:

Started on Doug Kaufmanns Phase One, staying on Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.

January 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm
(9) Jude says:

Started on Atkins back in 97/98, veered through an overlap between Atkins and Protein Power, mostly on a blend of Atkins and Primal with a strong emphasis on nothing forbidden in either ;-) so essentially gluten/most grains free, sweet fruit and starchy root free.

January 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm
(10) Chris B says:

No sugar, no grains, no starchy veggies, very little fruit (occasional berries). I have about one can of diet soda per day (w/ sucralose) and occasionally have a Quest bar (3-4 per week perhaps), but otherwise I’m off artificial sweeteners and drink only water. I eat lots of fish, beef, poultry, pork, lamb, non-starchy veggies, nuts, seeds, and spices. Real, whole, delicious food. I average 20 grams of net carbs per day and have no desire for more.

I’ve lost 143 lbs in the last 17 months. I’m about 20 lbs from my ultimate goal weight, and I’ll get there in a few more months. I started dropping ~3lbs a week and now I’m at 1/2 to 1 lb per week as I have very little (relatively) left to lose. Life is grand!

January 31, 2011 at 10:07 am
(11) megan says:

I do Very Low Carb, staying under about 10g. Mostly just animal products with some spices and herbs. I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half and have never felt better.

January 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm
(12) Antonia says:

I eschew empty calories and focus on micronutrient-dense foods, while keeping natural sugars to a minimum. That means I eat a sweet potato from time to time and a couple of servings of fruit per day, especially berries. But no grains, no bread, no potatoes, no rice, no sweets. I eat lots of green-leaf veggies and lots of eggs, and full-fat dairy just because I cannot bear life without dairy, plus my aging bones need the calcium. I eat more chicken and fish than beef or pork because I am worried about studies that link red meat (and even dairy, sadly) to cancer, and especially since Ajit Varki and colleagues “discovered” Neu5Gc (http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2003/09_29_Varki.html)

January 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm
(13) Antonia says:

Oops. That link to the article on Ajit Varky’s research is broken. Try this one:

January 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm
(14) Kate says:

Dr Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet. Carb and protein restrictions based on height, with calories maintained through lots of dairy and animal fat. He stresses the nutritional benefits of bone broths and organ meats.

Prior to this I did a low carb diet. I feel better now eating more carb (still less than 60/day, though), less protein and more fat. I feel better, have better blood sugar levels and I’ve broken a stall. I’m down 7 lbs in 7 days. It seems at least some of us convert protein to glucose quite readily.

January 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(15) Darian Ribeyre says:

I just have a serve of wholegrain cereal for breakfast and a sandwich with wholegrain bread for lunch then try to keep away from carbs the rest of the time.

I relax a little on the weekend or at social occasions. After all, I’m not in prison and like to enjoy myself a little here and there!

January 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm
(16) Raquel says:

Well I am just now getting back to low carbing, I did it sucessfully for years until I got married. My husband is such a meat and potatoes person, fries or starch with every meal. But I realized that I to stop eating like he does. So I picked up Joe Cruise book, the belly fat cure, and I am glad that I did. I didn’t realize how much the artificial sweetners were increasing my appetite. Just cutting out that artificial sweetners really got me back on track. His book was a jump start, but today I limit my carbs and sugar intake. I think about 60 carbs or less is good for me. I try to be creative with my food to keep things interesting. I love reading these forums because I find all kinds of wonderful ideas. I recently read a cure for my sweet tooth. Pork rinds sprinkled with cinimon and stevia or (spenda), sprayed with a lil bit of no calorie butter spray, put in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and hmm takes just like Heaven!

January 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm
(17) lil says:

I recently started on a low-carb, but really all I’m doing is eliminating flour and sugar products. No baking. No candy or sweetened hot chocolate anymore. I do eat potatoes, both sweet and white, use a brown and wild rice mixture, Rye Crisp and Wasa Crisp Crackers. I enjoy three starch/grain servings a day maximum. Sometimes I just can’t figure out how to eat my smoked sardines and mackerel without a rye crisp cracker. Two of them. I also eat fruits.

Today, for example, I ate a total of 10 fruit and vegetable servings, one grain (oat bran), one meat serving, one alternate (poached egg), two milks, and one nut serving.

These ingredients comprised a berry smoothie, breakfast porridge, chicken cacciatore, a Walforf salad and a nut snack. One serving of nuts divided.

I’ve lost 5 lbs in one month.

January 31, 2011 at 10:08 pm
(18) lil says:

Me again: Here is what I ate today. This was a generous menu day. I do not want to lose more than 5 lbs a month. With reference to my treat: I have never used hot chocolate mixes, but did add sugar to my cocoa. I now drink my hot chocolate without sugar. It’s fine. I really look forward to it, and count it as one of my 2 daily dairy servings. The other is usually yogurt. Plain, 3 per cent, full spectrum probiotic.

1 lrg coffee, 2/3 coffee, 1/3 milk
1/2 cup oat bran, cooked
1/2 banana
5 small walnut halves
1 tsp flaxseed

1 cup apple/celery/walnut salad w 1.5 ounces tuna
1 glass berry smoothie, w added milk and 1/2 banana

Chicken Cacciatore
1 & 1/2 small chicken thighs
1 cup tomato sauce w garlic, onion & celery

2 handsful spinach, steamed
2 oz piece roasted yam
1/2 roasted onion
1/2 grapefruit

3 small prunes poached in herbal tea.

January 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm
(19) lil says:

Ooops sorry. My poached egg became tuna at the last minute. Flexiblity.

I think I’m done now. :)

January 31, 2011 at 10:24 pm
(20) Michael Scott says:

I am 68 years old and started the Atkins’ plan 10.5 years ago. I have stayed below 20 grams of carbs most of that time. The only “cheating” I will allow myself is having too many nuts on occasion. Sometimes too many Atkins bars. I never have grains because of my addiction to them. I believe that most people, who are unable to stay on Atkins, lose all control by going too high in carbs! As long as I stay under 20 grams I remain in control. Whenever I eat more than 20 grams of carbs my “willpower” is greatly reduced. You don’t take an alcoholic off booze for five years and then tell him to start drinking again. Carbs, even low carbs, are as deadly as alcohol in any quantity. Treat carbs with respect! I have kept my weight off for more than ten years and have never been hungry. I do a lot of bicycling and have more energy at 68 than at any other time of my life. The secret to doing well, on Atkins, is to stay very low in carbs and high in fat and protein.

January 31, 2011 at 10:40 pm
(21) lil says:

Oh Michael you just made me realize I’m probably not low-carb at all!

January 31, 2011 at 11:08 pm
(22) Wanda says:

I successfuly kept weight off low carbing for years. Over the last two years, however, I gained 30 lbs. by just letting things slip. Went back to low carb, but I think I screwed up my metabolizm. For the last two days, I’ve been taking more of a paleo stance. We’ll see how that works. I’m almost 64 & the weight doesn’t come off as easily as before.

January 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm
(23) Mary says:

I follow the Metabolism Miracle by Diane Kress. I’ve been following for a year and I’ve lost 47 lbs. She is a Registered Dietitian.

February 1, 2011 at 4:35 am
(24) Peter Nolan says:

I read an article in the Sunday Times about 2 years ago by Brian Appleyard. He interviewed Arthur De Vany about his Stone Age diet. Great article still online at http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/diet_and_fitness/article4523487.ece
At 45 I did have a spare tyre and within 2 weeks it was gone and remains…gone:)
I do yoga most days and enjoy red wine. I allow myself to bend the rules now & again. And life is good & healthy. If you are thinking about doing low-carb then I suggest you try it for 2 weeks. You’ll see how easy it is and you’ll be amazed at how your jeans are too big for you.
PS. During this period I also went through a painful divorce from my wife and I believe that taking the healthy option – getting fit – has enabled me to cope.

February 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm
(25) G. A. Clowers says:

I have been on a rather strict low carb plan for about 15 years. I developed my plan after reading “Protein Power”. I initially lost 80 lbs. and have kept it off since then. I avoid all added sugar and starch. I eat only very low carb bread such as “Flat Out”, and then only rarely. I make Flax meal muffins and I eat lots of green vegetables. I am a meat eater (all kinds) so this plan is good for me. I try to keep my carb intake below 15g per day. This is not a “diet” but rather my way of life, so I appreciate Laura’s recipes very much.

February 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm
(26) MaryK says:

I’ve been following Protein Power (Drs. Eades) for 10 years…love it and love how I feel.

February 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(27) Barbara says:

Started out on Atkins, lost ~40 lbs., but hair thinned and I hit a very long plateau. I am now doing the new WeightWatchers plan and using my points for a very low carb diet. I eat meat, poultry, eggs, and vegetables from biodynamic farms (2 CSAs), 1-2 servings of fruit a day, yogurt several times a week; no complex carbs except occasionally winter squash or beans.

February 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm
(28) Sophie says:

I started ’98-’00 with Protein Power/Atkins. Then 6 years on Zone. Another 2 years on Atkins, then the last year on atkins plus almost unlimited veggies/shiratki noodles and at least 1 grapefruit a day. Since 2003, been between 115-125 lbs the whole time (though right this minute I am little less).

February 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm
(29) susan says:

I have been on the atkins diet for along time I eat no sugar lots of chicken, fish salads and veggies with recipes from Laura like flax bread with half ground almonds also I try and eat blackberries or blueberries

February 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm
(30) Jay says:

I am just cutting out starches. I have gotten blood sugar stable. No more spikes like it did. Now I have pre diabetes. Diabetes run wild in my family. My doctor just told me to watch it. But by cutting out whites and starches I am doing fabulous.

February 3, 2011 at 10:23 am
(31) Kelly says:

I have done a lot of reading and research into low carb and am doing my own plan based on several. I’m leaning more toward Paleo, with a focus on whole foods, but I do allow some dairy. After letting myself go for a bit, I restarted low carb on February 1. I track carbs at SparkPeople.com and my goal is to always be under 100 g of carbs per day, but when I’m really on the ball, I’m usually under 50 g per day. I love how I feel and how I don’t get those late afternoon crashes anymore.

February 6, 2011 at 4:12 am
(32) sam says:

‘Gaps’ diet. from the book Gut and psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride.
Basically no grains, no starches or complex sugars.

February 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm
(33) Sandy says:

Protein Power

February 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm
(34) Diane says:

I’ve read nearly all the books, starting with the Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet when I was a teenager, then Atkins in high school, but when I found Protein Power about 10 years ago, I thought it did the best job of explaining WHY, which is very important to me. I still think it’s the best book, and try to follow their plan. 30 grams per day is quite doable–10 per meal, with a little leeway for most of us. I tell people when I give them the book (since they find the size intimidating) that they should be hooked by the first chapter, and reading the first 50 pages will give them just about all they need to know. Then they can skip around for more information or to answer their questions.

February 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm
(35) Diane says:

Oh, and I also went gluten-free a few months ago, and have been reading about the blood type diets. I’m not totally convinced, but as an O, I do follow the pattern of probably having issues with gluten and my thyroid, doing best on low carb, needing intense exercise, etc. I have read dozens of diet books, and gain a little something from each one! I’ve also read a couple of books recently about the allergic/addictive response that makes it so hard for us to control certain foods if we allow any at all.

March 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm
(36) cheryl says:

Originally, I was on Atkins for 8 months. Over the last two years I’ve altered Atkins to my own reduced carb and have been just as successful. During the two week induction, I’m not as strict as Atkins recommends. My carb count is higher, for these two weeks and then I follow it about 90%.

March 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm
(37) Anne says:

After many years of reading, I follow a plan of my own. It has elements of all the popular plans, but basically avoids almost all flour products and high carb veggies (e.g. potatoes and winter squashes) I try to take it easy on nuts, but eat some every day. I focus on meat, poultry and lotsa fish. I eat a lot of low carb veggies (love the veggies) and a bit of fruit with emphasis on melon and berries. If I find myself gaining weight I examine my nut, dairy and (sadly) alcohol consumption. Works for me!

May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm
(38) Linda says:

My goal is to eat no starch or sugar, including fruit and dairy. I’ve found I also have to watch my intake of nuts. So basically I’m suppose to eat just protein and vegs. and fats,, but it’s hard to keep to it

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