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You hear about the Dr. Atkins diet, Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts, the Zone diet, CKD, SommerSizing and all other high-protein low carb diet plans, but which one is right for you? Read what other low-carbers think about the low carb plan they're following and how they live with it. This may help you find the right plan for you. Please feel free to join the discussion to comment on these plans or tell about your favourite low carb plan!
  Low Carb Plans Comparison:
Harvey-Banting, the First Low Carb Plan
Atkins Diet
Protein Power
Schwarzbein Principle
Dr. Donaldson, Eskimo Diet, 1929
Life Without Bread
The Diet Cure
Fat Flush Plan
Neanderthin Diet
Dr. Mackarness Stone Age Diet, 1958
Carbohydrate Addict's Diet
The Zone Diet
Specific Carbohydrate Diet (IBS)
South Beach Diet
Insulin Control Diet
Insulin Resistance Diet
Go Diet
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Low-Carb Diet Plans


The Schwarzbein Principle

The Schwarzbein Principle

Plan's name: The Schwarzbein Principle

Book(s): The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville.

About the author: Dr. Diana Schwarzbein has achieved the reputation as the cutting-edge expert on hormone replacement therapy and reversing type II diabetes. Her practice specializes in endocrinology, metabolism, diabetes, osteoporosis, menopause and thyroid. She lives in Santa Barbara, California with her husband where she conducts workshops and private sessions. She completed nine years of training in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Southern California in 1990, and spent the first few years of her practice at a medical clinic in Santa Barbara treating Type II diabetics. 

Basic Philosophy: After a few year of watching these patients get worse on the standard low-calorie, high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-protein diet, she began to experiment with a lower carb way of eating. She discovered to her surprise that a diet that included red meat, butter, eggs, real cream, lots of low-carb vegetables and moderate amounts of unrefined carbohydrates brought the patients' blood sugar levels down to acceptable levels in an amazingly short time, and, improved their lipid levels as well.

The book is the outcome of these successes and the resulting research she has done in the past ten years. The emphasis is on healthy eating -- simple, unprocessed foods, and no stimulants (alcohol, caffeine, drugs). She discusses aging, cholesterol and fat (and why it is necessary to eat both), heart disease, eating disorders, and how to achieve a balanced diet. 

Another important aspect of her philosophy is that you stay on the diet and will either gain or lose until your body stabilizes at its optimum weight - bearing in mind that what you think is an optimum weight for you may not be what your body settles at.

Dr. Schwarzbein believes that the ADA diet is killing diabetics. That isn't what the whole book is about, of course. She speaks out against the AMA and the FDA "food pyramid". The book is geared toward women, but the principles are applicable to men as well. She discusses the "low-serotonin state" and the problems associated with it: depression, addiction, obesity. Dr. S. gives a wonderful, lay person description of insulin resistance its effect on the body.. The Schwarzbein Principle Cookbook is fabulous! I haven't yet tried anything that wasn't delicious!

By the numbers:  In terms of numbers, an inactive person can have up to 15g of carbohydrates at every meal. The more active you are, the more you get - she maintains that carbohydrates are an important source of glycogen for muscles.There are no calorie restrictions.

Method: The nutritional program consists of two phases Healing and Maintenance which are easy to adopt into any lifestyle. Instead of shunning fat, the program advocates eating all of the good fats and proteins your body needs as well as an unlimited portion of non-starchy carbohydrates. By incorporating the lifestyle components of stress management, exercise and eliminating harmful stimulants, program participants experience renewed energy and vitality. Lots of lean meat, fish, eggs, green leafy and other non-starchy veggies, fruit in moderation, grains in moderation (and always unrefined), nuts and seeds. Eat "as much good fat as their body needs": eggs, avocados, flaxseed oil, butter, mayonnaise, and olive oil. Sorry, but fried foods and hydrogenated fats are "bad fats," or "damaged fats," as Dr. Schwarzbein calls them.

Typical menu: 

A daily menu looks like this:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with nitrate-free sausauges, 2/3 cup oatmeal with butter and cream. Sliced tomatoes.
  • Snack: 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Lunch: Cobb salad (made with chopped chicken, nitrate-free bacon, hard boiled egg, bleu cheese, salad greens and tomatoes). Olive-oil and vinegar dressing, 1 small apple.
  • Snack: 1/4 cup almonds. String cheese.
  • Dinner: Roast pork loin, 1/3 cup brown rice with butter. Asparagus with butter. Mixed-greens salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, tossed with olive-oil and vinegar dressing.
  • Each meal and snack is designed to include no more than 15 grams of carbs on the healing program. More carbs are allowed later.

Unique Fatures: She does not recommend ketosis except in extreme cases (certain hormonal disorders; e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome), but does recommend a drastic reduction in carbohydrate consumption, especially refined carbs and simple sugars. She recommends increased fat and protein (your body needs these to manufacture neurotransmitters and hormones). She warns against consumption of damaged fats (processed or cooked at high temps).

Pros: It would appeal to those who are looking for a healthy way of eating that is realistic and balanced. Cons: There may be too many carbohydrates and too much fat for those who are looking to lose a lot of weight, but I'm new to the game, so I may be wrong.

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